Any given week, there are oodles of cycling stories flying around in the news. So here’s a quick-hit summary of this week’s happenings, plus my own garbage opinions on each. Much like my gambling advice, these takes are for entertainment purposes only!
Could Sky’s kit be any whiter?
Team Sky will have a new look for the Tour de France. Instead of the uber-intimidating black kit, Chris Froome and the gang will wear a white jersey. “We all loved the white. We are always up for doing things differently,” said team principal David Brailsford. Sorry guys, white kit isn’t really all that different. Here’s an alternate theory: Sky’s scientists encouraged them to wear white to subliminally engender goodwill toward the team, you know, like a white surrender flag. Or, maybe the white kit is a tip of the hat to The Beatles and their famous White Album. If so, this is an epic way to troll Nairo Quintana for coming up short of his Giro/Tour double plans. The White Album was a double album, after all!
Speaking of Quintana, the Colombian came up just 31 seconds shy of winning the Giro d’Italia. According to him, he actually lost the race on stage 19, not the stage 21 time trial. The Movistar climber says he woke up a little sick that day. He lacked the requisite punch to truly bury Tom Dumoulin. If you ask me, this is such a gentlemanly thing to do. Dumoulin got sick in stage 16, which cost him some time. Quintana obliged and (I’m guessing) intentionally caught a little fever later that week to make sure things were even-Steven. If Froome has to run his bike again on a Tour climb, maybe Nairo will hop off and join the impromptu duathlon.
The new Hammer Series cycling race kicks off Friday. Stage 1 is for climbers. Stage 2 is for sprinters, and the final day is a pursuit team time trial, based off of cumulative points from the first two days. On Sunday a team — not an individual rider — will be named winner. Cycling has a problem when it comes to team names. At best they sound like corporate mergers (AG2R La Mondiale). At worst, they’re unintelligible word salad in a foreign language (Nippo Vini Fantini). So, if teams start to adopt more evocative, simple names, like the Movistar Monsters, or the Dancing Dutchman, you can bet the Hammer Series is wielding influence in the world of pro cycling.
After the Giro wrapped up, Movistar director Eusebio Unzué lavished Tom Dumoulin with praise. He likened the Dutchman to Bradley Wiggins and Miguel Indurain (could we nickname him Tomuelón!?). Unzué assured Gregor Brown that Quintana is on track for the Tour. But I have to wonder — does Unzué have the hots for Dumoulin? Does he want “a favorite in any grand tour” riding in Movistar blue? Maybe Quintana should start learning Dutch, just in case he has to share the stable with another thoroughbred. Alejandro Valverde is getting old …