Archive | September, 2005

Pro Cycling News – GP Zurich awaits, Interbike

30 Sep

Well, normally, the World Championships marks the end of the season, leaving hordes of cycling fans as hungover as Tom Boonen in a Madrid hotel room wondering where the fork he left his rainbow jersey (speaking of ole’ Blackout Boonen, apparently, he “forks” on the first date). But, thanks to the ProTour, there’s more racing to be had. The Championships of Zurich, one-day, a flat-but-hilly, long, could-go-any-which-way affair, are this weekend, and provide current ProTour leader a chance to clinch the title (not that he hasn’t already; it would take three consecutive wins by Alexandre Vinokourov, plus an outbreak of bubonic plauge confined entirely to Danilo diLuca to keep the Liquigas man from claiming the title). Last year’s event, run in late August, saw Juan Antonio Flecha inexplicably win a 20-man group sprint, much to the dissapointment of everyone, since it left him unable to execute his trademarked victory salute.

Meanwhile, my arch-nemeses at VeloNews have chosen once again to skimp on actual bike racing coverage to bring you 78 reports a day from Interbike. Bit easier to rewrite press releases than do watch races and do research, I suppose. Industry tyrant cyclingnews has also been in Vegas this week, providing the world with somewhat blurrier pictures of the event. My favorite so far has been this Serotta, which, had Team CSC not just announced its continued partnership with Cervelo would make me think the American custom builder was making its triumphant return to the pro peloton. Also deciding to hang in with Bjarne Riis and Co. are Spanish climbing fiend Carlos “Dee-” Sastre, and whiny-but-likeable American Christian Vande Velde, each slated to ride with the Red Storm ’til at least the end of 2006. Oh, and Aitor Gonazalez is (unsuprisingly, given that the penalty for admiting you dope and lying about not doping are the same) denying the charges made against him by l’Equipe of a still-yet-to-be-officially-announced positive test result.

Pro Cycling News – Focus on the Racing

29 Sep

Ok, I admit it. I’ve gotten far too caught up in all this other crap like rider transfers, secret police, Robbie McEwen being out of it, etc. Time to get back to basics. How basic? How about the Tour du Senegal, a West African 10-day stage race. Like other events in the region, such as the ASO’s Tour du Faso, the race is something of a time warp back to the time when riders finished in groups of twos and threes, and flatting could mean a long wait on the side of the road for the next car to pass. Sadly, Senegal is a bit remote, so results and information are incomplete and hard to come by. Much less remote, at least to the world of cycling, is Belgium, where Nico Eeckhout won the Omloop van de Vlaamse Scheldeboorden for the second time, his first win coming an astounding 12 years ago. With Davitamon-Lotto Teammate Aart Vierhouten, Eeckhout continues to ride to give hope for those who believe double vowels belong at the front of names, not at the end, as certain Eastern Europeans seem to think.

Having exhausted the available racing news for the moment, we turn now to Franco Ballerini, most definately out as Italian National Team coach. If you scroll down a bit further on that page, you’ll see a list of rider transfers thus far this season. If you see some unfamiliar names, don’t panic – despite not having been introduced yet, everyone and their mother knows that Giancarlo Ferretti’s new team (featuring Gilberto Simoni and Stuart O’Grady, amongst other notables) will have a sponsor officially announced anyday now. l’Equipe, which has an uncanny tendency of knowing things before they actually happen, thinks the sponsor will be Sony-Ericsson. Other names being tossed around as potential sponsors are IKEA and Peroni. I’m just praying they won’t have another bloody sky-blue jersey.

And ok, fine: here’s some links to Interbike stuff, though honestly, the only thing that even remotely interests me so far is the singlespeeds. It will be a while before I ride a bike with more than one gear off-road again.

*NEWS FLASH* – Gonzalez Positive

28 Sep

Aitor Gonzalez, winner of this year’s Tour de Suisse and perennial favorite for the ProTour’s non-existant “Least Consistent Rider” award, has allegedly tested positive for an unknown substance at this year’s Vuelta a Espana. Though reported only by l’Equipe, and unconfirmed as of yet through official channels, if true, this would be the third major dope catch at the Vuelta in the past two years (after Santi Perez and Tyler Hamilton). It kinda makes you wonder what the Vuelta is doing that the other Grand Tours aren’t. I’m also kinda curious as to why I always first hear about doping offenses from l’Equipe.

