10.31.2012

Awful Halloween everybody!

Our Halloween Pumpkin :)

Sporting Value

Delighted! this year I absolutely ignored the whole thing. I wasn't concerned, I wasn't worried, I was sure that RSNT was is. And it is. 
UCI points system isn't fair - UCI isn't fair. Licences system  isn't fair too. Probably it will change with many other things when the revolution - to use a trendy word - will smash the Ancien Regime of cycling.  
So far Lotto and moreover Saxo are the big excluded from the party. Riis' team lost Contador's points and got penalized in spite of its desperate signing campaign. To be honest its results in 2012 aren't splendid (8 victories, 18 2nd places, 10 3th places).  Lotto is a surprise for me: did they so bad? Looking here http://www.cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/team_palm.asp?year=2012&teamcode=ltb&podium=1 2012 doesn't seem a disaster: Greipel, Meersman and Roelandts  climbed often a podium (27 victories, 16 2nd places, 14 3th places). But of course, 'sporting value' isn't all for the UCI. Money are also or more important and about that we know few. 
RSNT (15 victories, 22 2nd places, 34 3th places and MANY Best Team Classification victories) made it easily: their balance is in order this time. I'm glad. They also put order in their staff and Luca Guercilena is a guarantee. 
Checking teams results shows a peloton shared in super teams and... honest workers: Sky (51 44 48) and OPQS (51 40 24) lead the first group followed by Liquigas (38 27 27) Orica-GE (31 29 21) and Katusha (30 31 22). Summ up, 2012 brought good results also for Movistar (29 23 18), Former Rabobank (23 15 26) and Garmin (23 24 22). Behinde there are Astana (22 22 20) and BMC (21 19 20). At the back of the peloton we have: Vacansoleil (17 24 19), RSNT  (15 22 34), Euskatel (8 11 11), Lampre (7 19 7),  Ag2r (4 14 13).
I could go on with the excluded teams but you can check on your own. Of course numbers of victories is only one criterium amongh others: a victory in a TdF stage counts more than a victory in small race. Ok. Nevertheless a winning team is a team that deserves to race in big races in my opinion.

UCI PRESS RELEASE
29.10.2012
The International Cycling Union has carried out an assessment of the sporting value of teams, taking into account the contractual agreements signed for 2013 with the best 12 riders before October 20, 2012, in accordance with article 2.15.011a of the UCI Regulations.
It should be noted that the team’s sporting value is partially determined by results obtained in 2011 and 2012, by riders which are included in the 2013 team squads. The sporting criterion is crucial for the obtaining or retaining of UCI ProTeam status, in addition to compliance with ethical, financial and administrative criteria. The UCI has therefore established two lists.
The first list includes the names of the 15 top teams in terms of sporting value (by alphabetical order):
  • AG2R LA MONDIALE
  • ASTANA PRO TEAM
  • BMC RACING TEAM
  • CANNONDALE
  • EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI
  • FORMER RABOBANK
  • GARMIN SHARP
  • KATUSHA
  • LAMPRE – MERIDA
  • MOVISTAR TEAM
  • OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM
  • ORICA GREENEDGE
  • RADIOSHACKNISSAN
  • SKY PROCYCLING
  • VACANSOLEIL – DCM PRO CYCLING TEAM

The second list indicates teams ranked 16th to 20th :
  • 16. TEAM ARGOS – SHIMANO
  • 17. LOTTO BELISOL
  • 18. FDJ
  • 19. TEAM EUROPCAR
  • 20. TEAM SAXO – TINKOFF
 
Following this phase of the registration procedure and in accordance with Article 2.15.011b of UCI Regulations, the UCI reiterates that:
  • A team ranked in the first fifteen places of the classification on the basis of sporting level is by this fact considered to have satisfied the sporting criterion.
  • The sporting value of a team ranked between 16th and 20th places inclusive will be verified by the Licence Commission via a more detailed assessment.
  • A team ranked lower than 20th shall be considered not to have satisfied the sporting criterion. The team can nonetheless apply for registration in second division should they so wish.
 
The next official information concerning the registration procedure will be provided after the November 1 deadline, when the UCI will announce:
  • The registration of the UCI ProTeams with a valid 2013 UCI WorldTour licence which have met  the four criteria;
  • The registration of the teams which have applied for UCI Professional Continental Team Registration and whose file is in order 
 
Teams not mentioned on the lists above will be evaluated by the UCI Licence Commission at a later time. This concerns in particular teams applying for a UCI WorldTour licence, which are automatically reviewed by the UCI Licence Commission.
As of 26 November, the UCI will communicate the first decisions of the UCI Licence Commission. The final decisions of the UCI Licence Commission will be communicated on December 10th.

UCI Communication Services

10.30.2012

A bad film

Tonight I'm sad. It has been a long tiring day and we all feel a little sick after we spent hours at the hospital for Liv's wrist first check. Days like that make me feel I'm alone and all is on my shoulders. In spite of my anemia I'm a dynamic person and usually manage it very well: I'm good at planning and organizing, cool face to contingency and quick in finding solutions. Mothers are supposed to be I guess and single mothers must learn. But no matter how organized and assertive you are, a moment comes when you feel exhausted and - keeping working - miserable because nobody is there to support you. Not to help. I see partners, friends and parents are often quite ineffective, but they make you laugh, make you feel it isn't just you, make you rest just calling even if you after will have to run. Because of a complicated series of facts I have no partner, no friends and almost no parents. But because of the same unlucky circumstances I'm not completely on my own and must deal with people who get me down. 
You never get rid of the dad of your son. You never get rid really of your expectations toward him even if your brain knows why he isn't your partner anymore. You can maybe get rid of your parents if you are so lucky to have an indipendent life but not your expectations toward them in terms of love and care. So when those inconscious expectations fall short you - I - feel miserable. 
It's hard to argue at dinner in your home with a man who disappointed you so much. You sent him away once and would like it to be over but it isn't, he's still involved in your life, you must let him in and also try to be kind because of your son and because of the peace of your family, also because you are supposed to go somewhere and he must stay with your son. He, there isn't anybodyelse. And you end arguing and going nowhere. Too tired, too angry, too sad.
It's like to live the same bad film over and over again. Can we stop it? I just would like to stay in peace, no help ok but no discussions. It's a very long time we are separed and because I wanted it. I should remember I am alone and don't ask anybody anything.

