Results tagged “Slipstream” from spare cycles

Much has been made over the denial of Hincapie's yellow jersey, in part due to Astana setting a high enough tempo to keep the break reachable, and the rest due to AG2R and Garmin vigorously chasing in the final kilometers. In fact, every interview that Versus did this morning focused on this rather than the upcoming explosive stage.

I make less of Astana's efforts -- I do think in Astana's analysis, AG2R was too weak to chase the break down and it wasn't like HTC-Columbia was going to come to the front to set things up for the sprint. I do think that Garmin was a major factor in reeling it in -- Zabriskie and Pate had enough firepower to make up the 5-second difference.

Garmin has offered this reason for the chase: there had been splits in the peloton that cost them GC time in previous stages, so they wanted to ride a hard tempo and keep their guys up front.

Bruyneel stomped all over Garmin's reasoning this morning, instead claiming that the move made no strategic sense whatsoever. While I think Garmin's reasons were bunk (this wasn't a sprint stage, AG2R wasn't going to cause a split in the peloton), I disagree with Bruyneel's analysis: it made plenty of sense.

Sure, HTC-Columbia is a more successful team than Garmin if you count stage wins, but HTC-Columbia has no viable GC contender. Garmin, on the other hand, has two GC guys: Bradley Wiggins and Christian Vandevelde.

So here's my theory as to why it made plenty of strategic sense: if Hincapie had been in yellow, HTC-Columbia would have been forced to defend the yellow jersey today. HTC-Columbia, unlike AG2R, is fresh enough and has the firepower to really put on a show of defense, even if holding the jersey was an unlikely result of the day.

From Garmin's perspective, it's far better off keeping the yellow jersey with AG2R, because AG2R is weak enough that Astana has to keep coming to the front and tiring themselves out. If HTC-Columbia had the jersey, Astana may have been able to keep a couple more cards in the deck for the final assault, rather than spend them keeping any breaks at the proper range.

As it was, Astana really only needed the Contador card to play. Saxo and Garmin set the climb up, but it was Contador who delivered. Nevertheless, Garmin's Bradley Wiggins delivered the GC ride of his life and it's Garmin, not HTC-Columbia, who has the chance at seeing themselves on the podium in Paris.

letour.jpgCofidis' Dumoulin took the stage, Agritubel's Feillu the yellow jersey, and Garmin-Chipotle's Frishkorn some podium respect as a breakaway went from start to finish with over two minutes on the pack. Dumoulin attacked with a kilometer to go, Frishkorn followed, Feillu countered, and Dumoulin countered the counter. As a fan of Frishkorn's diaries on VeloNews, I hoped he could cross the line first instead of second, but any podium spot is spectacular. Frishkorn's face was a mixture of disappointment and joy after the race. You have to appreciate the excitement of Jonathan Vaughters, who posted this to Twitter during the race when it became clear the break would win:

Willy is going to make it!!! Now can he win??? Mass confusion behind, crashes, wind... Le Guerre!!! JV

Le Guerre indeed -- today was supposed to be the first proper sprint stage, but crashes and winds were thrown into the mix and changed everything. A crash as the peloton split around a median ended up splitting the peloton into three, sending white jersey Ricco and Menchov into the second group. Saunier Duval and Rabobank worked hard to bring their riders back, but Quick Step and Liquigas were busy putting the hammer down in the tailwind.

Robbie McEwen took the field sprint over Erik Zabel at 2:03 back. It was another half a minute to the Menchov/Ricco group and even longer to the peloton. The crash cost many riders, though none more than Jose Angel Gomez, who hit the deck with another big crash (see Flanders).

The chaos of a stage wouldn't be complete without protests. Christian Prudhomme was able to negotiate a hole in a large group of protesters blocking the road just in time for the breakaway to just scoot past. Bernard Hinault handled a protester on the podium less diplomatically, giving him a good shove off the stage.

Who knew the NYTimes is a cycling site?


