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Notes from the road: Leavin’ it late

In a recent Sports Illustrated column, Rick Reilly says to his daughter that besides spending two hours writing his weekly column, what he does the rest of the time is “worry about those two hours.” Well, here at bike-geek central, none of us has the luxury of being a full-time, once-a-week columnist, seeing as how our staff is about the size of the Fassa Bortolo squad after a week at the Tour. That being the case, we generally leave it a little late when it comes to our weekly Web columns, which can make for some, um, interesting topics. This week, for example, Neal Rogers found it in

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By Bryan Jew, VeloNews assistant managing editor

In a recent Sports Illustrated column, Rick Reilly says to his daughter that besides spending two hours writing his weekly column, what he does the rest of the time is “worry about those two hours.” Well, here at bike-geek central, none of us has the luxury of being a full-time, once-a-week columnist, seeing as how our staff is about the size of the Fassa Bortolo squad after a week at the Tour. That being the case, we generally leave it a little late when it comes to our weekly Web columns, which can make for some, um, interesting topics.

This week, for example, Neal Rogers found it in himself to write about wiener-dog racing. That of course, pales in comparison to the time he wrote about sitting on his couch and picking at his ingrown toenail. Ah, great moments in cycling journalism.

Of course, I’m probably the guiltiest party, spending several weeks earlier this year writing about reality TV, followed up by such hot topics as winning a big prize on an M&M’s wrapper, going to baseball’s opening day, inane local TV news coverage, and, most recently, hot-dog eating contests and sausage-race controversy.

In between, I’ve tried to sneak in at least enough U.S. road cycling tidbits to justify my spot on the VN.com docket, and occasionally even written whole columns about cycling. But that’s just being lazy.

In a week like this week, though, when the Tour coverage is too riveting to go channel surfing and the guy I bounce ideas off of is out on the road, things can get a little squeezed. And yes, I did leave this column a little late.

Sure, I could have fallen back on cycling. Heck, everybody’s talking about the Tour, and what a Tour it is. For once we’re talking about more than just Armstrong: Tyler, Mayo, Vinokourov, and whoa, Ullrich. But a column about the Tour, again, that’s just being lazy.

The news is always a great source for ideas. One of the lead health/fitness stories this week tells me “frequent masturbation may be really good for you,” and details a study showing that regular ejaculation may help prevent prostate cancer. Um, I’m going to keep my hands off that one, at least in my column.

Outside of the Tour, the world of sports has been awfully slow, although the British Open began on Thursday, and Lance won the ESPY award for Best Male Athlete at the ESPY’s on Wednesday.

Looks like I’m going to have to fall back on writing up a few road-racing notes. And then I’m going to get cracking right away on next week’s column.

* * *

Well, maybe I don’t have to jump back into cycling just yet. In last week’s “Notes” I wrote about Randall Simon and the Italian sausage incident in Milwaukee. In addition to being fined $432, Simon was suspended three games by Major League Baseball (this, from the same organization that suspended Sammy Sosa only seven games). Imagine the penalty Simon would have gotten if he had been using a corked bat. I’d write more about Major League Baseball and its bungling management, but I write about cycling — I get tired of writing about governing bodies making stupid, random decisions that detract from a great sport.

* * *

Last week I was also wondering where in the world was Jonas Carney. Well, Carney won the opening race at Superweek, but then took a couple of nights off because he wasn’t feeling well. That pretty much takes him out of the overall, but could make things interesting as he’ll be going for wins more than for points toward the overall. Carney will also continue to file periodic reports from the 16 days in Wisconsin. Gotta love a guy who describes the early-race breakaways as “random dudes destroying themselves.”

Here are results from Superweek earlier this week:

Festina Tour Alpine Valley Road Race
East Troy, WI. July 14

1. Danny In’t Ven, ICSA
2. Viktor Rapinski, Saturn
3. Adam Bergman, Jelly Belly-Carlsbad Clothing
4. Emile Abraham, Aerospace Engineering

Point Beer MGA Proving Grounds Road Race
Burlington/Town of Lyons, WI, July 15

1. Igor Abakoumov, Van Hemert Cycling
2. Rapinski
3. Harm Jansen
4. Ryan Blickem, Border Bandits
5. Sven Teutenberg, Bianchi

Baymont Inns & Suites Whitnall Park Road Race
Hales Corners, WI, July 16

1. Ivan Dominguez, Saturn
2. Jurgen Van Loocke, St. Martinuss Cycling Team
3. Peter Knudsen, Schroeder Iron
4. Russell Langley, Snow Valley
5. Frank Pipp, Athletes by Design

* * *

While the usual suspects will continue battling it out at Superweek, a number of top U.S. pros are in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for what’s been dubbed BC Super Cycling Week. It’s actually three races: the three-day Tour de Delta, July 18-20; the Tour de Gastown, July 23; and the Tour de White Rock, July 25-27. Among the teams taking part will be Saturn, Prime Alliance, Navigators, Health Net and Jelly Belly.

* * *

Earlier this year, VN reported that a deal was in the works that would bring a Pro Cycling Tour event to Vail, starting in 2004. Well, the deal was completed and announced at the beginning of July. Unfortunately, the official news never quite made it onto our site. So, here’s the official release from Threshold Sports:

The Pro Cycling Tour (PCT), owned and operated by Threshold Sports, and the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau (VVCTB) announced today the 2004 PCT Rocky Mountain Classic at Vail professional cycling event. The inaugural weekend of races is set for September 3-5, 2004. Vail has also been named the Official Resort of the 2004 PCT.

Top United States and international cyclists will compete on September 4th & 5th in a one-day circuit road race through Vail Village and Beaver Creek as well as a shorter criterium event expected to be held in Vail Village. A large recreational ride is being planned for September 3rd. Threshold Sports, working with the VVCTB, is in the process of designing the courses along with ancillary events, expos and entertainment. Details will be announced early in 2004.

“The PCT Rocky Mountain Classic at Vail will generate tremendous visibility for the Vail Valley, especially in our key markets,” said Rick Chastain, Director of Event Marketing for the VVCTB. “With a strong field of riders, we are positive this event will become a great annual competition showcasing the beauty of summertime in the Vail Valley to an international audience.”

The VVCTB will pursue a focused strategy in leveraging the relationship with the PCT to increase tourism spending on a year-round basis. The goal for the event itself is to attract 20,000 visitors to the Vail Valley for an average stay of four nights, representing a projected revenue generation of over seven million dollars. In addition, the event will bring significant exposure to the Vail Valley as an active lifestyle destination year-round. The relationship will involve an integrated marketing campaign including national television, print, radio, internet and consumer promotions in key U.S. markets as well as on-site marketing at other Pro Cycling Tour events.

The PCT Rocky Mountain Classic at Vail will be an official event on the 2004 Pro Cycling Tour and take place just one week before the PCT’s season-finale races for men and women, the T-Mobile International, presented by BMC Software on September 12, 2004 in San Francisco.

According to Threshold Sports CEO, Dave Chauner, “We are excited to add Vail as an upscale resort location on the annual Pro Cycling Tour. With Vail and San Francisco back-to-back, we offer an ideal reason for cycling fans around the globe to come to the U.S. to witness our world-class cycling – American style.”