The WorldTour Points Shuffle
It takes more than points to make it to the WorldTour.
As the daylight gets shorter and the temperature starts to drop, we all know what that means – team training camps! The current craze is to have riders with T-Rex bodies perform tasks or feats of endurance in the hopes of promoting team bonding. While that may work for the riders, I’ve never seen any bonding occur between them and management. Every year those who haven’t earned enough WorldTour points aren’t re-signed no matter how many times they’ve shielded their team leader from the wind or how many tug-of-war victories they might have been a part of. But I digress...
At these training camps there are times when riders speak to the press so we may try to interpret the tea leaves for their upcoming season. Do you have good legs? How is the (fill in the blank: new team, new captain, new equipment, new director...)?
Team Saxo-Tinkoff took a break from a military boot camp to try beach fun in Gran Canaria. Alberto Contador pulled himself out of the ocean and had the quote of the camp; even beating out the photo of a naked lady at the top of a climb the sexy, err ... Saxo-Tinkoff rider posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Contador, who has had his 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia champion titles stripped from him, told French TV’s Stage 2 program, “I express myself less than certain others, but it is clear that there is no place for cheaters.”
At first glance I thought that this was some kind of European April Fool’s prank. But no – he was serious. Maybe he’d gotten sun stroke or perhaps a dolphin had smacked him, destroying his ability to form sentences that made sense. Remember dolphins are large mammals and pro cyclists are rather small mammals. A well placed flipper could do some damage.
Just the other month Contador defended ex-teammate Lance Armstrong as being “lynched.” The Spaniard clarified that remark by saying that he was being ironic at that moment and his words were taken out of context.
“I was just being a bit ironic when I said he would be missed.” explained Contador. Now he was stating that Armstrong deserved to be banned and the whole sport should go Spanish Inquisition on everyone.
Contador should have said, “I had no clue at the time that Nike, Giro or the other sponsors were going to drop Armstrong, or how much crap I was going to have to take from my handlers. Since I would like to ride in the Tour de France again, it only makes sense that I meant the exact opposite of what I said.”
Maybe it’s just a zombie-like reaction still alive, buried deep in Contador’s brain that made him feel the need to defend the disgraced American. Armstrong waged a psychological war on him during the 2009 Tour de France when they were teammates at Astana. He chastised him publicly on Twitter and on the final podium in Paris, Armstrong looked like he was wearing bibs with a full load of crap in