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Will Wear Rainbow For Food

Yep, the World Champion, Lampre's Alessandro Ballan, is on the move. This came up during the Poland live thread, but deserves its own space, particularly as CN has done some further reporting. Rabobank ain't buying -- they were among several teams Ballan mentioned to La Gazzetta, but not surprisingly Rabo are not in the market for his services, presumably due to their existing glut of one-day vertically-challenged hammerheads. And less expensive ones at that. The other teams Ballan mentioned: the Shack, Sky and Astana. These teams have in common virtually nobody on their rosters for 2010, so yeah, they're good fits. Interest and money are two potential stumbling blocks, but one would hope a rider of Ballan's class will find a good home.

The news comes on the day Lampre celebrate their ninth victory of the season, Angelo Furlan's win in the second stage of the Tour de Pologne. Nice enough result, but it does little to take the sting out of a disastrous season. Ballan and the newly-purchased Enrico Gasparotto were set to light up the northern classics until both of them went down. Racing without his illustrious teammates, prodigy Simon Spilak sagged to 47th at Flanders and failed to finish Gent or Paris-Roubaix. The team made barely a dent in the Centenary Giro, leaving captain Damiano Cunego sounding ever more frustrated with fighting the good fight. Now they're tossing one-year deals to a reigning world champion, a sign of either poor fiscal health or an impending retrenching. Maybe they can't afford to compete in Belgium when they're doing so poorly in Italy. Stay tuned...