Cycling News

I was remiss with mentioning the Spring Classics campaign this year, mostly because I’ve been too busy (read: lazy) to write much of anything. So here’s a brief recap: Tom Boonen was shut out from the big three (the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix). (The success of his season now rests on winning the Green Jersey in the Tour de France) Stuart O’Grady became the first Australian to win Paris-Roubaix, taking the victory in positively un-hellish weather, with dry and hot conditions. And American George Hincapie was forced to miss the Classics after an injury in the Tour of California. The second round of the season is starting up, with races like the Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and the Flèche Wallonne–hillier racers that favor a different sort of rider, one who can deal with the longer, more severe climbs. These will lead into the Giro d’Italia, which is always an interesting race, as it is yet to be dominated completely by stage specialists and includes some absolutely hideous stages (this year includes the climb up Monte Zoncolan, with sections as steep as 22%).

Two other bits of cycling news have yet again cast a shadow on the sport. First, Floyd Landis’ “B” sample was found to contain synthetic testosterone, thus validating the original tests that cast doubt on his Tour de France win. Landis’ camp has repeatedly denied the charges and claimed that the French lab has been biased. It’s unlikely we will ever know the truth, unfortunately. It does, however, seem that Landis will be banned for two years, and his Tour victory will be stripped. Additionally, Ivan Basso will be investigated again for apparent links with the Operation Puerto sting, and Discovery Channel has asked that Basso not race until the investigation is finished. He will miss the remainder of the spring season, and there is some doubt that he could participate in the Giro. Good thing Disco picked up Levi Leipheimer–without Basso, he is certainly a threat to win the Tour, if he continues his form from the spring.