What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday

Another Monday, some more Eurotrash. At least there’s something to look forward to. This week we’ve got a few good tidbits for sniffing. VDB goes hunting in his living room, Jaksche’s fantastic luck, Lelli’s future problems, Mad Mac’s rock hard toughness, and more.

What Else Can Go Wrong with VDB?
It just doesn’t seem like anything can go right for Frank Vandenbroucke for more than a few months at a time. In 2003 he was as strong as ever with a huge runner-up finish in the Tour of Flanders, and this spring he was just as strong, and things couldn’t look brighter, but then the inevitable crash followed. Little to nothing has been heard from undoubtedly the most embattled talent in cycling in months, that is, until the police showed up at the Fassa Bortolo rider’s house after gun shots were fired.

Not exactly good publicity, but at least we know he’s still alive. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like he’s all too happy to be alive at the moment as he threatened to kill himself in a violent dispute with his wife.

Here’s to hoping that VDB can get it together again, and maybe, just MAYBE he might return next year.

Lelli Imperiled
After being implicated in two different doping testimonies now, it seems that Cofidis has realized that Massmiliano Lelli might not be much of an asset to their team. Lelli has been called to Cofidis headquarters for a conference as to exactly what his version of the story is.

Lelli has been implicated in doping practices through the words of both Philippe Gaumont and most recently David Millar.

Poor Lelli is about to come under the ravages of Judge Pallain’s investigation and will without a doubt not emerge unscathed unless armed with sealed lips and amnesia. (Procycling)

Raimondas Rumsas Returns
After serving his suspension, Rumsas has signed a contract with Acqua e Sapone and is set to return to action.

Rumsas was suspended for a year after testing positive for EPO at the 2003 Giro d’Italia.

Hmmm, threats of life suspensions are tossed around like hotcakes in Australia, but Rumsas gets a year. Can we PLEASE get some kind of standardized punishments?

Joerg Jaksche And Cadel Evans: Long Lost Twins?
Joerg Jaksche is doing the improbable this season – he has gone on the breaking bone binge again. He broke his shoulder in training, right after he recovered from his previous breakage of an elbow. Before that, he was knocked out of the Amstel Gold race due to another unfortunate incident.

It appears that Cadel Evans’ rottenest of rotten luck has passed on to another unfortunate soul.

Robbie McEwen Gets The Tyler Hamilton Award
Since Tyler Hamilton wasn’t able to finish the Tour under improbable circumstances for the second year in a row, it seemed that we would be left without a superhero who could ride with one leg after the other was bitten off by a shark.

Well, Robbie McEwen saved the day. Turns out, ol Mad Mac had plenty to be pissed about this year, as he probably gnawed through a good set of teeth as he rode 14 stages of the Tour with a broken back (two broken lumbar vertebrae). In those fourteen stages, McEwen won one of them, and successfully defended his lead in the points competition. Just goes to show how strong McEwen was this year. McEwen’s story is even better than say Tyler’s last year, because he kept his injury secret, so his rivals couldn’t take advantage of his weakness. Talk about gamesmanship. That’s just HARD, I mean, hard like riding a 600 km stage on a single speed 50 pound bike with vino and a pack of cigarettes for company.

Good LORD! I can barely ride with road rash.

Andreas Kloeden In The Driver’s Seat
Walter Godefroot’s stress levels can’t be in the healthy range right now. His problems with the star of stars Jan Ullrich are well known and continuing, but now Andreas Kloeden has checked in for some fun as well. Turns out Godefroot didn’t accept the terms of Kloeden’s contract renewal just before the Tour, which would have been a basic two year contract extension.

Kloeden: “Before the Tour I asked Team-Manager Walter Godefroot for a two year extension with the terms of my previous contract, but he wavered. Now, my bargaining position has improved. I have several offers from other teams.”

Ouch.

David Millar Is Coming Good
David Millar might have taken a huge swan dive in terms of ethics, future possibilities, etc etc, but at least he has decided to come clean and at least try to make amends for mistakes. In an interview with ProCycling, Millar makes a number of intriguing comments, maybe not revelations, but he emphasizes some facts that sometimes need underlining.

“There aren’t drugs that do what Lance is doing. Lance could be on all the drugs in the world, but they don’t do that. I know they don’t do that. He’s a force of nature.”

“I know who does and doesn’t and I know what doping does and doesn’t do, and there are no miracle products. It doesn’t make a donkey into a thoroughbred.”

To curb some fears, it seems like Millar is pretty confident that the entire pro peloton is not on drugs. That’s a relief, but the fact is, we will never know the extent of the problem of doping. Millar is surely not going to sit down and write a list out of all of the people he knows that are doped, he might be coming clean, but calling out names might be a bit too much to expect. There will be sporadic outbreaks of revelations and findings, but doping will forever remain cycling’s dirty little secret.

(www.jeredgruber.com)

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