World Car Free Day

For one day out of the year can you succeed in keeping your fossil fuel emissions to an absolute minimum (preferably zero)? Leave the car in the driveway and use any combination of walking, cycling, or public transportation for your day’s travels. Burn some extra calories and maybe, if the message is headed in ample numbers, the air will be cleaner and the roads more pedestrian/cyclist friendly for a change. If you happen to be a cyclist in Durham I hope you’ll attend Duke’s “Pedaling for a Safe Commute” Ride beginning at 12 noon on East Campus. I’ll be out there on my fine MB-4 beater singlespeed, the only one sporting an expansive EVILDOER sticker on the downtube.

World Doping Free Peloton Day

Et tu, Tyler? I know, I know, innocent until proven guilty, but the initial evidence surely seems ominous.
Maybe the UCI should institute an amnesty day like your local library does so scofflaws can come clean with their 12 year old, overdue books. Everyone who’s juiced up on god knows what can publicly clean out their cache of pharmaceuticals and maybe restore some shred of integrity to our sport.

The UCI’s furtive American outreach campaign: “Pros Other Than Lance” Clothing

I couldn’t help but furrow my brow in bemusement at the jacket Andrea Tafi was sporting last weekend in San Francisco. No longer will Euro-pros walk American streets in anonymity:

I wish Andrea would turn around so you could read the back:

Hello, My name is Andrea. I’m very famous in Europe.

Ask me about my palmares which get no American press:

Paris-Roubaix?…Won it
Ronde van Vlaanderen?…Won it
Giro di Lombardia?…Won it
Paris-Tours?…Won it
Italian National Championship?…Won it

No, Lance wasn’t there but I would have kicked his ass too.

Yes, all Italian pros sport impeccably coiffed, frosted hair.

I’m available for photographs. Impress your friends!

No, I don’t know where Lance Armstrong is.

“Athletes smoke as many as they please…”

The Fred Spencer, Jr. ad dates back to 1928 and appeared in an unknown newspaper. I bought the ad off of ebay and it’s cropped sufficiently to remove any identifying characteristics. And what’s up with that stylin’ robe? Cycling fashion has certainly gone through some changes since the 1920s.

The two Camel ads were scanned from 1935 editions of Fortune magazine. The ad with Bobby Walthour, Jr. is from the June issue and the ad featuring speed skater Jack Shea is from the March issue. If you ever get the chance to read the March, 1935 issue of Fortune I’d highly recommend it. I have the good fortune of living near world-class academic research libraries which happen to have the issues bound in the stacks. There’s a feature article about 6-day racing focusing on the financial aspects of hosting 6-day events in Madison Square Garden. The reporting is pretty detailed and it’s interesting to read about cycling from the economic viewpoint, an issue which rarely, if ever, gets attention in current cycling journalism. While the article is informative, the accompanying visual elements are even better: numerous photos and color illustrations depicting 6-day racing in the Garden. The reclining cyclist in my banner has been shamelessly lifted from that particular article…

Squadra azzuro? I don’t need no stinkin’ squadra azzuro!!!

Davide Rebellin indicates to Franco Ballerini exactly how he feels about squadra azzuro politics...Max Sciandri grew tired of being left off the squadra azzuro year after year and excercised his dual citizenship to compete in the world championships for Great Britain, and in a similar vein Guido Trenti took out a USPRO license and has competed wearing stars and stripes in several elite road world chamionships. Davide Rebellin may have a beef as legitimate as Sciandri’s and Trenti’s, but opting to change citizenship approximately 1 month before the Verona world championships to a country that he has absolutely no connection (other than being a friend of an Italian ex-pat highly situated in the Argentinean cycling federation) raises my sporting hackles.

What is perhaps most disturbing is the fact that nobody has explained if Rebellin is denying the opportunity of a lifelong Argentinean citizen (perhaps someone such as Alejandro-Alberto Borrajo who’s shown some form in the recent Tour of Britain) to take part in the world championships. According to the UCI, Argentina is only entitled to put 1 man on the start line due to it’s country’s ranking (38th). Can you imagine this conversation, “Ummm…sorry Alejandro. We know you’ve had a good season and have been building fitness for the worlds but, ummm, Rebellin is faster than you and will start in your place in Verona.” Argentina hasn’t had a strong history of competing in the elite road worlds (I could only find one Argentinean taking part in a world title road race in the past 5 years), so I hope Rebellin isn’t screwing someone. Is this the beginning of the Enron-ization of the peloton? Off-shore citizenship? Will Rebellin operate out of a mailbox in Buenos Aires?

What’s also strange is that Rebellin will have no teammates. None. And I don’t think he can count on any favors from Italy. What can he really hope to accomplish by competing on his own? This is really a lose-lose situation for Rebellin. Imagine these scenarios:

1. Italy, Spain, and Germany self-destruct while Rebellin rides out of his skin and takes home the world title. The tifosi would absolutely shit themselves. How could Rebellin stand tall in Verona, in his native Italy, while the Argentinean national anthem plays (has Rebellin even heard the national anthem?) and live to tell the tale? He would be ripped limb from limb by rabid Italian fans and his still-steaming entrails (along with his rainbow jersey and gold medal) would be Fed-Exed overnight to his new home: a Buenos Aires mailbox.

2. Bettini and Rebellin are in a two-up break and start to play cat and mouse in the closing kilometers. Meanwhile, someone with screaming late-season form, like Alejandro Valverde, motors up to the break in the last minute of the race and dusts them both. Judas Rebellin screws favorite son Paolo Bettini out of an Olympics/Worlds double. Queue the outcome from result #1: Rebellin would be ripped limb from limb by rabid Italian fans and his still-steaming entrails would be Fed-Exed overnight to his new home: a Buenos Aires mailbox.

3. Rebellin isn’t a factor and simply gets to ride 265 km in Verona, showered with spit and venom from rabid tifosi.

What a great idea, Davide.