With a lull in the cycling world after the Tour de France, we’ve got the Tour of Poland ongoing, the Vuelta, Lombardy and the Eneco Tour to come (UCI calendar here) before everyone in the northern hemisphere packs up and starts riding cyclocross. Recent talk in the office are the various rumours surrounding the sport and we take a look at what’s going on!
1. As I started to write this piece, Bjarne Riis had scheduled a press conference in Denmark today, reportedly to announce his new sponsor for the now defunct Saxo Bank team which will cease after 2010. Saxo Bank decided to end their deal a year earlier than planned leaving the team sponsorless for 2011. The bank has sponsored the team since 2008, when it competed under the name CSC-Saxo Bank and with names such as Fabian Cancellara, 2010 Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck and former Paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O’Grady, they’ve experienced a great success.
Today’s announcement had been rumoured to be Specialized bikes, which they already ride and would make sense. SunGuard are continuing their sponsorship for 2011 which takes up the back panel of the Team bibshorts.
2. Secondly today, was whether Contador will be joining Bjarne’s team. The Spanish rider and Riis are believed to have reached a mutual agreement to join forces during a series of talks late in the 2010 Tour de France. This would make the Specialized link even more prominent.
Bjarne Riis has now revealed that Saxo Bank will continue to sponsor his cycling team alongside existing sponsor SunGard in 2011, with Tour de France winner Alberto Contador joining the team!! That’s quite a turn-around and nearly caught us out, but one thing is for sure, we’d certainly all like Contador on our team! Fact!
3. A team of Luxembourgers…
The Schleck brothers have already said that they will not be riding with Bjarne Riis next season. Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck said in a message published on his site: “We are going to leave at the end of the year…”.
With the dynamic brothers of Frank and Andy Schleck (Frandy), Jacob Fuglsang and big Jens Voigt, the team is sure to grab headlines with the Tour hopeful Andy and a reported $20 million USD budget to keep them going.
The new Luxembourg team has the support of politicians and strategic businesses in Luxembourg and Directeur sportif Kim Andersen has left Team Saxo Bank to work on securing a solid team for 2011.
We look forward to seeing how the team gets on, with the names and budget they have, failure will not be looked upon favourably!
4. A new UCI tour race in the USA.
After two years of speculation, a new eight-day Colorado stage race is set to roll out in late 2011.
With the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains and 4 National Parks, there is enough variety to make a very entertaining and testing route.
In the shadow of the now-defunct Tour of Missouri, Lance Armstrong and representatives from Governor Bill Ritter’s office have worked together since early 2009 to bring a major stage race to the state. Medalist Sports, promoters of the Tours of California, Georgia and Missouri are involved in the event, so it promises to be a cracker.
Sitting second behind the Tour of California, the Tour of Colorado will probably stay relatively small to everyone who doesn’t live in the USA, but the scenery and big name riders competing should make it a very interesting race.
5. No article would be complete without mentioning a certain Mr Armstrong who at the minute, is embroiled in a massive argument with Mr Landis.
- Basically Landis claims of alleged doping practices within the US Postal team when Lance and co were riding for them.
Landis claims to have been introduced to testosterone by Johan Bruyneel while riding for US Postal in June, 2002. He claimed to have had lengthy conversations with seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong regarding the evolution of EPO testing that year, before travelling to Armstrong’s house in 2003 to collect his first sample of EPO.
- Lance says “I would remind everyone that this is a man that has been under oath several times with a very different version. This is a man that wrote a book for profit that had a completely different version; this is somebody that took close to a million dollars from innocent people for his defence under a different premise and now when it’s all run out the story changes. So we are a little confused, maybe just as confused as you guys…” and of course denies these allegations.
The next twist in this is that Former Rock Racing team owner Michael Ball could hold a clue to the direction of the US Food and Drug Administration probe into Lance Armstrong, another twist in this tale of alleged sporting fraud.
It’s been revealed that authorities served a warrant on Ball’s luxury apartment earlier this year, months before Floyd Landis’ allegations of doping practices within the US Postal team emerged.
Whether anything will come from this trial is unclear and unsurprisingly you have two parties both claiming completely conflicting happenings. You can be sure that Lance won’t give up though, he’s got this far, has no Tour to train for and we wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of him!
Last but not least, we have Cancellara and his ‘electric bike’:
We know it’s old news, but surely it’s just the fact that he is as ‘strong as an Ox’ and people are looking for reasons as to why he is so good. I mean seriously, can you actually see a professional cycling team trying to get away with this…..?