People often ask me “How exactly does being independent make your cycling page better? Doesn’t it mean you just don’t have any real sponsors?” Well, yes, that is one (somewhat simple-minded) distinction. But here is another: Cyclingnews recently published this review about Zipp’s 303 ‘cross wheelset. I felt it was a pretty even-handed article, overall positive, but still willing to point out shortcomings. But then I noticed this photo of a young man in an Excel Sports Boulder kit, and thought to myself “Wait, isn’t Excel Sports a huge Zipp dealer?” After a live chat (upper right) with an Excel rep, I found out not only that they sell “a large volume” of Zipp wheels, but that Rob Karman, the author of the review, is currently an Excel Sports Boulder employee (scroll down just a tad). So the guy reporting on the quality of these wheels for Cyclingnews, who you’d think would be impartial, actually benefits directly from their sale. Avoiding conflicts of interest like that are what being independent is all about.
Moving along, today is expected to be the moment of truth for Roberto Heras, but the dope news doesn’t stop there. Danilo Hondo is also awaiting a decision soon on his appeal against charges he took Carphedon. Though the German with a Swiss license has dope expert Werner Franke in his corner, his explanation of events (that the positive resulted from a bottle cleaning mishap) leads me to wonder why exactly you’d be rinsing your bidons with banned substances. And just to remind you that using drugs in cycling isn’t all fun and games, there’s more news today (scroll down) on the dope cases of Michele Ferrari and Raimondas Rumsas. Taking place in Italy and France, respectively, countries that at least claim they will send you to prison if you use drugs in sport, these legal proceedings prove that being under suspension for or investigation of sports doping isn’t all getting rich off Lance and winning Gran Fondos (scroll down).