Friday Shorts

Nairo Quintana’s lost his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding his two tests for Tramadol and the Tour de France disqualification. The transfer market’s been busy of late but his agent’s not finding it easy to place him with a new team.

On the specifics he lost because the hearing was satisfied with the testing procedures in place and said the UCI had the agency to sanction him as the screengrab above from the verdict shows. And that was that. It’s not just hindsight to say he had a difficult case because it always looked that way, especially as he returned two positive tests from separate days. It’s not the end of the matter, there ought to questions of how the opioid got there but since Quintana says he doesn’t know we probably won’t get answers. He hasn’t exhausted the appeal process, there’s always a civil court in Switzerland but here he’d have to prove the arbitration wasn’t fair, that some just part of the procedure was denied to him. In 2024 Tramadol goes on WADA’s banned list.

Nairoman no es un ciclista: Quintana’s now out of work. Remarkably the Arkéa-Samsic team had announced he’d renewed a contract because they’d reached an agreement… but they had yet to sign the deal so once the team got news of the tramadol test, they pulled the contract. It’s not obvious where he’d sign either, it’s mean to say but Quintana is now damaged goods despite being hugely popular in Colombia and probably sans tramadol still capable of a solid top-10 in the Tour de France. Astana were said to be interested before but not this time according to this morning’s L’Equipe (although the same newspaper said a French World Tour team were interested and that’s been shot down). Now he’d come much cheaper, perhaps a second tier team could hire him. This is not a doping infringement so an MPCC-member team could sign him but you’d imagine he’s not exactly going to be flavour of the month when ASO come to awarding wildcards for the Tour or the Vuelta either.

Vine harvest: UAE Emirates are another team to have said no to Quintana’s agent. Still they have been busy in the transfer market and announced the signing of Jay Vine yesterday. It’s a good deal all around with the Australian getting out of what was apparently a minimum wage contract to earn what a grand tour stage winner should be getting. But looked at from the other angle this doesn’t make the team’s recruitment easy to understand. They’ve hired Michael Vink who was thriving on their sponsor’s online riding platform. Now Vine’s a great rider but the sort who can ride away on the mountain stage for the win when they’ve got riders like Tadej Pogačar, João Almeida, Juan Ayuso and Adam Yates who will prefer to have support next to them. Again not to knock Vine who climbs so well he can try to take on this role but it’s not his thing yet. Plus it’s also a real loss for Alpecin-Deceuninck who lose a star climber on a team of sprinters, he gave them range.

Sonner le glaz? The transfer market’s not closed yet and the relegation of Israel and Lotto-Soudal could see moves if any riders exercise break clauses. The big piece left in the transfer market is Mark Cavendish. By now you’ll know that he was linked to the B&B team but this squad has yet to announce the new sponsor. Is there a new sponsor? And if so, how much are they going to put in as this could be the new sticking point. Hotel company B&B is staying for a year but the team’s cut its funding links to the Brittany region as it explores a new Parisian identity and so its survival could be at stake if there’s no additional sponsor or the amount incoming is insufficient. Behind the scenes the UCI application process requires the team to submit 10 rider contracts by 15 October for audit, by 1 November it’s 15 contracts and 20 by 1 December, and these outgoings need to match the signed incoming sponsorship deals. There was talk of a women’s team as well as part of the new project and this could be on the block too.

Celestial moves: moving only a little along the pantone chart, having wondered aloud about how many teams Canyon could sponsor next year, Arkéa-Samsic are switching to Bianchi and their celeste frames. Sure Bianchi seems as Italian as Ferrari or focaccia but it’s actually owned by Swedish company Cycleurope which, as the screengrab above shows, also owns brands like Puch, Gitane and Peugeot. Plus while the Bianchi frames can be achingly beautiful if the celeste is the right tone, it’s not secret to say out loud that Jumbo-Visma and then BikeExchange were happy to move to Cervelo and Giant respectively although to be fair Bianchi’s updated its range since.

Vinge-guarded: the Tour winner’s in Japan for the Saitama exhibition criterium this weekend. He has been like a submarine who’s slipped from sight with barely an appearance since or a media interview  which is confounding given those scenes in Copenhagen and the usual way a Tour winner becomes hot property. Sure he won a stage of the CRO Race and did Lombardia and spoke on the margins of the Singapore criterium last week and is in Saitama this weekend… but he’s yet to sit down for a proper interview. Should he? For him so far it’s just not been a priority, plus he’s spoken about stress and anxiety before. But the more he doesn’t, the more him not giving interviews becomes a story… like this paragraph.