(BTW, we scooped both VeloNews and cyclingnews on this one.)

Pro Cycling News – EICMA, Transfers, "Blackout" Boonen

28 Sep

EICMA is somewhat overlooked outside of Italy. After all, it’s name is a confusing and mysterious Euro acronym, where all the letters are out-of-order to us simple English-speakers. And, despite what the silver space-man riding a bike might suggest, the show isn’t particularly long on technical innovation. EICMA is where you go to revel in the beauty of the old school, or the old and outmoded made beautiful. Oh, sure, occasionlly a manufacturer will drop a new product, but by and large, EICMA is all about celebrating the triumph of style over substance. So it doesn’t get much coverage. Plus, its name doesn’t end in “-bike,” so many American journalists might get confused by that.

Boldly progressing into the next paragraph without a segue, Ryder Hesjedal and Pat McCartney are each wiggin’ out from Disco to Phonak next season. Each had a fairly unremarkable 2005, but Phonak needs to replace all those gaps left in its roster by dopers somehow. Riders aren’t being the only ones shuffled around in this post-Worlds mayhem; Italian coach Francesco Ballerini is said to have his head on the block after failing to win the World Championships again. In most places, going 3 years without a World Title wouldn’t be a big deal, but in Italy… Things are apparently different in Belgium, too. After coaching the Belgians to their first World Title in almost a decade, Jose De Cauwer is stepping down to take a position at Davitamon-Lotto. And then there’s Germany. Perhaps there’s no other country so utterly terrified by its past; the new Milram squad has fired a manager and an assistant directuer sportif because they used to work for the Stasi. No word yet on whether this will set off a purge of former intelligence officials from other ProTour sqauds. I’m inclined to doubt that it will, seeing as 90% of ProTour squads originate in countries that were on the winning side of the Cold War.

Speaking of secret police, sounds like Tom Boonen could have used a few over the past couple nights to keep an eye on the Rainbow Jersey. Though an exhausted Boonen doesn’t remember it, he apparently “saved” the jersey by passing it off to a few Belgian fans who were somewhat less hammered than he was during his post-race revelry. Though he is looking forward to an eventual break from all this partying, the new World Champ is still interested in a little fun. Having apparenly exhausted the intoxicants offered by the Madrilleño night club circuit, “Blackout Boonen” plans to ask the docs for “some extra anaesthesia” before today’s stomach operation. He just better be sure to check the WADA banned substances list first.

Pro Cycling News – A Return to Normalcy

27 Sep

Enough of this globetrotting, baggage-losing, bum-rushing, air-horn-blowing madness! Time to get back to pre-chewing the gristly bits of cycling news so you don’t have to spend 15 minutes afterwards trying to floss them out. First item of business: Tom Boonen, World Champ on a bum stomach (perhaps not dissimilar to the twsited stomach that afflicted Santa’s Little Helper on Episode 8F17 of “The Simpsons”.) Gastroenterology aside, pretty much everyone was impressed with Boonen’s performance on Sunday. Everyone, that is, except Robbie McEwen, whose post-race commentary makes me wonder exactly which Worlds race he was watching over the last two laps. Maybe he was just too far back to see all the Belgians up front?

Petacchi and Zabel, meanwhile, neither of whom were anywhere close to a World Title, are now on the same team, called Milram. It’s what Domina Vacanze’s turning into next season, which is a real shame. Why, you ask? Becasue the distinctive Domina kit is being replaced by another freakin’ light blue jersey, so we can get them confused with Quick.Step, Disco, Gerolsteiner, Bouygues Telecom, Liberty Seguros, Skil-Moser, Mr. Bookmaker and god knows how many other European light blue sqauds. Speaking of Mr. Bookmaker, they’ll be known as Unibet.com next season, and will be taking a gamble [get it?] on TdF ’03 maillot vert Baden Cooke, who’s been on a bit of a skid these past two seasons. Also going all-in [I’m so good!] on a risky anglophone is Saunier Duval, offical employers of EPO-popping chrono-man David Millar for 2006. The Scot’s two-year doping suspension ends just in time for the next season’s TdF. Oh, yeah, and Brad Wiggins will be signing with Cofidis next year. [Sorry, that has nothing to do with gambling.]

