One of the nicer things about having poor Italian and Spanish (and also being asleep when Europe wakes up) is that I don’t get drawn into these “no story” stories. Somewhere, a comments section has a link to a Todociclismo article (Babelfish may prove to be of some assistance to my fellow Anglophones) reporting that Igor Astarloa was headed to Liquigas next season. Well, as Tuttobici and more helpfully, Velochimp report, that’s not true. I’m guessing a lack of independent confirmation kept Cyclingnews and VeloNews from running stories on it. Speaking of Cyclingnews, it seems during their recent recap of the Hamilton case, the UCI leaked some info in violation of both sides’ agreement not to discuss the case. The Hamilton team’s response doesn’t say specifically what information was revealed, but I’m willing to bet someone with way more patience than I could figure it out.
In other doping news, Roberto Heras is apparently refusing to admit he took EPO. I don’t know why this is news, since to hear the riders tell it, no cyclist ever has taken any banned substances. But hey, it fills space, right? Still following that same link (“Sweedish Cylists”), Thomas LÃ¶vkvist has been declared Sweeden’s “greatest racing talent”, despite having never won Paris-Roubaix, the Intergiro competition, or even a stage of the Tour de France. There’s also some ‘cross news to report: Sven Nys/Nijs didn’t win a ‘cross race. Yes, yes, I know, hard to believe. But also very true. The win instead went to Nys’ Rabobank teammate Richard Groendaal in a very muddy finish. There’s been some suggestion (scroll down a touch) that this was arranged by team management, like the ’96 Roubaix finish, but I don’t think ‘cross racers do the whole radio thing (especially not with pocketless skinsuits). Here’s a gallery of photos; do you see any earpieces?