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Monday Shorts

Tim Wellens won the Eneco Tour, repeating his victory from 2014. A talented rider he’s yet to have success elsewhere. Some riders seem particularly suited or lucky in some races. Think Rui Costa in the Tour de Suisse and Michael Albasini in the Tour de Romandie, or for that speciality niche, Jimmy Engoulvent and his four wins in the Tour of Luxembourg prologue.

The Eneco Tour has become a good race. For years it was tedious and predictable but recent editions emulate the spring classics with an Amstel Gold stage, a Liège-Bastogne-Liège stage, a Flemish stage and so on, or themes along these lines. It works but does it mean a new race always has to borrow from an old race in order to gain acceptance? Or are old races still going because they exploit the best of the local geography in the first place? It’s probably a combination of both but shows just how hard it can be to establish a new race.

The Arctic Race of Norway is one new event, surfing the new wave of Norwegian petrodollars. This one is even thinking of a stage to Russia in years to come. How come there are so many races so far north? Thor Hushovd’s success has helped make the sport popular and the country is prodigiously wealthy with a small population enjoying large oil reserves. The Arctic race is sponsored by Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant.

Wellens’ win is the latest triumph for Lotto-Soudal who are having a great season with quality and quantity. The team has a couple of gaps, notably the spring classics and grand tour GC ambitions but few if any teams can cover all bases. Their GC candidate Jurgen Van den Broeck is interested in leaving but not getting many offers. After a “divorce” with Lotto-Soudal in the Giro over his performance he’s just been passed over by Patrick Lefevere for a move to Etixx-Quickstep and his future isn’t certain, apparently Lotto have offered him a new deal on much-reduced terms. A mention of his name doesn’t get the pulse racing but he’s been third and fourth in the Tour de France and has come with a lot of UCI points but without a top-10 in a grand tour since 2012 his points haul has fallen away and he’s not the valuable if discreet rider he once was.

Talking of Etixx and Lotto, Belgian U23 rider Laurens De Plus is a hot target for Patrick Lefevere, one of the few riders to get a contract offer from the Etixx-Quickstep boss; even Tom Boonen is still waiting. De Plus is a good climbig talent for the future and rides for Lotto-Soudal’s U23 team. It looks like poaching but there’s no obligation for a rider to turn pro with a linked team and there’s often not the expectation of loyalty either.

Tinkoff-Saxo have announced Peter Sagan will ride the Vuelta, another galactico to add to the Spanish startlist. He’ll be joined by Rafał Majka. Sagan will find stages to suit but also handy preparation for the World Championships where the course suits him, assuming he can find how to win a race. There’s been some talk on Twitter about Alberto Contador starting the Vuelta, maybe he’s checked out a couple of stages. His team has denied this. The easy way to know for sure is whether he’s on the entry sheet submitted by the team. All teams submit a long-list of riders and must then submit their 9 for the race 72 hours before the start. If Contador isn’t on the long list he’s not allowed to ride.

The UCI has been tweaking a few rules for 2016 and sadly there’s no alteration yet to the tariff of fines, nor heavier punishments for littering. A new rule for 2016 allows teams to substitute a rider ahead of the race start. Teams have been able to do this but only with riders on the long list of starters sent to the race ahead of the start mentioned above. In 2016 teams can make a late sub before the start with anyone on their roster, so you could get Contador or anyone else being inserted into a team late, a way to spring a tactical surprise. In reality it won’t change much but means a team hit by, say, a virus that takes out several riders. The bigger question for 2016 is whether the new points system emerges, loyal readers will remember this was buried in a PDF on the UCI website and abandoned within days after it took team managers by surprise.

This rule could have let Cannondale-Garmin sub in an extra rider for the recent Tour of Utah once Tom Danielson left on the eve of the race. Has he tested positive? Presumably but there’s no news on the USADA website of his suspension nor is he listed on the UCI website as provisionally suspended. Much has been made of the quote by Jonathan Vaughters that a positive test could spell the end of the entire team. It was a foolish thing to say and would be a foolish thing to do. The idea of stopping everyone else from trying to do their job because of one person’s mistake is unfair on many levels. But the kernel of the idea is that if a rider did resort to doping then it’s because they’ve not got the support nor the education needed and this does pose fundamental questions about a team.

