There’s 100 days until the 2012 cycling season starts with the Tour Down Under on Sunday 15 January 2012. It’s just a round number but us humans seem to like them.
The 2011 season has yet to finish, indeed this Sunday’s Paris-Tours and the upcoming races in Italy like the Gran Piemonte and especially the Giro di Lombardia are some of the best races in the season.
Nevertheless the new season is fast approaching and two days ago Cadel Evans stated he won’t do the Tour Down Under, a sign that it’s not far away. The Aussie race itself expects to offer a modified format thanks to the inclusion of a small “summit” finish on Willunga Hill.
But oddly if some riders are planning their calendar already, there are still many uncertainties for next year. One reader emailed to express concern that Mark Cavendish was World Champion but still could not find a team for next year; in reality he has the luxury of picking a team and shouldn’t be unemployed. The deadline for team transfers is 20 October.
Talking of teams we don’t know which squads are in place for the next season either. Several teams want to ride the World Tour and start with the Aussie race but can’t make plans yet. Indeed some might not know until November or even December if they’re flying out which isn’t helpful. There’s still more to plan for next year. We don’t know of Alberto Contador will be riding for example.
Longer term I can’t help wonder if the idea of a cycling season is redundant? Up to now winter in Europe meant racing stopped but with the sport spreading, this could change. Tennis for example happens all year round. Obviously cycling can be far more tiring but riders could be free to have breaks throughout the year rather than being on duty from January to October. There’s talk of new events coming in South America and India.
Either way if the season is coming to an end, the new one isn’t that far away and there’s plenty to watch over the winter.