When my mind wanders, I sometimes find myself contemplating how wasted those Germans who spat on Jens Voight and called him Judas at the ’04 TdF Alpe TT must have been. Even if you disagree (read this one carefully – lots of fun ProTour rumors) with what he says, how can you not like a guy so honest, compassionate and devoid of ego? However, I still think “working from 7 am until 8 pm” is a weak excuse to veto a split-stage; having worked days that long while both competing and volunteering at bike and ski races, I’ve gotta say that it’s entirely within the realm of human ability. I’d love to do a Grand Tour sometime, to get some feel for how debilitating they can be, but it seems there’s only three of them in the world, each with entrance critera well beyond my abilities.
Anyway, Jens is not the only big name being interviewed at the moment. No sir, Cyclingnews is drowning its readers in one-on-one pro rider conversations. I’d recommend a trip over to their site to catch up, with a special focus on Hayden Roulston, who voluntarily left the Discovery Channel team today. For those of you who have been keeping up, and are thus sick of rider interviews, Pez has an interview with commentator and diamond prospector Paul Sherwen. There’s also some tech news stories, if interviews just aren’t your particular espresso blend, along with assorted gossip at ProCycling, and some more word on Petacchi’s 2006 season plan.
Finally today, I am issuing a non-retraction. Yesterday was especailly hot in the comment department. Now, in the past, I have been more than willing to admit my ignorance and poor research. But as far as that last comment, about only the Pais Vasco being a ProTour event, I will give not a milimeter of ground. If you are an aficionado of the watery, distilled brand of racing favored by today’s UCI, I’m sure you’ll agree with “anonymous.” However, the more thoughful and strong-backed among you will no doubt agree that a ProTour designation in no way makes a race harder, and thus less amenable to split stages. Remember this summer’s Eneco Tour, which was so pathetically non-selective that Bobby Julich jumped from 12th to 1st in the final 26k TT, even after a week of racing? Certainly Georgia, Da Panne and CI offered the riders more challenge than that. The fact that Pais Vasco is now folding like a pair of threes makes me want to vomit in shame.