Weekly Rap - November 21, 2008By Rick Scott
Welcome back to The Weekly Rap. This week, we’ve got track racing results and a bountiful feast of 2009 news for you to devour. The start of the holiday season is up ahead at the next sign post and we’re going for it!
The BeatThere isn’t much racing action to report this time of year aside from the high-speed thrills on the velodrome boards. Road cycling legend Erik Zabel continued his farewell tour prior to retirement with a 2nd place finish paired with Leif Lampater at the Munich Six-Day. Two-time Amgen Tour of California stage winner Olaf Pollack and partner Roger Kluge took 3rd while the win went to Robert Bartko and Iljo Keisse. Bartko and Keisse presently lead Zabel and Lampater at the Gent Six-Day in Belgium. A pair of young Americans, Austin Carroll and Guy East, are riding strongly in the U23 (under age 23) competition sitting in 2nd place as of this writing.
The second round of the World Cup is underway in Melbourne, Australia with the host nation earning their share of medals while the mighty British squad continues their domination on the track.
The FlowCycling fans in the U.S. are mourning the recent announcement that the 2009 Tour de Georgia will not happen. The silver lining is that the state government and race organizers are working to revive the American Grand Tour in 2010.
Even more muscle has been added to the potent talent list planning to tackle the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia next May. The latest luminary to join the bunch that includes Lance Armstrong, Carlos Sastre, Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, and Gilberto Simoni is Russian Denis Menchov, two-time winner of the Vuelta a Espana. Armstrong’s presence has prompted Giro organizers to collaborate with him in his mission to spread the awareness in the fight against cancer. Specifics are presently being worked out.
Reigning Giro champion, Alberto Contador, crashed hard last week at a criterium honoring the retirement of one of his fellow Spaniards. Thankfully he escaped with only minor abrasions and facial lacerations.
Contador and Armstrong reinforced their already mighty Astana squad with the recent inking of Yaroslav Popovych. The Ukrainian arrives after spending a season with Silence-Lotto.
Rock Racing added a bevy of talent to their motley crew, including Baden Cooke, Francisco Mancebo, Jose Enrique Gutierrez and domestic standouts Chris Baldwin, Glen Chadwick and Amgen Tour of California stage winner Ivan Dominguez.
Iconic Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini, who finished 3rd earlier this year at the Amgen Tour of California stage into Sacramento, has joined the newly formed Team ISD as a technical consultant. The legend briefly came out of retirement to compete in California with Rock Racing. Team ISD is built around former Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti, who held the pink leader’s jersey at this year’s Giro for over a week.
From pink to green, the Tour of Ireland moves from September to August next year. Looking even further ahead, the 2010 Tour de France will start in Rotterdam.
American ProTour squad Garmin-Chipotle will announce their 2009 roster at an event in Boulder, Colorado this weekend. Proceeds benefit The Children’s Hospital Courage Classic, a three-day cycling event that supports the pediatric network devoted to the health and wellbeing of children.
2008 Amgen Tour of California prologue winner Fabian Cancellara was voted by the Team CSC-Saxo Bank fan club as the Rider of the Year for the second consecutive season. The Olympic Time Trial gold medalist bested Tour de France winner Sastre and young climbing sensation Andy Schleck.
Although we’re still in the throes of the autumnal months, teams are beginning to announce their rider selections for the first ProTour race of 2009: Australia’s Tour Down Under (January 18-25). California-based ProTour Team Columbia will send Andre Greipel to defend his general classification victory from last January. Of the notables supporting him will be Amgen Tour of California multi-stage winner George Hincapie, who for the first time in his lengthy professional career will be racing against his former captain, Armstrong.
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Rick Scott is president of Great Scott P.R.oductions, an entertainment and sports public relations, marketing and management boutique. He can be contacted through www.greatscottpr.com.