Things I Wish to Forget
Ghosts from the past are coming back to haunt us.
We all forget about stuff. Do you always remember to change the oil in your car at exactly 3,000 miles? How about returning that DVD to Blockbuster? Yeah, we've all been there at one point. But there's a couple of stories that, in the excitement of the start of the new season, I've forgotten about.
Remember way back when Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador was suspended? Yeah, that seems like forever ago. You might have forgotten that Contador's WorldTour points make up two-thirds of his team's total. And with his suspension there goes the team's points as well. As a result the squad could get bounced out of the WorldTour. This is a long way to fall for team manager Bjarne Riis whose previous squads have achieved victories in Grand Tours, Classics, and were a dominant force on the circuit.
Velonation reminds us that six weeks ago Riis went before the UCI's license commission to see if his Team Crotch Eagle would be allowed to race with the big boys in spite of his team now lacking the required points. So far there's been zero movement from the UCI on this subject. And to make matters worse Team Saxo Bank has only earned two UCI points so far this season. Ouch...
While the Saxo Bank story was something I forgot about, Spanish rider Oscar Sevilla also completely dropped off my radar. Last I had heard he was suspended for six months for testing positive for hydroxyethyl starch, which can be used to mask EPO. Regardless, he has served that ban (which the UCI wants to lengthen to two years) and he won the Vuelta Mexico Telmex. I didn't even realize he had returned to racing.
In a report on Cyclingnews Sevilla was happy for the win and thanked the usual people but he should really have given a shout-out to his buddies in the Spanish cycling federation for letting him off the hook with only a six month sentence. Sevilla should have at least sent a nice fruit basket.
It was well over a year ago I interviewed Michael Ball, the controversial owner of Rock Racing, about the Rock Team being resurrected from the ashes. He told me that while the team wasn't going to be a pro squad - they would still race as amateurs, but riders would receive some type of compensation. The head spins at the thought of how he was going to pay the riders (Rock & Republic jeans, past their prime models, miscellaneous pharmaceuticals found underneath the sofa?) but one of those riders was the baby-faced Sevilla. That "team" never came to fruition and Sevilla now rides for a Colombian amateur squad.
While European racing had its own "dark period" the Michael Ball era is the United States' own version. Hiring shady riders, making empty promises and leaving riders in the lurch when it came time to get paid, was part of the Michael Ball legacy in cycling. I'm all for shaking up the system, which Ball wanted to do, but his methods were very questionable. I'm actually