Tomorrow, Roberto Heras will find out whether that Sword of Damocles that’s been hanging over his head for the past half a month will come slamming down through the proverbial skull of his cycling career, or clatter harmlessly to the ground beside him, it’s apparent danger merely parallax distortion. Discounting the Lance allegations from earlier this year, this test marks this first instance I can think of where the winner of a Grand Tour stands to lose his title on a doping violation. What I’m really curious about is, if the B-sample clears him, will Dick Pound then insist that Heras’ record-setting 4th Vuelta win is “tainted,” as he did after Tyler Hamilton’s B-sample came back inconclusive from Athens.
Speaking of T-Ham, the Tour of Romandie (which Hamilton won in 2003) route for ’06 has been revealed. The Swiss race sticks to its tradition of stuffing a handful of wildly mountainous stages between a technical prologue and and powerclimb-rich TT. If one-day events are more your speed, 2003 Fleche-Wallone winner Igor Astarloa looks like he’ll be back in the ProTour next season and focusing on one days (scroll down) with fellow Basque David Extebarria. And while we’re doing rider news, here’s Gibo Simoni scounting snowbound Giro climbs on a Cannondale MTB (despite by the time he rides them, he’ll be on a Scott. For a less snowy look at those dolomites, check out this insider’s view of the Giro presentation.