Monday, July 30, 2007

Tour Talk

So the Tour de France is finally over with a 24-year-old Spaniard taking the top spot in the Champs-Elysee. It was a very tumultuous tour which saw Astana and Cofidis pull out from the Tour because of positive doping tests from one of their rider and withdrawal and firing of then-race leader Michael Rasmussen.

I am surprised at myself. I would think that I'd be disgusted by all the scandals that happened but I'm not. I'm actually quite calm and happy of the outcome. I guess it's because I know that the anti-doping measures are starting to work. It may not be 100% clean and I'm sure there are some riders out there still cheating, but it's getting there.

Some ramblings for this year's Tour:

1. After pulling out Rasmussen from the Tour and firing him, I'm glad that Eric Dekker and most of the Rabobank boys chose to still ride and finish the Tour de France. It was a very hard step for them to do after what happened, and I applaud them for this.

2. I didn't even think that he had it in him to finish in the podium until I saw his performance at the Stage 19 time trial. Now Levi Leipheimer has my respect. Moving forward, I think we need to see more aggression from him if he wants to see move up in the general classification.

3. Kloden is thinking of retiring, and quite frankly, I think that he should. He's always at the wrong team at the wrong time anyway.

4. David Millar's mechanical problem in the Stage 19 Time Trial will be a blow to his wheel sponsor. I just don't know how significant it will be.

5. The sport of cycling isn't exactly at its high point with all the doping scandals. With a number of teams looking for sponsorship next year, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them disintegrating and their riders moving to other teams. If Discovery finds another sponsor in time (they said they're already finalizing it), expect Bruyneel to be getting more riders for Contador's defense next year.

6. Rumors are going around regarding big George Hincapie. They say that (a) he's leaving Discovery for T-Mobile, (b) he's transferring to Jonathan Vaughter's Team Slipstream, or (c) he's retiring. Whatever it may be, I just hope he gets another shot at the Paris-Roubaix before he even thinks of riding into the sunset.

7. Giro is not taking full advantage of the exposure of their new eyewear line with Contador. Seeing him in his new yellow Giro shades, potential customers would log in to the Giro website only to discover nothing.

8. I don't know if I admire Cadel Evans or not for what he did on the last day. On one hand, he respected the tradition and didn't attack. On the other, the few seconds difference between being on top and being number two would forever haunt him. Nonetheless, he has my admiration for finishing a strong second place in this year's Tour.

What do you think? Leave a message in my comments link below.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Tour, Another Scandal.

Tour de France 2007: Vinokourov tests positive; Astana withdraws from Tour

Just when you thought that they'd all be making a move to clean up after last year's Operacion Puerto and Floyd Landis scandals, Alexandre Vinokourov tests positive and pulls down with him his team, the Tour de France and the sport of cycling.

It's just so disappointing that an exciting Tour is now marred with doping scandals. First, it's with Rasmussen not informing the UCI and his country's anti-doping body of his whereabouts for the required anti-doping tests, and now this.

If there's a silver lining to this dark cloud, then it has to be that now cheaters are getting caught. It doesn't do well in the image of the sport for now but it would help it in the long run.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tour de France Finally!

I've long been a Tour de France fan. Well, probably not as early as the time of Lemond but I do remember watching some stages in the 1996 Tour.

In the reign of Lance Armstrong, I stayed up late to watch the French coverage on TV5 on SkyCable. It starts at 12 midnight or 12:30 in the morning so I would still be groggy the following day. Nonetheless, it was worth it.

Since last year though, TV5 isn't showing the Tour de France anymore. Being big fans, this was no obstacle to us. The wife and I would settle on the web updates from CyclingNews.com, VeloNews.com and Eurosport.

This was our modus operandi for this year until one member from the Philippine Cycling Network told us about this cool software that lets you watch Versus on your PC over the internet for free. I tell you, this is such a blessing. With this, never will I settle watching ESPN's lousy 30-minute highlight show.

If you're interested, download the TVU Player here. Once you installed it on your PC (Sorry, it's not available for Macs), scroll through the channels list. Versus is at the bottom part.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Ugh! Dealing with the Government!

I don't want to flex my muscles but for this case I have to. To be fair, I did try to get in touch with the person in charge but somehow I feel like he was trying to avoid me and so I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

I texted my cousin asking him if he could point me to the right person to bug. Told him that I don't want to raise this matter to my tito but the name of the city is at stake Being a good-natured person, he was the one who followed it up with the head. Lo and behold, I got my answer right away - they'll be sending the checks through courier hopefully by the end of the day.

Of course, most of you who are reading this know what I'm talking about - these are the cash prizes for the 6th EBD Barangay Tour Mountain Bike XC Marathon. Most of the winners understood how strict the Commission On Audit can be, but it was the head who committed to sending out the checks at the end of the week. Well, the week has passed and I've heard of no one getting their prizes. All I'm saying is he should live up to his word.

Now let's see if we start getting the prizes tomorrow.
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