One rule in place already affects the upcoming Tour de l’Avenir. Various nations have been announcing their selections for the U23 stage race that’s a mini-Tour de France and late-season jobs fair. A rule change means pro riders can take part and we’re seeing World Tour riders being selected among the various squads. This seems totally wrong: if you’ve made it to the World Tour already you should be racing there and don’t need an amateur event. It’s not the race’s decision, the UCI has changed the rules and over the years the field has varied, in the past it accepted pros under 25.

Finally from the race of the future to a race against time and there’s still no news on Europcar. The deadline for riders to stay loyal to Bernaudeau has passed. France’s Le Journal du Dimanche reported yesterday that one potential sponsor in France has said no and Bernaudeau could be going to Britain this week to find a sponsor.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Edward Taylor Monday, 17 August 2015, 1:49 pm

    “In 2016 teams can make a late sub before the start with anyone on their roster, so you could get Contador or anyone else being inserted into a team late, a way to spring a tactical surprise” or react to a doping positive…

    • Edward Taylor Monday, 17 August 2015, 1:51 pm

      or a failed cortisol heath check

  • Eduardo L Monday, 17 August 2015, 3:16 pm

    What was the argument that allowed WT riders to race Tour de l’Avenir?

    • Sam Monday, 17 August 2015, 4:21 pm

      Yeah, I’d like to know too

      Cant see the rhyme or reason for this change

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 17 August 2015, 8:33 pm

      Wish I knew too.

  • HWSB Monday, 17 August 2015, 3:16 pm

    The rare-sighted Špilak also blossoms each spring.

  • Shawn Monday, 17 August 2015, 3:27 pm

    Seems as though Jurgen Van den Broeck could be more valuable on the market, if he embraced a change of roles to top domestique. Let a team leader suck his wheel (for a change).

  • Strictly Amateur Monday, 17 August 2015, 4:02 pm

    Also, today is the start of the USA PRO CHALLENGE (Think, Tour of Colorado). My stomping ground.

    Who will win?

    With Tom Danielson out of Utah it was nice to see Joe Dombrowski step up.

    • ccotenj Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 2:20 am

      dunno who will win the race overall, but it made this cycling fan happy to see taylor cross the line first today… 🙂

  • Larry T. Monday, 17 August 2015, 4:17 pm

    ” The idea of stopping everyone else from trying to do their job because of one person’s mistake is unfair on many levels. ” This trope (or better – tripe?) is trotted out pretty much EVERY time someone gets caught cheating. Until pro cycling gets over the idea that doping is always “one person’s mistake” it will suffer from lack of sponsor interest. I’m starting to think ONLY if everyone else loses their job because of “one person’s mistake” can this problem ever be resolved. Who is more likely to know a guy is cheating than his teammates who ride with him all the time? Who is more likely to be concerned this guy is putting the entire team at risk? Peer pressure was/is a big factor in creating the doping issues, peer pressure will be needed to end them.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 17 August 2015, 4:58 pm

      If some on your street / or town does something stupid you wouldn’t accept being made unemployed because of it. An innocent rider, mechanic etc will be the same when some cretin on their team dopes yet they’ve done nothing wrong.

      Perhaps the fear of making a whole team unemployed will deter some from doping but it doesn’t reach everyone.

      • SeeingElvis Monday, 17 August 2015, 6:24 pm

        “But the kernel of the idea is that if a rider did resort to doping then it’s because they’ve not got the support nor the education needed and this does pose fundamental questions about a team.”

        It would be very sad indeed to see an entire squad terminated by the reckless actions of one individual.
        Cannondale/Garmin has not had a very good year, to say the least, and much has been said about the reduced presence of Mr. Vaughters.
        But I suspect that no amount of support and education can prevent a certain rider from crossing the line- in this case, if Danielson is indeed guilty of the infraction, he would have to be desperate beyond reason, or pathological. It is odd that it is not on the USADA or UCI records yet, thanks for that. I assume that it is probably not cost-effective nor practical for a team to internally keep tabs on a rider’s blood values 24/7.