With so many teams seeking new title sponsors at the beginning of this season, I was a bit worried about the health of pro cycling. You could sense a bit of anguish on Bob Stapleton's part as High Road struggled for a high profile victory in the Tour of California, finally delivered by Hincapie on the last day -- of course they've had too many since then to count. Then there was the storied CSC team, continuing to cleanup in top classics like Paris-Roubaix, but perhaps too wounded by Riis' past. And then there was young Slipstream, which has gone from the little TIAA-CREF development team all the way to living on the international stages getting invites that Astana was denied.


Garmin's sponsorship makes the most sense to me -- the Garmin triangle even fits well with the Argyle. The hints have perhaps been there for awhile as the Edge 705 has already been featured in past blog posts. They may also be the team most in need of the Nuvi products, getting lost not once, not twice, but three times during the Giro. It was even a Garmin Nuvi that saved them the first time around as David Millar realized that the Nuvi was among their prizes for the opening TTT stage.

Motionbased continues to improve as a Web-based stats platform as has the Edge product line, which most recently has added compatibility with Saris PowerTap hubs. That will certainly put some hurt into Training Peaks.


CSC was the first of the recent announcements, with Saxo Bank taking a secondary title but assuming the title role next year. I'm sad to see CSC go -- they're sponsorship of the ToC and TdG Tour Trackers made for some new ways to follow cycling. As a Virginian, I'll also miss the Virginia-based company's sponsorship of the CSC Invitational. Saxo Bank brings the sponsorship back to Riis' Danish roots.


Perhaps the national roots led me to my initial confusion over the Columbia announcement -- my eyes misread the new High Road sponsor as Colombia. Without the aid of my morning coffee, my brain was left to puzzle over how a country's adoration for George Hincapie could lead to a team sponsorship. A little more reading solved my confusion. The US-sportswear company is looking to raise their profile Internationally and perhaps they'll also add some more cycling apparel to their lines.

Vandevelde leads warmups at the Tour de Georgia TTT
Vandevelde leads warmups at the Tour de Georgia TTT
Fresh off a Tour de Georgia TTT victory and with additional horsepower from David Millar, Magnus Backstedt, Julian Dean, and Ryder Hesjedal, Slipstream decisively took the opening TTT at the Giro d'Italia. In fact, the Slipstream train flew three national championship jerseys: US (Zabriskie), UK (Millar), and Canada (Hesjedal). It's easily the biggest win for Slipstream, yet, and probably helps put them and organizers at ease with the big invites they scored this year.

High Road and CSC finished second and third at six seconds back, and Barloworld did well to place 13 seconds back to potentially launch Soler into pink later this Giro. Surprisingly, Astana was nearly half a minute back and is perhaps feeling the lack of preparation for the big opener.

Greg Henderson Gets His Second Win - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Atlanta - (c) Ken Conley

High Road - (c) Ken Conley Breakaway - (c) Ken Conley Tom Danielson - (c) Ken Conley jerseys - (c) Ken Conley Chechu Rubiera - (c) Ken Conley

Tour de Georgia Stage 7 Photo Gallery (in progress)

The final stage in Atlanta was a rugged urban stage with plenty of potholes to send riders off the back in search of new wheels. The field let a break of 12 get away, including Tom Danielson and Rhys Pollock, but High Road, with Big George Hincapie at the front, kept the lead manageable throughout the ten laps. Rock Racing, despite having already lost a couple of riders on the course, worked to bring back the break going into the final laps, but the day was meant to be all High Road: Greg Henderson beat out JJ Haedo on the uphill sprint as High Road successfully defended its overall and sprint jersey. Jason McCartney's KOM jersey was already sewn up for CSC yesterday, and the sprint finish meant that Trent Lowe's lead in the young rider competition was never threatened. Astana had to settle for the Best Team award, which is a great accomplishment, but probably much less than they had hoped for. The Overall Most Aggressive Rider went to Rory Sutherland, the big Health Net rider who showed off climbing legs as well as a daring attack on Stage 3.

