What's Cool In Road Cycling

Dubious Achievements Awards

With all the great things that happened this year, it was also another one for the books for fowl ups and mind-numbing behavior. The cycling world has seen some bad years, but for cycling fans, this one comes close o taking the cake, and the respective governing bodies should be shaking in their skins at the thought of trying to maintain credibility. So without further ado…

The Flaccid Phlegm award is a dead heat between the UCI and the guys in Belgium for making a mockery of anti doping rules by allowing Frank Vandenbroucke to win the Kampioenschap van Oost-Vlaanderen because it happened to be just outside the line on some map… A suspension for Steroids and EPO possession that allowed VDB to race anywhere in the world other than a small hunk of Flemish Territory is absolutely mind boggling.

Not to let it end there for VDB the Dicapryo award, given to the only person on the planet that needs a public butt whooping more than actor Leonardo Dicaprio was a tie between VDB and Robbie Mc Ewen. Of course man handling a guy who’s been tagged with as many substances as VDB may not be easy for a guy like me who tips the scales at a massive 145 lbs, and worse yet might the results be should I try and tangle with a guy like McEwen who did everything but smack Eric Zabel over the head with a pipe wrench at the Worlds. Still it seemed like every time someone came within ten feet of Robbie, he cried foul. Both these guys can ride your legs off. Its just a shame that VDB has the self control of Mike Tyson, and the other has both Tyson’s need for dishing out Punishment, and the eager voice of am 8 year old school girl who just got her hair pulled (but only after kicking the kid in the desk in front of her…).

The Wrong way Right award is another tie but for opposing views. It is shared by the UCI and the USADA. The UCI wins for getting it right in letting Giberto Simoni off the hook after the candy from his Grandma tests positive for Cocaine. It’s just a shame that they didn’t get the ball rolling and waited till he was well into the Giro before finding telling him he had tested also + long before the Giro started. Nothing like waiting till everyone is looking before letting your news fly eh? The other winner here is with the guys in the good old USA for dropping the bomb on Scott Moninger when everyone and their brother knows that he had no intent to dope, and also had so little in his system that he got no benefit anyway. Add to it that the tests have proven that a simple amino acid was greased to the gills, and all we can do is hope that his suspension is light and his legal settlement from the manufacturer is HEAVY! Honorable mention goes to the Swiss Federation for tossing Stefano Garzelli out for 9 months for a trace element of a drug that is useless as a doping or masking agent…

As follow up, The no such thing as bad publicity award goes to The Honcho at Cannondale who thought that the right time to mention things about Quality Bikes and Technological advancements was in his public address regarding Simoni’s struggles.

The Sour (rotten) Grapes award goes to Hein Verbruggen of the UCI for his open letter criticizing Mapei boss Giorgio Squinzi for, in not so many words, Using Cycling to promote his company. Could someone please explain to me what the hell a sponsor’s money is supposed to buy??? (other than a shiny new headquarters for the UCI…)

The Cry me a river award goes to Michele Bartoli and a few other Italians for bitching about their non selection to the Worlds Road team. Seems like what goes around comes around (sometimes) and the past exploits of a few of the past proven non team players was remembered by Franco B. Hope they enjoyed the view from the couch, and that others remember what happens when you spell Team with an “I”.

The Two faces award goes to Fassa Bortolo for the revolving door policy taken with Dario Frigo. He gets caught with a blood dope so new it wasn’t available for Human Consumption yet and Fassa steps back and chucks him out the door (right into the back of Taconni’s team car…) in an effort to say what could amount to… look at us, we are against doping!!! And who’s their big signing of 2002? Frigo. It’s a classic example of how short a team’s memory is (and what moral level the team really has) when a rider brings top 10 UCI points to the table…

The Humanitarian award goes to Edita and Raimondas Rumsas. Edita cared so much about her Mama that she bailed out on her husband as he was about to step onto the Podium of the world’s biggest race in order to rush back to her with a trunk full of Bang. Raimondas gets mention for not visiting his wife while in the pokey, despite the fact that he didn’t “test” positive for anything and supposedly had nothing to fear. Maybe he did have a health concern though, as it’s not ever day that a rider’s Hematocrit level climbs a few points while riding the tour… It’s just a shame Edita was jailed. They could have let her go on the condition that police stand buy as she pumped her Madre full of the EPO as well as the rest of the laundry list of dope found in her boot. Did anyone ever stop to see weather her Mom died due to lack of those meds???

Last but not least is the Meat Grinder award given annually to Once Director Manolo Saiz. If there is any team in the world that has more Talent across the board than Once, I would love to see it, yet year in and year out the man tries to have multiple leaders in all the grand tours, only to have them burn each other out. Couple that with his dictatorial approach to his riders (reportedly prescribing bike fit regardless of rider input and burning riders out year long) with his efforts to reduce both the number of Division 1 teams and the numbers of riders on them (thus creating; fewer jobs for all riders, less competition for top riders, a reduced wage competition and a power vacuum that he fills nicely), and you have a guy that not only grinds up his own riders but makes being a professional a tougher prospect for everyone.

I can’t hope but wish that 2003 gets better than 02 for our sport. The finding of a slew of new doping allegations and positives created the loss of several major sponsors and the UCI finds itself in a position of teams saying thanks but no thanks to the “gift” of a division one invitation. Change is needed. Big change…

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