10.29.2012

Manifesto for credible cycling: Guercilena said...

Luca Guercilena in Pinerolo TdF 2011
It's on the Gazzetta and in English here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/uci-cyclo-cross-world-cup-2-2012/elite-men/results
“I think that its not being highlighted enough what the teams are doing. The ‘Armstrong Case’ is the long wave of mistakes from the past but there’s been an important cultural change in the peloton, even by the older riders,” Guercilena told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We’re pushing forward an important strategy of dissuasion during the training of staff. Those who are found guilty after a trial are expelled. However we follow due process and so there has to be a verdict from those who are responsible by who is in charge.”
Also Amadio by Liquigas. Good to hear!

A marriage by RSNT: best wishes Josue Aran Garcia!

A team is a family so it's great to see it all together celebrating an important and beautiful moment! bdw it's also nice to see Frank and Andy Schleck smiling and relaxed. Enjoy!

10.28.2012

Mud and snow

Dinamismo di un ciclista Umberto Boccioni (1913)
Rain rain rain. Mud. Mud and snow not far from here. Not in Florence yet but on the mountains surrounding Valdarno the snow came back tonight after a long long summer. We are freezing, surprised it's so COLD, still wearing t-shirt and summer dresses in spite it's almost November: it was still warm so far, till yesterday it was over 20 degrees in the day and you didn't feel the need of a balanket at night. But it started raining, the sun disapeared in dark gray clouds and suddenly we woke up in the right season, in the middle of the Autumn. We put on all we coud find and went out in the rain. Sunday at home is like July without watching Le Tour so out we went, making the best of our week end. We visited a 30ies art exposition in Palazzo Strozzi: realism against avantgards, classicism against futurism, the obsolete modernity of the Italian fascism. Worth a look if you are in town.
Enzo Benedetto, ciclista 1926
Back home we were all frozen and glad to eat something hot, glad to put on our pijamas and sink under a cover in front of a screan: cyclocross time finally! Mud and snow specialists in action for our amusement. I had been too busy so far or it had been too sunny outside. You need to be in the right mood for cyclocross and today was the right day.
As usually at my first race I understood few: Albert was flying solo to the victory when I turned on, Vantornout and Pauwels chassing. I was surprised to see Sven Nys behinde. They all looked exhausted, fatigued in the heavy field, more fragile than ever face to the umbrelas at the barriers in the blue mist. Miserable weather, miserable place. Nothing of the magic or terror of some forests or dunes or green lands we sometimes saw in the background of races also in the cyclocross. I liked it anyway, the used smell of Autumn and Winter: dirty, humid, heavy smell of putrid leaves. I'm ready.

RESULTS
1 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus
2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
4 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea
5 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea
6 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-KDL
7 Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team
8 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
9 Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team
10 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team

10.27.2012

‘Manifesto for credible cycling’

By L’Equipe, Gazzetta dello Sport, Het Nieuwsblad, Le Soir
We are a group of newspapers in five newspapers from four different countries (Belgium, Great Britain, Italy and France). We’ve been part of the history of cycling for over a hundred years. We passionately love this sport and strongly believe in its future.
However we are very concerned about the current situation. The long list of doping scandals that have clouded the horizon of cycling in recent years now includes the Armstrong case, the confessions of several of his former teammates, the report of the American Anti-Doping Agency (USADA): that as points its finger at the malfunction or even complicity of the International Cycling Union (UCI).There are also disturbing reports filtering from the Padua investigation and the Operacion Puerto trial begins in Madrid in January.
This recent revelations show clearly that there was sick ‘cycling system’ and we can no longer put our faith in the UCI or the team managers who were complicit in the cheating. However responsibility lies with everyone in the cycling family: governing bodies, management, sponsor, organisers and athletes.
It seems that things have improved recently. We believe in the new generation of riders but we believe it is impossible to continue with the same structure, the same rules and the same people.
That's why we ask for/recommend that the governing bodies, sponsors, teams, organisers and athletes:
- That the UCI recognizes its responsibilities in the Armstrong case.
- The creation, under the responsibility of the Agency (WADA), of a neutral and independent commission to investigate the role and responsibility of the UCI in the Armstrong case and the fight against doping in general; to report errors, abuses and possible complicity.
- That the organization of controls at the biggest races is directly by WADA and the national anti-doping agencies.
- That the suspensions for serious doping cases are more severe and that teams pledge to terminate contracts and not sign for a further two years any athletes suspended for more than six months.
- The restoration of the ‘gentlemen's agreement’ that allowed the temporary suspension of riders involved in a doping investigation.
- A stronger involvement and accountability of the title sponsors of teams.
- The reform of the WorldTour, its points system and licensing, which remains closed and opaque. We propose that the licences are no longer awarded to the managers but to the sponsors.
- The organisation of a major ‘cycling summit’ before the start of the 2013 season in order to define the new organization and new rules.
We sincerely hope that the cycling world will seize the opportunity to make fundamental reform.

