RadioShack Giro update at bottom of post
Every morning for quite a while I have woken up and connected my laptop to watch streaming video of a European race. Sunday, out of habit, I started to hook up my laptop to my big screen when I realized there wasn’t anything to watch. However a Facebook update from Sean Weide, press liaison for BMC, said that he was monitoring a race. If Weide is montoring something, it has to be worth watching. Next thing you know I’m watching Eneco Ronde van het Groene Hart. Admittedly I’m not too familiar with this race but it looked like the steepest hill was a freeway overpass. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. In the end Vacansoleil’s Jens Mouris broke away and soled in to win. That kind of victory is always cool to watch. I’m going to try that one day. Thanks for the heads up Sean and another victory for social media.
I have always been pleasantly surprised about how popularity of the Tour of Missouri. Fans packed both the start and finishing areas of all the stages. When the peloton rolled through the towns it seemed like everyone poured out to line the road and watch. Last year, by the skin of its teeth, the Tour of Missouri survived. This year, it isn’t looking so good. Unfortunately the race has become a political football between the governor and the lieutenant governor of Missouri. A grassroots effort was started with a Facebook Page supporting the race. Racers are chiming as well trying to sway the powers to be that this race is a good investment. For crying out loud, Jens Voigt came back from his awful Tour de France crash at this race and gave it big praise (WWJD – What Would Jens Do?). For that reason alone this race must continue! To show your support go to the Tour of Missouri website. The organization has listed ten things you can do to help save this race. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it doesn’t go the way of the Tour de Georgia.
More recently Milan-Sanremo was the race that caught all our attention. It was going to be the big showdown between Boonen, Petacchi, Boasson Hagen, Freire, and last year winner’s Mark Cavendish. As we all know poor Cav has had some teeth issues and hasn’t been up to form. At best he was a very outside chance for victory. What was interesting was the HTC-Columbia put their full support behind the rider from the Isle of Mann and kept off the roster a rider who has already won ten times this year – Andre “The Hulk” Greipel. On Sunday, with Cavendish coming in over six minutes back, he let his frustrations known about being excluded. Who wants to bet me that Greipel won’t be riding for the boys in yellow next season. Interesting thought – jump ship and go to The Shack. Boom – you got a guy with the instant ability to win Classics. You’re welcome. Okay, you might have to hire on some leadout guys as well.
Speaking of the Shack things got a little testy on the Twittersphere. It was reported that RCS Sport, the owners of the Giro, left RadioShack off from the list of invited teams. Johan Bruyneel responded with a Tweet and then later in his blog saying that they had in fact sent a letter to RCS stating that the Shack wouldn’t be participating and that Cyclingnews should check their facts. Well I checked around in past emails and press releases and I couldn’t find anything about the team declining to race in Italy and had instead decided to focus on the Tour of California. Understandable – American team with American sponsors. But why not release this information to the media in January so you can control it the way you want to?
Will this pissing match continue? Will RadioShack be flicked from other RCS events like the Giro di Lombardia? Perhaps the team will want to race the Giro in 2011 – will they be invited? Oh, the drama. I recommend sending a Vermont Teddy Bear with the message “Sorry we couldn’t make it to your race this year :(” to RCS. Those bears have always gotten me out of a bind.
I’m loving that at least the other American teams are racing in Italy which means my boys in red Team BMC. It looks like an on-form Cadel Evans will be there. I’m wondering if this is prep for the Tour or is he going for the overall? George will be racing the Tour of California where he could snag a stage win. Team BMC has the depth to pull off wins on both continents. I’m looking forward to May. Fortunately April is right around the corner which is cycling’s version of March Madness. Starting next month I’m just going to leave my laptop tethered to my t.v.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
So I did some more poking around concerning RadioShack not contesting the Giro d’ Italia. While on the RadioShack team web site there is no press release stating that the Giro wasn’t in the big picture for the Shack, however Johan Bruyneel’s Facebook page has the proposed 2010 racing calendar and glaringly obvious by omission is the Giro.
Now I know an official Facebook page probably isn’t the most efficient way to disseminate information ( you have to belong to Facebook as well as check the site and filter through the thousands of random messages). But none the less there it was – no Giro on the RadioShack race schedule. Actually way back in December Joe Lindsey brought this to our attention but hey, it was a long holiday and we forgot. However the question remains, why not just issue a press release in January confirming the race schedule posted on the Facebook page? This is where it gets complicated.
There is a bit of wheeling and dealing that goes on when you are trying to invite teams to your race. What I know about how teams get invited to the Tour of California is interesting and a blog post to follow soon. It’s not always about what team is the strongest. Anyways I’ll save that one for later…
What I’m thinking is Bruyneel was keeping his cards close to his chest and by posting the schedule on his Facebook page he playing poker with RCS, “Due to sponsorship obligations the RadioShack team is not participating in the Giro…blah, blah, blah…” This gives the Giro’s race director Angelo Zomegnan an opportunity to offer something to entice the team to Italy. Instead it looked like Zomegnan retaliated by snubbing the team and not inviting them to Tirreno-Adriatico – an RCS event. There also might be some lingering polemics when Armstrong was the ringleader of rider protests during stage 9 of last year’s Giro.
Either way you slice it, this whole hubbub could have been avoided by just issuing a press release saying, “Suck it, we’re racing in Cali!” Those are my words, not Bruyneel’s.