A new year may be upon us but I’ve still got a bunch of questions about events in years past and idle thoughts about the present.
About why certain girls didn’t like me as much as I liked them at school or university these curiosities may never be answered but concerning the sport of professional road cycling, I’m sure by year’s end, I’ll be able to reach some sort of closure on a few outstanding issues:
ONE: During Riccardo Riccò’s time away from the sport and while he was still training, at what point did he decide that going clean wasn’t the way forward, and that blood transfusions were?
By the way, I asked the UCI president whether Riccò continued to be monitored while suspended, to which spokesperson Enrico Carpani replied: “Riccardo Ricco has always been part of our protocol of monitoring [through] the 20 months of [his] suspension (as well as it is the case currently with Valverde).
“All ‘major’ riders are submitted to the same treatment,” Carpani said. “In other cases we restart following and checking them during the last 6-12 months [of their suspension].”
TWO: Will we, by the end of this year, learn exactly who was subpoenaed by the federal grand jury into the investigation sparked by Floyd Landis’ claims of systematic doping at the U.S. Postal Service cycling team, and, like the BALCO scandal, come to read exactly what they said? (And while we’re at it, I’d like the full transcripts, please.)
THREE: Concerning TWO, will prosecutors be able to indict any member of the team; that is, prove any member/s defrauded their sponsors by acquiring PEDs, using U.S. Postal funds (remembering this is the ONLY way they’ll get ‘em)?
FOUR: Concerning THREE, will Lance Armstrong walk away from the sport a free man? And will it be at the Tour of California, or is it all getting a bit too hard and too boring for the grand old man of 39 years?
FIVE: What will become of Landis and Riccò – will the latter become someone’s beatch in prison, as Mark Cavendish hopes?
SIX: Regarding the mysterious case of Contador And His Beef With The Butcher, will the UCI/WADA appeal the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and if so, how will they rule, and will they rule before the Tour de France starts on July 2?
SEVEN: Can and will Contador explain the presence of placticizers in his urine, uncovered in a New York Times report last October that showed levels eight times higher than the minimum that indicates blood doping?
EIGHT: Will the test for placticizers be validated by WADA and implemented by the UCI by the eve of the Giro d’Italia or, if not the Giro, the Tour de France?
NINE: Will we see a WADA-validated test for autologous (same species, same donor) blood doping by year’s end?
TEN: Off the doping beat and following on from the tours of Down Under and Qatar, will HTC-High Road and Garmin-Cervélo continue to be the dominant teams in 2011 and resume their ding-dong battle all the way through the Spring Classics – or will the leap of scarf-friendly Lay-oh-pards show they’re more than pretty boys with pretty toys?
ELEVEN: Given the difficulty of this year’ Giro parcours has ratcheted up a notch to the ‘Don’t do this if you’re going to try and win the Tour’ setting, will anyone other than an Italian win the most romanticized Grand Tour in the world?
TWELVE: Assuming Contador doesn’t race the Tour (a fair assumption, I reckon), are we about to witness another five-time era, this time dominated by the goofy but very likeable Andy Schleck – or can the likes of Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans, both 33 and who have only have one or two chances left, steal the show – and send the Andy that got pandied at the Vuelta for boozing back to the bar?
THIRTEEN: What will become of the online cycling milieu by the close of 2011? Who will come and who will go? And will sycophantic sludge continue to be as pervasive as it was in 2010?
Funny, that... I’ve run out at Unlucky Thirteen. Apologies to those suffering from Triskaidekaphobia.
Let me know if I’ve forgotten anything.
The Insider is a new feature on NYVelocity by cycling journalist Anthony Tan. In what will be a regular on NYVC, Anthony will contribute by way of podcasts with various industry folk, canvassing topics others are reluctant to discuss – as well as talking plenty of crap – and from time to time, he’ll also write a column about what really goes on behind the scenes in cycling’s major league, keeping the teams and those within on their tippy toes. Follow him on Twitter: @anthony_tan
You know that old box of bike parts you've put in your closet?
Recorded inside the press room at Grenoble Velodrome, we bring you Episode #8 of the Insider from the 2011 Tour de France, our final podcast.
Recorded 1,850 metres above sea level atop the famed Alpe d'Huez, we bring you Episode #7 of the Insider podcast from the 2011 Tour de France.