Freeman Cebu Sports

Buying a win

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta -

Alexander Vinokourov was one of the more exciting riders in the peloton, even though his facial demeanor said otherwise. He is the most successful rider to come out from the now defunct Soviet Union before riding for his native country, Kazakhstan. He won 4 stages in the Tour de France, won the Vuelta A Espana and two, 1-day, classics. He even challenged Lance Armstrong in the 2003 Tour.

But in 2007, he caught using performance enhancing drugs and was banned for two years. He never admitted that he did and when his suspension was lifted, he resumed his racing career. In 2010, he won, Le Doyenne”, or Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the oldest bike race in the world, for the second time. This year, he was expected to challenge for the Tour but a broken kneecap would stop him and he would alter announce his retirement. But an inter-team squabble made, in which he thought he was being eased out unceremoniously, made him unretired with an eye for the 2012 London Olympics.

To say that he was a polarizing athlete is an understatement. The cycling establishment watch in horror as they watched him win the La Doyenne, just a few months after he had served his doping suspension. The fans booed and jeered, not wanting him to win. It was like a slap in the face, for here was Vino, who won this race, “dirty” and now won it again, “clean”. Are the other riders really that bad or was Vino still juiced?

The scandal died slowly but then suddenly, it was back. Somebody hacked Vino’s email and it ended in the lap of a Swiss magazine. The contents of the email included an exchange between Vino and his breakaway partner, Alexander Kolobnev, who rides for a different team, that alleged Vino paid Kolobnev $134K not to contest the sprint.

Vino has denied the payment but his past has finally caught up with him.

Lance and Jobs

I just finished “listening” to the biography of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. It was written by Walter Isaacson, who used to work at CNN as CEO and TIME. Isaacson did a great job in telling Job’s story, from the time Jobs given up for adoption to the last days of his life, a life cut short by cancer. Job’s life is about contradictions, about black and white, were people were either “bozo’s” or “heroes”, and products and ideas are either, “sh-t” or the “most amazing”.

The story of Lance Armstrong, “It’s Not About The Bike”, was the last time I read a great biography this compelling. I also realized that Armstrong and Jobs (who owns two bicycles)have something in common and that is they both don’t accept mediocrity. Similarly, Armstrong had a great team around him during his 7-year run at the Tour de France, with US Postal and Discovery. On the other hand, Jobs had the same “A” people at Apple, NeXT and Pixar, companies he owned and led.

For those who have been using Apple products, this book will make you understand why the Mac or any other Apple products are different from the other competing brands. Therefore, this is a must read.

My cycling friend, Ome Rodriguez wrote in the Cebu Cycling forum that if Apple were a bike company, it would have been Campagnolo. I couldn’t agree more. - THE FREEMAN

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