Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The cycling world woke up to two revelations today. The first, in re Contador, as the lawyers (who are out to destroy cycling) would say, is the report that a decision will be announced within 10 days. I say announced because, going by the earlier LAY-o-par Schleck report, it appears to have already been made. Watching these doping cases unfold is about as exciting and predictable as following a Chinese court case.

The new frontier

The second revelation is that Sports Illustrated, no doubt one of the best selling sports magazines out there, but one that does not cover real sports such as soccer or cycling, is printing a whole bunch of new allegations in re Armstrong. That case, as some of you may know is winding its way through the courts. It is something most people would rather forget about. Fortunately for them, it is also unlikely to go anywhere.

I have to say though that seeing these former friends and team mates so intimately united in separate newscasts that nonetheless deal with the same issue, it feels like the good old days.

Buddies in arms

And speaking of phony wars, yesterday Robert Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps, and father of the former California First Lady, died at 95. Mr Shriver was spearheading the war on poverty, an endeavor launched in the 60's that is about as successful as the war on drugs. Or the war on cancer for that matter. To say nothing about the war on terror.

I have no doubt that Mr. Shriver was well-meaning and honorable man who deserves every accolade he is given, but how he let himself be talked into a phony war is beyond me. But then again, according to some bankers at least, the poor are really better off today. There may be more of them now, but they all have a house, an SUV and a flat screen TV, so why worry?

Today is also the day the House will vote to repeal the HealthCare Reform law of 2010. Since that law has only been partly implemented and only for a few months -the main parts of it won't take effect until 2014- we are witnessing a historic event. Let nobody accuse Washington of being out of touch with the people. These law makers are on the ball, always ready to repeal things that don't work before it is too late.

Only one covered track in Flanders

Belgian riders meanwhile learned that there won't be second covered velodrome in Flanders any time soon. That is what the sports minister Phillippe Muyters said yesterday. There are currently seven open air velodromes and one covered track (Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx in Ghent) in an area half the size of Maryland. This obvious shortage has many people up in arms and calling for action. Het Wielercentrum  is now forced to limit the number of riders on the track to about 100 at any given time. That is about the entire northern California track population!

The Sunweb manager is clearly upset with van Kasteren's revelations

The cyclocross world is also reeling. This after Hans van Kasteren, leader of team Telenet-Fidea made some snide comments about Kevin Pauwels. That did not sit well with Jurgen Mettepenningen, manager of Sunweb-Revor and future boss of Pauwels. Next season Pauwels will transfer to Sunweb. Jurgen feels that Hans may be "a liar and a dishonest person," but "he should not trash the character of a rider in the press." There have to be limits somewhere.

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