I know much of the Cycling world has awakened from its winter slumber to partake in and debate the Podium Cafe Virtual Directeur Sportif 2008 Competition, but it's probably worth taking note of a few developments out there in the non-virtual world... at least to consider whether they affect your roster decisions. To people reading but not playing, this is the prism through which all of Cycling will be analyzed for the next 8 months. Sorry!
- Hans-Michael Holczer is the cRaZy uncle of Cycling. Not in a bad way, necessarily, but he just strikes me as a complete oddball. At the Gerolsteiner team launch he mentioned his opposition to team-run internal doping controls, and actually criticized High Road, CSC and others who have been running such programs. IIRC, his own team was running one too. Now, he says, the biological passports will take care of everything, and those teams should pull the funds from their internal controls and give the money to the UCI's passport program. My guess is that he thinks team controls are another conspiracy? You'd think watching his rivals drain their budget on doping controls is something he'd like. Anyway...
- Speaking of biological passports, I seem to remember reading that they'll be "launched" at the Tour Down Under. Minor development, perhaps, but I intend to flog the passport matter all year as the sport's #1 story. So get used to it.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Adam Hansen, World Number One for two weeks running. If he turns up in California, he could hold this position for a while. BTW, PodiumCafe 2.0 will hopefully display points standings at all times, so you can stay on top of which Australians own the winter.
- This piece is a tad stale, and two days later I still don't have a one-liner about the serendipity of turquoise-clad Astana boys zipping around New Mexico. But... what exactly is The Cycling Center? And do you have to be a teenager for them to send you to Belgium to race bikes?