10.26.2012

Reaction to reactions - and LeMond's open letter

LA's doping case provoke - fortunately - some reactions by pro cyclists, actual and former. Those reactions can be shared in two groups: spontaneous and inducted. Some riders felt the need to be vocal, some others got asked and even forced to give their opinion. Reactions brought on reactions and - fortunately - a debate also amongh riders, not only amongh journalists, commentators, fans. The famous 'new generation' is made of guys more used to think and to talk than the 'old' one. Social netwoks then give them a different way to express their point of view or simply their feeling, bypassing the profesional media. That doesn't mean media have nothing to do: riders reactions need to be put in a more general perspective, compared, discussed.
Reactions can also be shared in LA's defenders, LA's intollerants and LA's agnostics. Agnosticism can be a nature more than an opinion: some riders sound annoyed more than scandalized, annoyed in particular to be affected in their life and career by 'old stories' unrelated to the present of cycling and moreover to its future. Those riders in general are persuaded that cycling alreday changed, definitely improved and there is no need to go back to the past with a noisy destructive campaign because the peloton silently cleaned itself. 2005 isn't so far away in the past, some commentatators pointed out. But some of those riders were still in school at that time. 
LA's intollerants are relieved but angry. They can finally revendicate their cleanliness after years of frustration dued to the overwhelming 'omerta'. They can be proud now after years spent to be tollerate and/or mocked. They ask severity against dopers, former and actual and step up to represent the New Generation in a more political way. They are engagged. UCI and his president(s) - Pat McQuaid but also Hein Verbruggen - are the enemy.
LA's defenders are political engagged too, but in the opposite party: they say LA deserves respect, that he never - NEVER - tested positive and that ex dopers affidavits aren't a decent evidence against him. Ex dopers are shameless to talk, they should simply shut up because 1. doped 2. lied and so lost every right to talk. They also underline the action of LA's fondation against the cancer but moreover the LA's figure of cancer survivor and testimonial. Some of them in LA defend an age of cycling: they refuse the doping criminalization and tend to minimize it. They think - quoting also some sport doctors -  that modern  elite sports are impossible without medicalization and that 'doping' is just a form of it.
It's an interesting debate and I think each group bring a part of truth to it. I have no doubt cycling must look to the future, not to the past and its present is much cleaner than ever. I also agree that no criminalization is usefull and that procyclists deserve respect, all, dopers included. Yes: because reading their stories I understood they often had no option. But LA's case is different because it involves other allegations, some of them particularly odious. LA's figure has been probably ispiring for who was figting against cancer and that will remain. LA's victories will remain too with the emotions they gave to cycling fans in those days. It was and remains a beautiful tale. Reality is different: LA's fondation is also under investigation. LA's victories were false. It's true that he was competing against dopers. Not everybody was doping, no, but to be a Tour de France contender you must, so they were. Revolutions involve usually unfairness and violence, people talking loud and representing the New Age. They are right to be intransigent.
My reaction to those reactions is of sympathy for intollerants, compehension for agnostics and disappointment for defenders in spite I see their point. It's easy to think: you denfend LA and doping age because you doped too. But honestly if Indurain - one of my cycling heros - doped - you can find his name associated with the name of discussed doctors - he was better to keep a decent silence. Was doping normal and accepted in that age of cycling? Ok. I don't mean to criminalize anybody. But have some respect for the effort cycling is doing to become a different sport. Contador is younger. He failed a test and got a bann. Honestly he shouldn't talk like that.
Debates are often frustrating but make you grow up. Nobody chamge his/her mind but it's great to be able to confront opinions democraticly, in a mutual respect. When somebody  sues somebody else because of his/her opinion... I don't get a good opinion of the him!
GREG LEMOND OPEN LETTER TO PAT MCQUAID
Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing. I would like to send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own "rage" out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycl
ing's history- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.
Pat McQuaid, you know dam well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.
I have a file with what I believe is well documented proof that will exonerate Paul.
Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.
As a reminder I just want to point out that you recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA's investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the "cause"? Why shoot the messenger every time?
Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer, no, no , no!
The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.
You can read all about Webster's definition of corruption. If you want I can re-post my attorney's response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hien that in my opinion the two of your represent the essence of corruption.
I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.
I donated money for Paul's defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!
People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling- change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage's defense, ( Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI's bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change).
If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.
Don't buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.
Please make a difference.
Greg

10.24.2012

Merci Le Tour!

Andy at the TdF presentation
"Do you like it?", "Yes". Asking that I had no doubt Andy Schleck would have understood. Today is Le Tour's day and it couldn't be about anything else. "I like it too."
I like Le Grand Départ: from France but from abroad, from a part of France that in the past hardly considered itself France but that in the present can represent all the France as a different country, mixed, rich in cultures and less monolithic. La Vuelta went to Euskal Herria, Le Tour goes to Corsica and both bring a message of peace and mutual respect. No prologue this time, Le Tour starts full gaz. Few Pyrennes, a lot of Alps. A lot of mountains stages and some epic atop finishes: Mont Ventoux, Le Grand Bornald, l'Alp d'Huez climbed twice. An ITT for climbers. A spectacular final stage in and agaist the tradition: Les Champs-Élysées but at night. It's going to be splendid.
Things I don't like: two long transferts. Riders will take a plane (all?) but all the rest of the caravan will be forced to a long drive. A few stages are very long, more than 200 km and Mont Ventoux stage is 242: too much if you really want it bread and water.
I didn't ask a comment, just a first look opinion. Andy Schleck tells more on RSNT site: "I believe it's a really hard parcours. It already starts in the first days, with the Grand Départ given in Corsica. I know the roads there quite well, from racing the Critérium International, so I'm looking forward to it. After that we go back to continent, have a TTT and then gradually move over to the Pyrenees, with two mountain stages. They are maybe not the hardest, but in the Tour every stage is important."
"I see the Alps, and especially the 242 km stage to the Mont Ventoux as the key to win the race. I expect that the heat will be a factor on that stage. Overall, I think I can't complain about the parcours. I want to forget about my 2012 season as soon as possible. My injury is still not completely healed, but I can ride my bike relatively well. We'll see how it goes for the preparation for the Tour. I'll be racing a lot in order to be fit, that's certain."
Luxembourg last winter: a lovely Yellow Jersey
Asked again about LA's case Andy sounds more 'politically correct': "What has happened in the past has been really bad. We cannot just put it aside. But on the other hand: most of these things are from the past and we need to draw a line. The young generation, and I count myself in that, has nothing to do with this past and we are the victims of it, in a way. So I'm saying: let's not forget about what has happened, but let's take lessons from it and move on." That makes me smile: so you got finally what you wanted: happy? next time you'll get it sooner because probably the guy lernt to tell you 'the right thing'. You could also write it by yourself, couldn't you? then you pass the paper. Banality isn't a vitue (yet).
The new Team Manager Luca Guercilena also commented: "This Tour, the 100th edition, is very well balanced between flat stages, mountain stages and time trials. I believe it is a good Tour for Andy. The TT's are not too long, so he should be fine. There are 'only' four uphill finishes, but that doesn't mean the other stages are easy. A lot of stages have a lot of climbing and/or are really long. It will be a challenge for all!"
As far as me... I think I'll spend July in France!  Corsica is near, so is Nice. The Alps are a must, Mont Ventoux especially because I have never been there. Paris by night... well... it's a party itself, add the Tour finish and maybe a lovely Yellow Jersey... I want to be there!!
Merci Le Tour for that amazing route! 'The Tour belongs to who loves it' they said and yes, we definitely passionately fondly do!