Tour de Georgia Stage 7 Photo Gallery (in progress)

Siutsou Conquers Brasstown Bald - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Siutsou Conquers Brasstown Bald - (c) Ken Conley

Siutsou Conquers Brasstown Bald - (c) Ken Conley Siutsou Conquers Brasstown Bald - (c) Ken Conley Kanstantin Siutsou - (c) Ken Conley Kanstantin Siutsou - (c) Ken Conley

Tour de Georgia 2007 Stage 6 Photo Gallery

Kanstantin Siutsou shocked all the Tour de Georgia pundits by winning Brasstown Bald and moving into the Tour de Georgia lead. While everyone's GC eyes were focused on the battle between Trent Lowe and Levi Leipheimer just behind, Siutsou managed to put 10 seconds on the two. With the GC separated by very few seconds due to the close TTT finishing times, this was just enough to put High Road into the yellow jersey. Siutsou came so far out of nowhere that reporters had to ask Bob Stapleton afterwards how to pronounce his name.

High Road's Tour de Georgia has now gone from good to excellent, with both the overall and sprint lead, as well as two stage victories. They will be focused on a defending both tomorrow along Atlanta's circuit.

Stage 6 was full of surprises. No one predicted that Trent Lowe would be duking it out it Levi for the overall, nor did they predict that Lowe would actually beat Levi. Who would have though that Astana would be shutout at an American Tour without even a stage win, after having won all Tour of California/Georgia/Missouris since Landis took the 2006 Tour de Georgia. There's still hope for tomorrow, but they'll have to play a perfect hand to take 14 seconds.

Trent Lowe Shadows Levi Leipheimer - (c) Ken Conley Trent Lowe Shadows Levi Leipheimer - (c) Ken Conley

Big things were expected of Tom Danielson, but he finished nearly 12 minutes back, smiling as he climbed. Photos show him and Zabriskie doing work at the front of the peloton to reel in the break, so I guess Slipstream put all their hopes on Lowe -- and he would have delivered, if anyone had known anything about Siutsou.

Tom Danielson - (c) Ken Conley

Then there's Team Type 1, which finished two riders in the top ten up Brasstown -- as many as any other team. Jittery Joe's found success with Neil Shirley, who hung with a break of Svein Tuft, Jason McCartney, and Andrey Mizurov to take the Most Aggressive Award.

Team Type 1 - (c) Ken Conley Jason McCartney - (c) Ken Conley Neil Shirley - (c) Ken Conley

Tour de Georgia 2007 Stage 6 Photo Gallery

Stage 4: Slipstream!

Slipstream TTT - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Slipstream TTT - (c) Ken Conley Top Secret Helmet Covers - (c) Ken Conley

Tour de Georgia Stage 4 Photo Gallery

Today was the start of the Tour de Georgia overall: more fans, more reporters, and the appearance of the head honchos: Jonathan Vaughters, Bob Stapleton, Michael Ball, and Johan Bruyneel all showed up to watch their teams do battle.

Teams did four circuits of the Road Atlanta speedway that proved to be fast and viscious. Nearly all the teams shed riders in their attempt to stick to the sub-five-minute-lap pace required to win. Slipstream set the mark to beat. Astana followed with an ever-increasing pace that landed them only 4 seconds short of victory. High Road was last on the road and came out blazing, beating the splits that Slipstream had set. But they lost time in the second half and ended up 6 seconds down.

Just Go Harder - (c) Ken Conley

The Slipstream riders were spurred on by "Just Go Harder" labels on the back of their seatpost, a reference to Tim Duggan's Web site. The labels were added by team mechanic Tom Hopper as a sign of respect for Duggan, who crashed hard in yesterday's stage. The team opted to not go with the "Top Secret, Allen Lim Edition" aerodynamic helmet covers, though they did make a brief appearance on Zabriskie's head before Jonathan Vaughters jokingly told him to hide it.

Mechanicals and snafus were impossible for riders to overcome and Tom Zirbel, JJ Haedo, and Fuyu Li were among the riders that saw their teammates quickly speeding away. I was riding moto behind JJ Haedo as his foot came out of the pedal on the first climb. His team was far away by the time he clipped back in.