Finally, today, some news from the younger crowd. Remember this guy? He’s U23 World Champ Dmytro Grabovskyy. He absolutely beat down the field on Saturday, and what makes it even sweeter, he got to ride on on Andrea Tafi’s own Scott CR1 to do it. Yeah. That’s gotta feel good. No suprise if he signs with Saunier Duval next season. Meanwhile, another U23, American Saul Raisin, has coninued his contract with Credit Agricole to 2008. After his nasty early move during Sunday’s race, not to mention wininng the baby dots, it seems like a good call by one of the oldest French teams in cycling, even if he does race with a hydration pack.

Pro Cycling News – Men's Elite World Road Race Report

25 Sep

Whew. What a freakin’ week. Time to go back to the states and get a job or something.

Today began cold, overcast and windless, and finished up hot, sunny and with a fair breeze. I got to the start just in time to get a few shots of riders, at least two of which weren’t terrible. As you can (kinda) see from that last link, the RobStar looked pretty dang relaxed, eating and being basically the last rider to roll into the start today. I thought for sure he would win. Gun went, bikes rolled, and a Bulgarian broke. He was followed closely thereafter by a Columbian. Eventually, Saul Raisin and a Credit Agricole teammate organized and swept up the others. It was sweet to finally be able to cheer for an American, instead of yelling “Go [American cyclist’s name]” at the peloton as it whizzed by. The group swelled to 6 or 7 as I metroed across town to the top of this small rise at 14k, and at one point had over 10 minutes on everyone else. On the next lap, however, it had shrunk to 3 riders, with only about 7 minutes. I did nail a most excellent photo of the young American in action, however. Note the Camelbak, suggesting he may have planned ahead of time on being the hero of the day.

At 5 laps to go, the Eyeties were like “enough of this crap, let’s race” and threw like 50 guys onto the front of the peloton. I watched it on the Jumbotron, and it was some real Cat 4 BS. Italians up front, pulling but not that hard, then some hole would attack, everyone would let him go and riders would trickle across the gap until the Italians decided the break was too dangerous, and close it down. Thus Raisin and Murayev(sp?) were able to stay away much longer, keeping hope alive until 3 laps to go. Then people really started cranking. The announcer, who would drift from English to Français to Spanish wouldn’t have enough time to announce each break that get a few seconds’ gap in all the languages. So I really had no idea what was going on. Fortunately, neither did the dudes who were supposed to be guarding the Area C grandstands, so I just sort of moseyed my way in there. Much better view of the line this time around. Eventually, some German guy told one of the Spanish security guards what was going on, and they had a highly entertaining argument in English, which ended by the German guys saying “Fine, I’ll get the real cops” and the Spaniard saying “you do what you want.” Some real dirty punk Italians who swooned “Bravo, Paolo” every time the announcer mentioned Bettini, got really nasty and opened up the barricades to sneak into Area B when the cops (the Teutonic gentlemen did, in fact, summon them) became too interested in the race.

Finally, a good move (above) got clear, with Davis, Bettini, Devolder, etc; big names from all the big teams. Except France. They were totally f-ed. And USA, but by this point they had like two riders left in the race, so they brought it upon themselves. I think this move was a fake, to keep people from attacking by forcing the teams without dangerous sprinters to work, before it (the break) would finally relent and be caught coming into the final group kick. But France spoiled the party by working really, really hard. The move was recaptured and it was all together at 1 lap to go (except for Jakob Piil who had like 3 seconds’ lead). Then it went crazy. Attacks flew from everyone. The Dutch were extremely active, leading me to believe they had little faith in Max Van Heeswijk (some Dutch dudes had these orange shirts that said (on the front) “Just Relax” and then (on the back) “the World Champ will be Max.” They looked stupid.) Finally, Vino decided to take them all to school and put down the attack that really opened the race up. Wegemann, Bettini, Boogert, Van Moerenhaut, Piil; pretty much it was a break composed entirely of riders who are awesome. It was sick, it was nasty, and it really looked like it was going to get away. I was at 1.3k/100m to go (the finish doubles back on itself) and the first time they passed, I was like “they’re gonna get clear.” But thank Nick Nuyens, Stijn Devolder and especially VanPeet for cranking the race back together like a set of approved-for-medical-use stiches. The selection committee over in Belga did a damn fine job.

