The Amgen Tour of California - Another Year of Drama
Is there a dark shadow following the Amgen Tour of California?
federal government into Armstrong and the alleged doping within the Postal team suddenly ended in February. While the chance of any criminal charges were now gone, WADA (which has no criminal jurisdiction in the matter), looks to be pressing forward. At stake for Mr. Armstrong are a few of his Tour de France titles. If WADA discovers there were some doping shenanigans they can yank those titles away. Who they'd award the new Tour de France titles to I have no idea. Jan Ullrich? Joseba Beloki? Alex Zulle? Choose someone at random?
Just when you thought that the Feds dropping the case was the end of the doping accusations the word coming out of California is that after landing in the States Bruyneel was subpoenaed. Welcome back Johan!
At this point the subpoena is nothing more than a strong rumor. The RadioShack-Nissan PR machine said in a quote that Velonews tweeted, "Maertens (public relations person for Team RadioShack-Nissan) on Bruyneel subpoena rumor: if we say it's true, it's a story; if we say it's not true, it's a story, so we just will not comment." Is it a wise decision to stonewall like that?
To me it seemed like the absolute worst thing to do in a situation like this is to say, "no comment." The reason is because now you no longer own that conversation and a reporter can make his own conclusions. I decided to ask a public relations person who works for many professional athletes, including cyclists, for a professional opinion.
"It's all about public perception," my PR expert told me. "A ‘no comment' means you're guilty."
And that's what it's all about - public perception. At this point it looks like the RadioShack-Nissan management has something to hide. They should either cop to it and say something to the effect of, "Yes Johan was served and is cooperating fully" or go with John Travolta's lawyer style of full denial, "No, he wasn't served - it's a complete lie, we're suing everyone!"
Right now I assure you reporters are digging into this "no comment" and the truth will come out one way or another. My advice to Mr Bruyneel: just come out and state the truth. If you don't, it will come back to bite you in the butt.
Regardless, the Amgen Tour of California will roll on, probably not with Bruyneel in the team vehicle as he's not on the UCI list of team directors. I'm guessing he's using the ambiguous "consultant" title to get himself into the car without breaking any UCI rules. But let's push this controversy to the side - there's great racing this week.
This week cycling fans get double the racing each day. In the morning there's the Giro d'Italia, a grand tour I'm very fond of, and in the early afternoon the aforementioned Amgen Tour of California. If you employ a cycling fan, expect work productivity to plunge dramatically this week. And if you missed any of the Giro race action because of pesky work, remember RoadCycling.com has highlights from that day's