Wednesday, November 24, 2010
"Vino" is like a cheap wine: tasty for the first sip, then gradually sickening, leaving you with a splitting headache the morning after. An unapologetic doper and generally arrogant personality, Vinokourov deserves no place among other professional cyclists. True cycling fans and savvy media will continue to boo the Kazakh until he finally fades from the sport. Watching him win Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year was sickening, as was seeing him in the Maglia Rosa at the Giro. Thanks goodness he didn't win that race too.
Schumacher put up a weak defense upon being caught for doping, and today insists, like all other cheats, that he just wants to leave the past in the past and resume his career. A phony bald-headed lout, Schumacher thinks only of himself as he tries to forge a second career after having served his suspension. Hopefully he won't find a ride at a big time team and be forced to ride in obscurity at the second level for the remainder of his career. If he does return to the highest level of the sport though, he likely will never regain the status he held as a cheater. Without dope, he'll be pack fill.
Danilo Di Luca
Di Luca disgraced his home race so many times it is hard to keep track. And he has been sanctioned not once, but twice for doping offenses. Now he claims that he wants to show it is possible to win without doping? How would he know? He has NEVER ridden clean! And what ever happened to a lifetime ban for second offenders in cycling? Di Luca should be banned from the sport for life, he should have no right to return. Hopefully the Giro d'Italia organizers don't allow him to race ever again. They'll send a clear message to future cheats and at the saem time encourage other race promoters to exclude Di Luca form competing.
The "Chicken" is clearly at the end of his rope after not being offered a contract by Bjarne Riis' Saxo bank team. Blackballed for his past lies, Rasmussen is too old to be considered a legitimate option for any team truly trying to win. He still has not come clean regarding his lies and so doesn;t deserve an ounce of pity. Had he come out right away and admitted his wrongdoing perhaps the public would have rallied to his side, but with continued lies he compells us to ignore his plight. Goodbye and good riddance to another cycling cheat.
"Tin Tin" Rebellin was one fun rider to watch before he was caught cheating at the Beijing Olympics. A true student of the game, Rebellin made up for with brains what eh lacked in pure talent as he carved out a successful career as a hilly classics specialist. But all of those brains were nowhere to be found after it was discovered he had been cheating. Another rider caught in the CERA trao, Rebellin offered no explanation for his positive, instead silently serving his ban. He'll hope to return in 2011, but hopefully no teams will be willing to give him a chance. Out with the old, in with the new, there's no room for a now 39 year old ex-doper Rebellin.
As you sit down tomorrow and prepare to eat your fair share of turkey, say a silent prayer that the above turkeys are soon out of cycling. The sport is cleaning up and the last thing it needs are past cheats sullying its improving image. hopefully 2011 will see all of the above riders permanently jettisoned from the sport.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Damiano Cunego won the overall title at the Giro d'Italia in 2004, yet he heads into the 2011 season as a has-been on the stage racing scene. After breaking into the professional ranks with huge wins at that 2004 Giro, Cunego began a gradual slide into obscurity, culminating in a winless 2010 and a public demotion by his Lampre bosses. Now clearly the second option in stage races behind new signing Michele Scarponi, Cunego holds uncertain status for 2011 as he looks to get his career back on track.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
When the Santos Tour Down Under started more than 10 years ago, it was an obscure stage race scheduled essentially in the midst of pro cycling's off season. Viewed more as a training vacation than an actual race, the Tour Down Under held little prestige among the world's non-Australian top professionals. Today though, things are drastically different for the Australian stage race, as it now holds sway as the true beginning of each cycling season.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Matti Breschel heads into the 2011 cycling season at a career crossroads. After a productive stint as a part of Bjarne Riis' CSC/Saxo Bank squad, Breschel made a bold move for 2011, signing on with the Dutch Rabobank team to spearhead their early classics efforts. Breschel moves over to the Rabobank team with big expectations on his shoulders. He'll be expected to contend in the biggest early season races as well as ride strong in the grand tours in support of Rabobank's stage racing stars.
Monday, November 15, 2010
The Liquigas team had an amazing 2010 season, placing riders on the final podium of two of the year's three grand tours. Ivan Basso took first overall at the Giro d'Italia with a dogged effort over the three week race, and his teammate Vincenzo Nibali scored an impressive third overall in his home race. A few months later Nibali won his own grand tour after an amazing performance at the Vuelta a Espana. Heading into the 2011 season both Basso and Nibali are back, putting Liquigas at the top of the heap for stage race contenders. Also returning will be Franco Pellizotti, who was cleared of suspected doping toward the end of the 2010 year.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Rumors have been circulating that "The Chicken" Michael Rasmussen may soon sign with Bjarn Riis' Saxo bank team. Riis for his part has denied that he is pursuing Rasmussen, yet the rumors persist. Rasmussen has basically been out of competition since being booted from the Tour back in 2007, and at 36 years old one must wonder if the Dane has any chance left of making an impact at the pro level.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Brad Wiggins had an amazing 2009 Tour de France riding as a part of Jonathan Vaughter's Garmin-Slipstream cycling team. The lanky British all-arounder came into the 2009 Tour as a relative unknown and he was not expected to ride high into the GC picture. In fact, it was his teammate Christian Vande Velde that was being tipped by both Garmin management and the press to lead the team in the GC hunt.
After his strong Tour ride, expectations and speculation increased exponentially. Wiggins himself spoke of wanting to try to win the Tour in the coming years, while his coach Jonathan Vaughters stood behind his rider, looking forward to developing his talent further in the coming seasons. Unfortunately for Vaughters though Wiggins took his services elsewhere for 2010 to the newly formed Britich Sky cycling team.