Tour de Georgia Stage 4 Photo Gallery

Stage 2: A Close Victory for Haedo

JJ Haedo Sprints to Victory - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Statesboro Start - (c) Ken Conley Millen Sprint - (c) Ken Conley

Tour de Georgia Stage 2 Photo Gallery

JJ Haedo sprinted right through the middle of the pack to take a close, close victory of High Road's Greg Henderson. A bandaged hand from a recent break seemed to be no impediment to Haedo, who is a familiar rider atop the podium at the Tour de Georgia. Ivan Dominguez put in a good effort to take third and protect his leader's jersey. Despite talking about how heavy the yellow jersey is, his Toyota United team has done a good job of holding onto it. Justin England spent a lot of time off the front in a breakaway that kept the other teams working and Toyota United rested. In a bit of a surprise, England didn't get the Most Aggressive Award, and instead it went to Marco Polo rider Pollock, who bridged up to England.

Slipstream put in a lot of work for young rider Tyler Farrar. Farrar took the first intermediate sprint to make up for his stage 1 deficit (due to a flat), but Haedo, Henderson, and Dominguez controlled the sprint today.

The best move of the day probably goes to Health Net's Frank Pipp. With no KOMs tomorrow, or Stage 4's TTT, Health Net gets to fly the KOM jersey for three straight stages -- all for a puny Cat 4 on the South Carolina side of the river.

Tour de Georgia Stage 2 Photo Gallery

Slipstream in Le Tour

Slipstream - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Slipstream's veteran riders are going to have a busy season: they've scored a Tour invite on top of their Giro invite. Millar, Vande Velde, and Zabriskie may have some tired legs by August. The invite seemed a given with the continued snub of Astana, but all will not be well until the UCI and ASO work out the post-Paris-Nice showdown.

Video of Farrar Crash


Chute Paris Nice 2008 FARRAR Tyler
by Maxio

WARNING: contains language often associated with bike crashes

Some folks managed to capture video of Tyler Farrar's crash at the Paris-Nice prologue (via Slipstream). The ToC was wet and wild, but at least we avoided slip-and-slide time trials. This doesn't rate up there with the fan-captured Brad Huff crash at ToM, but we all feel the pain nevertheless.

More Stage 7 Photos: Champagne Fight and More

Champagne Fight - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Champagne Fight - (c) Ken Conley Slipstream - (c) Ken Conley Levi and Odessa - (c) Ken Conley Christian Vande Velde - (c) Ken Conley Champagne Fight - (c) Ken Conley Dominique Rollin - (c) Ken Conley Tom Zirbel - (c) Ken Conley Champagne Fight - (c) Ken Conley Alexandre Moos - (c) Ken Conley

Levi was relentless when it came to the champagne fight -- I've never seen such a bleary-eyed podium. Dominique Rollin also tried to score points with the Rock Racing girls by handing them flowers, David MIllar showed patience in opening his champagne even as Levi sprayed him, Christian Vande Velde was smart enough to hand-off his baby before the champagne fight began, and Zabriskie was even smarter to use the giant check as a shield and then run off the stage with it.

Hincapie Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

George Hincapie - (c) Ken Conley George Hincapie - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 7 Photo Gallery

Team High Road got redemption today as George Hincapie delivered from the breakaway. After misjudging Dominique Rollin in Stage 4 and losing victory in Stage 6, High Road can at last celebrate. You had the feeling that there were many in the peloton content to see if Hincapie or any of the other riders in the break could pull one out for their teams. Tom Zirbel had the boldest move, surviving several laps off the front, Michael Creed made a go for Rock Racing, Rory Sutherland put his Most Aggressive jersey to use, and Jason McCartney tried to bookend the ToC for CSC, but Hincapie had the best legs.

It's only fitting that the 2008 Tour of California end with soggy conditions, though more severe snow and flash flood conditions were avoided. As if tuned to race time, the sun and a rainbow emerged for Levi Leipheimer to gaze upon as he accepted his second straight overall victory. Leipheimer used the platform to continue to argue for Tour de France entry, as well as spray David Millar and Christian Vande Velde with champagne.

Slipstream-Chipotle has made impressive gains in just a year. With second and third place overall, best team, and Steven Cozza animating the breaks, it looks like they will be a team to watch on the international stage.

