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Whereupon Cycling returns to normalcy...

  • Someday I'd like to write a book about Cycling's great unknown races. We always talk about the famous ones, but this weekend featured an assortment of more localized pro races which seem like minor legends. For example, continental pro Alessandro Bertolini won the Giro del Appennino, now entering its second century (though only up to about 65 editions). Bertolini's win isn't described, but the race features a beastly climb called the Passo della bocchetta, 8km ranging up to 13% grade. With guys like Bugno and Simoni among the past winners, no doubt this is an entertaining climbfest.
  • Another potential entrant in such a book might be the Subida a Urkiola, a Basque classic run the day after San Sebastian. Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, whose season has been derailed by illness, got well in a hurry yesterday to take the race, thanks to a flotilla of teammates. This was the 31st Urkiola, four more editions than the more heralded Clasica.
  • Whether the Poly Normande would make the book is a mystery to me, as I can only find evidence of five editions. Anyway, Benoît Vaugrenard took yesterday's win capping off an eventful season for the FdJeux youngster.
  • Back to the big show, the Pro Tour leader's kit was seen in public for, what? The 3rd or 4th time this year?? Danilo DiLuca was an also-ran as he marked his return to the peloton following his tumultuous vacation, which he'd planned to spend celebrating the Giro rather than giving sworn testimony. One of the darkest and murkiest clouds hanging over the sport right now is the Killer's fate, as Italian authorities continue looking into whether he was part of a doping ring in 2004. Nobody is suggesting he did anything untoward in his drive to victory this past May, but if guilty, he would have an almost impossible task of arguing that while he was juiced in 2004 and not winning, he's clean now and a champion. Still, in classic Italian style the investigation includes uncertain charges, no set prosecutor, and a month-long hiatus for summer vacation. I have no idea if this is a fishing expedition or something to worry about. As a big fan of the Killer, I'll be sweating it out for a while.
  • How can Cycling.tv and the German sporting networks not cover the DeutschlandTour, when its theme this year is "complex and full of tactical suspense"? That is my favorite slogan in all of cycling. We'll start dissecting the race, which kicks off Friday, over the next coupla days. The key, as usual with these middlin' races, is who's coming to win? The German teams, the Continental teams, the defending champ and other German riders, and guys anxious to save face after flopping at the Tour. Could make for a good list...