The Feedbag returns! And with a glass of Sangria to wash it down...
- As for the Vuelta, don't miss the on-the-ground reports over at Pez. Nobody does color like Pez.
- Random thought: why didn't I take Oscar Freire for my VDS team? Filed away for next year is the fact that Vuelta "sprint stages" have a tendency to go up and down for a while, which means the sprinters who can climb are at a heavy advantage over the usual suspects. No surprise, then, that Freire, Paolo Bettini and Daniele Bennati have been at the front of almost every stage not finishing in a cloud bank. And that Petacchi and Boonen are nowhere to be seen.
- No surprises, but CN's notes confirm the transfers of Daniele Bennati to Liquigas and Yaroslav Popovych to Predictor-Lotto. I don't have much explanation for the Liquigas/Lampre shakeups, but Popovych's return to Belgium is predictable enough, given his prowess in the classics and his past with Landbouwkrediet.
- Alejandro Valverde can't get out of the news these days. First, VN reports that the Spanish Federation sees nothing suspicious in the Operacion Puerto files:
[A]fter a review of documents forwarded by the UCI that there's no new information that would require it to open a formal inquiry against the Caisse d'Epargne star.
But that hasn't stopped the UCI from taking more shots at the reigning Pro Tour champion: today CN reports that the UCI is investigating a missed control from June 23, before the Tour. Apparently he wasn't at home in Murcia when the people showed up in lab coats and holding test tubes. But it may be the UCI (no!) who ends up with egg on their faces:
"We sent a fax [June 12] to UCI in which we indicated that the 23rd, 24th and 25th of June Valverde was going to be competing in Eindhoven [team time trial].... Furthermore, Valverde had to pass an anti-doping control while he was racing at Eindhoven."
- So you thought those cyclists were big-hearted guys? Turns out it's true.