Sunday Shorts

amstel curacao 2013

Johnny Hoogerland and Ellen van Dijk win the Amstel Curacao race. It’s a fun end of season event although the new Saitama criterium seems to have eclipsed it for zany photo opportunities

Hoogerland is the reigning Dutch champion but has had a hard year, he’s only cracked the top-20 just four times in 2013. He’s off to join Cannondale Androni Giocattoli for 2014 and we’ll see if he gets a fresh start. Otherwise he’ll be known for that Tour de France crash and tangling with a barbed wire fence – I gather the legal case is still ongoing.

Some riders can become famous for negative incidents. Wim van Est for example won the Tour of Flanders and several stages of the Tour de France but is probably remembered by more as the-rider-who-was-rescued-by-a-rope made from knotted tyres after he crashed on the Aubisque.

Tink-on, Tink-off
Talking of rescue stunts, a report this morning in La Gazzetta Dello Sport said Oleg Tinkov was buying the Saxo team from Bjarne Riis for €7 million… only for the team’s press spokesman to say no.
Why pay €7 million? A pro team has few assets beyond a team bus and a collection of used spanners. Sure the riders are assets in some respects but in others they represent the wage bill, a payment to be met. With Alberto Contador already the target of Tinkov’s vulture-tweeting, the idea of paying this much to acquire the team sounds odd. The only aspect is queue jumping, with Tinkov planning to set up a squad for 2015, this allows him to start in 2014. If it were true.

The Chicken comes home to roost
Michael Rasmussen’s “Yellow Fever” book has certainly got publicity. Only it has been overtaken by the revelations it generated with the book and Rasmussen himself almost forgotten once the story of Ryder Hesjedal was flushed out.

But not to be outdone Rasmussen is going on TV tonight and is expected to name more names.

Truth and recrimination
A rider comes forward and confesses to past mistakes in hearings with anti-doping agencies. The world gets to hear about this and the rider gets slammed. You can understand why Hesjedal’s reputation has taken a knock but it illustrates perfectly well why any truth and reconciliation process is going to fail. Nobody has an incentive to come forward… unless they feel they’ll flushed out by someone else in which case they’ll admit in a stage-managed fashion.

Book test
It’s said police and judicial actions catch more dopers than blood and urine tests. But how many stories have been exposed by book deals?

Verbruggen sets the record straight
On the subject of prolific writers, ex-UCI President Hein Verbruggen has been known for his letter writing, for example his Olympic rant. But he’s not got a good press in recent years. He’s trying to set the record straight with a farewell letter, a copy of which can be seen in Italian on Tuttobici. Close the door on the way please Hein.

Sky sign Sebastián Henao

On to more optimistic matters. Sky have signed Sebastián Henao on a two year deal. He’s 20 and if the name is familiar, it’s because he’s the brother… or cousin of Sergio. A pro already with the Colombia Coldesportes team back in Colombia, he won the best young rider prize in the national tour earlier this year. Presumably Sky haven’t picked him by results alone or family connections but have tested him and reviewed power data. The signing has yet to be announced but Sebastián tells local TV he’s joined for two years.

Thomas Boudat
One year younger than Henao Jnr and still an amateur, Frenchman Thomas Boudat was amongst those impressing in this weekend’s round of the track cycling world cup in Manchester, Britain. In the omnium Boudat took the points race and the elimination round. He’s racing on the track but has been signed by Vendée-U, the feeder team for Europcar.

A first year senior on the road Boudat is a sprinter and reigning French university cycling champion, as well as seventh in the junior worlds last year. He’s been the Vélo d’Or for both U-16 and Junior riders in France along the way. More recently he had a heavy crash in the Paris-Vierzon race in September but has obviously recovered. One to watch.

22 thoughts on “Sunday Shorts”

      • I think the fresh start thing you mention is an important aspect; Hoogerland didn’t like being ‘the barbed wire guy’ in the Dutch media. He’s also no

        But it’s also true that with Androni he doesn’t have to help any team leader and he gets to race in Italy a lot, which suits his preferred style of long attacks on hilly terrain.

  1. TRC will work, but the penalties post-TRC for anyone not coming forward or not telling the whole story during TRC have to be extremely harsh (as in banned from any capacity within the sport, and regardless of statute of limitations).

    • What’s the mechanism for penalizing the hedging cheats? A harsh TRC means nobody says a word.

      The federation answers to no one, a TRC’s goal is to be another pretense (fraud) to restore credibility.

      • That’s why I said ‘post-TRC.’ The idea is that you give everyone clemency but only until a certain point in time. After that, any past transgressions that are found can then be punished in an extremely harsh manner.

        The lack of potential sponsors in cycling is centrally linked to this problem. The slow ‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach to doping which is going on now means that no sponsors from outside cycling are willing to come in because they know that the next revelation is just around the corner. Also, with TRC even potentially looming, it also creates a massive disincentive for anyone to put their money into cycling until the ghosts are out and then forest has been burnt down so to speak.

  2. Velorooms has an older interview with The Chicken that gave me the strong impression he isn’t hedging like so many confessed or outed dopers. (ex. Ryder, a number of affadavits.)

    I hope the book makes it to English. I will actually buy this one.

  3. If Tinkoff buys the Saxo team, would the Saxo riders – Contador specifically – have an escape from their contracts? A “change of control” provision? If Contador really did cut his salary in half to save the team after Tinkoff pulled out, he would presumably be pretty put out at a subsequent sale to that same Tinkoff who now gets his services at half price.

  4. TRC will prove unworkable for 2 reasons:

    1) As INRNG rightly says, people won’t admit until they’re backed into a corner by being outed. If given even the slightest chance of no future exposure vs outing themselves, 99% will take the former gamble – even if it means total banishment in future. That’s just human behaviour.

    2) granting amnesty across the board is going to prove highly tricky at best and totally impossible at worst, given the variance of legal position re doping across global jurisdictions. Furthermore it could create a hell of a difficult precedent for athletes from other sports fighting bans.

  5. Re: Saxo-Tinkoff. Did you see these tweets from yesterday:
    12:44 “It is indeed nice to be rich and famous :-)!!! They writes articles on you around the world, and usually ridiculous stuff, but entertains )”
    21:55 “I believe that Bjarne Riis is the best Sport D`erector in the peloton. I also believe that Alberto Contador is able to win TdF. Regardless.”

  6. Re “But how many stories have been exposed by book deals?”, are you thinking of diverting the cash from anti-doping testing to bribe riders so they dish the dirt then? Everyone loves the chess-on-wheels aspects of cycling, but the game theory implications of this cash-to-trash idea would be even more interesting than the racing 😉

    Re “Close the door on the way please Hein”, I think the expression you’re searching for, is “hope the door hits your arse on the way out.” To be fair, I think the stuffed brown envelopes in his back pocket would help absorb the impact.

Comments are closed.