The Truth and Complication Commission

The new UCI President Brian Cookson made a number of campaign promises as part of his election manifesto. One of these was the establishment of some sort of process to determine the truth about the doping problem within the sport, primarily so that a figurative line could be drawn demarcating the ushering in of a new era.

Presumably this would result in a deluge of doping related scandal with no repercussions for those participating. After this process, punishments for doping offenders would be more severe and the drip feeding of doping stories which has been occurring since the Festina affair rocked cycling in 1998 would be at an end.

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The Most Versatile Classics Rider in Cycling

So which rider is the most versatile classics rider in the current peloton? Who has what it takes across all five of cycling’s hardest one day races, the monument classics?

If we are to judge simply on the number of wins in these five races, it has been a ding dong battle for supremacy for the last few years between Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen. Boonen has four Paris-Roubaixs and three Tours of Flanders, both records. While Cancellara’s total of six victories are spread between those two same races along with a single win in Milan San Remo.

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Italians at the Classics – The Tour of Flounderers

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Oliver Zaugg won the Tour of Lombardy last year in what was most certainly a surprise victory considering he had never won a race before. The 30 year-old chose a monument classic to make his mark on the sport as he beat Daniel Martin into second place. Zaugg became the first post-war rider to take one of cycling’s five biggest one-day races as his maiden victory.

But there was another notable statistic which emerged as a result of Zaugg’s victory.

Since the last Italian victory at the Tour of Lombardy, by Damiano Cunego in 2008, the race has been won twice by Phillipe Gilbert of Belgium and most recently by Zaugg of Switzerland. Three barren years without an Italian victory in their own race is compounded by the fact that the last three winners of their other monument, Milan-San Remo, have been an Aussie, a Spaniard and a Brit.

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What’s gone wrong with the I-talians?

We’re just about half way through the 2010 Giro d’Italia and there has still been no Italian stage winner. Liquigas, a team consisting of six Italian riders did win the team time trial but there has yet to be an individual Italian stage winner (or ‘I-talian’ as Sean Kelly would have us say). So we are left to wonder why is it, that on their home turf, the race that most Italians base their whole season on, that none of them can win a stage? Perhaps, if we take a look at recent results elsewhere whe shouldn’t be all too surprised that the natives are struggling to find success in this year’s Giro.

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The King is dead…is there anyone else?

A mudcaked Sean Kelly in Paris Roubaix. Just one of the variety of races that Kelly was capable of winning.

Se├ín Kelly was known as the man for all seasons because he was as competitive at Paris-Nice in March as he was at the Tour of Lombardy in October. He seemed to be at peak or near-peak form right throughout the year. While this is a reputation that has stayed with Kelly, he was by no means unique in this regard. In the eighties the modern idea of preparing for a season and basing an entire training regime around one or two races was quite alien. Plenty of riders were highly competitive right throughout the season. What is actually more impressive about ‘King Kelly’ was his ability to challenge in such a wide variety of races.

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