Seems like every major Operacion Puerto figure is making news today...
- Tyler Hamilton and his Tinkoff team are Giro-bound as recipients of a wildcard invitation. So too are Astana, Ceramica Panaria, and Acqua e Sapone... but of course not Unibet. Tyler Hamilton in a grand tour. Really, I thought we were done with that.
- Meanwhile, over at ASO they are being far more circumspect about the participation of Ivan Basso in the Tour.
"We still don't have enough information, but in any case, we will decide who will be invited," Prudhomme told L'Equipe. "If it's necessary, we will wait until June 30 to make the final decision. We stick to our principal: anyone who is harmful to the image of the Tour de France will not be allowed to race."
Obviously this question is hanging over all our heads. It is not known whether the reporter for L'Equipe is planning a Podium Cafe Virtual Directeur Sportif squad, though we thank him/her for trying anyway. Still, if Basso repeats at the Giro, where he crushed similar competition in demoralizing fashion last year, can Chef Prudhomme call him "bad for the Tour's image"? [OK, yes... but will he?]
- Back to racing... Sunday's Trofeo Laigueglia has a website. It's almost unreadable, but from the altimetri, if you squint just right, you might see a few mountain passes in the 2,000-3,000 foot range, among the otherwise coastal route. Per the Zen Quest, defending champ Alessandro Ballan will have to tangle with Pozzato, DiLuca, Astarloa, Nocentini, Dekker, Hamilton, Loddo, and a few other early season hopefuls in this Milan-San Remo warmup.
- Information on the Ruta Del Sol, a/k/a Vuelta Andalucia, is a little less blurry. We already previewed the race briefly earlier this week. Kickoff is Sunday.
- Pez goes inside the Tour Mediterraneen in its usual style.
- Oh, and naturally they beat the rest of the press to that interview with the Specialized Angel.