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Gossip du Jour


It's a Dog's Life Edition

Unless you slept in far too late today, you know that Riccardo Ricco will ride this year's Tour de France. He went on vacation after the Giro, claiming as his next objective the Brixia Tour in late July. Then, he started training again. Then, he mentioned that maybe he might just maybe ride the Tour. Voilà, to France goes il Cobra. Race bike? Check. Shoes? Check. Helmet? Check. Jersey and bibs? Check. Phrase book of French obscenities? Check. Yes, clearly, Ricco is ready for France. Is France ready for Ricco? Perhaps we should warn them. But that might spoil the fun.

As if Ricco were not enough, there's the problem of taxis. Yes, that's right taxis. You know, the yellow, four-wheeled contraptions that always seek out the longest distance between two points. The taxi drivers' union in Morbihan is threatening a demonstration against high gas prices during the Tour stages in Bretagne. Demonstrating against l'issu du jour is a time-honored tradition in France during the Tour, of course. Here at the Gossip we have no objection to such things, so long as our Benna gazing is in no way shape or form compromised. Should that occur, well, the taxi drivers will look positively mellow when compared to the tifose scorned.

The +1 Award of the Day goes to Alberto Contador who in an interview today named Cadel Evans the Tour favorite. Not one to take too many risks, Contador joins just about everyone else on Planet Cycling to vote Cadel as Most Likely to Succeed in France. All the cool people are doing it. Contador called the Tour an open race this year, with Evans, Valverde, and Menchov the most favoritests. Eat your heart out Carlos and Damiano!

On the market. Cancellara's contract with CSC-Saxo Bank ends this season. Surely, the offers are coming in thick and fast. His current contract runs somewhere in the mid six figures (about $1 billion), and his renewal price is rumored to be around €1 million (about $10 billion).

Contracts, more contracts. Romain Feillu has prolonged with Agritubel until the end of 2009. His brother, Brice Feillu has signed on as a stagiare with Agritubel. Brice has signed a contract for two years with Agritubel beginning next year.

On the subject of stagiaires, Cameron Meyer of Australia will join Team Garmin as a stagiaire for the remainder of the season. Reportedly Team Garmin will take on two more young riders, including at least one American. Who are they? Sadly, despite what you may have heard, we are not omniscient here at the Gossip.

The newly named Team Garmin will present its Tour team and newly designed jerseys on 3 July in Brest at a press conference. The team will bring three Americans to the Tour, this year. A pie is cut in four pieces. Jonathan has three pieces. Bob has one piece. What fraction of the whole pie does Jonathan have? Answer below.

No sport for old men? Frédéric Guesdon has renewed his contract until the end of the 2010 season. Assuming he rides out his contract to the end, he will retire at age 39. He will need to prolong his time with Français des Jeux yet another year, though, if he wants to beat out team-mate Christophe Mengin who retires at the end of this year at age 40. Over at Quickstep, Steven de Jongh has prolonged his contract with Quickstep for another year. Spring chicken, that Steven, only 35 years old this year.

Over at CSC-Sexy, Jens! will start his eleventh Tour de France this year. That is a lot of TV checking. Fränk Schleck, meanwhile, is busy with the chiropractor in an effort to undo the effects of his crazy crash at the Tour de Suisse. Here at the Gossip, we wish him well, and remind our loyal readers that neither the grabbing of the front brake nor the unclipping of the foot are wise choices when cornering at speed on a road bike. Do please make a note of it, as we would hate for any of you good people to come to grief.

Etorre Torri has decided at last to let sleeping dogs lie. Torri, scourge of all things doping, has renounced his effort to investigate foreign riders implicated in the Puerto scandal. Torri has admitted that the Puerto case is a thing of the past, and has decided to let it go. Life is short. Piti reportedly wagged his tail in ecstasy. Contador's dog, whose name has been witheld from the press in order to protect his privacy, was unavailable for comment.

Speaking of the dogs, Happy Puppy! is the new pro tour leader. Cunego and Evans passed the jersey between them during the Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse. Not that we really care about who's leading the Pro Tour. We just wanted an excuse to write about Happy Puppy!, who will ride Italian championships this weekend before heading to France for the Tour.

Not so happy is Heinrich Haussler who will not ride the Tour de France for Gerolsteiner this time around. Always there are tears arond Tour time, as not all the kids can go to the big party in France. For Haussler, the news came as a complete shock. "This is a really shitty day," Haussler told, when he received the news. Haussler had so expected to ride the Tour that he'd altered his training to ensure that he did not peak too early the way he did last year when he rode a screaming fast Dauphiné only to run short on legs before reaching Paris. Like the other riders at Chez Gerolsteiner, Haussler worries about next year's contract, since the team's future is not yet secure. Gerolsteiner, the sponsor, will not continue beyond the end of this season. There will be tears. Allo? Heinrich? Yes, this is Riccardo Ricco. I was wondering if I could borrow the dress you bought for the party in France. You know, since you're not going and all.

Don't be sad, Heinrich. There's a party in Austria, too. Paolo Savoldelli will be there. Danilo Diluca is thinking about it. Maybe, if you're lucky, you can go to. So wipe away those tears, and don't lend out your dress just yet. The Tour of Austria even takes place in July. It's pretty much just like the Tour de France. Except the Austria part.

No tears for Thomas Dekker, who thanks to a nasty case of the flu rode poorly at the Tour de Suisse, which he failed to finish. Dekker complained of poor form and even more poor morale. The Rabobank management, either taking pity on him or recognizing futility when they saw it, decided to let the talented young Dutch rider stay home this July. Dekker rode his first Tour last year, finishing 35th overall, in a performance that included an eighth place finish in the London prologue. This year is the second time Dekker will miss the Tour due to illness and poor form. Maybe he just doesn't like the food.

That's all the Gossip for you today. We would not wish you to overindulge. Perceive the consideration we have for our readers here at the Gossip World Headquarters. À bientôt!


Answer: Jonathan has 3/4 of the pie.