Weekly Rap - November 10, 2008By Rick Scott
Welcome back to The Weekly Rap. This week, we’ve got one warrior retiring with panache while another returns with equal aplomb. We’ve also got skinny guys with funny tan lines on the beach and champions blowing in the wind. It’s a time trial-packed issue.
The BeatAmgen Tour of California stage winner Paolo Bettini crashed hard on the track last week while racing the Milan Six-Day smashing his helmet and landing in the hospital. Thankfully the two-time World Champion was not seriously injured and was able to resume the event a couple days later in the Italian’s final race before retiring. And what a comeback he made. Bettini and partner Joan Llaneras won over 2nd place finishers Filippo Pozzato and Luke Roberts. It was Bettini’s first Six-Day win in a remarkable career that included a 2004 Olympic road race gold medal. Bravisimo!
Bettini’s former team, Quick Step-Innergetic, knows a thing or two about winning bike races. According to a statistician, the Belgian-base squad that flocks to Cali each February has the most UCI wins in the last five years (212). Amgen Tour of California stage winner Tom Boonen notched the most individual victories (81) ahead of Alessandro Petacchi and Robbie McEwen.
The Tour of the Southland concluded in New Zealand with a stage win by Amgen Tour of California Herbalife Sprint Points winner Dominique Rollin, who won the Sprint Points title at the Tour of the Southland as well. Kiwi Hayden Roulston won the overall. Next season, he’ll join Rollin on the new Cervelo TestTeam.
Lance Armstrong came back to road racing with a pair of time trial wins at the Tour de Gruene in Texas. Cloaked in a black Livestrong skinsuit with yellow trim, Armstrong aced the 16-mile individual race against the clock. The following day, he teamed with John “College” Korioth to rip the 27.3-mile team time trial with a healthy margin of 2:34 over the 2nd place duo.
The centennial edition of the Giro d’Italia is expected to commence May 9th with a rare team time trial in Venice at which Armstrong will be peaking. Others planning to take the start include a quartet of Italian Giro winners - Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego, Danilo DiLuca and Gilberto Simoni - and 08 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre along with his new Cervelo TestTeam.
The annual flight of the odd-tanned skinny boys hit the beaches of Curacao last week and culminated with the Amstel Curacao Race. Team CSC-Saxo Bank’s Andy Schleck waited until the last race of the season to open his account by scoring a win at the light-hearted race previously won by Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Boonen and Oscar Freire.
The Belgian National Team took the overall and three out of the top four places at Africa’s Tour du Faso. Guy Smet capped the dominating team performance with a final stage win and the overall title.
The British men and women continued their dominance of track cycling that began with the World Championships last March and in August when mining a collection of gold medals at the Beijing Olympics by winning a ton of races at the first World Cup event of the season in Manchester.
The FlowTwo days after winning the time trials, Armstrong spent Election Day in a Southern California wind tunnel refining his time trial position and testing new equipment. Joining him in the lab was two of his Astana teammates: Contador and two-time Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer. Can you imagine the power in that room? Bet they could light up Las Vegas with the wattage those boys can produce with their legs…
A pair of young German stars could be just what the sport needs to breathe new life into German cycling. Linus Gerdemann and Gerald Ciolek move from Team Columbia to Milram, the lone remaining German-based ProTour team. Last year, Gerdemann won a stage of the Tour de France and toasted overall victory this year at the Tour of Germany. Sprinter Ciolek should blossom in the role of closer after leading out Team Columbia teammates Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel.
The former Saunier Duval-Scott team that became American Beef-Scott after the Tour de France has found a new title sponsor for next season and will continue in the ProTour ranks. U.S. domestic powerhouse squad Team HealthNet presented by Maxxis will become OUCH presented by Maxxis next season, thanks to the new Southern California-based title sponsor that helped replace Floyd Landis’ hip, the OUCH Sports Medical Center. Landis will join the squad and will be gunning to win the Amgen Tour of California again after having won the inaugural edition…
One of America’s most successful cyclists, Bobby Julich, retired from the sport at the end of this season after 16 years as a pro. The Pennsylvania native accepted a rider development management position with Team Saxo Bank-IT Factory (formerly Team CSC)…
Amgen Tour of California online color commentator Frankie Andreu, a nine-time Tour de France veteran, will be leading the Frankie Fun Ride in Marin County, California this Sunday, November 16. He’ll be joined by a host of pro cyclists for the 42-mile ride, including BMC riders Jackson Stewart, Scott Nydam and Mike Sayers. The jaunt will benefit the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. Registration information is available at www.cyclistvillage.com.
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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.