The favorites are starting to show themselves and the UCI is in the dog house again.
the team where general classification dreams go to die , but I'm going to have to eat crow. With 100 kilometers of time trialing in this year's Tour de France and Leipheimer's re-found ability, I feel he could go top three in Paris.
While BMC's classics squad has been lacking, I have to give props to the younger generation of riders they added to the 2012 roster: Taylor Phinney and Tejay Van Garderen. I'm super impressed with those boys and I can safely predict that one day Phinney will win a Paris-Roubaix and Van Garderen a Grand Tour.
Another team that has an über fan as a team owner is RadioShack-Nissan. Luxemburg's answer to Donald Trump, Favio Becca, has finally gotten a win with Cancellara. But, surprisingly, they had to wait awhile to get it. While I don't think it will be a completely horrible season for RadioShack-Nissan, it won't be good. Why do you ask? Just because, on paper, you have a bunch of talented riders doesn't mean they are all going to gel into a cohesive unit. If Cancellara wins any of the northern classics, it will because of his strength on the bike - not his teammates. He demonstrated that at Strade Bianche.
The merging of Leopard-Trek and RadioShack was a derisive union, like a marriage between a couple each with kids of their own - there's going to be factions made and an uneasy relationship for a couple of years. These riders are the kids in this new marriage - they were not sure where they stood contract wise and left wondering if they made the cut to be a member of the new squad.
This does not breed team camaraderie - quite the opposite. It just further illustrates what upper management thinks of their riders - disposable. This in turn creates an atmosphere where a rider needs to take care of themselves rather than the collective needs of the whole team. Who will the kids - I mean riders - take sides with, dad or Joan, the new "mom"? And let's face it, after Andy Schleck's disappointing time trial in Paris-Nice, can anyone really think he will win this Tour de France?
As mentioned, the A.S.O. added five more kilometers to the amount of time trials in this year's race, which is five more than Andy needs. A quick look at his time trial history only confirms my theory - he'll be lucky to stand on the final podium.
The big money teams aren't the only ones facing some early season problems. The AIGCP (Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels) issued a press release stating they have "no confidence" in the UCI.
In a statement released to Cyclingnews, the AIGCP wants a piece of the television rights. That only seems fair, but the million euro question is how do the television profits get divided? And what about the web? Is this the monetary crossroads for professional cycling?
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that race promoters should charge a fee for spectators at certain sections of