Millcreek Summit Descent - (c) Ken Conley

Millcreek Summit Descent - (c) Ken Conley Cavendish Takes the Bunch Sprint - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 7 Photo Gallery

More Stage 5 Photos


Stage 5: Levi Wins in Solvang Again

Levi Leipheimer - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

David Millar - (c) Ken Conley Christian Vandevelde - (c) Ken Conley

Dave Zabriskie - (c) Ken Conley Fabian Cancellara - (c) Ken Conley George Hincapie - (c) Ken Conley Podium - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 5 Solvang Photo Gallery

Today started off ominously -- the skies poured rain off and on before the stage start and the navigation dial on my camera, which has the important duty of selecting my autofocus point, was only recognizing two out of its nine directions. Riders were stilled dazed from yesterday's efforts: Danny Pate talked about only being able to put down 1000 calories yesterday on a day he burned 5000. There seemed to be a lot less riders taking warmup rides than last year. And then it got better, much better. The roads dried off. Blue skies rolled in. My camera started working again.

Levi Leipheimer and Astana were the big winners on the day as Levi once again defended his overall lead in Solvang. Slipstream had a banner day as well -- they weren't able to beat Levi, but they took second, third, and sixth places. CSC took fourth and fifth, but Cancellara wasn't pull off his best effort after a rough week in the rain.

Stage 5 Solvang Photo Gallery

Gesink Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Stage 3 Photo Gallery

Mount Hamilton was a big addition to today's stage, but the results were eerily familar -- so much so that Fritz of was able to pull one of my 2007 photos for his stage 3 summary. Last year it was Levi, Voigt, and Gesink over the top of Sierra Road. The trio survived and Voigt easily took the sprint. This time around, Levi and Gesink were lucky to leave Voigt behind and negotiate a rider's agreement: Gesink took the stage, Levi the overall lead. From comments Leipheimer made after the stage, it sounds like Astana and Rabobank had worked this possibility out the night before.

With Farrar being a sprinter, it was well expected that the overall lead would be up for grabs. This came sooner than expected, however, as Farrar dropped out with a stomach bug. Farrar had hoped to transfer the jersey to Danielson, but Danielson was already far behind on the Mount Hamilton climb. Millar and Zabriskie had good rides and are both within striking distance to take the lead at the Solvang time trial. Fabian Cancellara also rode in with Millar and Zabriskie and sits in a close second at 13 seconds back.

Mario Cipollini - (c) Ken Conley Scott Nydam - (c) Ken Conley Gesink Podium - (c) Ken Conley Gesink Podium - (c) Ken Conley Gesink Podium - (c) Ken Conley George Hincapie - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 3 Photo Gallery

Stage 2: Tommeke Tommeke Tommeke

Tom Boonen - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Tom Boonen - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 2 Photo Gallery

The Tour of California got a bit of the old and new today and a world champion in between: Tom Boonen took his first victory in the Tour of California, Tyler Farrar put on Slipstream's first overall leader's jersey, and Mario Cipollini showed that he has more kick than fellow riders gave him credit. CSC's dominance of this year's Tour of California ended as Haedo flatted in the final circuits. He was able to chase back but was outkicked by Cipo for third. Dominguez was less lucky and finished off the back of the peloton with a teammate.

All were wet and worn after a long day pedaling in chilly rain and winds. BMC rider Scott Nydam had the longest day as he went on a solo effort up the early Trinity Grade climb and latest through all the intermediate prizes on the day. Nydam picked up BMC's second most aggressive rider award and Jackson Stewart defended his KOM lead.

I spent the early part of the day on Trinity Grade. Levi Leipheimer's dad helped me climb a tree and Levi's wife Odessa brought along their dog Smokey to help cheer Levi along.

Stage 2 Photo Gallery


Dave Zabriskie
Photo by Ken Conley

It's real folks... Steven Cozza has much to fear.

Prologue: Fabian Cancellara Dominates

Fabian Cancellara
Photo by Ken Conley

Palo Alto Prologue Photos

Cancellara showed he is a man of the prologue by dominating his way to victory and becoming the first non-US recipient of the Tour of California leader's jersey. On a day in which tenths of seconds mattered, Cancellara dominated the field by nearly six seconds on the short 2.1 mile course.

I'll have many photos to come, including Zabriskie's retro-ugly mustache as well as non-racing news makers Hamilton, Sevilla, and Landis.