Tdf 2013 STAGES

Route of the 2013 Tour de France:
June 29, stage 1: Porto-Vecchio to Bastia, 212km
June 30, stage 2: Bastia to Ajaccio, 154km
July 1st, stage 3: Ajaccio to Calvi, 145km
July 2nd, stage 4: Nice to Nice, TTT, 25km
July 3, stage 5: Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille, 219km
July 4, stage 6: Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier, 176km
July 5, stage 7: Montpellier to Albi, 205km
July 6, stage 8: Castres to Ax-3 domaines, 194km
July 7, stage 9: Saint-Girons to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, 165km
July 8: Rest day in Saint-Nazaire, Loire-Atlantique
July 9, stage 10: St-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint-Malo, 193km
July 10, stage 11: Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel, ITT, 33km
July 11, stage 12: Fougères to Tours, 218km
July 12, stage 13: Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond, 173km
July 13, stage 14: Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule to Lyon, 191km
July 14, stage 15: Givors to Mont Ventoux, 242km
July 15: Rest day in the Vaucluse province (Avignon, Orange)
July 16, stage 16: Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap, 168km
July 17, stage 17: Embrun to Chorges, ITT, 32km
July 18, stage 18: Gap to l’Alpe d’Huez, 168km
July 19, stage 19: Bourg d’Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, 204km
July 20, stage 20: Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz, 125km
July 21, stage 21: Versailles to Paris/Champs-Elysées, 118km

Tracé du Tour de France 2013 / 2013 Tour de France route

Tour de France 2013 route!

10.23.2012

In short: Andy Schleck interview on RTL

It's here:
http://www.eurosport.fr/cyclisme/andy-schleck-je-veux-continuer_sto3466892/story.shtml
In English here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/andy-schleck-determined-to-continue?ns_campaign=news&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=cyclingnews&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0
In short: 
1.Going on:  “My father is very emotional when talks about cycling. What we’ve lived with Fränk is hard. We know that he didn’t take anything, that he didn’t do anything wrong. My parents are suffering and I am too. It’s hard for my family but I’m going to continue.”
2. Improving:  “I’m not yet 100% but I’m going to work hard this winter. I’m motivated and I want to show to the public that I am stronger than all of that,"
3. About LA: “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to help the sport to look back at what happened eight, nine, ten years ago. I think that we have to look to the future of cycling instead. But there are also many things that weren’t clear and are now, so I think that the UCI was a bit obliged to take the decision.
4. Fresh start: “But I think that for the spectators who watched the Tour, who is the winner of the Tour? Ullrich? But then if it’s given to someone else, it’s not much better. We have to draw a line and start from zero.”

Lux Fed President about UCI - TRANSLATED

There is an interesting article here:
http://www.feltet.dk/nyheder/luxembourg-formand_kritiserer_uci/
Thx to who spotted it first. Here you find it (google) translated in English:
The President of the Luxembourg Cycling Federation, Jean Regenwetter, said recently in an interview with the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung that the UCI top lacked self-criticism.
"If I want to initiate a debate in the fight against doping, it would be dealt with under the item possibly on the agenda," was the sharp criticism from the tiny principality. Regenwetter has already compared UCI with a banana republic.
About Pat McQuaid said that it seemed that the interest in a real cleanup was present.
"He would draw a line in relation to the past. Following the motto: We look forward only. He said that the media was going to ruin the sport. There was no trace of self-criticism. There was no written presentation to the delegates to his speech at the Congress in Valkenburg. When I ævnte it for McQuaid, he excused himself by saying that he had worked on it for seven o'clock in the morning and have not had time to make a written presentation. Until today I have not seen anything, "said the newspaper a few days ago.
The former president and current honorary member, Hein Verbruggen, also received a fur along the way.
"I have a rock-solid conviction that he still pulls the strings in the UCI. A clear indication to me was that he was present for two days at the Congress in Valkenburg .Efter my opinion, it's Verbruggen who establishes Ecclestone system. ProTour above, there must be a system as in Formula 1 From January to November, running races for the money. The man's no philanthropist. Verbruggen has served rushing with money. The championships will be the given to where there is the most money. It is no coincidence that the World Cup in 2016 to run in Qatar. "
Apparently not, for Regenwetter look more moderate leadership of the International Federation after the UCI has decided to join the USADA's life-long quarantine of Lance Armstrong and deprived him seven Tour victories.

