By Tick of
So the UCI finally gathered up its courage in both hands and actually denied
two teams their GS-I licenses. It was surely not an easy decision, but after
last year's Coast debacle showed that decisive action was necessary.
Probably the most surprising aspect is the revelation of Domina Vacanze's
financial problems. Their team manager complains of "grossly unfair treatment,"
and the UCI counters with "five pages of auditors' notes." But how much will the
change really affect the team? Cipo will still be able to ride Milan-San Remo
and his beloved Giro. And a GS-II license would put an official end to any hopes
of of an invitation to the Tour de France -- not that there was the slightest
chance that they would ever have received one, anyway....
Kelme is a slightly different story. The team has had financial difficulties
for years, and perhaps the only question is, what took the UCI so long? The team
and its supporters also claim that their long tradition demands their inclusion
in the pro ranks. But unfortunately their "tradition" in recent years has become
one of unpaid bills and overdue salaries.
Both teams have been invited to apply for GS-II status, which would at least
allow them to keep riding and remain in the public eye. After first proclaiming
that they would rather close down than accept minor-league stats, both teams
have now predictably announced that they will perform better than ever, just to
show that nasty old UCI just how wrong it was. They would do better to pay their
bills and their riders on time....
There is apparently much behind-the-scene to-ing and fro-ing by Kelme --
Valverde must go to save the team! Valverde must stay to save the team! The
Communidad Valencia will save the day! Kelme-the-shoe-maker is out as a sponsor!
No, it's not! And now the latest rumor is that the team won't even be able to
meet the GS-II requirements....
January is team presentation time and the chance for the riders to announce
their goals for the year. Millar is very much enjoying being King of All He
Surveys at Cofidis, big surprise. Virenque plans to win his seventh KOM jersey
at the Tour. Petacchi wants to win Milan-San Remo. Bettini wants the World Cup.
So does Astarloa. He also wants LBL, but Rebellin does, too. O'Grady has to be
different, he wants to win Paris-Roubaix. Perhaps he got a new washing machine
The "Is My Face Red!" award of the week goes to USPS. After first proving
themselves incapable of getting their UCI paperwork in on time, they proudly
post a photo of "Jose Azevdeo" on their website. Too bad that the young man is
actually named "Azevedo" and that the photo is the official photo of Santiago
Botero from the T-Mobile Team website.....