      • Larry T. Monday, 17 August 2015, 7:42 pm

        That’s a flimsy argument Mr. Inrng. Someone on my street or in my town is far, far different than someone on a sports team. Sure, some innocents would be temporarily unemployed but I’d suggest that it would take only one or two examples to be made (perhaps that light-blue clad squad that had so many doping positives that it was said they should be kicked out?) before this problem would be pretty much gone. The cost/benefit ratio at present is just too skewed in favor of cheaters.

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 17 August 2015, 8:33 pm

          But there’s a good chance many riders on the team haven’t raced with Danielson all season. Far from being in on the conspiracy with him they might not have met him since the team launch camp so hitting them for his mistakes is a novel form of punishment, what are they expected to do in order to keep their jobs?

          • Larry T. Monday, 17 August 2015, 11:43 pm

            I think my point has not been clear. You keep your job by applying peer pressure to play by the rules. Your teammate is suddenly flying, ripping the cranks off the bike. Perhaps you remind him (or better, before he dopes and makes this improbably improvement) with the idea everyone will in fact, lose their jobs if he or anyone else on the team is caught cheating. How often do we hear about “I didn’t want to let the team down?” It’s high time some of that is applied to cheating….as in NOT. You could argue that JV made this threat years ago, but now he’s failed to follow through on it…kind of the same thing with UCI and that blue-clad team. The cheaters know the risks are small compared to the benefits..so far BigTex is still sitting on his $millions after all and does anyone doubt he’s got plenty more stashed away in some untouchable tax haven, so even if he loses the US/Landis lawsuit he’ll be set for life?

          • Gargatouf Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 10:56 am

            I’m a pretty cynical man, I imagine that if you decide to dope, you don’t really care about how your actions are going to impact on others, because you are doing it for yourself.
            I don’t know Tom Danielson, but I imagine that if he has doped, he’s done it because he wanted to win races which would bring the glory, the money etc… I’m sure he doesn’t care what happens to the mechanics, soigneurs, bus drivers etc… of his team.

        • Canocola Monday, 17 August 2015, 10:01 pm

          There are two problems with collective punishment.

          First, it encourages teams to actively cover up doping if they suspect it, rather than hanging a rider out to dry. It also rewards teams who bring doping professionally ‘in house’ to prevent errors, rather than those who leave individuals to risk being caught on their own. Neither change seems particularly welcome – my suspicion is that it would simply put us back a decade.

          Secondly, it doesn’t increase the jeopardy for the doping rider one iota. He’s already going to be banned, and if the rules are changed to ban his entire team then, hey, guess what? He’ll cop exactly the same ban he would have got before. These people are already willing to risk their entire career, so why does anyone think they’d hesitate to throw their teammates under the bus? They’re already denying at least clean rider a chance to ride for the team, so what’s a few more going to matter?

          • Larry T. Monday, 17 August 2015, 11:52 pm

            Getting all hung up on protecting the innocent team members is the issue of too much focus and one exploited by the cheaters and the management. The “hanging the rider out to dry” is exactly the problem! He takes his lumps (and the money he made from cheating) and sits out awhile. The teams use the “actions of a lone cheater, unknown to us” excuse and move on…kind of like that blue-clad team did.
            Second, it does make a difference – NOBODY would take a guy who brought down an entire team once his suspension is served. The risks are now way too high. Draconian? Sure, but doing the same old thing and expecting different results is the definition of …well, you know. I promise no more on this, really!