The finish was insane. Crazy insane. Nothing like a good break getting caught inside a k to get the fans on their feet. So much noise. Cheers and claps grew into a maddening, constant shouting, pierced by really high screams and underscored nicely by the announcer’s constant multilingual banter. Things really got going when the chopper noise got damned loud as they hit 200m. Valverde made the Spaniards excited, but Boonen came around him at 150m and was gone, putting space on him all the way to the line. It would have had to have been twice that steep for the duel between those two to be interesting. Though in all honesty, Boonen owes his victory not to his speed today, but to his team. Valverde is nasty fast, but not group-gallop fast. The other pure sprinters (Ale-Jet, McEwen, some others) got gapped by the fury of the Belgian chase, leaving Tom a Stock Car among Roadsters. Somewhere in the mess that followed, Anthony Geslin of France, with nary another result to his name, took third

But no one comes to these things for the racing (except the racers, I guess, though in the case of most of the USA team, I really wonder…). People come out to see their heros up close, cheer like (and in some cases, with) drunken madmen, and to enjoy some time with folks from all over the world who find those two pursuits worthwhile ways to spend a day. This isn’t the Tour de France, so the race site was mercifully free of sunburnt Americans with little round “Lance fan” signs. Instead, Madrid was packed this weekend with Orange-clad Dutchmen who speak fluent English (even to each other) and find everything incredibly funny, oddly-dressed Germans with the hideous notion that three inches is plenty of “personal space,” 15-year old Italians who dislike shampooing and act as if their mothers’ lives hinge on the next attack of Paolo Bettini, and Australians, who were disappointingly unremarkable. The most garish were the Brits and Norweigans, who seem to find no accessory, article of clothing, or body part too undignified to emblazon with their nation’s flag. The noisiest were by far the Spaniards, most notably Tino Zaballo’s fan club, that had an authentic hunting trumpet made from a bull’s horn, the largest cowbell I’ve ever seen, several tambourines, a gong, and no fewer than 6 air horns.

And then there were Flandrians. Everywhere. You couldn’t cut a fart this weekend without flapping a yellow flag with a black lion on it. I suppose you can take the cycling out of Flanders, but you can’t take the Flanders out of cycling. And at the end of the day, they got what they were all hoping for: Tom Boonen in the Rainbow Stripes (just don’t remind them that it’s cursed). While the other podium finishers saluted a relatively small crowd before largely-empty streets (though there was a small spectators’ area opened on the course, most of it was still boarded off), as Boonen’s name was announced, the Belgians, overcome by national fervor, stormed the barricades, clambering into the previously closed streets en masse to salute the new World Champion. By the time the press conference rolled around, so many of them had crowded the exit from the podium area that a second way out had to be fabricated, allowing a police-escorted Tom the shortest and fastest possible route from the cars & trailers to the hotel lobby. It still took him about a minute to make the 75-foot trip. Hometown hero Valverde made the same jounrey almost entirely unmolested, which really makes me think, when the Irish guys said this place lacked the right atmosphere for a World Championships, maybe they were right.

Pro Cycling News – U23 and Women's World RR

24 Sep

(Just to convey to you the proper Spanish flavor of the event, here’s the Official Vuelta a Espana Big Rig, parked in front of Santiago Bernabau Stadium, home of Real Madrid.)

Man, I’m tired. It’s been a long day under an f-ing hot Spanish sun in long pants because that’s just how the Euros roll. Things got underway (for me) around 11, when I metro’d out to the race site. Who should I meet on the Subway other than Nico from Todocyclismo. Turns out he’s a Williams alum. His two cents is tomorrow will be a breakaway. I’m still dubious. He ditched me with his sweet press pass. Friggin’ legitimate journalists. Think they’re so hot just ’cause they can go inside the fences. Due to previous obligations, I missed much of the women’s race, but arrived just before the end. An American motivated hard for the late escape, but the field pulled it back, leaving the lead out to the Germans and Aussies, who pretty much had their way with the field. Group gallop for the Rainbow Stripes taken by a German (missed her name; look it up on cyclingnews) followed closely by Nicole Cooke, as she was by first the first to pass me (about 200m after the line). Probably started her kick too late, as she appeared dejected. Onoenoneoeneone Wood from Australia was 3rd.

