Friday, June 30, 2006

Another one bites the dust...

And another one gone
and another one gone
Another one bites the dust,

Or at least a lot of them have…

It seems to me that a lot of the millionaire riders are gone. No doubt, there are some riders who are just as guilty but not yet caught. This year’s Tour is not for the faint of heart. If it is clean Tour, BRAVO. If not, DAMN, those boys are gutsy. The Organizers and Directors are definitely gutsy or most likely of the “everyman for himself” mentality. But, I don’t believe MLB could have thrown out Barry Bonds.

Could this year’s podium have a French or Australian rider on the podium? Don’t hold me to the order. My new revised top 10. Will Levi be starting with the No. 1 on his back???


Thursday, June 29, 2006

As the Tour Turns...All My Druggies...Guiding Needles

From Eurosport 29 June 2006:

Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich have been named in the judicial inquiry into Spanish doping, radio Cadena Ser reported on the eve of the Tour de France. The two Tour favourites were listed, among about 50 others, as clients of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes after a judge lifted a gag order on evidence files.

Spaniards José Enrique Gutierrez, Roberto Heras, Francisco Mancebo, American Tyler Hamilton, and Colombian Santiago Botero were also included in Thursday's Spanish report.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


If I had a therapist, and we had a session today, it would go like this.

I would have spent my $200/hr or whatever the going rate is talking about why I want Jan Ullrich to win the Tour de France. Not that I don't have other issues, but this is just more interesting. What's the big deal? I guess I feel comfortable with Jan. I feel like I saw him grow up. I saw him go through the good and the bad, the high and the low times. I remember him passing up the Olympics so he could ride the 1996 Tour. The Tour or the Olys, Jan choose the tour.

At first I didn't really have a great association with him when he was just an early 20 something super stud. The next year 1997, I thought he was a disloyal upstart "stealing" the glory and Tour from his captain. I remember Jan riding back to his team car before he attacked. What a cocky dude. In 1998, I have to admit feeling the excitement as Jan lost over 9 minutes in the pouring rain. I remember his puffy eyes, and I remember the next day as he rode to victory on the following stage. He could have quit but he didn't. I was happy with the Pantani Tour that year, but Jan showed he could still race even if he wasn't going to win. Bobby Jullich finished third to Jan's second and Pantini's first. Bobby said it was the beginning of many years for him and Jan in the Tour. Ironic....

Then came Jan's ecstasy year, the knee problem, and finally the Lance period. Jan had become the underdog.

Each year after 1999, I rooted for Jan. I felt he could win, and I believed he would. He never did. I felt let down, but I still rooted for him. Not that I was rooting against Lance; I truly wanted Jan to find the glory days, again. 2nd wasn't anything to feel ashamed about, but still .....

Over the years, Jan has had a gold medal in the Olympics and several world championship time trial gold medals. A Vuelta victory, a few German road championships, and again never less than 4th in the Tour. Why do I feel a compulsion for the underdog? With Jan's palmares, he's not really an underdog, he just didn't win the Tour. Why does it feel like I am rooting for an underdog. Maybe, it's the whole American thing. Maybe, I feel guilt about being an American and having most everything go "our" way in the world as well as in the Tour. (Thank god for soccer.) I don't know. I like dynasties as much as the next person. It just needs to be done in a way that I feel comfortable with. Americans imposing their culture and values, not honoring the tradition of whatever it happens to be is not in my comfort zone. Americans with access to unlimited money to buy the best is just so....American. **

I guess Jan could do the same. A German I met said he didn't like Jan because Jan was rich and didn't train. He thought Jan was lazy. Who knows, maybe he is? But to me, Jan represents more. He is more than just the underdog. I root for Jan because he is not an American weilding dominance, power, influence, and the "American Way". Jan is not always the winner but that doesn't make him stop. Perhaps "The Kaiser" (and don't you hate that nickname) really represents the average American believing in the future, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and hoping for a better finish if he just tries hard enough? I'm not sure what it is exactly, but there is something, and it's more than just the Tour de France. Ok, session over.

**(Disclaimer: Wide generalizations in this post. I do like Americans, some of my best friends are Americans.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

12 days before Le Tour

Not entirely true to form, but...

On the twelfth day before le Tour,
my true love sent to me,
Twelve directors druggin’,
Ekimov still going,
Ten French men racing,
Tom Boonen sprinting,
Eight Basques a climbing,
Seventh Mr. Popovich,
Big Georgie sixth,
Fifth Mancebo,
Fourth Leipheimer,
Floyd Landis third,
Second Ivan Basso,
And, Jan Ullrich winning! (or 2nd, again...)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

ouch, autsch, По-русски, aïe

Yesterday, Ludovic Turpin won a stage of the Dauphine Libere. Today, he broke his femur. Up until the Dauphine Libere, Floyd Landis had won all the stage races he started. All week, he has been losing minutes on the leaders. Today, he lost 27 minutes and is sitting 49th overall.