          • J Evans Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 11:41 am

            I can see Larry’s points – this would deter many – but I also think Canocola’s two concerns would come to pass.
            That’s why I favour a lifetime ban – or, if the UCI won’t do that, the teams could make a unilateral agreement to not employ anyone caught doping.
            That way, the punishment is solely on the rider – and their career would be over.
            This would be draconian enough to prevent most from cheating and at the very least would prevent cheats from sitting out a few months/years and then returning to earn more money/ruin more races.
            If WADA won’t agree to this, cycling should just do it independently. If that means coming out of WADA (and losing the Olympics), it’s still worth doing (we have the World Championships and don’t really need the Olympics).
            I would also favour stricter punishments for the teams concerned, but – except where team-doping is proven – I think it’s unfair to destroy an entire team based on one rider.
            (Teams and other team mates might well have no idea that a rider is doping – certainly, there was nothing in Danielson’s form to suggest that he was doping.)
            As with the Tour de l’Avenir, the UCI seems to have no clue as to what is good for cycling.

      • Andy W Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 11:35 am

        But how often do we get the comment that ‘the whole peloton knew he was doping’, ‘it was obvious to everyone in the team’, etc when someone gets done for doping ?

        There is of course a risk that a rival (even within a team…) might maliciously inform on someone innocent, but what happened to the UCI’s initiative to get riders to report their suspicions of other riders ?

        Some teams seem to operate a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy at best – wasn’t Oleg reported to have said “do what you like, just don’t get caught doping” ?

    • Alex Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 8:02 am

      Vicariously transmitted sanction is not an appropriate response to anything but clear systemic /endemic and serious breach(es) of conduct within an organisation and when a complete shut down of a department or organisation is necessary to effect.

      Else it’s akin to an employee in a company stealing (say from a customer) without other employees knowing, and the resulting sanction is to sack all the company’s employees. Say you work in IT support and not on the front service counter where the rogue employee works. It makes very little sense.

      Vaughter’s foolish statement was, as one other put it, akin to a politician’s campaign promise.

      If you are on a team and find out your team mate is doping, what incentive is there you lose your job by coming forward? None. What would be better is development of a culture whereby if an employee does witness/suspect a breach or breaches, they have secure and safe means by which to deal with it and not feel they have compromised their own position by doing so.

      Besides, upping sanction severity (be they individual sanctions or vicariously transmitted to their team) is a solution looking at the wrong end of the problem and will have little effect while ever the risk of doping detection remains low.

      Significantly increase the risk of doping detection however and even the older more limited doping sanctions would work very well indeed. IOW it’s the risk doping detection that needs enhancement, not the resulting sanctions.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 12:30 pm

        ‘Significantly increase the risk of doping detection however and even the older more limited doping sanctions would work very well indeed. IOW it’s the risk doping detection that needs enhancement, not the resulting sanctions.’

        You’re absolutely right in saying this. However, it does not seem possible to do this, at present: there are an awful lot more suspicious cases than punished cases.

        In the absence of this ‘holy grail’, a life ban would at least deter many more than the current punishments. And mean the cheats don’t return.

        No doubt there would be a few ‘wrong convictions’, but that’s a necessary evil.

  • Special Eyes Monday, 17 August 2015, 4:57 pm

    Things must be pretty desperate for Europcar if they’re coming over to Britain for ££ sponsorship !
    Unless there are potential wealthy benefactors in the Square Mile of France’s sixth largest city..?

    • Daniel Palmer Monday, 17 August 2015, 6:20 pm

      I agree with your comment regarding Bernaudeau visiting Britain on the off chance of finding sponsorship money, it does grind with the French DNA of the team, however it makes business sense.
      He is now selling a product – exposure, naming rights etc – that has got a lot cheaper for UK firms since the October 2014 (correct me if wrong) announcement that Europcar were not renewing. The exchange rate was £1/€1.26 then, it is now £1/€1.41 , this means the lower end of the pledge required – €3m – is now at a £250,000 ‘discount’ for UK firms.
      Personally I think the answer is Eurosport, they could cross-market the team on its TV platform and it dovetails with their pledge to be “The Home of Cycling”. It would also increase brand awareness of a broadcasting company that lets not forget has just bought the future Olympic rights in Europe. There is also a history of cycling sponsorship within the company’s DNA, although they might not want to use the Discovery Channel name…

      • Darrin Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 8:36 am

        I dont think Eurosport ‘get’ the concept of sponsorship or advertising – they just pulled their channels from numericable/Sfr (cable company) in France to leave them exclusively as canalsat offerings. Not sure that cutting reducing the number of viewers is a brilliant move.

