Results tagged “T-Mobile” from spare cycles

Hincapie to T-Mobile


hincapie.tmobileHincapie seemed to just be waiting for news of the official demise: Hincapie Officially Joins T-Mobile. Neil@ROAD got the scoop from Greenville.

It will be weird seeing him wear the T-Mobile pink instead of the Discovery black and blue, though he'll be riding alongside Michael Barry once more. Maybe he'll get another national champion jersey and it will be the same.

Discovery's disbanding


Update 2: Tailwind/Discovery clarifies -- they had a sponsor, but decided that the current doping/ASO/UCI/ProTour/infighting climate was too much to risk. Armstrong: "The guys at ASO are talking about taking the Tour back to national teams like they did in the olden days. If something like that would happen, someone's $15 million investment is worth zero. Issues like that are too unknown. It's too risky to ask for that kind of money. There are too many questions within the sport."

Update: Hincapie to T-Mobile is confirmed

Despite eight Tour de France victories in the past nine years, including first and third place this year, Discovery Channel is disbanding. This comes in the heels of T-Mobile announcing that its sponsorship will continue and on the same day that Contador was busy professing his innocence in Madrid with Bruyneel at his side.

Comparing and contrasting the two teams, Discovery's disbanding comes across as a bit mysterious. Discovery's disbanding was not based on "a failure to find a new sponsor," according to Tailwind spokesman PJ Rabice. Armstrong added, "clearly things need to improve on many levels, with a more unified front, before you would see us venture back into cycling." T-Mobile didn't have the difficulty of finding a new title sponsor, but one wonders then what it was that caused Discovery/Tailwind to cease. The most obvious candidate would be doping-related. T-Mobile has a anti-doping test program; Discovery does not. In spite of this, Discovery never had a rider test positive for doping, whereas T-Mobile had Sinkewitz high profile Tour de France case; T-Mobile also dismissed Honchar earlier in the year as a result of its internal testing. Discovery was hardly squeaky clean: perhaps their big mistake was to poach from the ranks of Operation Puerto: Basso, Contador, and Davis. Basso obviously cost them and Contador is now in the crosshairs.

Hincapie is rumored to be heading to T-Mobile. It will be interesting to see where Levi, Contador, and Danielson end up. Devolder is being sought by CSC, Quick Step, Predictor-Lotto, and Rabobank. Perhaps we will see some more Slipstream announcements, if there's anything left in those coffers after David Millar, Dave Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde, Magnus Backstedt, Julian Dean and Christophe Laurent. Slipstream could also make a play for Discovery's Pro Tour license, but that might be too much too soon for Slipstream.

Gerdemann - DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images


Linus Gerdemann left it all on the road: he destroyed the rest of his break on the slopes of the Colombiere and then took every risk to descend to victory in Le-Grand-Bornand. Gerdemann, mouth caked in dried spit, could barely stand when it was all over -- he got to trade T-Mobile pink for yellow when it was all over. The young rider can also wear the white jersey under that if he likes.

The breakaway had four-and-a-half minutes advantage at the start of the final climb. Gutierrez, Fovonov, Gerdemann, and Landaluze were the only riders from the 15-man break that had the legs to attack on the slopes. Gerdemann put in his big attack with 5k to go and never had to look back. Despite the pace set by Rabobank and Caisse, Gerdemann still managed to finish with three-and-a-half minutes over the peloton. Landaluze had the best effort of the breakaway chasers, finishing half a minute back.

Today was the start of Rasmussen's KOM effort in earnest. He took the early Corlier points and then was able to jump to take some points on the final Colombiere climb as well. Rasmussen might have taken more points if his line wasn't blocked by the AG2R team car that stopped in the road just behind Elimiger (AG2R).

This wasn't the stage to sort out the overall favorites. Pretty much anyone who mattered made the selection. Even Vino and Kloden were able to hang on, and Vino had already shed the bandages from his arms, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see some shakeup.

Friday dope


Bjarne Riis"My yellow jersey is in box at home, you can come and collect it." Bjarne Riis is the latest former T-Mobile rider to own up to doping, which is the most significant confession so far because he admits to using EPO to win the Tour de France. Riis' use was long rumored by deduction: the Festina riders he beat to win his Tour were using EPO and the Festina riders gave him the nickname "Mr. 60%", as an allusion to his rumored hematocrit level. This now makes Jan Ullrich the only T-Mobile rider in history to have not doped (kidding).

As owner of CSC, I am wondering if this will start freeing up even more cyclists to start confessing (looks at Jonathan Vaughters, head of Slipstream). Of course, like all of the other confessions, they point to the past and cut the ties to the present: "I'm doing this to keep the focus on the work we are doing today that keeps cycling in the right perspective. The massive steps we have taken to fight doping and the ways in which we have secured that the team rests on the right and proper foundations."

