I get the sense that a lot of us find ourselves at a crossroads today. First, there is undeniable evidence that the Tour de France is over. Between the curious lack of Cycling coverage on TV this morning, and the efforts to defrock Alberto Contador, one would think he's been awarded the overall victory. Numerous papers report celebrations in Spain of this very fact.
Maybe this is a good thing, because the second major theme is the vultures in an all-out feeding frenzy on Cycling's tainted carcass. Obviously positive tests are serious matters, but nothing brings out the doping violations, or the media tut-tutting, like the Tour de France.
I am reaching maximum blogxhaustion myself, so it's with some pleasure that I say I won't be posting live threads for a few days. That said, I can already feel the energy welling up again, deep down, thanks to one item on the Pro Tour Calendar:
- August 4, 2007: Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
Just last year it occurred to me that this is one of the great destination races for Cycling fans: a tough, rolling race through some truly beautiful country. You could loll around in the Bay of Biscay til noon, grab some lunch and hump it up the Jaizkebel, catch some epic action, see that ridiculous Txapila given out in person, and hit the town for a lovely night out. No, it's not Alpe d'Huez in July, but it might be more fun.
Anyway, things don't slow down from there. Here's a sampling of what I'd consider races to get excited, or at least curious, about:
- Aug 5 Giro Del'Appennino
- Aug 5 Scandinavian Open Road Race
- Aug 8-16 DeutschlandTour
- Aug 9 GP di Camaiore
- Aug 11 Giro del Lazio
- Aug 14-18 Vuelta a Burgos
- Aug 19 Vattenfalls Classic
- Aug 22-29 Eneco Tour
- Sept 1-23 Vuelta a Espana
- Sept 2 GP Ouest France-Plouay
- Sept 6-9 Giro Della Toscana
- Sept 9-16 Tour of Missouri
- Sept 15 Paris-Brussels
- Sept 19 GP de Wallonie
- Sept 26-30 World Championships
- Oct 14 Paris-Tours
- Oct 14 Giro dell'Emilia
- Oct 18 Giro del Piemonte
- Oct 20 Giro di Lombardia
Thus far Cycling.tv is scheduled to show the D-Tour, Eneco Tour, Vuelta a Espana and Plouay races. I'm not sure about the rest of the Pro Tour events, but I expect some of these events to show up. Is the Lombardia on the Giro/Versus Channel? Can't recall. But Cycling.tv returns to the forefront of our lives, and it will be nice to hear Anthony and Brian again.
One thing we can expect is to say adieu to Phil and Paul til next year. I've heard that Versus plans to ditch the sport, in their now-customary fashion, following the end of the Tour, though it would be awfully nice to get those short packages of the late season classics. Stay tuned.