    • MultiplexRant Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 12:55 pm

      Not the main point, but the whole London-is-France’s-6th-city trope/BoJo bluster was roundly demolished by BBC’s More or Less – it’s more like the 60th biggest.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01w26gt

      Off pedantry and back on topic, I’m intrigued at the prospect of a very French team getting a UK sponsor. Cycling still has an odd image here, not quite reconciling the national hero status of Wiggins & Cav with the traditional view of a sport for weirdo continentals of questionable morals who reinfuse themselves with their own blood.

      I’m thinking of something more niche than SKY, a brand which will resonate with the ATGNI ‘cycling-is-the-new-golf-course’ crew – perhaps a big investment fund, or a manufacturer of pink shirts with white collars.

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:18 pm

        Cycling’s time as “the new Golf” is long over. Something to be thankful for!

  • DNF Monday, 17 August 2015, 5:09 pm

    Re: Danielson

    I don’t know of this true, but I read or heard somewhere that Danielson’s nickname in the peloton is “The-Double-Digit-IQ-cyclist”.

    And also, Jonathan Vaughters in an interview (I think in Cycling News) was saying that the guy isn’t too bright.

    … So, in light of these allegations, his doping seems to be more a sad case than a mistake.

    Yes, as said Inrng, a lack of support and education from his directeurs might have been the problem.

    (Please excuse my English)

    • DNF Monday, 17 August 2015, 5:10 pm

      ” I don’t know if this is true” (…)

    • GB Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 3:50 am

      Inrng’s joke in an earlier post about Danielson’s positive being a prank call was funny at the time, but now I’m legitimately wondering. 😛

      I really wish these organisations would get better with their website presence and maintenance. It’s not like employing people with these skills is difficult. (I’m always looking for new work, for instance…)

    • MultiplexRant Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:09 pm

      I always like Danielson because he once raced the Tour with a small plastic triceratops stuck on his handlebars (a promise to his son).

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 4:08 pm

        The son he left recently to be with a podium girl!

  • channel_zero Monday, 17 August 2015, 7:48 pm

    The Arctic Race of Norway is one new event, surfing the new wave of Norwegian petrodollars

    Operated/owned by ASO. That is the surest way to get a new race on the WT calendar.

    • MultiplexRant Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:08 pm

      True, but it helps that the races they put on tend to be pretty good, with decent organisation and interesting courses.

  • Anonymous Monday, 17 August 2015, 8:29 pm

    I probably overlook something, but why should USADA suspend Danielsson? The Team already pulled him out oft racing. Do the federations suspend riders, when the team already suspended them? I’ d guess they asked the team, got told he is suspended (which I’d think is important for the team, as it probably means they can stop to pay the salary) and that was that. Wasn’t that exactly the problem with Kreutziger last year, that his Team wanted to force UCI’s hand with letting him ride again? And only then he got the suspension?

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 17 August 2015, 8:31 pm

      He’s got a positive A-sample for testosterone and in cycling a rider is suspended following the A-sample revelation. Kreuziger is very different, it was over the opening of a bio-passport prosecution case.

    • Andy W Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 1:32 pm

      A few years ago Vino was caught and promptly chucked off the TdF

      So he retired and the UCI decided not to bother doing anything – why waste time and money banning a retired rider ?

      So he promptly un-retired….

  • Joe K. Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 6:44 am

    Last week’s Eneco Tour was very entertaining,…more so than the Arctic Tour of Norway. Seemed like everyday there was a high calibre good breakaway down the road with a suspense filled ending, and everyone riding hard and competitively on a challenging parcours borrowed heavily from the spring classics. Perhaps this is the shorter stage race of the future, with an emphasis on quality over quantity?

  • piwakawaka Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 8:50 am

    The only way to stop doping is a lifetime professional ban. There are literally millions of athletes just waiting to take the place of these cheats, ban them for life. First time, every time.