After the race, you were able to go pretty much anywhere, so I wandered about for a bit. There was lots to see. Hot women, free stuff, and fancy pants new equipment, hitherto only available at exclusive trade shows. Equipment like Shimano’s new 105 kit, carbon and tubeless wheelsets. Of course, I’d already seen the tubeless wheels on Tim Duggan’s TIAA-Cref rig back when I gave his DQ’d backside a lift back to the Start/Finish at the Boulder Stage Race, but I figured I’d let you all in on it, too. Biggest news of the day perhaps was that they’d changed the McEwen bend from a true 180 to this sort of J-shaped thing that hardly seems safer. It does make for a little more speed coming out, though, and more room to accelerate before the line. Advantage: Petacchi.

Of course, there’s still the extremely narrow section following a tight turn for the would-be Rainbow Jerseys to worry about tomorrow. Ale-Jet himself was on hand this AM (dudes, I swear it’s him – I just suck with a camera), bundled up like it was Het Volk on this 30+ C day. Still, the odds-on favorite seemed chill, soft-pedalling and blabbing on his cell (see photo). I did some scouting and found a decent place to stand, around 170m from the line. Things are a bit obstructed, but at least can see the line (something that’s impossible from much of the rest of the course, without having a press pass or buying a ticket.) Turns out for a Euro each trip, you can metro all over the course. Each jump takes about 30 minutes, but should be a great way to breakdown the monotony of tomorrow’s 7 hour trek. I busted out to the top of one of the “climbs” at 14.8k. People have been sh!t-talking them, but they aren’t easy.

U23 race went off slowly. No big deal. They’d get up to speed in time. After a few early no-hopers, things got nasty around the second or third lap, with a group of 3, some 10-20 chasers, and a peloton behind. Gaps of about 45 seconds and 2 minutes between. Then the real fun began, with riders bouncing and bridging all over the place. With 2 to go, an Italian, Dall- something or other) made a solo move, but the gap was flat flown across by a peppy Ukrainian. A few other chasers jumped and cranked at just after the bell, it was pulled together. A USA-ha-ha-ha (Farrar probably) was tucked into the peloton in the top 6, and for 10k, it looked like they were gonna go at it in a bunch charge. Then the Ukrainian dropped the hammer over the first nasty climb at 13k to go. He instantly had a 9-second gap. On an easy grade 5%, that’s something. He pulled it out to 15, then 20, then 27, then 35, and by then it was pretty much said and done. Even if the chasers had immediately gotten their shiz together, they would have been hard pressed to get him (if they could even get him at all). The peloton cried tears and never even caught the case, and an Aussie and Ruskie got clear from the second group for the next two spots. Then the peloton managed to crash on the way in. Nice work, guys.

After the race was over, I wondered around until I ran into the new u23 World Champ. He seems awful surly in this picture, but actually seemed to be quite reverent toward the honor he had earned. There were also a few other persons of significance on hand. Afterwards, I went to TGI-Fridays with some Irish race fans, John and Eric, whom I came across on the metro, and feasted on processed meats and deep-fat fry for the first time in a week, being somewhat famished after having not eaten all day. They said they’d be out at the Irish Rover tonight, and that it’s a damned good pub, but a bit crowded. I might make it out there. We’ll see. Tomorrow is a long day, and word on the street is, it’s gonna rain. That will be fu¢&ing fantabulous. Stay tuned for an even sweeter report tomorrow and I’ll catch you cats on the flipside.

Pro Cycling News – Rogers Takes World TT Title

23 Sep

And what else is new? It’s the third time for the Aussie, who didn’t actually win in 2003, but was awarded the victory after David Millar admitted to doping before the event in early 2004. Bobby Julich was nowhere to be found, and an aging and busted-up Eki also found himself adrift at the wrong end of the results sheet.

After today’s break, the big races are coming up. Tomorrow is U23 Gents and the Elite Women. Then the elite men on Sunday. And the big thing on everyone’s mind is crashes, crashes, crashes. Tom Boonen, the Belgian contender, called the final corner “irresponsable”, while in Sie7e magazine (a sort-of Spanish version of Maxim), Spanish hope Alexando Valverde went over a few of his least favoite places on the circuit. My favorite – Plaza de Lima, 20 clicks into the 26k lap: “I sure hope the pavement is ready in time…” Though the gaping hole pictured about his caption in the magazine has been sealed, it’s still pretty rough going. I’ll be on hand tomorrow to let you know how things turn out.