In saying that he "bought it and took it [himself]," Riis may be attempting to further protect CSC from guilt-by-doctor association. Looking at the Wikipedia entry on Riis, it appears that Riis' coach in 1996 was Luigi Cecchini, who was later involved with Basso and CSC. In addition to being Rii's coach during his now infamous '96 Tour win, Cecchini was also involved with Francesco Conconi, who is believed to have given athletes EPO. The last little connection in there is Michel Ferrari, who worked with Conconi and also coached Lance Armstrong.

Riis and Basso

Thursday dope

  • Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag admit to past doping. Several other past T-Mobile riders also owned up. Say it ain't so, Zabel. Isn't it strange how such admissions never seem to involve recent use? Zabel only admits to doping in 1996 and Aldag admits to 1995-2002 (or 1999, according to cyclingnews). Interestingly enough, Rolf Aldag is being kept at the team manager despite T-Mobile's new-found public stance against doping. I guess it's like hiring computer hackers to be your security consultants.
  • The Landis arbitration case has finally finished the closing arguments. The gold standard of coverage has been Trust But Verify, which has every possible detail and roundup that you might need to catch up. The sensational, but largely irrelevant, Lemond testimony overshadowed the scientific aspects of the case, which seem quite interesting. Landis found some credible experts to testify on his behalf. WADA/USADA put their own scientists on the stand, which was a bit dubious. Interestingly enough, the WADA "code of ethics" states that WADA scientists cannot speak ill of other WADA scientists labs. There is also the issue of biting the hand that feeds you. Reading through the coverage I can't help but feel that Landis is right in that the LNDD lab is a sub-par lab. Instead of arguing that all WADA labs are crap, they compared LNDD against the better UCLA lab, which is more convincing in my eyes. Nevertheless, showing LNDD to be sub-par does not acquit Landis in my eyes and much as it convinces me that better standards are necessary.

Contract news


Landis got a one-year contract extension and the rest of the team got two-year extensions. I'm not sure what the difference means for Landis' future, but at the very least we know that the iShares logo will move from his butt to his chest as iShares takes over lead sponsorship.

Discovery will announce a major signing tomorrow. Well, we know it's not Landis. Update: It's Levi! (paceline registration req'd for link. via)

Trouble is brewing at T-Mobile, as if there weren't enough trouble for the team that fired its former leader by fax. The speculation is that general manager Ludwig and team manager Kummer will be shown the door for their inability to use cycling tactics, among other things.

Stage 7: Saint-Gregoire - Rennes, ITT


AP Photo/Christian HartmannTime-trial specialist Sergei Gontchar/Gonchar/Honchar dominated today's time trial and took the yellow jersey with a time of 1:01:43. This was the last chance for the time trial specialists to slip into the yellow jersey, and of that crowd -- Zabriskie, Rogers, Karpets, and Gontchar -- it was Gontchar who annihilated the rest of the field by a minute over the next best time. This was a T-Mobile day: 1st, 4th, 6th, and 8th. Who needs Ullrich? Or, rather, in the words of Johan Bruyneel, "It's lucky Jan Ullrich is not here, otherwise the Tour would be over."

Photo by AP Photo/Christian Hartmann

It was a surprisingly poor showing by the American riders, who were expected to dominate. Bobby J had it worst, crashing early on, sliding over a curb, and appearing to injure his arm. Levi had a terrible showing, losing a minute and a half by the first time check and six minutes overall with a time of 1:07:49. Hincapie did poorly as well with a time of 1:04:25, which was 30 seconds slower than Savoldelli -- we may see Savoldelli become Discovery's protected man in the mountains. My main pick, Zabriskie, had a respectable 1:03:40, but for those of us who thought he'd light the course of fire, it was a disappointment.

There was one bright light among the Americans: Landis is certainly the American to beat and has vaulted himself to the top of the overall contenders. Landis finished in second with a time of 1:02:44, which he did while apparently having to switch his bike on the course either due to a flat tire or to his bars slipping -- the UCI apparently ordered Landis to lower his bars just prior to the race. If Landis's mechanic can just get these mechanical issues under control, Landis should easily finish on the podium. Then again, his legs appeared to disappear in the mountains in the Dauphine, so I should wait until the first mountain stage.

Big Losers: Discovery (no riders in the top ten overall anymore), CSC (now have lost Basso and Julich, Zabriskie only managed 10th, O'Grady is still hurting, and Voigt isn't looking very strong after finishing in last place), Leipheimer

Big Winners: T-Mobile, which now has four riders in the top ten including Kloden; Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov, whose chances in the overall just got a whole lot better with strong top ten finishes today. Christophe Moreau also looks primed for a top five finish if he can hold in the mountains.