    Arctic and Enerco Tour were both excellent.

    • noel Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:04 pm

      it seems there is a case for that with the muscle-building steroid type of abuse (reading lots of things about Gatlin for example…) giving an advantage that doesn’t go away after 2 or 4 years… it seems a bit draconian, and might result in endless court cases as athletes try to prove ‘accidental/sabotage’ type excuses, but maybe it’s what we need to make the penny drop with some… a 2 year ban is clearly no deterrent…

    • MultiplexRant Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:06 pm

      Instinctively I agree with the argument – I remember all the nonsensical debate around Dwain Chambers returning to athletics after his doping ban, many pundits saying he shouldn’t – well, morally perhaps not but he served his ban and was entitled to compete professionally again. The ire should’ve been directed at the rule.

      BUT – a common counter argument brings in those who unwittingly or mistakenly took something on the banned list (like that snowboarder chap with his asthma medicine), or non-performance enhancers (e.g. that other snowboarder chap busted for Mary Jane). Are they acceptable collateral damage?

      A bigger question regards a sport like cycling or athletics where doping is allegedly endemic – does it make sense to have a kind of de-Ba’athification and bring the whole house down, or should there be a rehabilitative approach?

      I genuinely don’t know where I stand on this.

    • sam Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:32 pm

      Still wouldn’t stamp out doping.

      The mentality is ‘I wont get caught’ or ‘I’m protected by my federation, they’ll make the AAF go away’ (see Kenya, Russia, for 2 examples, according to whistleblowers and investigating journos)

      Plus the attitude of ‘I can make my money before I get caught’. For many athletes from very poor backgrounds, the reward of making their money and setting themselves and their families up for life, well outweigh the risk of getting popped.

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:38 pm

        But would reduce it.
        And they couldn’t then come back.
        A lot of upsides; few downsides.

        • Sam Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 6:38 pm

          and there will always be a river of athletes stepping forward to replace them

          I’d vote for life-time bans for serious first offences – but I’m under no illusion it would stop doping.

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 10:37 pm

            ‘reduce’

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 10:39 pm

            Hopefully a river of clean(er) athletes – that’s the point.

      • noel Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 4:02 pm

        clearly, away from the length of bans, somehow the whole testing issue needs to be taken out of the hands of both natl federations, and sports organisers/promoters… I’m guessing politically that’ll be too difficult ever to achieve (and financially too…)

    • J Evans Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:37 pm

      For me, a life ban would be for a performance enhancing drug (and blood doping) – not something like coke.
      The only way to stop the endless court cases would be to make the rule that ‘accidental/sabotage’ type excuses are not valid – and cyclists would have to sign a legally binding contract saying that they agree to this.
      That’d be harsh on some, of course – but, in all honesty, how many of the ‘accidental/sabotage’ type excuses you’ve heard in the past do you believe?
      Actually, I can only think of F Schleck using the ‘I was poisoned’ line (but there might be others).
      Something like Impey’s incident last year would just be tough luck (and were you 100% certain you believed him? Or even 70%?). Perhaps this would also cut down on the culture of cyclists putting so much weird stuff in themselves.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 1:42 pm

        The new ban for “heavy doping” like EPO, blood doping, steroids etc is four years. This is pretty much a life ban as few athletes will be able to keep training hard at home during the ban without an income to return.

        • J Evans Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 2:16 pm

          Crucially, it’s not a life ban.
          Many top cyclists would still have enough money to keep training hard and return.
          And a young cyclist, e.g. 20 years old, would not view this as a life ban – and a comeback would be possible.
          Also, it should be for ‘light doping’ too. We’re still tacitly accepting doping.
          I’ve still never heard a good reason not to make it a life ban (aside from the WADA concern, which for me isn’t a good reason).
          It’s not *the* solution, by any means, but it would reduce doping, so why not do it?