Taking a more relaxed approach is the USA’s best hope for an elite men’s medal, Fred Rodriguez, who admits to not having had the best preparation going into the event. No offense to “fast” Freddy, but if he’s even in the top 5, I’ll be amazed. Other than that Giro stage last year, he’s never been anywhere near the front in the sprint of a meaningful bike race without a certain Aussie teammate glued to his wheel. “What about USPRO, you ask?” What about it? American fields (up to this year) have been so weak that hanging in at the top 5 with the international riders was more than enough to secure F-Rod the the Stars and Stripes. USAC needs to get serious about its championship event, and start awarding the jersey to the winner, not just the first American.

Pro Cycling News – Worlds '05: First Day

21 Sep

First day of Worlds. Men’s U23 TT, Women’s Elite TT. Winner on the Men’s side was Mikhail Ignatiev, only the cutest thing ever (I’m told…) to come out of Eastern Europe since Misha (or maybe t.A.T.u., tho neither Misha nor Ignatiev needed to pretend to be gay to be cute.) Second and third are unimportant because, like all riders both younger and better than me, they’ll be burned out and hocking beer to tourists on la Rambla by age 30. Oh, yeah, American Tyler Ferrar was 10th. Go USA. On the womens’ side, lanky Swiss Miss’ (or Mrs., or Mz.; really, I have no idea) defended her title with panache, putting 30s+ over 21k on the entire field, save second-place finisher Joane Somarriba Arrola. American Kristin Armstrong took 3rd, ahead of bird-flipping Judith Arndt.

I really wish I had more to tell you, but, que mala fortuna, I am stuck in Barf-elona (thus the Rambla reference) ’til the 24th, and can’t really report on the races as well as I could simply because I am not there (bogus). However, I assure you that I will be present for all racing come the 25th. And my reports will be sweet. Just wait for my upcoming report on the final stage of la Vuelta. It’ll get your @$$es on hostels.com for a trip to The Continent so fast it’ll make your heads spin.

Oh yeah, and one of you cabrones out there thinks that Lance’s dog having surgery is news. It’s not. Get a life; it’s not. Revel instead in the insights of young Tom Boonen, or salivate wildly over Grand Tour speed record holder Ruben Plaza’s wild plans to break Aussie Mick Rogers stranglehold on the World TT crown, before watching the event go down on Cycling.TV. Just don’t bug me about peoples’ freakin’ dogs

Pro Cycling News – Worlds '05: To Sprint or Not to Sprint

20 Sep

So after months of everyone being all like “ch! Hell yeah, it’s a sprinter’s course,” there seem to be now some differing opinions on the topic. Most loud on the topic has been Mario Aerts who thinks it’ll be impossible for a sprint train to get things going, especially if it rains. Stijn Devolder thinks things won’t even get to a sprint, while Belgian coach Jose (Belgian?) De Cauwer thinks to two climbs are tough, but not tough enough to kill off the sprinters. Of course, these guys are all from Belgium, which has been nothing but a flat ramp for Germany and France to invade each other through the centuries, so we’ll see how their predictions play out. Abraham Olano, a “ten kilos heavier” former World Champ from Spain, a decidedly hillier country, had no problems big-ringing the climb and yapping the whole way. Madrid resident Giovanni Lombardi also seems to think a group sprint is inevitable.

Having seen the course, and the “McEwen turn” at 600m, I’d have to say it’ll be tough, but not that tough. With more, smaller teams this time around, and Worlds finishing groups generally in the 10-20 range anyway, the final shot should be smaller than your average group kick, but still with all the big names in it (minus one or two to bad luck). That having been said, it ain’t the Via Roma, and trains should be less of a factor than at Zolder in 2002. Pretty any serious rider with a pair of legs and an equally good pair or huevos has got a shot from a strong break or a kamikaze (Valverde especially) attack.

And, of course, there’s the usual Old White Man crap going on as well. A bunch of Old White Men known as the UCI and some other Old White Men at WADA continue to bitch at each other about who is responsable for unethically besmirching the good name of a currently young but Very White Man Indeed named Lance Armstrong. Some other of these Old White Men, including a few females, have boycotted the the event, citing the hostile attitude of some other Old White (yet Swarthy) Men in the Spanish Cycling Federation, in preparation for the election of another Old White Man (or Woman!) to be the Old White Man mas importante at the UCI. They will slap each other with frilly white gloves in the press, issue a deluge of ultimatums and and sweeping declarations, and say “this is a dark day for the future of cycling” fifty or sixty times, until honor is defended and order restored, at which point, the show, as it so invariably does, will go on.