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Cycling News and Opinions
Unfair and Unbalanced
February, 2013

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

February 24: Bad weather has forced the cancellation of two important races, Belgium's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and Switzerland's GP di Lugano. Snow and freezing temperatures across much of Europe made running the races impossible. Both are ranked 1.1. There is still racing going on in Europe. The French Les Boucles du Sud Ardèche - Souvenir Francis Delpech is being run as is the Clasica de Almeria (HC) in Spain.

Here are a few photos Fotoreporter Sirotti sent to me from the GP Lugano:

Snow falling in Lugano

Snow falling in Lugano

Race jury

Race jury announcing the the race cancellation

snow on the finish line

Snow on the finish line

Snow accumulation

The snow continued to fall, making racing impossible.

February 22: There is a error in logic called post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore this). It means because something preceded an event, it caused it. The rooster crows and then the sun rises. Therefore the rooster is causing the sun to rise.

So here's my post hoc moment:

Former Lance Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and several others including team manager Johan Bruyneel alleging Armstrong and the US Postal cycling team bought and used banned performance-enhacing drugs with US Postal Service sponsorship money, in violation of the sponsorship contract. There's a lot of dough in play here. The US Postal Service paid the team about 30 million dollars over the sponsorship's lifetime and whistle-blower lawsuits are subject to triple damages.

The suit was filed in 2010 and until recently the justice department had not joined in the suit. Then, earlier this week Armstrong made it clear he would not help the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency by testifying to them about his drug program.

Today it was revealed that the U.S. Justice Department would join in Landis' suit. This is a huge amount of firepower aimed at Armstrong. So, did Armstrong's refusal to help the USADA trigger this decision? I have no idea, but I like to think so. They do seem closely connected.

Armstrong's lawyer's defence is that even though Armstrong doped, because the U.S. Postal Service got such a huge benefit from the sponsorship, there was no loss and there is no case. This ignores the law that says if the Postal Service benefitted from Armstrong's dope-fueled wins in violation of the contract, the damages would only be mitigated.

If you want to read the lawsuit filing, it's posted online here

The Wall Street Journal's Reed Albergotti has been following the Armstrong doping scandal for a long time. He has caught flaming hell from Armstrong's fans, but everything he has reported has turned out to be true. Here's his story in today's journal.

And now, a word from our sponsor...

We've released Les Woodland's terrific new book, Paris-Roubaix: The Inside Story. Here's the book trailer where Les talks about the fabled classic race.

Oh and another thing...Schwab Cycles of Lakewood Colorado (their clickable ad it at the top right corner of our site) is having an open house Monday, February 25, 5 -7 PM with the guys from Guru Cycles. If you're in the area, you should stop on by.

February 15: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled in favor of Katusha's appeal of the UCI's rejection of it's application for Pro Tour status. The UCI had refused to grant the Number 2 World Tour ranked team because of of the team's past doping troubles. The UCI said Katusha's four drug cases in the last four years was the most of any Pro Tour team.

The CAS ruling means Katusha must get a Pro Tour license and will thus have the right to compete in the world's top races including the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, Paris-Nice, etc.

Katusha's top rider (and world ranked number 1) Joaquin Rodriguez would have bolted the team if the ruling had gone against Katusha.

Here is the UCI response to the ruling:

"The UCI acknowledges the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision to uphold the application of Katusha Management SA to be registered as a UCI ProTeam for the season 2013.  The appeal to CAS followed the decision of the Licence Commission on December 7, 2012 denying the registration on the basis of the ethical criterion applicable to such registration.

The UCI will now evaluate the consequences of this ruling and will communicate further in coming days, as soon as such evaluation has taken place."

In other news. Cannondale has pulled Peter Sagan from the Tour of Oman. Here's the press release from the team: "This morning, Peter Sagan did not take part in the fifth stage of Tour of Oman. Directeur Sportif Alberto Volpi, together with Cannondale ProCycling’s doctor Emilio Magni, decided on a precautionary rest after Sagan’s poor condition after yesterday’s stage. After a visit from doctor Magni, Sagan was diagnosed with acute tracheo-bronchitis and fever.

'The Classics season is approaching and we can’t risk damaging the plan,' explained Volpi. 'Sagan’s precautionary rest is the best and only choice. He will rest until his condition improves and he is able to train again.'

Sagan’s planned return to Europe has not changed. He will leave Oman on Sunday with the team."

Andy Schleck's troubles continue. So far he's been unable to find good racing form. He was supposed to re-enter professional racing in France's Tour du Haut Var, which start tomorrow, but it was determined he wasn't ready for the rigors of competing just yet. He's going to Mallorca to train. The Tour de France is still months away, but Rodriguez, Froome and Contador are already showing nice condition at the Tour of Oman.

February 9: The Tour Méditerranéen can't get a break. First, a permitting snafu caused the cancellation of the third stage. Now Garmin-Sharp's road bikes were stolen from the team truck before today's ride to the top of Mt Faron. The team is out of the race. Before the theft Garmin-sharp's best-placed rider was Andrew Talansky, sitting eleventh @ 59 seconds.

Another iconic racer with feet of clay. Today's edition of La Gazzetta Dello Sport says Mario Cipollini was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the center of the Operation Puerto doping scandal. The paper has posted documents that accuse "Super Mario" of blood doping, using EPO, growth hormones and other drugs.

Cipollini had a banner year in 2002, winning the World Championship, Milano-San Remo, Gent Wevelgem and six Giro d'Italia stages. The Gazzetta article documents the extensive "preparation" used by Cipollini that year.

Cipollini currently holds the record of 42 career Giro stage wins, one more than the 41 earned by the great Alfredo Binda.

Here's the link to the La Gazzetta Story. Scroll down to the bottom for more links about the sad story on the Gazzetta site. It's in Italian but Google's translation service will make it understandable.

Through his attorney, Mr. Cipollini has forcefully denied the allegations

As far as this writer is concerned, the record still belongs to Binda

February 4: OK, the good guys won one. The city of Black Hawk, Colorado, had banned cyclists from an important road that went through the town. Three cyclists were ticketed for violating the outrageous ordinance (which was passed without consulting any cyclists' groups, nor, apparently in the face of any accidents involving cyclists).

A lower court upheld the law. But, the three intrepid riders contested the tickets all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court. Bravo!

There, the bicycle riders received a fair hearing. The Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling and told the small-minded aldermen that they were going to have to let cyclists ride through the city of Black Hawk. If the cyclists had lost, who knows what kind of mischief other bike-hostile towns might have committed. The roads are also ours. Let's keep it that way.

Oh, and please stop at stop signs and red lights. We need to keep the sport safe and not make enemies.

Want to know more?

Here's Bicycle Retailer's February 4 story

Bicycle Colorado's website followed the fight to overturn the bike ban

City of Black Hawk Colorado website