Roman Kreuziger’s been cleared by the Czech Olympic Committee’s arbitration panel. Fair verdict or whitewash? For now it’s hard to tell as the reasoned decision is online as a PDF but in Czech and so a hard read.
What we do know from the past is that the UCI has appealed past cases of “home” federations or anti-doping bodies clearing their riders. I suspect they’ll take the case to the CAS but that’s guessing.
Free to Race
The UCI has issued a press release saying it won’t comment any further for now and doesn’t mention whether Kreuziger’s provisional suspension has ended… but a quietly uploaded document to the UCI website reveals he’s off the list. The page says “Updated : 12.09.2014″… but the file is dated 22 September, ie today. They really ought to list the additions/deletions rather than counting on the media, fans or bloggers to notice.
Roman Kreuziger’s admitted to working with banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari, amusingly for “training plans” only. It’s the equivalent of attending an Al Qaeda training camp and claiming you wanted a cheap holiday, few will believe it. Luckily for cycling the medic’s a more distant figure from cycling these days… but he’s not out of the news. In Italy right now his name is cropping up over the case of Alex Schwazer, a speed walker, and his ex-girlfriend Carolina Kostner, a figure skater. Koster risks a ban after failing to show at a hearing the other day.
You might remember Carlo Santuccione as another “doping doctor”. Again he’s in the news in relation to the case of track and field athletics in Italy. Both cases serve to remind us just how far these medics reached into Italian sport.
Bouhanni goes off road
Now to dirty sport of the right kind. Nacer Bouhanni’s been banned from riding for his FDJ team meaning his season is effectively over. But there’s the small matter of the World Championships, one race where he doesn’t need his team. In order to prepare for this he took part in a regional cyclo-cross race at the weekend. It’s a novel approach before the worlds but not new for Bouhanni who has done plenty of CX racing and did an endurance MTB race in his home region this summer too. He didn’t win, the race went to fellow Cofidis joiner Steve Chainel. Going back to the interview he was critical of FDJ boss Marc Madiot but it wasn’t that fierce. Hopefully the incident doesn’t dampen his character otherwise the peloton and the pressroom will become a more boring place.
The Spaniard’s not having his best Formula 1 season and perhaps has other things to concentrate on instead of his pro team. It could still emerge next year in the shape of a second tier pro conti team perhaps with Luca Paolini and others but even this is looking slim as they’d need to recruit a good number of riders and there’s little news.
There’s talk of a new team for Bradley Wiggins, first reported by the vital Cycling Podcast. It’ll be a development team at UCI Continental level and he will join after completing the spring classics with Team Sky. You might think team transfers aren’t normally allowed and you’d be right for the top teams but Wiggins can move to third tier team just as Dan Craven moved up to World Tour team Europcar mid-season.
Rules aside, Wiggins’ approach to the 2016 Rio games is curious as the track pursuit gets more and more intense. Michael Hutchinson’s book “Faster” lists the wattages required for the 4,000m event and they’re so high you wonder if can Wiggins match them. Presumably the answer is yes if a team is being built around him but the story will be one to watch.
The palindrome in the velodrome
Wiggins’s long range power could be more suited to the Hour Record. Who knows who’ll break the record next. For now if you want to remember Jens Voigt’s Hour Record distance, 51.115km, then just remember it’s a palindrome, you can spell it backwards and it’s the same: 5-1-1-1-5.
Rider of the Year?
Who’d be your pick for the best rider of 2014?
- Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France but up until July he wasn’t impressing anyone, team manager Vinokourov included who was penning letters to him to improve
- Alberto Contador perhaps for his Vuelta win as well as Tirreno-Adriatico and Pais Vasco but he’s been beaten elsewhere too, good but not great. He won’t ride the Worlds in his home country either
- Maybe Alejandro Valverde after his versatile start to the season, fourth in the Tour de France and then on the podium in the Vuelta? It’d be a vote for consistency
- Nobody dominated the classics – Alexander Kristoff and Simon Gerrans were good and have won elsewhere too
- In the sprints Marcel Kittel’s the best but is he the best rider of the season?
- Maybe Tony Martin for his wins in time trials and his giant Tour de France stage win?
You win if you pick Marianne Vos but I was thinking of the best male rider. The reason why I’m asking aloud is because the World Championships could be the defining race to help pick a rider. If there’s no obvious pick for the best rider then Sunday could help change this, one more reason to look forward to it.
2015 Tour de France
Talking of looking forward to things, how about July 2015? There are 30 days until the route of the Tour de France is unveiled but information on the course leaks out, usually to the regional press and radio. Today the city of Valence was linked by radio and all sorts of other details are online, notably via the Velowire website.
If the route leaks out why have a presentation? Because there’s nothing like seeing the official map and that’s only the start. If the route is known then comes the story-telling with a theme for the race not to mention more details on the climbs along the way, the length of time trials and the number of summit finishes.