Monday Shorts

Christophe Riblon Tour de Pologne

Christophe Riblon wasn’t supposed to win yesterday’s stage of the Tour of Poland. Having won on Alpe d’Huez 10 days ago he was set to cash in on his status as France’s best rider in the Tour de France – stage win and the Supercombativity prize – by riding a series of post-Tour criteriums.

But Jean-Christophe Péraud’s crash during the Embrun-Chorges time trial meant the team finished the race without many UCI points and so Riblon was sent to Poland with the aim of picking up some points. A stage win is one way to do this but a high overall position matters more, for example Riblon took six points for his stage win but he’ll get 10 points if he can finish ninth overall.

The team is improving and Carlos Betancur raked up the points in the Giro and could well win many more in the Vuelta. There’s now talk of signing Rui Costa and Sylvain Chavanel although it’s one thing to offer a contract, another to make it worth signing. It’s a far cry from the days when the team was hunting for Iranian riders with UCI points to stay in the top flight.

UCI Rankings
As it happens all the top teams should not have to worry about their rankings too much. With both Vacansoleil-DCM and Eusktaltel-Eusakdi likely to stop at the end of the year it means relegation for other squads should be less of a worry, more so since there are no squads looking for promotion into the top-18 teams either. With 19 teams currently thanks to the Katusha case, the number is fixed at 18 for next year but could actually be 17 given the likes of Europcar and IAM are content with wildcard invitations.

Bad jobs market
What’s good news for team owners is less encouraging for riders and their agents. With teams folding there’s an excess supply of riders on the market and with no new teams – beyond Oleg Tinkov’s twitter dreams- it means rider agents are finding it one of the quietest transfer markets for some time and wages are not going up for riders with a haul of points.

Movistar De Lux?
If Euskaltel-Euskadi vanishes then Spain is left with only one top team in Movistar. The good news is that Movistar look set to stay and could get a budget increase to secure the services of Nairo Quintana and more for years to come. I also understand that Movistar is considering a move to Luxembourg; the team will remain Spanish in all other senses but could register in Luxembourg for tax purposes which might allow its budget to reach further. Astana is already registered in the Duchy rather than Kazakhstan or Italy where it has its service course.

Erik Fabel

That’s Erik Zabel commenting on Dennis Galimzyanov’s positive EPO test 15 months ago. The German’s losing several jobs in the wake of his forced confession but has yet to quit his role at Katusha.

Apologies for the downtime with the website during the past 24 hours. There were mutant levels of readership in July – 1.2 million page loads if it means anything – and the monthly bandwidth allowance got eaten up. This after May when the bandwidth subscription was already increased following a busy Giro.

On a related point, note a few spam messages are getting through the filter from time to time. There are roughly 20 spam comments for every real one and the software filter is 99% good at separating the real from the phoney so you don’t get to see the junk messages for counterfeit goods. But a few have been getting through of late and have to get manually deleted. If you see a weird comment with links to sunglasses or handbags think twice before clicking on any links in the message. It’s annoying but also strangely fascinating, the underworld of fake handbags and sunglasses, scams and more. It looks so bogus and futile even but obviously someone’s making money from it otherwise it wouldn’t happen.

27 thoughts on “Monday Shorts”

  1. Congratulations INRNG on your increasing popularity, it is well deserved!

    A revamped AG2R-LM with Costa and Chavenel on board would be a good bet for GC podiums in 2014, I hope it comes to pass, they are probably my favourite team in the world tour in terms of aggressiveness, panache or ‘attractiveness’ as it seems to be known now. There was talk last year of a possible second UK-based world tour team, does anyone know anything about that?

  2. Had no idea Zabel was actively commenting on others EPO use, especially after his own (probably widely known) use of blood boosters. A few noteable people are now saying he wasn’t exactly the most likeable character either, looks like its good for the sport he’s finally had to admit it & “good Luck&dont Comeback!” in the man’s very own words.

    • Stuart O’Grady has made plenty of comments about busted dopers over the years and was just about to sign a document saying he had never doped as part of joining an Aust. Olympic Committee advisory group.
      I’m not surprised these guys can ‘forget’ there own doping, but when they comment on other riders who get caught, how do they hide from the personal hypocrisy?

      • Firstly, for those who would throw O’Grady and Zabel under a bus for lying for 15 years; Of course they frikken lied. To do otherwise would have meant the instantaneous dissolution of thier careers. I’m not saying that it’s not wrong, I’m merely pointing out the blindingly obvious about thier motivations.
        Regarding Zabel and O’Grady’s subsequent commetary about other dopers, here’s an alternative scenario;
        Perhaps after living and participating through a period where doping was clearly endemic, and having perhaps left that period in theirs lives behind they were upholding the standards of the day by suggesting that dopers post say 2009 have no place in the peleton. Certainly Zabel would be feeling this keenly as his son is now racing. Yes, you might say that it’s hypocritical, but I’d hedge that it’s a reasonable deduction.
        An imperfect metaphor might be thus:
        Ask a war veteran if it’s ok to kill someone…

        • Well said mouse.