10.22.2012

"No place in cycling": UCI on LA and my opinion

Pat McQuaid in Maastricht
UCI press release: http://www.uci.ch
"The UCI has completed its review of USADA’s ‘Reasoned Decision’ and appendices in the case against Lance Armstrong.
The UCI considered the main issues of jurisdiction, the statute of limitation the evidence gathered by USADA and the sanction imposed upon Mr. Armstrong.
The UCI confirms that it will not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and that it will recognise the sanction that USADA has imposed.
The USADA decision explains how riders on the USPS Team showed no inclination to share the full extent of what they knew until they were subpoenaed or called by federal investigators and that their only reason for telling the truth is because the law required them to do so.
These riders have confronted their past and told their stories. Their accounts of their past provide a shocking insight into the USPS Team where the expression to ‘win at all costs’ was redefined in terms of deceit, intimidation, coercion and evasion.
Their testimony confirms that the anti-doping infrastructure that existed at that time was, by itself, insufficient and inadequate to detect the practices taking place within the team. The UCI has always been the first international sporting federation to embrace new developments in the fight against doping and it regrets that the anti-doping infrastructure that exists today was not available at that time so as to render such evasion impossible.
Many of the USPS Team riders have already acknowledged that the culture of cycling has now changed and that young riders today are no longer confronted with the same choices to use performance enhancing drugs. They are right to do so.
The UCI has recognized the problem of doping within the sport and taken significant steps to confront the problem and to clean up cycling. Today’s riders are subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport. Cycling has been a pioneer in the fight against doping in sport under the leadership of the UCI and this role has been recognised by WADA.
Today’s young riders do not deserve to be branded or tarnished by the past or to pay the price for the Armstrong era. Cycling has a future and those who will define that future can be found among the young generation of riders who have chosen to prove that you can compete and win clean. Riders who were caught doping continue to do the sport a disservice by protesting that the UCI refused to engage with them. The reality is that these riders never contemplated such action until they were found positive by the UCI, and even then they refused to confess and co-operate with the UCI.
Those riders who made the choice to stop using performance enhancing drugs, and to share their stories to enable the new generation of riders to learn from the mistakes that were made in the past, can continue to support clean cycling.
The role that training and education has to play in discouraging doping at all levels is well recognised by the UCI. The UCI will engage with any rider that is willing to work with them in the fight against doping and interested in establishing what lessons can be learned and applied to its ‘True Champion or Cheat?” programme which is obligatory for all riders subject to anti-doping tests.
This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads or that it has had to begin anew and to engage in the painful process of confronting its past. It will do so again with renewed vigor and purpose and its stakeholders and fans can be assured that it will find a new path forward.
That process extends beyond the UCI and the anti-doping agencies including WADA, USADA, AFLD and CONI must contribute to it by also examining how many times they tested Lance Armstrong and by providing their own explanation for why he never tested positive in the tests that they respectively conducted.
The UCI tested Tyler Hamilton 40 times and found him positive. It tested Floyd Landis 46 times and found him positive as the winner of the Tour de France. The list of riders that it has found positive does not end there.
The UCI has tested Lance Armstrong 218 times. If Lance Armstrong was able to beat the system then the responsibility for addressing that rests not only with the UCI but also with WADA and all of the other anti-doping agencies who accepted the results.
The UCI supports WADA’s decision to create a working group to examine ‘The Ineffectiveness of the Fight Against Doping in Sport’ and proposes that it commence its work by examining the effectiveness of the system in place to detect the use of performance enhancing substances in cycling.
The UCI is committed to reviewing the environment upon which the sport operates in order to ensure that something like this never happens again. It has convened a special meeting of its Management Committee on Friday, October 26th to begin the process of examining the existing structures and introducing changes to safeguard the future of cycling"
During today press conference the UCI (still) President Pat McQuaid said:  
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-confirms-lance-armstrongs-life-ban
1. About LA “The UCI will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling and the UCI will strip him of his seven titles. Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling.”
2. About his mates: “The UCI will also recognise the sanctions imposed upon the riders who testified against Lance Armstrong. The UCI indeed thanks them for telling their stories,”
3. About the UCI:  “Cycling has come a long way. I have no intention as resigning as president of the UCI. The information available to the UCI at the time was much more limited to what we have now. If we had the tools we have now then, there would have much, much less [doping] going on. I'm sorry we couldn't have caught every damn one of them at the time and thrown them out."
"McQuaid also insisted that the UCI had “nothing to hide” in relation to the USADA report, and defended the UCI’s decision to accept a donation of $25,000 in 2002 and $100,000 from Armstrong in 2005."
“It’s certainly not a resignation issue. It would be better if we hadn’t done it, and if we were to do it in the future, we would do it in a different way. There is no connection between the donation given to the UCI and a test being covered up because there was no test covered up. Don’t try to make the connection between the suspicious test and the donation. There were no positive tests from him.”
4. About Hein Verbruggen:  "He never said there was no evidence against Lance Armstrong. He said that Lance Armstrong had never tested positive and that’s correct. There is nothing in the USADA report which implicates Mr. Verbruggen in any wrongdoing. What annoys me is that the athletes are the ones who should show some responsibility. They’re the ones who take the decision to stick a needle in their arms and for them to pass that responsibility onto the governing body is wrong.”
5. About LA in 2009 and 2010 UCI lawyer Philippe Verbiest said:
“In the decision of USADA, there are in fact no findings of anti-doping violations for that period. On the other hand, USADA states that there is corroborating evidence which means indications in their eyes that there was a practice of doping and they see that as confirmation of anti-doping violation period.”
6. About TdF titles: “That’s for the UCI to decide, not ASO,”
7. About JB: “Johan Bruyneel’s case is still ongoing, so I wouldn’t comment on that until the case is concluded"
8. About BR: “Bjarne Riis is doing a job in cycling. He has set up a team and admitted to doping and he wants to use his past as he has stated himself to create a better future for the sport,"
9. About Landis: “We received a copy of Landis’ famous email,” Verbiest said. “A letter was sent to Landis saying that what he said about a positive test was wrong but for the record, we want everything else you say to be investigated.”
10. About Paul Kimmage: “This case has nothing to do with USADA or his book Rough Ride. It’s a straightforward defamation case."
My opinion:
I'm moderately satisfied. For me Lance Armstrong had never had a place in cycling, like other 'champions' of that era. I stopped following cycling at that time because of them. I wasn't happy with his coming-back, I'm glad all the people he ruined with his power get now some justice.
I share the idea it's more usefull to devote our efforts in assuring a clean environment in the present and in allowing the young champions to grow up for a better future. The stress on future doesn't mean to hide or forget what happened in the past but recognize it has been a whole era marked by the culture of doping so that it makes no sense to treat each single doper as a criminal. And here I'm nt happy with McQuaid statement: they made the decision, yes, but in a context. The UCI was an important part of it. The UCi failed in protecting clean riders from doping. The UCI is deeply guilty because of that and can't attribute the fault all and simply to a technical factor as he does. That's why he and the previous President are guilty, morally guilty if not legally, and should resign. He should resign in any case to give a signal and a new President should be elected to representate a new era in cycling. I agree that this era already started: cycling is clean now, much cleaner at least, and it's unfair that LA's case - so the past - affects so badly its present. No really: procyclists are worth of respect. If they doped, they did that agaist their own health, victims of a system that makes money on their pain. They really are the weakest part of the game and it's unrealistic to expect that a revolution starts from them. They need a friendly milieu to talk loud and a new education. I'm sure that guys like Taylor Phinney have got cultural instruments many riders missed in the past.
Of course it's a shame that the UCI keeps on his legal action against Landis and Kimmage. Let me tell that honestly I don't like them both, nevertheless they have all the right to write. The UCI has got all the ways to reply without intimidate them by sueing.
Finally, talking with a friend some days ago I got empressed by him saying: "and this all happens because we wanted to have a clean sport now. Better we did nothing and all stay like it was. The bomb can explode evry day. The best days are over for cycling." He isn't a rider but in cycling as we are in many different ways. I report his/her words because that is the feeling: something unfair is destrying our world in spite or just because we tried to make it better. Do you see how bad that is? People losing job, supporters turning in haters, canceled memories, fogotten differences. All criminals, all cheaters. It can't work like that. We must all stop and reflect. Fighting doping is right, throwing shit all around isn't. 
Lance Armstrong's case is somehow different from all the rest and particularly  revolting because he didn't just doped but forced others and ruined who refused. He also managed to make a lot of money. But cycling in general are not so powerful and rich. Dopers or not, they usually start racing for passion, renounce to enjoy their youth for it, make huge sacrifices, face pain and discipline to push their limits and give us an emotion. Who loves cycling knows what I'm talking about. They fight to turn pros. Their career lasts often less than 10 years and the most of them get a very low salary. If they get seriously injuried and have to stop they have lost all. They must anyway be ready to start a new life because at maximum 40  they will be no more able to race. Even a team leader earns few if compared to a football player. Ex riders often stay in cycling as DS or staff: there if few they can do out of that world. Now they study a little more but hardly enough to get a good degree and the possibility of a good job. Have a look here on my blog to some Yes We Like... to see what a life a rider has. Have a look to Pit Schlechter's interview: he still was in the highschool at that time. Think of that the next time you are about to be hard on riders. They chose the hard way not the easy one. 
Andy Schleck said "People must trust on us" and I think he's right.

