May is a busy month for Professional Cycling. Fans are still on a high from the classics of the previous month, straight into the first Grand Tour of the year alongside the increasingly popular Tour of California. However, this May, despite all the on bike excitement, there seems to be more drama off the bike than your average Eastenders episode. So here’s our run through of the top 5 talking points this month:
Whatever you want to call it, the wheel swapping incident between team rivals or compatriots, depending on your particular view, has been a huge talking point of the Giro. The majority of people seem to agree that it was a great show of Sportsmanship. The Giro jury seemed to view it differently. Porte, one of the key contenders for the final Maglia Rosa, was given a two-minute penalty and a fine for accepting another team’s wheel after a late puncture. I think the time penalty is harsh, however the jury insist rules are rules. I guess you can’t argue if it’s in the book.
2. Fabio Aru files lawsuit against Greg Henderson
A bizarre outburst by Greg Henderson, implying Fabio Aru was an unclean rider, has culminated in the announcement of legal action against the Kiwi this month.
I always think Greg Henderson comes across well and is a great rider to watch. However, this seems a strange comment to make, especially on social media, without substantial evidence. I can, therefore, understand Aru’s reaction. Two riders who are currently in the peleton together at the Giro are now not talking other than through their legal teams, it would seem. Unless of course either wants to @ the other on Twitter.
3. Tinkov wants to cut Sagan’s salary
Oleg Tinkov, also someone who likes to make his views public, has expressed his desire to reduce Peter Sagan’s salary. The Russian billionaire paid an enormous fee to bring Sagan to his team this year and in return he expected results. If you’re a cycling fan, you would’ve agreed that would be a certainty in Sagan. Apparently not. Everyone has great expectations of Sagan, who has won many different races, many times, however the results haven’t flooded in at his usual rate. Tinkov is not happy. Despite taking a shock overall win at the Amgen Tour of California, Sagan will have seen in the papers that his boss wants some of his money back. Personally, I think if you’ve agreed a huge salary for a rider you have to stick to it, especially in a sport as unpredictable as cycling. It will be interesting to see how this develops…
(Pic: Getty Images Sport) www.cyclingnews.com
4. Contador’s poker face
Mind games in cycling is nothing new. Although, in the case of Contador at this year’s Giro, the jury is still out. Contador was undoubtedly hurt in his crash, however he has still answered every question Aru and Porte have thrown at him. We probably won’t have our answer until the peleton reaches Milan on the final day, however it would be great to see each of the favourites have a good battle on the mountains to come, without being by hampered injury (Or time penalties. Or the thought of ongoing legal battles).
(Photo: Claudio Peri, AP) www.usatoday.com
5. Amateur Doping Claims
The BBC recently published an article entitled, “Doping in cycling: Why are the amateurs ’emulating the pros’?” As an amateur cyclist who races regularly, I was keen to read on. What struck me is that, still, many of the ‘new’ articles or opinions on drugs in cycling are focused on events that occurred over a decade ago. There have been a lot of successes in British Cycling recently and it seems like there is more to come from a clean generation of cyclists. It’s frustrating to read current news on old stories.
Everyone will have their own opinion on this. Mine is to continue enjoying my racing, continue enjoying professional races on tele and ignore the continued ‘digging up’ of old news.
The article can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/32662773. It would be great to hear anyone elses’ opinion on this!