Embed from Getty Images

Chance encounter: finally, to riders who did get pushed around for the media. The Saitama criterium often features cosplay stunts on the eve of the race. In 2013 Chris Froome, Marcel Kittel and others were bussed to a local school that has a strong sumo club, and dressed in cycling shorts with a mawashi loincloth on top, had to do drills with the teenage wrestlers. As it happens one of the kids who was pushing around Chris Froome that day was a teenage Taakanobu Satō (just behind Froome) who since become a professional sumo wrestler with the name Takakeishō, and won the Emperor’s Cup, the biggest prize in sumo, twice.

65 thoughts on “Friday Shorts”

  1. An “o” has crept in “Vine who limbs so well” and there is a “n” missing in “a little along the patone chart”.

    Cycleurope is a group of Swedish companies and the man behind is Swedish, but as the name suggests Salvatore Grimaldi – who is known as “cykelkungen” in Sweden – is the son of Italian immigrants. Which is relevant only when we discuss whether a Bianchi can possess a soul the way all Italian road bikes do.

    • So J-V goes from cashing checks from Grimaldi to Pons, owner of Cervelo along with Gazelle, Union, Santa Cruz and Dorel – parent company of Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, Mongoose, etc.
      As Mr. Inrng has pointed out countless times most of these plastic (or aluminum) fantastics are all made by just a few Asian factories no matter what the downtube stickers say. For anyone who believes the sticker makes one better than another or has any effects on the rider’s results I’ve got some seafront property in Arizona for sale.

      • I may be interested, if anything seismic happens- the differences on bikes seem most pronounced in TT bikes where it’s a package of team, bike supplier and aero specialists. It’s arguable that Giant, Cervelo and Pinarello all deliver competitive advantage to their riders in this respect. Lots too on feel for the road bikes where pros definitely have their preferences

        • Except there’s ZERO proof Giants, Pinarellos or Cervelos deliver any sort of “competitive advantage”. It can’t be proven – it’s all marketing.
          Same for “pros having their preference”. In almost every case they ride what they’re given (unless they have something made by a builder-of-trust and painted to match the team bikes which I think is increasingly rare) and when they retire and can supposedly ride what they like – how often does what they like end up being whatever a bike maker gives them…along with a paycheck as a “brand-ambassador”?

      • Does it matter where they are made.
        But realisitically as noted below the TT bikes are important for those on GC. Even a little adds up and gives the rider confidence.
        BEX riders where suddenly competitive again this year in TT. TT bikes are expensive the design and build because of the low volume. They may even sell at a loss so those brands that invest in the TT bike do add benefit to that side of the sport.

      • Manufacturing is a totally different process from design and engineering. Most hi-tech companies use 3rd party manufacturers. Because Foxconn manufactures for Apple, Nokia, Sony and Xiaomi, it does not mean that all the devices are the same. It’s the same with bicycle frames.

    • Although the frames are often (but not always) manufactured in Asia, the designs usually are not chinese—especially for the high end race bikes.

      That’s no different than e.g. smartphones.

      • Also the standards and quality control varies among different brands, even when frames are made at the same Asian factories. I know a German engineer who designs and makes high-end MTB bikes. Since his company moved much of their production to Taiwan he spends a lot of time working with the factory there to make sure everything is done to his exacting standards. They’re able to do it, but he has to manage it closely, and he has to be willing to spend more compared to frames made at the same place for other companies. And he had to visit multiple factories to find one that he could work with.

        I don’t think it was much different even during the good ol’ days when most high-end frames were literally hand made in Europe.

        • It’s the same for any manufacturing process for any physical product really. It’s also why some European companies that focus on high quality products (that can cost significantly more) prefer to do manufacturing in Europe, because it’s often hard to find top quality engineers who are willing to travel back & forth to Asia all the time.

      • And the difference in performance from one “smart” phone to another is…. while the “standards and quality” control make the difference between winning and losing in a chrono? Meanwhile, the tri-jock bikes no longer have to meet UCI specs so they’re the same only in they have two wheels, you pedal them and they have those goofy handlebars…and people buy them based on a brand decal on the downtube… based on marketing more than any measurable characteristic.