10.21.2012

In short: Dad Schleck said...


You already know probably and it's (also) here: 
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13118/Johny-Schleck-wants-his-sons-Andy-and-Frank-to-quit-cycling.aspx
The original is by the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.
In short:
1. Stop: “I advised them to quit cycling"  
2. Reasons: Andy's injury and Frank’s positive “Frank is depressed. He spent a lot of money on medical analysis and lawyers fees trying to prove his innocence. This is not a life.”
My opinion:
I spent the night at the hospital with my son who had got a brocken wrist.
He has been operated today, all went well but it has not been easy for both of us. You see I had few time to think about anything else. Anyway that 'news' on my twitter coudn't let me indifferent. Andy and Frank must do what is better for them and I'm sure they know what that is. Their dad is embittered of course, his statement sounds more like an outpouring than a serious suggestion. In spite of that, yes, they could also stop. Frank's career has been affected by that second doping scandal, it's useless to try to deny it. Andy's injury is still a problem and I really don't know if and how it's really over. In add they both look very depressed by the actual situation of cycling, not because they cheated - they don't - but because every riders are now pointed as cheaters. Frank could also stop and Andy said a few times he's going to stop with him. I only care he's happy. He's young and able to start a new life. However it's hard for me to think of Andy out of cycling. Frank and Andy are very close to their dad and family is very important for them, "the most important thing" Andy told me once. Yes, they could also stop. 
I hope they will not.
I hope the ALAD will not find Frank guilty and that Andy's injury is really over so that he can ride and enjoy next season in his old-new team and maybe serenity and respect he asked for cycling.  But if dad Schleck is right and that isn't life anymore, then lets stop and breath freely again.