Yesterday, I took my own unscheduled rest day off the bike. Today, I was going to make up for the slacking by flogging myself on a time trial. I hate time trials.

Instead, today finds me next to the kitties stuck in bed with a horrible pain in the lower right side of my back. It's not clear where this ache came from. One time, I had a slight pain like this from cutting my toenails, but this time it is much more uncomfortable. Perhaps, the seat "tush cush" I got for the old dilapated seat of my work vehicle? It sits me up sort of high and a little stretched out in the leg department. Well, today is almost over so I hope tomorrow is a better day. I'd even do a time trial to show my appreciation for feeling better.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Am I a betting woman? aka
Bets for June 9, 2006 - Dauphine Libere
1361 Valverde, A - Hincapie, G
Best finishing position (Stage)
Both riders must start and at least 1 of them complete the stage for bets to stand
1st 1.60, 3rd 2.10
Nine other combos exist for this stage.

Bets for July 23, 2006
9293 Tour de France 2006:
Overall winner, Who will win?
All bets void if any of the named riders are non starters
Basso, I, 2.35
Ullrich, J 3.50
Vinokourov, A 10.00
Valverde, A 11.00
Landis, F 17.00
1 Any Other Rider 4.00

In local races, one can always count on a few consistently good racers to always win. Even though there is periodization, peaking and building up to target events, most of the consistent riders always win.

In pro cycling, it can be difficult to know who is going to win, and it always depends on the time of the year. The 2006 early season classics had Boonen cleaning up as expected. The late spring and early summer races have the Giro and TdF contenders on the startline. One never knows who of the TdF GC contenders is going for overall victory in these lead up races. And unfortunately, there can be something fishy in the syringe. A combo like this makes betting on cycling an interesting event. How many startling performances have come and gone throughout the last few years: Zubeldia, Rumsas, Heras, Mayo, Hamilton, Nozal, etc...

And there is always the swap a stage for the overall. A GC rider will forego the stage win to another rider as a token of sportmanship. What if you happen to bet on that stage?

I was looking forward to today's Dauphine stage up Bon Bon Two (it always sounded like that's what the announcers were saying). I was anxiously wondering whether Landis, Hincapie, Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Vinoukorov, Mayo, Kashechkin, Mancebo were going to show how their Tour form was coming along. As it were, Landis, Hincapie, Vinoukorov were either not up to the climb or they were hiding their form. I admit being disappointed. Why? Because I would have lost the bet on Landis or Vinoukorov having the legs to win the stage? Or maybe, I wanted to see a early TdF display of strength. I guess I'll have to wait three more weeks for that.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I do...

Washington, June 3, 2006, "Sadly, President Bush is playing election-year politics with this divisive issue," the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Friday. "He is shamelessly using this ploy to energize his right-wing base. We should never rewrite the Constitution to enshrine intolerance."

From Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter p. 39:
"Now, leaders of the highly organized Christian Right have successfuly elevated in America's political debate some of the most divisive social questions. The most vivid examples include sexual preference, which obviously has highly personal and emotional overtones. Tragically, these divisive social questions have been moved to the forefront of the presidential election scene. At the same time, almost all Protestants now condone divorce as acceptable, and rarely emphasize fornication or adultery, although these sexual acts were repeatedly condemned by Jesus. It is much easier and more convenient to focus on sins of which we are not known to be guilty."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Famous last words?

The former T-Mobile rider, who signed with Liberty before the season, says he's proud to be wearing his national colours on the Tour de France, after solliciting the Kazakh prime minister (who's also president of his country's cycling federation) for help.

"I'll be there in Strasbourg on July 1st, and today there's no reason that we should be barred. This case concerns Manolo, the police, and the justice system of his country. I wouldn't understand why the Tour de France would deprive itself of me." Vinokourov in Eurosport

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Cycling is life

Today was a very unsuccessful day for a workout, but it was beautiful day for a ride.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Kazakhstan,capital Alma-Ata

Largest of the former Soviet republics, mineral rich Kazakhstan(established 1991) has the potential to become the major Central Asian economic power.

Kazakhs only just outnumber Russians in a multiethnic society. Stable relations with Russia, plus increased international profile, preserve relative harmony. Few Kazakh maintain a nomadic lifestyle, but Islam and loyalty to the three Hordes(clan federations) remain strong. Wealth is concentrated among former communists in the capital.

The economy is based upon vast mineral resources, notably, gas, oil, uranium, and gold. Increasing foreign investment, but living standards have fallen with market reforms to date.

Tenge = 100 tein
from Dorling Kindersley's Ultimate pocket World Factfile

Found in Korea circa 1959, but no one really knows my origins...maybe Kazakhstan...I think so.

Kazakhs stick together

From VeloNews:
"A consortium of five of Kazakhstan's largest companies will immediately take over as title sponsor, and the team will ride under the name Astaná-Würth, likely debuting its new colors at the Dauphiné Libéré beginning Sunday in France. Astaná is the name of the Kazakh capital."