          • That was rude. Larry, like anyone else here, has a right to his opinion as long as it doesn’t offend others. Instead of insulting him, argue. If you don’t want to take the effort, just scroll past.

          • @maximflyer – you assume there is any point arguing with him and you assume that his constant trolling, rudeness and delight in his own insolent bigotry is not itself offensive to others. You assume too much.

        • You obviously have no clue how much difference weight, weight distribution, aerodynamics, ergonomics, etc. can make in some cases, especially when some races are decided with (hundreds of) seconds…

          Oh, and while triathlon maybe doesn’t enforce the same bike rules, many brands sell their UCI-certified TT bikes to triathletes. Otherwise it would be nearly impossible to sell enough TT bikes to recover the design costs.

          And of course it’s all different for the low-end bikes that are often (also) sold under the same brand name. In that case it often doesn’t really matter much which (no-)brand you buy.

  2. Time will tell if vine can be a good domestique but it may be they just want him to do stage hunting and GC races other than the ones Pogacar does. At the end of the day the rider you can get is better than any number of riders you can’t. I suspect his transfer fee to alpecin is higher than the salary for the first year of his contract. Considering that Vine had some results a couple of years ago the fact that the only team presumably to offer him a contract did it at min wage is nuts. A few team managers of teams that struggled through the relegation process should be kicking themselves.

    • Vine can go stage hunting… but on those days Almeida, Yates, Ayuso, McNulty, Soler etc might want a shot as well. Again he’s a good rider but do they need an extra stage-hunter? Now, why not if they have the budget. But overall though UAE are getting stronger but rivals Jumbo-Visma look to be making sharper hires.

      • I don’t really see why Vine shouldn’t take to being a deluxe support rider fairly easily?

        We know he has fantastic W/kg. But perhaps a relative lack of punch, and also race craft. That combination should make him ideally suited to helper-duties, shouldn’t it?

        Tell him when he’s gotta pull, or which group or rider he just has to use his strength to stay with, and then press Go. I can see him being a real star in that role (with the right management).

        May be missing something though – happy to be told!

        • It’s when it comes to fighting for position on the road, the almost contact sport moment when there’s almost no room. You need watts for this flat part but also nerves (and maybe a screw loose). Not saying Vine can’t grow into this role but he’s not the readymade rider for this but above all it’s not for him to do this. I was more wondering why UAE haven’t got this rider first as the big priority, and then got Vine, Vink, Bax etc later as nice signings.

          I’ve said on here before that UAE seem to still work like the Lampre team of old, just with a lot more money. Am reading Dan Martin’s autobiography at the moment and his time there seems similar, more on his book here soon.

          • UAE might want to remember that Pogacar has lost time in crosswinds before so they better have a couple of big biffy guys to keep him out of trouble. Ineos with Ganna to the fore will be looking to be “more innovative”, and Jumbo will be happy to ride their coat tails.

    • Vine ‘earned’ that contract with A-F via winning the Zwift Academy competition (and was thrilled at the time).
      I find his story fascinating and can see a future where virtual 400W FTP guys are recruited to IRL teams.

      • I could be wrong but i was under the impression he signed at a contract extension during 2021 for 2022/2023. This after he had some results like 2nd at tour of turkey and 3rd in a grand tour stage in his first year. This would be the contract i would not understand being on min fee.

      • I saw Ned Boulting’s one man stage show last night. In the Q&A at the end he he suggested Cav to Israel was, perhaps, a done deal.

        Makes sense, I think. Money, a fairly good lead out set up in place, and with him there and the team TdF success this year, a wild card is all but guaranteed.

  3. I think if Nairo had simply done a “mea culpa mea maxima culpa” instead of contesting the suspension he would already have been signed by another team by now. Or, if he had simply said “no comment,” or “I am innocent but I will abide by the UCI’s decision.” There always is the possibility that he actually is innocent, but he tested positive twice, not once, so the benefit of the doubt is really gone. It’s a difficult call for teams now; he obviously can still perform at a high level and score a lot of points, but does your sponsor want to take on the PR headache?