Palo Alto Prologue Photos

2008 Tour of California Teams


Tour of CaliforniaThe teams were announced today and the list should provide many storylines: polar opposites Slipstream and Rock Racing, Hincapie leading Team High Road against Leipheimer/Astana, Gerolsteiner in its final year, Health Net defending their NRC crown, Scott Moninger directing Toyota-United against his former team BMC, etc...

  • Astana (LUX)
  • Bissell Pro Cycling Team (USA)
  • BMC Racing Team (USA)
  • Bouygues Telecom (FRA)
  • Crédit Agricole (FRA)
  • Gerolsteiner (GER)
  • Health Net Presented by Maxxis (USA)
  • High Road Sports (GER)
  • Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA)
  • Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast (USA)
  • Quick Step (BEL)
  • Rabobank Cycling Team (Netherlands)
  • Rock Racing (USA)
  • Saunier Duval-Scott (ESP)
  • Team CSC (DEN)
  • Team Slipstream Powered by Chipotle (USA)
  • Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team (USA)

Last year the Tour of California overall was been dominated by Discovery vs. CSC, but with the spread of Discovery's American talent to High Road and Slipstream, as well as the CSC's loss of Zabriskie and Vande Velde to Slipstream, this should be a more balanced competition. This could even be the year of Slipstream's ascension in American tours.

Press Release

Brad Huff crash at ToM


nborozinski to this close-up video of the Brad Huff crash at the Tour of Missouri. Yeoch. Thanks to Neil@ROAD for finding the link.

Dominguez Wins (1)

Copy of Copy of IMG_1537

Bridge at Washington

Jeff City

Bridge at Hermann

Danny Pate, Stage Winner

Stage 5 Photo Gallery

Danny Pate, the time trialer who's frequently attacks near the finish, notched a victory for Team Slipstream. Discovery Channel kept the break in striking distance but none of the other teams had the desire to reel it in. Parra put an attack into the break ahead but it was Pate's counterattack with 2k to go that stuck. Even with the failed attack, it was a good day for Parra and the Mexican Tecos squad. Parra earned Most Aggressive designation and second place on the podium.

Today was the prettiest of the stages, in my opinion. The course followed the Katy Trail/Historic Lewis and Clark trail along the river. The towns along the way all had that old charm and the bridges were fun to shoot, even if one of them was seismically unfit. I shot the Hermann bridge from a hilltop that a church sat atop of -- I couldn't tell if the wedding party getting ready was happy or nervous that the road to their wedding ceremony was currently blockaded for a cycling race. I shot the Washington bridge while precariously standing on the edge, though I was strangely more worried about my camera equipment than my safety.

Stage 5 Photo Gallery

Best Young Rider


IMG_1040 Copy of IMG_1042 IMG_1043

Steven Cozza showed his Best Young Rider status -- and new mustache -- on the podium after the Branson Time Trial. One of the podium girls was trying to get him to lean forward so they could do the traditional double-cheek kiss. Cozza stood there somewhat confused. She prodded him again. This time he turned to try and kiss the one of the women on the lips. Chastised, he finally managed the double-cheek kiss.

Danielson to Slipstream


Tom DanielsonIt looks like Vaughters still had some cash left in the bank: Tom Danielson is the latest of many signings to the Slipstream squad. With Zabriskie and Vande Velde, Slipstream has really stocked up on the American Pro Tour riders and it should be a fun team to follow in the coming years.

Fellow American and Discovery rider Levi Leipheimer is reportedly closing in on a contract with an unnamed team -- perhaps an announcement will arrive this week.

Steven Cozza
Slipstream rider Steven Cozza at the ToC
I may be the last cycling site reporting this, but Millar, Zabriskie, and Vande Velde are all confirmed to be future argyle-sporting riders. Millar and Vande Velde are training partners according to ROAD Mag, and DZ + VV are already teammates. Add Millar's reformed anti-doping stance and the CSC drug testing program and it seems like a good trio of riders to pick up. I'm happy as it means that I should be able to see more of those riders state-side.

Update: "Former Paris-Roubaix winner" to Slipstream as well, which, according to CyclingNews, means either Stuart O'Grady (2007), Fabian Cancellara (2006), Tom Boonen (2005), Magnus Backstedt (2004), or Peter Van Petegem (2003). Backstedt was part of early rumors, so my money's on him.