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In the news this week, Cipollini has been upset about the lack of masculinity in the professional peloton, revealing his desire to inject a little more fighting spirit into the sport. Pegasus Sports has also been struggling for financial support although plans now look to be back on track. We also bring you an interesting Fixie clip to get you in the mood for some riding this weekend. So, without further ado:

In cycling news this week:

Cipollini decries modern cycling’s lack of ‘machismo’:

Although technically last week’s news, this story missed last week’s blog by a few hours and we couldn’t let it slip through again!

Cipollini: There's always one.

Mario Cipollini, or Super Mario as he’s affectionately known, has always been a colourful character in the professional peloton. He’s been back in the limelight recently after launching an attack on the lack of ‘machismo’ in modern cycling.

For instance, Cipollini recalls his feelings after losing a sprint; “when I lost, I wasn’t capable of going to congratulate whoever had beaten me, like Andy Schleck did at the Tour. Me, I’d hate him because he’d taken the bread from my mouth”. Macho or unsporting?

Contrast this with the relationship that is found between riders such as Contador and Schleck, evidenced by Schleck congratulating Contador after his Tour de France win, with a fond pinch on Alberto’s cheek.

Lack of machismo? Cipollini obviously didn't spot the butch arm wrestle as Contador celebrated his win.

Cipollini has stated that he simply cannot fathom such behaviour. In the testosterone filled world of Mario Cipollini, kind regard for fellow riders clearly has no place! He proceeds to launch into a further outburst directed towards Contador, proposing that he has the “anonymous face of a surveyor or an accountant”. Whether you agree or not, you have to admire his honesty!

Perhaps most provocative are Cipollini’s comments regarding his worries for the future of cycling. He described reading an interview he had discovered with a reputable scientist, before concluding “in five hundred years or more, human beings might have both sets of genitalia, male and female. I don’t want this evolution to have started already in cycling”. I don’t think Cipollini has anything to worry about just yet, unless Clenbuterol has suddenly acquired an additional, rather disturbing side effect.

Cipollini finishes by suggesting that the riches now on offer to top cyclists mean that the edges have softened on many rivalries. What’s your stance? Somewhere amid all the scathing comments and curious standpoints do Cipollini’s views hold something of value, in that modern cycling is less ruthless than it once was?

Moreno Argentin suggests cyclist’s “are now all robots”:

Moreno Argentin: Cycling just isn't the same.

Italian cycling legend, Moreno Argentin celebrated his 50th birthday today and used the occasion to criticise modern cycling and suggest that cyclist’s are now just like robots.

Reflecting back to his days in cycling, Argentin said, “I thank my parents for letting me be born in that period. I was hungry. Cyclists today are already earning good money starting at the junior ranks. These are different times, they have it all already from birth.” Argentin suggests Contador is completely calculated, as if he had been constructed in the lab for one race only, the Tour. He has a similar opinion of Schleck.

However, Argentin concludes by criticising the UCI and suggests there is a lack of freedom in professional cycling and this leads to an unwillingness among riders to be expressive or “raise their voices”. In Argentin’s opinion, cyclist’s are unable to come together to solve their own problems. With Cipollini’s comments earlier in the week and now Argentin, it appears there’s a growing unrest within the world of professional cycling.

Pegasus has its wings clipped:

Pegasus rises like a Phoenix despite being condemned on Monday.

On Monday, it was confirmed that the Pegasus Sports Professional Cycling Project had lost it’s main financial backer for 2011. Nevertheless, the team’s owner, Chris White, was adamant that Pegasus had not yet been grounded for good.

The UCI Licensing Commission granted Pegasus a small extension until Wedesday in order to locate alternative financial support and then submit their application for a Professional Continental license. While White admitted the situation was “very serious”, he was also confident a solution could be found.

Fast forward two days to Wednesday and White’s optimism was clearly well-founded. Although unwilling to confirm who or what had provided the backing necessary to allow Pegasus to complete their application, he was keen to stress the team was back on track.

Chris White's optimism clearly paid off.

Since this news emerged, the rumour mill has obviously been working overtime and many believe that SCOTT will be the new financial backer for the team.

Many had already condemned Pegasus after it emerged they had lost their financial backing so this news certainly comes as something of a timely surprise. However, many Australians have expressed their disappoint that Pegasus will no longer be backed by an Australian sponsor, although White gave these supporters some hope for the future by suggesting this may eventually change.

Contador corner:

No Contador verdict on the cards until 2011:

Pat's pondering.

It’s been fairly quiet in Contador corner this week. However, while simultaneously defending the UCI’s secretive methods of initially handling the Contador affair, Pat McQuaid stressed that a decision on Contador will not be made before the new year. Having said this, Pat moves on to describe his vision for future doping disciplinary measures.

While revealing that his personal preference is for life bans for doping offences, McQuaid’s compromise is to increase the length of bans for substances such as EPO up to four years. However, more lenient sentences for lighter substances are also likely to be introduced. McQuaid explains that “light and heavy products should be differentiated.” He continues to conclude that “EPO is serious, that should be a four-year ban. Ventoline, for example, that could be six or nine months.”

This provides a further glimmer of hope for Contador, given that only a very small amount of Clenbuterol was discovered by doping controls.

Tweet of the week:

Jonathan Cantwell is the tweeter in focus this week. Summing up the Pegasus Sports situation in a concise fashion:

“Well it’s in the UCI hands now. 3 cheers for Chris White (aka) God for pulling it together.”

With only a couple of days to secure financial backing for his team, the term God doesn’t appear to be a gross overestimation as it certainly looks as though he’s performed something of a miracle.

Pic of the week:

Looking for a new way to enjoy cycling with a loved one? How about this strange contraption…

We’re not quite sure which is the more risky proposition. Do you perch precariously atop and risk falling from a great height, or take the easy option and stay below, with the ever present threat of your loved one landing in your face following a collision or sharp headwind?

Video of the week:

This talented individual decided to put a freewheel on his fixie. His lack of brakes fails to pay off however as you’ll soon discover in the video below. Regardless, you have to admire his determination for getting back on the bike!

Pick of this week’s new products:

How about some PBK Limited Edition Craft gloves to keep your hands warm this winter?

First up there’s the ‘PBK Limited Edition Craft Cycling Gloves (Mitts)’, which come in Black or White:

We also have the ‘PBK Limited Edition Craft Gel Padded Cycling Gloves (Mitts)‘ for those who like a little more cushioning.

What we’re up to this weekend:

  • John’s about to start Christmas shopping this weekend, having left it till the last minute. Apparently it’s “more exciting” that way!
  • Anthony’s got a party lined up with his friends, along with a spot of cycling.
  • Chris also has a party lined up, this time his mum’s 50th birthday bash. With it being on Sunday, we might see him roll into work a little later than usual again.
  • Meanwhile, I’m likely to go and see the new Tron film. Having put up with Harry Potter for the benefit of the girlfriend the other week, I’m looking forward to something a little more lively.

Any thoughts on the week’s news? Please do share any interesting stories you’ve come across over the week, we’d love to hear about them!

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