Ristretto (adj) 1) restrained, narrow 2) an extra short pull espresso, less than 1 oz., characterized by a thick, syrupy consistency.
All is quiet in the cycling world as preparations accelerate for the coming Race Around France. Here at Gossip World Headquarters, we must rest and save ourselves for the big race to come. It would certainly not do to peak too early, and come up short in the third week.
Speaking of peaking, has Valverde hit it too early? Maybe. For if he wins the Tour, he joins a very select group who have won the Dauphiné and Tour de France during the same year. Certainly, he will be extra motivated, as so far, the 28 year old has yet to win a grand tour. Discussing his win this last week, Valverde dropped the I-bomb, saying that he won the Dauphiné in the style of Indurain. Perhaps he is feeling a touch of jealousy over the attention received by the "New Indurain," who recently won the Giro. But... but... but... you said I got to be the New Indurain.
No Tour for you. Part deux. The ASO has reconfirmed their original confirmation that Tom Boonen absolutely postively can not ride the Tour under any circumstances. Take that, Patrick. It can't help Lefévère's cause that his name is Patrick. Surely, his chances of sweet talking the ASO would improve if he did not share the same name as the ASO's archenemy, Patrick McQuaid. A new name, it'll work a charm. Johann might not be the best choice however, since Bruyneel now says that the ASO excluded Astana at least partly because they don't like him. Maybe it's Boonen who needs a new name. It worked for Vandenbrouke, didn't it?
Having trouble establishing your whereabouts? The good people at Procycling want to help out, at least when it comes to the Tour de France. They have a Dutch language Tour de France guide, whose advertisement makes clear that the Rasmussen case has now passed from Melodrama to Farce. Yes, yes, I'm still in Mexico.
Cat fight! Levi and Cadel are so not best friends 4ever anymore. Like, did you hear what happened on the Joux Plane? It was soooo unfair! Cadel went to play in the sandbox up the hill with Alejandro without Levi. This made Levi very mad! I don't like Cadel anymore! He wouldn't wait for me! Tour winners don't ride like that, said Levi. So Levi decided to get even. The very next day, when Cadel wanted to play with him instead of Alejandro, Levi just sat there and watched. Now Cadel was very mad! I don't understand Levi, he said. He wouldn't play with me! Levi only likes Robert. Wheelsucker! I know you are, but what am I? Now, now, you kids, play nice, or we won't let you have any playdates in France this summer. Oh, wait...
One more year for Simoni! Gibo has postponed his retirement for one more year, and will ride until the end of 2009. He has yet to announce which team he will represent for his last season. At the moment, he prepares for the upcoming world championship race in the mountain bike marathon, which takes place on 5 July in Italy. Forza Gibo!
Miguel Martinez won the 3rd stage of the Tour de Beauce, his first victory on the road in a UCI race. "Now I can die tranquille," he said. Here at the Gossip, we are glad to hear Miguel is feeling tranquille, but hope he sticks around a while longer, and maybe wins a race or several more.
Contract news! Climbing revelation Jurgen Van den Broeck has renewed with Silence-Lotto. He will ride for the team until the end of 2010.
Starting 'em out early. Manuel, at the age of 6, has become the youngest Maglia Rosa in history, by winning the Giro di Minitalia. The race, a time trial, took place in Milano, with 50 starters between the ages of 4 and 7. Manuel won a new Olmo bici for his efforts. Mattia took the best young rider jersey at age 3 1/2. The Minitalia Park contains 181 miniaturized monuments. Next up, a MiniRonde, complete with a baby-sized Koppenberg.
Can Cunego win the Tour? Lance says no, and quite unequivocably at that. Not only will Cunego not win this Tour, he'll "never win the Tour." Apparently, Cunego is too small. He can't handle the climbs or the time trials at the Tour, said Armstrong. Which pretty much means, he's totally doomed. Those two and a half inches Cadel has on il piccolo apparently make all the difference.
Musical Sponsors. When the music stops, will Gerolsteiner be left standing? So far, the German team has yet to follow the example of CSC, Team High Road, and QuickStep in securing a new sponsor for the coming year. Young Italian sprinter Oscar Gatto, for one, is still "free," and would really reallly like a new contract. His Giro did not go as planned, but he is hoping in the coming months to catch the eye of a new team, perhaps with a good performance at the Vuelta. Rebellin is reportedly chatting with LPR. No word yet from Roger Legeay on the future of Credit Agricole, either. No doubt he, like Gerolsteiner, will be hoping the music plays a little longer.
Robbie Mac does not heart Switzerland. Apparently, after yesterday's stage, the race organizer tried to hurry him toward the podium ceremonies. Robbie Mac, who was busily chatting away on his mobile, got a tad angry. Here at the Gossip we can not repeat his exact words. This is a family Gossip column after all, and one must have standards. But we can assure you that it was not nice. The race organizers have decided not to sanction the Aussie sprinter this time, but they are decidedly displeased. Cancellara says that nobody likes Robbie anyway. Maybe he should go eat worms.
The espresso has run dry, which means that it's time to sign off. But not before we give you a podium girl and Alejandro's idea of a podium smooch. Smooth operator, that Alejandro.
Postscript! Two Tour team announcements just coming over ze wires. Michael Rogers will not ride the Tour de France this year for Team High Road. Rolf Aldag has apparently released the news today. Second, Romain Feillu, whose Tour start was in doubt due to a lengthy illness earlier this season, will ride the Tour for Agritubel. Feillu? Very happy with this news!