The UCI’s proceedings with the Astana team over its WorldTour licence have been definitively closed, with no resulting sanctions for the Kazakh team, who have been granted a place in cycling’s top tier for 2016.
Oh come on.
Even more implausibly, Astana managed to convince the UCI of its integrity with "the creation of an information technology platform that has the objective of improving communication between the various components of the team:"
At the end of the probationary period of four months that ISSUL’s mandate has lasted, it can be noted that, on the whole, the situation of the Astana team can be considered as very significantly improved compared with that revealed by the audit report ordered by the Commission in December 2014, in terms of the training plans for riders, the team staff, race management and medical care,” read the Licence Commission’s reasoned decision.
“To this can be added the creation of an information technology platform that has the objective of improving communication between the various components of the team. As the 2015 season has finished, these favourable findings draw the proceedings undertaken before the Commission to a conclusion; these are now devoid of purpose for this season.”
At the heart of this information technology platform is providing all riders and staff with a state-of-the-art mobile communication device:
Once a week, general manager Alexander Vinokourov will call everybody on the team and remind them not to cheat:
Speaking of drugs and sports, it's all over the news today that Russia is running a state-sponsored doping program:
This report is important, because unlike bribery, doping affects the outcome of athletic competitions:
“This level of corruption attacks sport at its core,” Richard H. McLaren, a Canadian lawyer and co-author of the report, said in an interview on Sunday. In contrast to corporate governance scandals like those currently roiling world soccer, he said, drug use by athletes has distorted the essence of professional games. “Bribes and payoffs don’t change actual sporting events,” Mr. McLaren said. “But doping takes away fair competition and an equal playing field.”
This sounds suspiciously like VeloNews on the whole Thrift Drug controversy:
By all accounts, Armstrong’s winning move was a motorcycle-like attack up the Manayunk wall. If he indeed fixed the race, he still had to get into the winning breakaway and attack like a rocket up the climb. If he proposed some cash agreement to his breakaway companions before the move, then he was just increasing his already strong chances at victory. In that scenario, I’m more inclined to shrug the episode off the usual mid-race agreement, only with a major incentive.
Anyway, the incongruity of all of this was summed up quite succinctly by this serendipitous juxtaposition on my Twitter feed:
I'm sure Chris Froome is hoping everyone's still busy picking through the Russian report when he releases his physiological testing data next month.
Of course, we all know you don't need drugs to win at the competitive cycle-biking. All you need is a state-of-the-art race bike--like the Cipollini NK1K, which Bicycling magazine calls "a racy bike for the rest of us:"
Here's an abridged version of the review:
The Cipollini name is synonymous with uncompromising raw...
the head tube is taller...
direct mount rim...
thru-axles front and rear...
And here's the explosive climax:
Like Cipollini’s other bikes, the NK1K is Italian to its core—engineered in Verona, built in Florence, hand painted in Pisa, and assembled in Padova. Available in seven sizes, (from XXS to XXL), all this Italian sweetness will cost just $6,895 (frameset only) and become available by January 1.
That's it? "Just" $6,895?!? This really is "a bike for the rest of us!"
And here I was thinking this was going to be just another absurdly overpriced plastic Fred sled marketed by an aging pervert who doped his way through his entire career:
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Lastly, so many people have been killed by drivers in New York City that--and you're not going to believe it--our mayor actually acknowledged it!
Really? Has it? "Just a little?"
The car has been "a little too sacred" in this country like Internet access in North Korea has been "just a tiny bit spotty."
And I don't expect either to change too much anytime soon.