Later this year I’ll probably review a few highlights of the year. Stage 9 of the Tour de France is likely to make the cut because it started with a bang. It was the day Chris Froome was isolated as constant attacks from Garmin-Sharp ripped up the race from the start. The video by humansinvent.com above tells how it was done.
Of course you apply hindsight but it’s interesting to see the team used probability calculations to work out which day of the race would be suitable. Humans Invent is an interesting website and you’ll find their new cycling podcast there if you haven’t already discovered it.
It’s great to see the Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi team saved for 2014 thanks to the arrival of Fernando Alonso and his money and sponsors from Formula 1. But the team still has a mountain to climb as riders need to be retained, the worry is their best athletes have been cherry-picked by Astana and OPQS. They’re never prolific when it comes to winning and without their stronger riders 2014 could be a lean year until the likes of Alberto Contador show up. But even if Contador were to join, what would he win in 2015? This is thinking too far ahead but it shows how the squad has to think of the future.
Team Colombia’s Dilemma
Some teams can worry about hiring riders, others have to worry about retaining them. BMC Racing have signed Darwin Atapuma from Team Colombia. It’s said Esteban Chaves could be going to Orica-Greenedge. It’s good to see talent spotted and recruited and this Colombian team helping riders to make the move from South America to the European pro peloton.
But it leaves the team itself with problems. No sooner does it get a good rider then the rider is poached by a World Tour team meaning it’s hard to retain talent, get sponsors to buy in and secure crucial wildcards. Of course the team can look to recruit riders in Colombia and it can itself “poach” riders from the Colombia 4-72 team like Juan Chamorro but again if someone is very good in Colombia there are now means to get them straight to a top team, see Sergio Henao going from the Antioquia regional team to Sky in one go.
Talking of dilemmas, how about announcing to the world an A-sample positive and then not being able to do the B-sample? I’d been counting the days since the positive test announcements from the Giro of Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio because time passed and yet there was no news on the B-sample. La Gazzetta Dello Sport now says Di Luca waived the B-sample test so he’ll face a full ban. But it seems Santambrogio’s B-sample is negative for EPO so he could now be cleared. Even if the A-sample is positive, the B-sample must match.
It’s an interesting ethical issue because Santambrogio now rhymes with erythropoietin only he’s set to be cleared. You might think he’s slipped through the net but it shows the problems of the UCI’s curious policy of broadcasting news upon the A-sample “non-negative” rather than being patient for the B-sample. On the one hand it stops someone from racing from the moment there’s something suspicious, on the other hand it’s a serious accusation to make and not being able to back it up with the B-sample is worrying.
Lance Armstrong Documentary
Even if you’re bored of Armstrong it seems “The Armstrong Lie” is a good documentary. The maker Alex Gibney is well regarded and a review from the Venice film festival liked it. We’ll see, often when cyclists watch a film about cycling they get frustrated by the way racing is simplified or other aspects are skipped in order to make the subject matter more accessible. But it seems this one includes a lot of time on blood chemistry and interviews with Michele Ferrari. Of course the story is not finished and there seem to be more suits than Brooks Brothers.