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Cycling News and Opinions
Unfair and Unbalanced
October, 2011

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

October 26: Podium Cafe.com posted an extended long-form review of Les Woodland's Cycling Heroes. I think you'll find it interesting.

October 18: The 2012 Tour de France route was presented today. I've got the map posted as well as the stages listed.The change from recent Tours that jumps out at first look is that Tour boss Christian Prudhomme has called a truce in his war against time trialing. I count 96.1 km of individual effort against the clock and three hilltop finishes, a welcome change that keeps the race from being a climbing championship. The first summit finish comes at the end of stage 7 at La Planche des Belles Filles, a 6-kilometer grade that averages 8.5% but has sections of 13%.

October 17: Here are the UCI World Tour rankings after the Giro di Lombardia:

  1. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) 718 points
  2. Cadel evans (BMC) 574
  3. Alberto Contador (Saxo) 471
  4. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) 436
  5. Michele Scarponi (Lampre) 357
  6. Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) 349
  7. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) 307
  8. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) 289
  9. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) 286
  10. Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) 284
  11. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) 272
  12. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) 260
  13. Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) 252
  14. Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) 252
  15. Christopher Froome (Sky) 230

Team ranking:

  1. Omega Pharma-Lotto 1099 points
  2. Sky 1059
  3. Leopard-Trek 1024
  4. HTC-Highroad 996
  5. BMC 877
  6. Garmin-Cervelo 808
  7. Lampre 784
  8. Liquigas 779
  9. Saxo 696
  10. Rabobank 673
  11. Radio Shack 639
  12. Katusha 622
  13. Movistar 474
  14. Euskaltel 471
  15. Astana 422
  16. Quick Step 379
  17. Ag2r 372
  18. Vacansoleil 369

Nation Ranking:

  1. Spain 1427 points
  2. Belgium 1184
  3. Italy 1172
  4. Australia 1082
  5. Great Britain 947
  6. Germany 798
  7. Netherlands 693
  8. USA 551
  9. Luxembourg 536
  10. Switzerland 470
  11. France 416
  12. Norway 390
  13. Ireland 309
  14. Denmark 285
  15. Kazakhstan 234

October 16: The 2012 Giro route was announced today. I've started building a 2012 Giro page. right now I've just got the stages listed. As soon as I get a good graphic of the route, I'll post it. The most important news from the presentation is that 2011 winner Alberto Contador will not contest the Giro in order to conentrate on the Tour. I still say, the Giro now is too hard for a GC contender to consider doing both races and Marco Pantani is going to be the last Giro-Tour winner.

October 13: After getting hammered by nearly everyone, GM has pulled their "Stop Pedaling..Start Driving" ad campaign (see October 12 posting below.).

October 12: I've long felt that every morning General Motors should apologize to America for its part in destroying mass transit in the United States. Here's the story on what can only be described as one of the worst corporate acts in American business history.

Sadly, GM has a new ad campaign, this time aimed at cycling and walking, explaining to college students how they can ditch the bike and go into debt (as if they need more) buying a car. It's as if GM's DNA compels them to try to ruin healthful, efficient, clean, pleasurable transportation.

Here's the excellent post by the League of American Bicyclists with the despicable ad.

My last two GM cars were garbage. Their current ad campaign makes sure they remain my last two GM cars.

Oh, and if you want to see if the geniuses at GM's ad department are making a good impression, look at the ad campaign's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gmcollegeprogram.

October 8: I'm back. Sorry for the absence.

Anyone who has followed this site knows I am no fan of the UCI, which is usually far more concerned about its own prerogatives and status than it is about doing what is best for cycle racing, the fans and the racers. But now it seems the UCI has hit a low not known since Hein Verbruggen (predecessor of current UCI boss Pat McQuaid) tried to interfere with CONI's (Italian Olympic Committee) attempt to perform rigorous dope testing at the Giro in the early 2000's.

Here's the story on www.cyclingnews.com You need to read it.

To sum up: Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency told a simple truth that nearly everyone knows: Self-regulating doesn't work. Not on Wall Street, not in bicycle racing. Tygart said (I'm paraphrasing here) the UCI has a conflict of interest when it performs drug tests and also promotes the sport. Furious over this truth-telling, the UCI abdicated its responsibility to perform blood tests at the 2011 Tour of California. I have no idea what McQuaid intended to accomplish by this.

Unless compelling evidence showing the story to be in error surfaces immediately, Pat McQuaid should resign now. Dope testing is not a game. It should never be an object of power politics between various agencies. And certainly it should not be subject to a bureaucrat's fit of pique.

Dope testing makes the sport more fair. Because the testers are always reacting to advances in cheating, the dopers will always be a step or two ahead. But by doing all in its power to root out chemical cheating, the tests keep the sport from becoming the contest of dope-fueled Frankenstein monsters it was from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s.

But more than that, without omnipresent, expensive, irritating, complicated testing, riders die. This is no game. We don't know how many young cyclists died in their sleep during the height of the EPO era, but it has been estimated to be as high 85 by knowledgeable observers. We don't need any more Tom Simpsons collapsing on Mont Ventoux.

If Pat McQuaid can't protect the sport because his feelings get hurt, then he should resign. Now. Right now.