Thursday, August 21, 2008
Off season follies and looking forward to the Vuelta
Who will Katusha overpay? Will Quickstep ruin another GC guy's future?
Can Rock Racing capitilize on a good year and jump up to some Euro races?
With the amount of riders on the market, an ambitious team could grab some
good riders(or at least some older dudes with UCI points.....) and try and
step it up. Some German teams had better get it going. If Sparkasse, Elk Haus or Nuremberger don't try and grab some good riders,they might as well fold too.
Belgium has a bunch of teams that should break out there checkbooks. Mitsubishi-Jartazi could stand to sign someone other than VDB. Ditto for Skil-Shimano and Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner.
It really would be nice to see some talent redistributed to D2 teams-which would som wild card entrants into major races more competitvie. Hopefully the demise of the pro-tour, makes races moe competitive.
Before off-season trades can really go full gas, you have to get through the remaining races which include a slew of short races (Eneco, Reggio, Missouri) and of course the Vuelta.
This years Vuelta starts off like a TDF from years past. TTT, sprint stages, ITT, and then some serious mountains. Overall it favors the mountain goats, but the race director, Victor Cordero wants "a clean, credible and spectacular race". So dropping some big mountains including David Millar's favorite Angilru (remeber the little hill were Heras used a triple??) might be seen as tempting fate but since Pieopoli and Ricco will not be there and the Micera test will, hopefully it will all work out.
Too early to call favorites but Sastre,Contador, and Menchov are pretty obvious. Valverde? hard to say. I alway thinks Karpets will have a breakthrough at a race like this, but it never materializes. Does Sastre ride for a Shcleck in this race? Upstarts Columbia and Garmin won't be there and will have to keep busy with the Tours of Ireland,Britian, and Missouri.
Almost arm and leg warmer season. Ouch that means time to start running and riding the trainer.