    • With 2 positives it would seem likely that either he did it purposely or he used whatever gave him the positive twice purposely but does not realise it contains the banned substance.
      Considering that he has served his penalty, its not on the wada list and that not to long ago many of the teams probably deliberately abused the substance i have no problem with him being hired. Of course teams may suspect him of more than we know and they may keep him from being hired.
      He should do what you said just say it must have been in whatever substance he used and move on.
      Whatever team hires him will probably get him at knockdown price and he is still capable of getting a good points haul.

      • “I will give an interview soon with all the information,” Quintana promises … We’re waiting Nairo.
        Vine to be let lose at the Vuelta after a stint as domestique at the Tour maybe? (or UAE really want a top class train to keep Vingegaard/Jumbo on the back foot. Then again Pogacar keeps beating Vingegaard in sprints so Pogacar could win the Tour on time bonuses).
        Vingegaard really is an odd fish – I get the anxiety/stress (maybe a touch of Asbergers or something) but what have they found that gets him able to win the Tour? Tranquilizers? If he could not sleep after winning a Tour of Poland stage, then he must have been climbing the walls after doing well in the Tour last year, let alone this year. Tom Dumoulin’s wife (if I remember correctly) helped him with his issues, so maybe Vingegaard’s girlfriend is doing the same. We await the big Vingegaard interview.
        It seems every large company in France has been rumoured to sponsor B&B Hotels. Hopefully they’ll carry on next year in one form or another.

        • If Vingegaard does do an interview what is he going to say that is of any interest at all? He’ll thank the team, thank his fans, thank his family, maybe say how all the hard work paid off etc etc. It’ll be very scripted by the JV PR people and will serve no purpose other than as a potential cure for Danish insomniacs.

          • They plug the wires into “The Cadaver” and he sits up off the slab and starts talking. Or do they pull a string out of his back? He’s not a hell of a lot more exciting on a bicycle either. If this guy’s not a poster-boy for banning race radios, power-meters, ketones and the like, I don’t know who is! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz as Richard S notes.

          • G needs to get him on the GTCC podcast. His session with Evenepoel showed him to be a much more likeable guy than other interviews had shown.

          • So Vingegaard’s nickname is “The Cadaver” … ok! Well, Rohan Dennis has gone out and said, “it’s a team that’s pushing the limit, legally of course, to get the best performance out of all the riders”. (like the “legally of course”!) There you go, now we know.

        • The first time I saw this guy, with his pasty-white complexion and expressionless face I thought “He looks like a cadaver!” and decided on that for a nickname. Blame/credit is mine as far as I know. In reality he’s probably a swell guy (ask the mother of his children) but as far as TV goes he’s “The Cadaver” IMHO with all the sporting excitement the moniker conjures up. ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Robot-racing exemplified.

          • I’m intrigued – what do you find so boring about him?
            My impression from watching him is that he’s a fairly calculated but otherwise attacking rider – I’m thinking of his attack on ventoux last year, JV’s antics on the Granon stage & stage 4, his battles with Pogacar in the Pyrenees – he’s not as exciting as Pogacar or some others, but he’s certainly not as robotic as Wiggins, Froome, Indurain etc…

          • I’ve got no beef with Vingegaard’s riding style, he’s just like most other GC man. I just meant there’s no reason to look forward to another banal, bland, cliche filled interview from a sportsman.

          • I find it funny that people categories Froome as boring despite his daring attacks (one of them won him a Giro, in case you forgot) complaining about mis-categorise riders as being boring.

          • “…he’s not as exciting as Pogacar or some others, but he’s certainly not as robotic as Wiggins, Froome, Indurain etc…”
            You summed it up pretty well. But being more exciting than your robot examples is a pretty low bar.

          • There are plenty of boring interviews around but you can also ask him about wider questions, what he enjoys in the sport, how he sees racing and more; there are good interviews as well.

            I’ll probably do some highlights of the season and without thinking about it too much, Vingegaard’s riding on the Granon stage of the Tour de France is a strong contender already, it was the kind of mountain stage we’ve been waiting for a long time, seeing two teams trading attacks early and action from start to finish. For a “cadaver” it was very lively, dynamic and aggressive riding.

          • I think sports people should be seen and not heard (never meet your heroes is the saying). Occasionally it can be interesting if they explain what happened on the run into the sprint final or something of that nature but 99% of the time it is uninformative.
            I really don’t care if Vingegaard is a bit of an introvert … he was very steely on the climbs and elsewhere.

