From two teams throwing in the towel, to blueberry farms, to bribery, to previously disputed allegations, the past week has been entertaining to say the least. Let’s not forget the pummeling that yours truly took at the hands of Jonathan Vaughters and his “best non-rider on twitter” “award” from cyclingnews.com. This, of course, has been appealed to CAS. I’m sure we’ll see that hit the court by 2015. Onward ho!
Best Five Things of the Week
In a world that pushes white collar pursuits to pad the egos of self-indulgent and pompous folk the world over, it is refreshing to see Basso embrace his roots to actually produce something that can benefit society as a whole. Taking a page from the book of several down-to-earth ex-professional cyclists, Andy Hampsten among them, Basso plans to produce blueberries for his region, creating jobs and a consumable product. Chapeau Ivan, more should follow in your steps rather than those of the team manager/cycling pundit role… *chuckle*
Believe it or not, I think this is a grand idea. I know that Philip Gomes, my friend from SBS, has derided the PR decisions by the team so far but feels Brian Nygaard has done his best to balance the spirit of the team’s owners with more modern decision-making. Over a period of time, I think that Brian’s efforts will alter the somewhat “homespun” feel of the Melbourne promotional choices. Singing a song as a group is a much better choice to create team unity, than say, jumping out of airplanes solo in Israel. Chapeau, Brian, looking forward to hearing the song.
Look, it’s brutal that another team folds up in a year that has had no controversy at all. But let’s just say that some of the events that have occurred on Mauro Giannetti’s watch are pretty much karma paying the man back. Let’s just say that if Ricco was allegedly not smart enough to handle his own alleged transfusions, who was the one making sure he was taken care of at Saunier? Hmmm? Enquiring minds would like to know. The question is, will a Giannetti-less peloton be a cleaner peloton? I’ll ponder that over a Guinness.
Finally. While Vaughters is running for the hills and trying to find a fix to relieve himself of the gender burden that is the women’s program, GreenEDGE announces the vast opportunity that is evident in the women’s ranks. Rather an interesting paradox, wouldn’t you say? However, the fact that this team didn’t have room for a certain Bridie O’Donnell smacks of a Renshaw-style decision from management. But we won’t talk about that, will we?
This is certainly the change of the political tide. It would seem that with Howman’s connections to law enforcement agencies, this might be a chilling premonition that the Who’s Who of pre-2006 professional cycling (I have a get out of jail free card) could be in for a very long 2012.
Worst Five Things of the Week
Riders signed in October. A rosy picture. Welcome to December, and the team is all but done. With all the guarantees, the licence examinations, the paperwork filed, we wouldn’t see the incidences of this nature. As I touched on during last night’s episode of TourChats with Neil and Dan (and Team 7-11 book author Geoff Drake concurred), the level of sales/marketing/business operations is still suspect in cycling. Riding a bike doesn’t mean you can nail a sponsor. Sure you can design a jersey, but when it comes to budgeting/planning, try to recruit gents in the trenches who’ll give you more than a supposed dot.com president can. Just because you want to have ASO TV revenue on your say-so doesn’t mean it should happen (right Bakala?) Raising the level of team operations means you won’t get quotes like ex-Pure Black business director blaming New Zealand catastrophe relief as a reason why the team failed.
I think that the Murdoch clan slash corporate mucky mucks share some similar traits with Johan Bruyneel. Phone hacking? What’s wrong with phone hacking? Three names? Why can’t we have three names on everything outside of UCI official communication? Look, no offense, but this sort of attitude isn’t about challenging conventional UCI wisdom, but more or less about throwing weight around because, apparently, “somebody” feels the need to feed their substantial ego. Shame on Trek for staying silent on the issue. They’re a good group. Sometimes aligning with “winners” will ultimately make you a loser. Just ask those workers who were laid off in the phone hacking scandal.
What? Sorry? Listen you CAS paper pushers, I make the rules. How dare you counter my claims of validity? The attempts to paint the sport with the brush of my image? You’re wrong. You’re out of order. CAS, you can’t handle the truth. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go? My way, always? (I’m now stamping my foot and folding my arms).
The question is, if these doctors weren’t feeding off the pro peloton and amateur riders, would several riders who’ve passed away due to heart failure and other medical challenges still be with us? The fact remains that this gentleman can be found guilty of doping racehorses, yet the guilty verdicts revolving around his doping of humans just seems to have reduction after reduction after reduction. Sad state of affairs.
Deals happen all the time. In business. In sport. In life. What makes this the worst story of the week is that both Vinokourov and Kolobnev need to attend my school – “How to protect your sensitive documents against potential hacking/theft/accidental loss.” It starts with getting a safety deposit box, and never leaving a trace of evidence on any computer. Anywhere. Sigh. For fook’s sake, boys, guard your sensitive data better.