Prediction check:

  • My predictions: Zabriskie, Landis, Hincapie, Julich, Rogers, Levi
  • Actual: Landis was second, Rogers was fourth instead of fifth, scratch the rest of the picks.

Kessler went for a repeat attack and this time was able to hold everyone off to the line. He put in a huge atack on the final steep Cauberg climb and the surviving members of the peloton had too much trouble working together to bring him back. Boonen managed to stay with the chase group just behind, which was enough to put him in yellow by a single second. He also takes over the lead of the green jersey competition from Robbie McEwen.

The biggest news on the day were the collarbone casualties: Valverde, Freddie Rodriguez, and Erik Dekker. Valverde is the biggest loss as the odds-on favorite for the overall win. He went down in a touch of wheels on this hot, difficult day. Fast Freddie and Dekker went down in a separate crash. Robbie McEwen will certainly miss his lead-out man.

The overall standings had a bit of a shakeup with Hushovd dropping to fourth, Michael Rogers jumping to second, and Discovery now with two riders in the top five: Hincapie at five seconds back and Savoldelli at 15 seconds back. Discovery has plenty of strength at the top of the standings and Popo and Azevedo are both right near Levi in the standings.

The day was dominated by a breakaway containing Jens Voigt, Christophe Laurent, Jos� Luis Arrieta, J�r�me Pineau, and Unai Extebarria. Pineau won most of the KOM climbs on the day and took over the KOM jersey lead. Jens Voigt picked up a bunch of sprint points and time bonuses, but the time bonuses were completely wiped out by finishing 1:29 behind. Arrieta was the last surviving member of the breakaway and made it all the way to the Cauberg climb before he was swallowed up by the swarm of riders from the peloton.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Frank Schleck * Actual: Kessler. Schleck finished 5 seconds off in the big chase group

Tour of California: Stage 7


Olaf Pollack again! Seven stages with three riders (Pollack, Haedo, Hincapie) getting two stage wins a piece. CSC and Lotto tried to get their rides up through the sprint but were outsprinted by Pollack yet again. Pollack's win came with an additional prize: the green sprinter's jersey, which he took away from Hincapie.

Navigators, Prodir, Colativa, and Kodak/Sierra Nevada put riders into an early break that got way ahead due to a crash in the field that was one of the few downpoints of the Tour -- Tom Peterson (Best Young Rider) and Sebastian Lang (yesterday's Most Aggressive Rider) were among those that got scrapped up and Lang had to abandon. The breakaway built up a lead of 7:50 before the peloton started to nail it back.

By all accounts, this looks like it was a very successful inaugural year. The riders were gushing in their post-stage 6 interviews, the California towns were loving the extra visitors, and the attendance may break a million, which makes for both happy organizer and happy fans. And what's not to like? It's freezing cold in Belgium, where many of the pro team teammates are off racing Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and Omloop Het Volk, and, as Floyd Landis put it, where else can you race everyday and eat an In-n-Out burger afterwards?

Stage profile (from official Amgen Tour of California site):

stage 7 profile

Tour of California: Stage 6


Olaf Pollack got T-Mobile on the stage winners podium as they outgunned the other sprinter teams for the finish. T-Mobile had been looking strong in the sprint setup but found themselves twice beat by Haedo. Olaf Pollack was last seen gritting his teeth as he got trounced by Haedo in stage 1, so this is sweet revenge for him. This is also T-Mobile's first victory for the season.

It was almost a Gerolsteiner day from start to finish as a Rene Haselbacher of Gerolsteiner attempted a last-minute breakaway at 500m to go that was caught just before the finish line. Gerolsteiner was out to protect Levi's lead in the King of the Mountain competition and they managed to win nearly every mid-stage competition except for the first KOM climb:

  • Second KOM climb: Sven Krauss
  • Intermediate sprint: Sven Krauss (Kopp second)
  • Third KOM climb: Fabian Wegmann (Leipheimer second)
  • Fourth KOM climb: Sebastian Lang (Wegmann second)

Stage links:

Stage profile (from official Amgen Tour of California site):

stage 6 profile

stage profile

photoThis is backposted as I'm catching up via TiVo on all the Tour de France happenings. The big bullets from this one were:

1) Ullrich is the man and is back in form. He was the only rider to break the hour barrier at 58'32". He is also good at finding air conditioning.

2) Armstrong lost only his second time trial out of eight due to Ullrich's truckin' performance. Armstrong finished second at 1'36" behind. Apparently he lost about 8% of his body weight due to dehydration. He is not as good at finding air conditioning, but probably will be in the future (as he is also much better at eating now).

3) Vinokourov loses 30" to Armstrong.

4) How the hell did Tyler Hamilton pull on his handlebars (and ignore his back pain) long enough to finish 5th? I look forward to seeing him leading his team in future tours at full strength.