The week that was, on Tuesday

It was a good day for your author on the bike today, a nice ride with Richard out to Port Moody for an (excellent) double-espresso at our favourite local. The weather has proven to be most uncooperative is helping to add some tan lines, but we remain optimistic.

The return ride was spoiled somewhat by a puncture (putting a nasty split in a relatively new tyre), ending my run of puncture-free rides that seems to have only been a few months. The support car was nowhere in sight, unfortunately, so spare wheels were not available. Richard later suggested that the new Road Holland ‘Westy’ would have been most welcome, as indeed it would have been.

Destined to be a classic (Road Holland pic.)

It has been a strange week in pro cycling, hence this brief post ahead of some more lengthy efforts (promises, promises). The events have made for some good ride and coffee discussions, but hardly gratifying ones. In Italy, Alberto Contador is carving his opponents into filet mignon (or an Italian equivalent – pancetta perhaps?) at the Giro. Admittedly, the field is not a particularly strong one for the overall, although this was meant to be Vincenzo Nibali’s year. After the mountain time trial, La Gazzetta dello Sport was calling Contador a ‘cannibal’ – an obvious reference to his Merckx-like dominance so far. David Harmon on Eurosport suggested that Contador was a “classy rider”, whatever we might think of his attendance at the race. One might suggest the following menu to describe his participation: travesty, unfortunate but fair, fully justified.

The Giro has already been marked by tragedy and from elsewhere we get the news of Movistar’s star climber Xavier Tondo killed in a tragic accident with a garage door. Tondo was already gaining headlines for his honesty over approaches made to him with doping products earlier in the year, buttressing his status as a ‘clean’ rider that we could all support. He was also letting his legs do some talking as well, and looking strong on the climbs in the early season. Wouter Weylandt’s death reminded us of the dangers of pro racing, but Tondo’s circumstances can only but leave one puzzling over the bizarre turns that events sometimes take.

And, finally, in what many expected but still found surprising, Tyler Hamilton confessed to his doping past, and his deceit, and then aired the finer details of his grand jury testimony for public consumption. Those who suggested that he was “doing it for the money” may wish to ponder just how much is up for grabs in a yet-to-be-announced ‘book publishing deal’ (it’s only former US presidents who get those multi-million dollar advances) versus Hamilton’s anguish at having to confess to his friends and supporters as well as the rather strict penalties for telling lies to a federal grand jury. Most of us have probably already formed some fairly strong opinions surrounding what Hamilton had to say, but it may well turn out that this is just the beginning of an even uglier process of revelations.

Working out what it all means will certainly be the basis for many further ride and coffee discussions – and hopefully some extended ruminations here on this blog as well.

Xavier Tondo Volpini, 1978-2011 (Barbosa pic.)