10.20.2012

In short: Gilbert about doping and new generation in cycling

"Very sad day for our sport Rabobank leave cycling after 17 years sponsoring. Thanks to the dopers!"  he tweeted. There is an interview on SportsPro  reported also here:
 http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/gilbert-optimistic-about-cyclings-current-generation
In short:
1. The past is over: "I think it’s up to us to prove to the world that cycling is more clean. I think the big problems are behind us," he said.
2. A new generation: "It’s the older generation. Of course there are still some problems sometimes but it’s maybe less than one percent of the new cycling generation. I think we’re all pretty clean and we have a new style and a new image with riders like Wiggo, who’s pretty special, and it brings some new interest to cycling. We are a new generation and it’s good for our sport."
3. Lets clean the UCI: "I don’t know, but if it’s true what I saw in the newspaper about Hein Verbruggen being so involved in those problems, for sure he has to leave. I don’t know the processes though, and I heard this report is about 1,000 pages so it’s pretty hard for me to say something specific about this."
Note by Me: it's 200 :)
4. Lets make races less dangerous  "My favourite organiser, in terms of safety, is ASO. But there’s still a lot to do. We can do a lot better in other races. A lot of the races are very dangerous. I did the Tour of Spain this year, for example, and it was so dangerous. We had cars parked on the road in the last five or six kilometres when we’re going full gas and everybody is taking a lot of risks. In 2012 I would have thought this wouldn’t happen."
5. Future is coming: "I have a contract until 2014 and then I hope to sign another three-year contract, maybe with BMC but I don’t know yet. And then we will see. But my family situation and my motivation will decide. We have had [Peter] Sagan coming the last two years and we have six or seven like him coming in the next few years then it will be hard for me to fight against them. It would be great to stay in the sport world after I finish."
6. Fan Day on October 27 in the Belgian Ardennes. Infos www.philippegilbert.com.

10.19.2012

Procycling is NOT a crime (yet)


Statement Belgian National Lottery about @Lotto_Belisol partnership TRANSLATED

 http://www.lottobelisol.be/nl/statement-nationale-loterij-717.htm
The National Lottery takes note of the decision by Rabobank, as they have long been active as a cycling sponsor, in order to step out of the professional cycling. The National Lottery understands this decision but opts for a different approach, in particular the move towards a pure cycling. The many cycling fans are entitled to a sport where everyone competes on an equal footing and therefore equal chances of success (as is the case with the lottery games they offer).As in the whole of its operation, uses the National Lottery in its cycling sponsorship to the highest ethical standards and puts them since taking office in the international peloton, in 1985, a zero tolerance policy on doping on to its sponsored teams. From small to large.The Belgian Cycling Project of the National Lottery is indeed not only a major marketing tool (with a return on investment that is at least 4 times as large as the investment) but also consistent with its mission to create opportunities for everyone. Hence its cycling pyramid which (besides supporting various youth and promise teams, race organizers and volunteers of all kinds) talent identification and counseling center. And whose Lotto Belisol World Tour team the apex and will continue to form. Because without top is a pyramid pyramid no more ...Cycling is one of the most popular sports in Belgium and the National Lottery will help determine its future continue. Not by a blind eye to what happened in the past is lost in the peloton, but its activities on a sound basis to continue ..Young starters, talents and champions of tomorrow, are entitled to a fair chance in an ethical environment their talent to develop to. Sponsors who believe in the future of cycling should not continue to look back on yesterday but today, with the experience of the past, look to tomorrow and help build the future of cycling.

Rabobank stops sponsoring rr pro cycling team

Yeah, I'm shocked. I'm just back from school, turned on my pc and found a new earthquake in cycling world: Fiorenzo Magni's dead seems a symbol in such a dramatic contest. I have no time to write but simply try to give you an idea of what is on. For sure cycling will be different next year and I hope it will be for  good. So far we have people losing their jobs and young clean riders treated like criminals because of old cheaters. It's probably a dued passage. Nevertheless it's hard. Rabobank was - is? - my favourite team because of is  engagement in developing the sport amongh youth. It's Bauke Mollema's and Tom Slagter's team. A team that was the pride of a nation.... and now it's time to move on really. To get the chance to build a new better future!
According to José Been @TourDeJose  "Rabobank riders received the press release about 30 minutes before it was sent to the press, some of them confirmed to me"
Here it is:
Rabobank press release http://www.rabosport.com/news/item/25789
Rabobank will end its sponsorship of both the men’s and the women’s professional cycling teams per 31 December 2012. Rabobank will continue its ties with amateur cycling as a sponsor, including the youth training and the cyclocross team.
Rabobank has come to this decision following publication of the report from the American doping authority USADA last week. This report speaks volumes. Bert Bruggink, member of the Managing Board: “It is with pain in our heart, but for the bank this is an inevitable decision. We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport. We are not confident that this will change for the better in the foreseeable future.”
Rabobank started its involvement in cycling 17 years ago. Full of conviction and with a clear mission. Because cycling fits with Rabobank, with its clients and employees. Rabobank has expanded the cycling sponsorship during the course of the years to a complete package, from the men’s and women’s professional teams to the youth team and the cyclo cross.
Bert Bruggink: “Cycling is a beautiful sport, which millions of Dutch people enjoy and a large number of those Dutch people are clients of Rabobank. But our decision stands: we are pulling out of professional cycling. It is painful. Not just for Rabobank, but especially for the enthusiasts and the cyclists who are not to blame in this.”
Team's reaction http://www.rabosport.com/news/item/25793
The Rabobank cycling team regrets Rabobank’s decision to stop its sponsorship of the men’s professional cycling team. The team was informed about the reasons and understands the decision. We’ve been cycling for 17 years now with the name Rabobank proudly on our shirts and it hurts that going forward we’ll have to do without that name.
The cycling team is very grateful to Rabobank for the 17 years of loyal sponsorship. The sport of cycling should be grateful to Rabobank for all the efforts it has made in the past years to put Dutch cycling on the map successfully. Through Rabobank, many talents have had the chance to reach their potential.
We are confident that Rabobank will take good care of the cyclists and staff members of Rabobank Wielerploegen BV in the finalisation of this matter.
.................
http://www.rabosport.com/news/item/25803
The cycling team is pleased with the opportunity that Rabobank will give the cycling teams to continue in the cycling sport, despite the bad news. Rabobank has trained generations of riders from young riders to the professionals they are now. It graces Rabobank the fact it is giving the cycling teams the chance to make a new start despite of this separation.
The professionals and the women will be put as ‘white label’ under a new foundation yet to be established, while the continentals and the crossers will be accommodated by the Dutch Cycling Federation. The careers of a generation of riders will this way be secured.
The ‘white label’ team has instructions to continue on its own as soon as possible. Harold Knebel, the current director of the cycling teams, will be managing the transition. The cycling team will later report about the remaining composition of the new start. The cycling team will continue with the confidence it is following the right path.
Riders reactions:  Let's keep our composure.. 
Gesink (via  "It's a smack in the face." 
Dear Rabobank, you were part of the problem. How dare you walk away from your young clean guys who are part of the solution. Sickening. 
Just in case anybody needed reminding, Hein Verbruggen is Dutch. He's leaving a fine legacy. 
Rabobank stopped. Disappointing! But think about T-Mobile: They stopped as well, developed into Highroad and became THE team! It's a chance! 
Some more infos:
 "Rabobank's backing for Marianne Vos and some of the women likely to continue until next Olympics (good news)
 "Rabobank's assets total €731,000,000,000.00 of which cycling now shares 0%"
News: Rabobank to become 'white label' team: Dutch bank will honour contracts but not under its name


