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Freeman Cebu Sports

It’s a new cycling season!

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Freeman

It’s 2016 and professional cycling is still a mess.

Team owner Oleg Tinkoff is saying that he’d be pulling the plug on his team in 2017.  ASO, the owner of the Tour de France has said that it will pull out of the Pro Tour (a series of top-tiered racing events) next year, after a squabble with the UCI, concerning the number of teams ASO can include in the Tour.  including the classic, Paris-Roubaix. And yes, doping is still in the news, even if the 2-year penalty given to Dutch rider, Michael Boogerd, who retired in 2007, was 8 years too late.

Oleg Tinkoff, the Russian billionaire who pays the salary of Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan, has said that this year will be his last. He is also looking for a company to buy his team. The reason why Tinkoff is giving up is that he believes that the team/sponsor dynamics is not conducive to long term stability of the team. Sponsors usually leave the sport after a few years, leaving riders and staff high and dry. Well, cycling teams for now are too disorganized right now to stand as one, unlike the NFL and the NBA where players have a union.

ASO’s position in withdrawing the Tour and other races it organizes is simply a power play between them and the UCI. The UCI had instituted reforms which ASO thinks will weaken their position. While the UCI is the sports governing body, its has little say about the Tour de France and therefore, wants to control the Tour. While ASO has the support of the French teams, UCI is allied with a new group called Velon, made up of 12 Pro Tour teams, who’s thinking of organising separate events. If you’re confused, think of ASO as the UFC and the fighters the teams.

Anyway, the racing season is about to start in Australia so even with all the squabble, I think this 2016 season will still be fantastic. Tom Boonen is back and this might be his last year. Of course, there is also Fabian Cancellara, who is definitely racing one last time. So get ready!!!

Here’s a belated Christmas story I got from the internet, just in case you missed it…

A couple were in a busy shopping center just before Christmas. The wife suddenly noticed that her husband was missing and as they had a lot to do, so she called him on the mobile.

The wife said "Where are you, you know we have lots to do."

He said "You remember the jewelers we went into about 10 years ago, and you fell in love with that diamond necklace? I could not afford it at the time and I said that one day I would get it for you?"

Little tears started to flow down her cheek and she got all choked up…

"Yes, I do remember that shop." she replied.

"Well I am in the bike shop next door to that."

Finally, no thanks to SKY Cable, I missed the last moments of the last quarter, and yes, the heart-stopping, “wild” wildcard game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday. I wonder if somebody is ever going to challenge this inept cable TV monopoly.

ACIRC

ALBERTO CONTADOR AND PETER SAGAN

FABIAN CANCELLARA

MICHAEL BOOGERD

OLEG TINKOFF

PITTSBURG STEELERS AND THE CINCINNATI BENGALS

PRO TOUR

QUOT

TOM BOONEN

TOUR

WELL I

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