Monday Musette – Spartacus, El Pistolero, Mud, & Boards

2010 Tirreno Adriatico - Cancellara Press Conference

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Here’s some stuff for you to chew on while you ride through the week.

1. Fabian Cancellara has not yet announced what team he’ll ride for in

2011, despite plenty of rumors that he’ll sign with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Team. Meanwhile, the Luxembourg project has yet to announce much in the way of management, title sponsor, or further signings, despite regular promises that everything will be revealed shortly. Are they struggling with the SuperTeam model? As smaller Continental and ProTour teams fold, are SuperTeams like HTC, Garmin/Slipstream, and Team Sky the wave of the future, or are they damaging to the top tier?

2. One of the cornerstones of the Luxembourg project, Frank Schleck, raced one final time in his Saxo Bank jersey, winning a criterium in Curacao after heavy storms forced the cancellation of the planned road race. Curacao is a small island off the coast of Venezuela with historical, economic, and political ties to the Netherlands (now you know!).

3. Speaking of things absent from the news, Alberto Contador has been out of the headlines for a while after a month of high profile speculation about what will happen as a result of his “adverse analytical finding” – also known as testing positive.  The Inner Ring wonders whether or not the UCI can afford to prosecute

Contador, and though Cyclocosm makes a strong argument for the progress that the UCI has made on anti-doping initiatives, its inaction in the Contador case is curious.

4. And now, to turn off the road and into the mud—and, thankfully, away from politicking and speculating and back to actual racing. Sven Nys looks to be coming into form after a lackluster start to his season with two wins in atrocious conditions at the Koppenbergcross and the GP Mario de Clercq in Ronse—the former while maintaining his minute-plus advantage despite having to climb the Koppenberg on a flat rear tire with one lap to go.  Erik will have more to say I’m sure in his International CX Report & Power Rankings to come later this week.

5. It recently came to my attention that Francis Mourey (the French National Cyclocross Champion who came to the United States for a few weeks this fall to win CrossVegas and beat up on some domestic pros for a little while) raced on clincher tires. Many tout the cyclocross-specific advantages of tubulars, but in these days of top-of-the-shelf sponsorships, it’s nice to see people winning big races on more modest equipment.

6. And from the mud to the boards: Sir Chris Hoy—otherwise known as the man who can kill you just by flexing his thighs—has dominated the match sprint for several years.  That is until he was bumped from the 1/16th round of eliminations in the match sprint event at the European Track Championships. An unknown, 18-year-old Irishman, Felix English, raced all the way to the line against Hoy, who had opened a large gap and expected it to hold to the finish line. A common top-seed tactic in a match sprint qualifying round is to win by as little as necessary, conserving energy for later rounds, but Hoy obviously goofed.

7. And don’t forget to shoot us an email if you’re interested in being added to the list for our upcoming 2011 Pavé kit order.  We’re looking to switch from Champion Systems to Vermarc—a move well worth the extra time and effort.

Has anything else of interest come to your attention this week? Chime-in with your thoughts below.

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