Thinning the ProTour Herd?

Aug 15 2007

So here’s a shocker – Unibet is pulling its sponsorship of a pro cycling team. Combine that with the impending loss of Astana’s ProTour license (even the manager has confessed – if only to being naive) and the folding of Discovery Channel, and there might just be a reasonably sized ProTour next year. The organizers could invite a fistful of crappy wild-card teams, allowing fans to see more local racers, while the UCI would still have a high-level of competition at every event, and a clearly-demarcated top tier of racing. If only someone could keep these knuckleheads from mucking things up.

Not that I have a problem with American and Australian infiltrators, but wouldn’t it be best to let their Euros sort their own business out before heaping more issues upon them? I mean, Michael Rasmussen is still racing. Apparently, he was guilty enough to kick out of the Tour, but not to sanction? Then there’s Andreas Kloden, who, despite having an ever-increasing number of teammates come up positive for various performance enhancements, is still welcome at this year’s World Championships. But Erik Zabel and Alejandro Valverde are apparently not. You see why these Continentals need as little additional confusion as they can get?

Despite the drama swirling outside of it, the Tour of Germany has remained a fairly bland event. Even with Erik Zabel’s win (which is at best mildly controversial), it’s been a steady progression of sprinters/mountain men taking stages, while Jens Voigt clings doggedly to the leader’s jersey. It’ll probably all come down to Friday’s TT. While Jensy holds comfortable cushions on all his nearest competitors (the most nervous being 1:31 on Levi Leipheimer), let’s still hope that everyone double-checks their mechanics’ work. Wouldn’t want to end up on the losing end of a poor equipment decision.

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5 Responses to “Thinning the ProTour Herd?”

  1. sam 15 August 2007 at 12:32 pm #

    just out of curiosity, what is your beef with Slipstream? all i’ve seen is positive news about their anti-doping measures and signing some bigger names…

  2. cosmo 15 August 2007 at 12:36 pm #

    No beef! I love Slipstream! I just think (like a lot of other people) that there are currently way too many teams in the ProTour. If these guys want to steal Ag2r’s spot, power power to them. But if they want to be ProTour licensee #23, then I’ll have to object.

  3. Sebastian 16 August 2007 at 10:40 am #

    I’m always happy to see Voigt win, but I’ll admit that this D-Tour has so far been thin on drama. Blame it on the team time trial. I personally think that TTTs are bad in _any_ stage race, but in a one-week race this seems beyond dispute. People say that it “emphasizes” the fact that cycling is a team sport, but the rest of the race already emphasizes this: it’s hard enough to win a stage race with a weak team, and that TTT makes it impossible. It’s like a 2-3 minute time penalty for anyone who’s not on CSC or Discovery. By all rights Cunego should have taken the lead after his stage win, but he was already many minutes back.

  4. Margaret 18 August 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    hi nice post, i enjoyed it

  5. Troy Walters 18 August 2007 at 11:29 pm #

    I assume you saw this from Horner’s CN interview……

    “You can see the differences,” he said. “As a rider it is easily perceptible, or as a well-educated fan sitting at home. You get to a climb and everyone has maybe one or two team-mates with him — that is doable. You can’t have a leader’s team getting to the final climb with five guys on the front, like every year from three years back all the way back. It is impossible to ride the front with your whole team and get to the final climb with most of your team still on the front — and be ready to come back and do it day in and day out.”

    If that’s not Chris calling the Posties dopers, I’m not sure…

    Is the Omerta falling away?????

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