          • I mention Tom Dumoulin (“I hated cycling so much” in 2020) and his wife and now he’s announced they got divorced last week. Hope they can remain on friendly terms (at least he’s not known as “The Cadaver”!).

          • Larry, I suggest that you either moderate your language a bit, retire to that beachside of yours or relocate to a forum where derogatory naming is commonplace. I really don´t think your naming of Vingegaard is within the DNA of this blogg. Bon voyage.

          • To me, Pogachar vs. Vingegaard + Roglic and WVA was as exciting as they get and lively as hell. I find all four very likeable, including Vingegaard.
            Larry, it seems to be that you have an irrational beef with Vingegaard based mainly on superficial reasons like looks and prejudice.

          • That MTB Guy: I guess the part I wrote: “In reality he’s probably a swell guy (ask the mother of his children)…” didn’t work for your fauxtrage so you ignored it? I’m prejudiced against cadavers or men who just look dead? Maybe I should call him “The Zombie” instead of The Cadaver?
            The fact is, just like Richard S, I find him dull, dull, dull and his racing style is pretty much the same, especially when compared to someone like Pogacar or Alaphilippe if we’re talking current riders.

          • The lad probably can’t be bothered with having to answer accusations of being boring/a doper/a possible cadáver so he’s avoiding the press and media as much as possible and I say fair play to him.

          • “Robot racing exemplified” is definitely not what comes to my mind when thinking about Vingegaards Tour win this year. He may not seem a very colourful person off the bike but my experience with introvert people is that they can be as least as fascinating as extroverts, it just takes a bit more effort to find out.
            I also think the ‘Cadaver’ nickname is derogatory and doesn’t do him justice. But nicknames aren’t established by a single person, they have to be repeated to be remembered.

  4. Good news about Roglic! He’s going to ride a criterium at the end of the month, which means his surgery went well without complications. Really happy that we’ll see him back on his bike soon.

  5. tadejpogacar
    A wonderful evening yesterday at @elgiroderigo dinner. Thank you @rigobertouran and all the Colombians for showing us a part of your culture and making us feel so welcome. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but now we feel like at home. It’s amazing to see how warm and happy people here are and they sure know how to enjoy life. Gracias 🙏😍🥰
    From Tadej for Larry T

  6. Do we know enough about Vine to tell whether or not he will make a good domestique? Kwiatkowski is the first example that comes to my mind of a rider that unexpectedly served his team in an extremely unselfish way despite obvious talent for stage wins. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone who can implode after ripping apart the peleton like Kwiat.

    • I seldom have interest or time enough to watch videos or listen to podcasts – I’m old skool and I prefer to read and I listen to music, if anything – but a cycling buddy told me a long interview with Jay Vine was worth it and I wasn’t entirely wrong to trust his judgement:

      According to a VeloNews interview with UAE boss Mauro Gianetti, the general plan is to turn Vine into a complete rider who can go for the GC in the future. The emphasis will first be in improving his time-trialing and his racecraft.
      It is of course possible that this is mainly PR talk and UAE does indeed see him basically as a superdomestique on the mountains.

      PS I cannot help wondering whether Larry finds Vine as dull dull dull as Vingegaard; both riders fairly much limit their efforts to using their partiular strengths when the course and the race situation favours them and they do nothing else. If I think about it, they are in that sense just as bad as the mass sprint guys, who really are the dregs when we look at the interesting – dull scale 🙂

      • According to PCS, Jay Vine will be 27 years old in just over a week (Nov 16). Is that a bit too old to start thinking about GT ambitions? Remco, Pogacar, Bernal & Vingegaard are all younger and Mas is 27 now (28 in Jan) so I think UAE must be thinking of just improving his TT-ing & positioning in the peloton.

        • GT ambitions need not be set unrealistically high. Someone who could finish in the Top Ten or ride in a leader’s jersey until the queen stage would be a valuable rider in any team, also a big one like UAE when Pogacar isn’t riding.
          I won’t insist that I’m right, but it would seem to me that improving his TT-ing would be a waste of time if the intention is to use him as a superdomestique.

  7. You’re all paying much attention here to one commenter and his cadaverous opinions. He’s obviously enjoying what is in general the far too respectful consideration and thriving on it. I’m old enough to remember the internet and social media adage “Don’t Feed The Troll” but that advice seems very outdated now.

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