10.18.2012

"One of the most gifted coaches in cycling": Guercilena Team Manager at RSNT

RSNT press release
Leopard SA is proud to announce that Luca Guercilena has accepted the role of Team Manager of RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK. Guercilena, currently sports director at RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK, will overview the cohesion and continuity the Luxembourgish cycling project that started two years ago. As of today Guercilena will be responsible for the organization of the team and supervise all sports and technical operations.
"I have this project very much at heart, being part of it since the beginning. We have amazing human resources in this team, both on the riders and the staff roster, and I believe we have the moral duty to capitalize on this potential", says Guercilena. "This team has gone through some rough weather, but even the hardest stages come to an end. I have talked at length with the team owner and with the title sponsors, and all parties are convinced of the new direction for the team. We want to be a solid and stable team that gets noticed for its results."
Team owner Flavio Becca: "I believe it was important to recruit from our own ranks after we parted paths with Johan Bruyneel. Luca is one of the most gifted coaches in cycling and he's a great mediator. I have great faith in his capacities to lead our team and to appease the buzz around our team - in the interest of our sponsors, our team members and cycling in general. We are now at the halfway point of this project and I am very optimistic and exited about what lies ahead."

Frank Schleck's case update

According to  
http://www.wort.lu/en/view/fraenk-schleck-case-adjourned-sine-die-507ed917e4b06c6563e50d01 
"The hearing of Luxembourg cyclist Fränk Schleck by the doping disciplinary board CDD concluded with the adjournment of the case until further notice, as the anti doping agency ALAD consults further experts."

10.17.2012

In short: Greipel about doping

Here: http://www.andregreipel.com/
...in English here: http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13081/Andre-Greipel-The-fight-against-fraud-and-ill-gotten-success-must-be-continued.aspx#ixzz29ZcikAZh

Dear cycling friends

The events of recent days around Lance Armstrong and Co. are also an issue in my vacation. I have to admit, it leaves me cold and I can’t get it out of my head.

This great swamp that has come to light is a few years old. Today we know that there are some cheats that have managed, and still manage, to ride in cycling. I find it appalling, especially the extent to which we were systematically deceived, and how.

That's why I am of the opinion that the fight against fraud and ill-gotten success must continue! Already, this struggle for honesty and fair sport was worth it, even if it the reputation of cycling always seems to be harmed.

Anyway: Some cheats have now taken responsibility for the situation and confessed. Let's hope that these are the right signals for the future.

I find it very sad that the investigations of the various authorities have lasted so long, because otherwise the "new cycling" today, would perhaps be a big step further on. But some of the incredible events surrounding the investigations of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency USADA also make it clear why it has taken so much time.

Ever since I was eleven years old, I've lived cycling and dreamed of one day becoming a professional cyclist. There were few moments when my friends and I in the cycling club were not dreaming of the Peace Race, the Championships and Olympic Games. I always had one goal in mind: to cycle!

I had, and have, great passion for movement, for community and also for success. This is a passion for me, no one needs to explain the boundaries and the sacrifices. Yet for all the passion and struggle for success, it was always clear to me that there are taboos.

In 2005, I signed my first pro contract and now, for more than 20 years, cycling has been a big part of my life. But to achieve sporting excellence and success with unfair means is not only taboo, but fraud.

There are clear rules and laws, and those who do not keep to them is a deceiver and should sanctioned in accordance with the rules!

After seven years in professional sports, tens of thousands of hard training and racing kilometres, and over 100 victories, I feel powerless before the face of events. Although I have achieved a lot, there still remains a lot for me to do. Diligence, hard work, the confidence of my team, honesty and down-to-earthness have rewarded my cycling dreams with sustainable results.

No cheats can take this from me, but it frustrates me again and again, to confronted with these issues as a cyclist. But it's the price I pay for the cheats.

And to also to emphasis this: I am committed to a new and clean cycling in racing, and to show the youth and the people out there that there is another way: fair and, above all, honest!

I would like to bring these opportunities for emotion and passion, for the struggle for every millimetre, for community and friendship, to many children and young people in the future, because it's worth it.

My dreams of the Peace Race, the Olympic Games, the Championships, and the Tour de France have now been fulfilled. It's an indescribable feeling to hear the cheers of millions of spectators along the routes of professional bike races.

I still have many athletic goals, but above all a dream: for one of the toughest sports in the world - my cycling passion - to be a fair competition!

For this, it is worth fighting!


With honest and sporting regards,
André Greipel

In short: Taylor Phinney about pills

There is a great interview here:
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13076/Taylor-Phinney-Interview-Getting-the-pill-culture-out-of-the-sport.aspx
In short.... well: just read it there! I'm glad to read that a young rider I really like is proud to race 'bread and water'. I wonder if races organizers think about that or consider normal you must take pills in order to finish a tour. Maybe it's time to set realistic expectations, to make racing more human. But really do you think a Tour de France contender would stop because of a fever? they already worked so hard to just get to be there... Taylor Phinney told for sure the right thing but I keep the doubt it's more complicated than that...