What's Cool In Road Cycling

Dunc’s Thoughtful Thoughts

As I was riding my bike through the vineyards between Pavia and Piacenza on a very very hot (36c) sunny day…I started thinking about all that has happened in Italian cycling recently, and thought I’d give you my thoughtful thoughts on Cipo, Domina Vacanze, Simoni, Popovych, Pantani and what was really written on Andrea Peron’s t-shirt in the recently Pez posted “Andrea Peron Pre Tour Training Tips” (read article here)??

If you read an Italian newspaper when the Italians have been hard done by, it seems as if there are only Italians in cycling. Now, we ALL agree that Cipo should be at the Tour, Mc Ewen says so, Petacchi says so, Ballerini says so, the UCI says so and PezCycling News readers say so! Now races like the TDF are organized well, but there are some decisions, like leaving Cipo at home that leaves our mouths open. Why? Politics? Money? Well of course……

Domina Vacanze does not have any business interest in France whatsoever and as Sr. Preatoni, Domina’s owner told me, he is not a man who throws money around without a return.

So was it a business decision that keeped Cipo out of the Tour as I’m sure Preatoni wasn’t prepared to write that fat cheque out to secure one of the wild cards….who knows!? Plus if Domina wanted automatic entry into the Tour, why wasn’t it strengthened at the very beginning to have automatic right into the Tour? Santoni maybe? Santoni is the Sporting director of the team…and my impressions, like many others’ aren’t very good. From the day Cipo entered into Santoni’s team, Cipo hasn’t been invited to the Tour! Coincidence?? Boh…who knows! Cipo should be at the Tour but Politics, money and other factors has left him out.

Simoni. Can Simoni be the man to beat Armstrong? I don’t think so as there are too many Km’s TT, but Simoni is better than Beloki and will make it Hell for everybody in the mountains, Armstrong included. He has this incredible change of pace and constantly makes these spurts that hurt. He is a great pro, knows how to recover, he sleeps whenever and wherever he can, bit like Stephen Roche did, and doesn’t waste energy. He is like and maybe better than the Pantani of old.

On to Pantani. I’m happy Pantani is back, but does he really merit going to the Tour…Ma! If he didn’t have a second Father in Mercatone Uno, he would have already retired. Mercatone are offering 1million Euro to any team that will let Pantani ride in the Team!! Not bad eh? He had a good Giro, attacked without doing any damage but suffered when the others attacked, is he really up to the Tour?!?

On to a lad that when he attacked made EVERYBODY go into tilt. Did you guys see the Giro?…the star wasn’t Simoni, Pantani it was POPOVYCH! This boy is talent – 23 years old, 2nd year as a pro, his first year he finished, if I’m not mistaken, in the top 10 (ed. note – actually finished 12th, 14′:50″ behind Salvodelli.) In the Giro this year he was 3rd only 5secs behind Garzelli…and nobody is talking about him! In a few years time we will all be talking only about him… On the worst day in the mountains in this year’s Giro….he attacked 1km from the summit of a snow covered icy climb, then attacked again on the down hill of this icy climb and 30 km from the finish…Simoni’s team went into tilt…..Simoni had to chase him on his own, Garzelli and Pantani went off the road finishing 2mins and 16mins behind Popovych. He spins those wheels at 100rpm in the mountains (mmm sounds like Armstrong, no?) and beats all the mountain boys on the TT’s. Watch out for him.

Talking about watching out. Did you see the little article last week on “ ANDREA PERON’S PRE TOUR TRAINING TIPS” (read article here)? Look at the photo well…no not at Daniela….but at Andrea’s logo on his T-shirt…it has a double meaning…see it…no?……just look at the A and look carefully. Anybody giving the answer to the double meaning of the t-shirt wins an Evening out with Daniela when / if you are ever in Milan, for you Girls, you win an evening out with Andrea Peron himself or maybe we will all go out together!
Answers please!
– Ciao for Now, Duncan

Send your ideas – and thoughtful thoughts – to Dunc at [email protected]

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