Hey Levi, if you see “CSC” on the caller ID, pick it up. It could be important.
The news of the demise of Tailwinds came as a bit of a shock. I had thought that someone, somewhere would step up and sponsor the team. But that was the good old days of when Lance was winning the Tour and doping didn’t dominate the front pages of the main stream media. I just spoke to Jonathan Vaughters this morning and he was surprised as well. “I figured they’d pull something out one way or another.” And yes I asked Vaughters if he was interested in any Disco riders but most of his money is gone and he’s only interested in younger riders. John Devine’s name came up as did a couple of others. I also spoke to Levi last Sunday and asked him if he was concerned there was no sponsor yet and he replied he wasn’t. Hopefully these riders had a Plan B to fall back on. Hincapie had a Plan B and is going to T-Mobile next season. It will be a little strange seeing him in those team colors. Then I started to wonder about Trek. They have had a ProTour team in the mix for 10 years and now, as I write this, there isn’t a team that will be riding a Trek in Europe next season. Just after they launched the new Madone as well…Trek needs to get their rigs under a top Euro team to keep that marketing momentum going. I’m guessing that Alberto Contador will go to a Spanish team next year. Perhaps Caisse d’Epargne? They did a whole lot of nothing at the Tour and could use someone who might actually win the Tour. Thinking out loud, I’m wondering if Rabobank might be a place for Levi? They have some signing money available and no GC guy to speak of. Or another out of left field possibility: CSC. Think about it. They lost a couple of Americans and CSC is an American company. Having Levi line up at Tour of California and Georgia in CSC colors would be huge for them. Maybe even riding Trek bikes…Yes I know that they have the Schleck brothers, but Levi could be their more experienced rider to guide them or whatever spin the team would want to put on it.
While it looks like we won’t have an American sponsored ProTour team next season, Slipstream has stepped up and will probably get the wild card berth for the Tour. The ASO must realize that it is important to the American market that an American squad participates. So at least we got that going for us.