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 2:44 pm

            You just have to look at history or at the various justice systems: heavy sentences don’t stop the offenses. In some places on this planet, as a sentence, you can loose your life. Undoubtedly the heaviest sentence of all-if your logic would work, crime would stop in these places. It doesn’t, because humans don’t function this way. If a person is really close to decide to start doping, they will always think: “I am too smart to get caught” or “I will be lucky, they won’t catch me”. In other words, they will always find a reason to believe it is worth the risk. And the people who have doubts about doping and cheating, who wrestle with their conscience, will be deterred by any sentence. I honestly think with a lifetime ban you get only more and heavier doping and traficking, because when your future is on the line anyway, no matter what you do, you can go as well all in. Honestly, I think it is a false conclusion to think with heavier sentences you get less offenses. All you will get is heavier crimes in my mind.

          • J Evans Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 3:07 pm

            I’m not saying ‘stop’; I’m saying ‘reduce’. I’ve made that clear.
            I’m not convinced that one can compare cheating in sports with crime in general. There are so many different factors involved in crime: to name one, the level of desperation involved is significantly different.
            Also, to use your logic, is a 20 year sentence for bank robbery more of a deterrent than a 1 year sentence?
            Back to cycling, as we have seen, when there is little chance of detection and little punishment, cheating is rife.
            Increasing these two things has reduced doping.
            People won’t ‘always think’ anything – they’ll react in different ways. If you increase the punishment, some will decide not to do it; some will decide – as you say – to go all in. However, by doing that they increase their risk of detection.

  • Pete Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 8:58 am

    I was wondering if there was any feedback from the riders on the trials of disc-brake fitted bikes at the Eneco Tour?

    • Special Eyes Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 11:55 am
      • Larry T. Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 5:30 pm

        The mechanic comment on the discs was pretty much what I predicted would happen – bike changes rather than wheel changes. No problem UNTIL the pro bikes are totally redesigned so the wheels can be swapped F1 style (think Cannondale’s LEFTY front and rear) Functionally just fine, aesthetically an abomination!

        • Nick Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 5:23 pm

          Well, functionally a clear improvement, aesthetically each to their own, I reckon.

  • LukasCPH Monday, 24 August 2015, 7:16 pm

    The “rule change” allowing pro riders to ride the Tour de l’Avenir (and other Nations Cup races) isn’t one. The rules for Nations Cup participation (2.14.019) have been the same since the inception of the Nations Cup in 2007 – the only change for this year was the mostly cosmetic change from “UCI ProTeam” to “UCI WorldTeam”.

    There have been several ProTeam riders participating in the Nations Cup over the years:
    Cataldo (2007 Avenir; Liquigas)
    Roux (2008 GP Portugal, Avenir; FDJ)
    Taaramäe (2008 GP Portugal; Cofidis)
    Coppel (2008 Avenir; FDJ)
    Smukulis (2009 Saguenay; AG2R La Mondiale)
    Wellens (2012 Avenir; Lotto-Belisol (from July))
    Vervaeke (2014 Avenir; Lotto-Belisol (from July))

    Plus a couple of ProConti:
    Rui Costa (2007 LBL, Regioni, Avenir, 2008 Avenir; Benfica)
    Nelson Oliveira (2010 GP Portugal, Regioni; Xacobeo-Galicia)
    Mathéou (2010 Regioni; Saur-Sojasun)
    Chaves (2010 Avenir; Colombia es Pasión)
    Carbel (2015 ZLM Roompot Tour; CULT Energy)
    Pedersen (2015 Ronde, Côte Picarde, ZLM Roompot Tour, Avenir; CULT Energy)

    None of these cases were as extreme as that of Sebastián Henao who has finished two GTs already; but he hardly sets a precedent.
    I DO think that the rules should be changed. Either allow U23 neo-pros only in their first pro year, or simply exclude all riders with a pro contract (meaning only Conti & amateur riders are eligible).

    E.g. in France even Conti riders are considered “pros” by the national federation (http://www.directvelo.com/actualite/45552-tour-de-l-avenir-la-presence-d-henao-fait-debat.html) – should they be banned too?

    Change the rules for the future? Yes.
    Beat Colombia up for wanting to win the race? No.