The UCI vs Roman Kreuziger, Round II

The ongoing battle between the UCI and Roman Kreuziger continues. Yesterday saw a fresh round with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) holding an expedited hearing from Kreuziger over the provisional suspension issued by the UCI. The result is that he’s banned from racing and won’t do the Vuelta a Espana.

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The UCI vs Roman Kreuziger

The UCI issued a statement on Saturday announcing the provisional suspension of Roman Kreuziger.

It’s a big test for the athlete passport system. So far the UCI has won every case it’s launched or asked others to prosecute, including winning appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). We might want the instant verdict of a toxicological test with a positive A and B test in the lab but the passport just doesn’t work like this. It works on statistics and takes time to build up patterns and then riders are given plenty of time to respond. But so far it’s won against small fry riders or those, like Dennis Menchov, who have simply retired with a shrug rather than a legal fight. Kreuziger’s case is different, he’s an active rider, a millionaire and already employing high-profile lawyers to defend him.

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Do Junior World Champions Succeed in the Pro Ranks?

Oskar Svendsen Merida

Norway’s Oskar Svendsen is the new junior time trial world champion. Who knows what the future holds for him now but it seems he could well become a force to be reckoned with in the senior ranks in the years to come.

Why? Because it turns out the time trial is a good measure of talent. This might seem obvious yet the road race is a very different story where past winners have flourished, proved mediocre or vanished into cycling obscurity despite the glory of a rainbow jersey.

Here’s a look at the correlation between junior performance and adult success in the time trial and road race. Plus what this means for today’s gold medallist Oskar Svendsen, who isn’t just the world time trial champion, apparently he has the world record for the highest VO2 Max ever recorded.

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The Giro Contenders

It’s hard to pick a clear favourite for the Giro d’Italia. There’s no obvious star name. Instead there are several contenders on a similar level and then a collection of outsiders, mainly mountain specialists who could also shine. To make forecasting even harder many of those taking part have not had the best run of results recently which makes it tougher to judge their form.

But if these reasons make predicting the outcome even harder, all the better. The uncertainty should make for a more open race where riders could be battling to win seconds, as opposed to Alberto Contador’s victory lap of Italy in 2011.

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Etna, the hottest destination

Sapienza Etna

Italian pro team Liquigas have had a semi-permanent base on the slopes of Mount Etna this year. Etna is an active volcano in Sicily, the large island at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. It’s black slopes often contrast with a snowy peak and at times, the infernal glow of lava.

Liquigas’s mountain HQ is the Rifugio Giovanni Sapienza, a mountain lodge also the choice of the Astana team. A pumice stone’s throw away lies the Hotel Corsaro, as used by two more teams, Lampre and Katusha.

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Time Running Out

As a follow up to the item about young talents to watch, I thought I’d review some riders who have to deliver in 2011, the guys who are carrying a burden on their shoulders whilst also knowing that they haven’t got too many more seasons to impress. I’m concious that in naming riders here that … Read more