The Saunier Duval media blitz (remember yesterday’s run on David Millar stories?) continues! First I thought it was just an American phenomenon (the team is somewhat notorious for giving token Americans one-year contracts), designed to sell pens, but now I see that it extends across the Atlantic. In this L’Equipe story we get a basic rundown of the team, including director Maxtin’s (I guess he’s a one name kinda guy) assesment that Gibo Simoni could be Lance’s successor. No, wait, don’t laugh yet; first, read this excerpt on Gibo from Spanish daily AS by way of Velo-Club:
“The champion of the future, according to Simoni, is Valverde, who has incredible class; more so than Cunego, who did not really impress him.”
I know that’s translated from Spanish to French to English, but come on; the only reason Simoni doesn’t appreciate the abilities of Cunego is because Gibo was too far back in the ’04 Giro to see them.
Then, of course, there’s the blitz of team presentations: I’m wondering if the lighting at the Discovery presentation was a conscious choice by Bruyneel to make the riders look potbellied and hungover, in order to fool the competition into complacency. And I don’t know what this Wiesenhof rider is thinking, saying “Hair length doesn’t play a major role in cycling performance” at his team presentation (scroll down). I’ve got two words for you, buddy: “eight seconds“. Last but not least is Ag2r’s presentation. As the latest entry into the seemingly doomed “Monkey Tour”, they would have normally taken precedence over Weisenhof, but the only thing of interest from their coming-out party was this cute new ride.
Finally today, a couple of Spanish races have been cancelled due primarily to funding concerns. Since they aren’t Monkey Tour events, and since each hopes to return in ’07, I don’t think too much fuss will be made, but Setmana Catalana was (according to Reuters, at least) a “classic”, and it’s sad to lose that kind of history. Sadder still, though, is this news (scroll way to the bottom) from (where else?) Texas. Seems an event promoter is using the fact that Tyler Hamilton will be competing as an incentive to draw racers. Now, as a person, I like Tyler (he tried give me a push in a hillclimb this spring), but as I’ve pondered before, why would you ever want to pay to get spanked by a convicted doper?