          I’m quite amazed how many people see the act of doping/cheating as entirely removed from the act of lying/covering up, proclaiming that riders who follow the former with the latter are doubly bad (or worse).

          When you properly examine the cumulative effect of all the structural elements at play, there should be very little surprise or outrage that someone who has doped will subsequently be dishonest about it.

  3. AG2R from spreadsheet to panache, who’d of thought it? Congrats to them, good to see the change in direction paying off so handsomely.

  4. Congratulations on the increased number of views – well deserved.

    Your ‘Monday shorts’ could possibly have included the recent underhand machinations of PMcQ and two of the more obscure federations. This is yet another clear illustration of why this man should be removed from any position within the UCI, at the earliest possible moment. I guess we should not be too surprised, but if this proposition is accepted by the management committee, then cycling’s problems and its image are far greater than many could have imagined.

    • I don’t mind a nomination process that means asking for more support before standing. But to suggest this after nominations have closed and impose a retrospective aspect is bizarre. All changes to the UCI constitution need a two thirds majority which will be near impossible to get. So the idea is probably doomed anyway. But odd to see it accepted by the management committee, the risk is this blows up as a naked attempt to change the election rules midway because Pat McQuaid lost Irish support and his Swiss nomination might not be as firm has he has claimed.

  5. The constant stories of pro teams standing on a cliff edge with their sponsorship deals seems like a vicious circle that needs to be addressed. I get the impression that the numbers involved are so small when compared to a) the size of big businesses that shun cycling and b) other sports and the sponsorship they negotiate. The UCI should be working day and night to get the big guns involved beyond clothing / individual rider deals.. On a hypothetical watch list of teams at risk most of the safer ones are still at the whim of an individual too (OPQS, BMC).

  6. I’m with BC, until pro cycling gets its house in order by replacing the crooks currently running the show, sponsors will be hard to come by. That said, having just 12 at the top level would make a lot more sense anyway. Let the underfunded programs vie for the wildcard places and allow the organizers to select, say 6 of them, making 18 teams X 9 riders for a more reasonable peloton size. If some lesser riders can’t make a big salary, too bad. Too many think the late LeMond and BigTex era was, and should be, the norm rather than the anomaly it was.

  7. I didn’t realize that we Gentle Readers gobbled up all the bandwidth. Just thought that you were taking in a well deserved break after the Tour. 🙂

  8. I thought the Eurocar were looking for a cosponsor to up their game which to me ment going pro tour
    Also in every other sport teams get funding from the events they take part in. I understand that races are also closing but the GCs should at least help fund the teams that make their events.

  9. Another excellent set of shorts. I’m sure the McQ story is a single one in itself, and may not bear writing about until we’ve seen the outcome. It’s shameful of course, but then I’ve long since given up expecting anything but underhand tactics from him. The fact he thinks he’s still the right man to run cycling says all you need to know about him, but given his record I fully expect the amendment to get through, and for him, like Blatter, to be re-elected, even if the sport is ruined because of it.

    Glad the readership is up, sorry the bandwidth suffered!

  10. What pisses me off about toe rags like Zabel, Jalabert, Riis and countless others is that they took the cheers from the crowds, they stood on the podium whilst other “clean” pros were still riding in. They earned the big salaries and the endorsements and the sponsors freebies etc. etc. etc. They influenced and changed the races and the racing for a generation and retire quietly to enjoy their spoils and take up a new position using their “Name” no doubt as a big influence. Now the tide has gone out, don’t expect any sympathy from me you lying, cheating two faced toe rags. I would have you down the mines doing an honest days work. As for making comments on other riders habits, well remember you of the famous mullet, you have NO room to talk!

  11. The bad job market is good news for Vacansoleil manager Daan Luijkx. In an interview with RTL Nieuws he says he is still negotiating with several parties and that if in the meantime several star riders sign elsewhere, he can promise the new sponsor that it will be really easy to find suitable replacements. (If I were to sign as the new sponsor for the team, I would demand some changes though. The team is under performing.)

    Some other transfer stuff:
    – Rabobank was a Dutch sponsor for a team with mainly Dutch riders. Now the US company Belkin sponsors a team with still mainly Dutch riders and no Americans. I guess Belkin would like to see that chance?

    – If wonder if a good reputation when it comes to doping and business can help teams in negotiations? Say Kittel can make 20% more by going from well regarded Argos-Shimano to shady Astana. Is the extra money worth all the difficult questions about doping and human rights in Kazakhstan?

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