That sinking feeling one gets when your legs start hurting on a climb, and the gap between you and the group ahead of you gets larger and larger, would surely be overtaking the "senses" of one Patrick McQuaid today, if (a) he had any; and (b) they weren't temporarily shut down by a large influx of green beer.
The CN notes feature an interesting recap of this past weekend's meeting between the AIGCP (the teams) and ASO, where they laid out contractual terms for all upcoming ASO races starting with Paris-Roubaix, ending with Paris-Tours, and most assuredly including the Big Enchilada (I'm pretty sure that's how "Grand Boucle" translates). Basically, ASO wants to extend the relationship forged in the week or two leading up to Paris-Nice, and have repackaged that chaotic experience into a single contract for the rest of their races; no more last-second meetings needed.
The big effect is on the UCI's position, once again, as ASO is simply copying its rout of the last week into a year-long victory over their rivals for Cycling supremacy. When McQuaid pops some Advil and a pot of coffee tomorrow, he may conjure up a response of some sort, but right now the meta-leaderboard reads as follows:
- Certain ASO-loved Teams, s.t.
- Riders on those teams, s.t.
- All other teams, at 11.59
- UCI, at ∞.∞∞
One thing that occurs to me: if ASO is signing contracts with people for the rest of their races, does that mean we can figure out who's going to the Tour? Is it simply the same team list as Paris-Nice? Are they just extending the contracts of the people they've been working with all month (i.e. one contract per team for the whole set of races), or is there a different set of contracts for each race? If the former, articles like this are unnecessary... but still fun to read.