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This Week in Pro Cycling – August 16, 2007

Dear Readers, Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the world of competitive cycling by your friends at VeloNews.com

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Dear Readers,

Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the world of competitive cycling by your friends at VeloNews.com

It’s been a busy week in cycling as two – and possibly three – ProTour-level teams have folded up shop. Leading the list was last week’s announcement by the management of Tailwind Sports that the company has ceased its search for a new title sponsor of what is now the Discovery Channel Cycling Team.[More] Co-owner Lance Armstrong (now there’s a familiar name) said that the decision wasn’t based on the lack of possibilities, but rather on the current environment in cycling. [More]

That news was soon followed by the announcement that the Unibet.com team, too, will cease operations at the end of the season. That decision may actually support Armstrong’s assessment of the current state of cycling, since this team’s collapse can be solely attributed to the long-running battle between the UCI and the organizers of the big three-week grand tours over the structure of the ProTour. [More]

The Unibet squad was one of two new teams awarded ProTour licenses this year. The other, Astana, may find itself struggling to get the “wildcard” invitations that got it into the season’s biggest events after its top-two riders tested positive for blood-doping. [More] The team is facing many troubles and may risk losing that license, making it the third ProTour team closing up by the end the year.

All of that bad news, of course, comes on the heels of a recommitment by Deutsche Telekom to its sponsorship deal with the T-Mobile team. [More]

No matter what, the ProTour peloton – or whatever they call it – will be different next year, for sure.

In Germany that country’s national tour is underway. Defending champion Jens Voigt (CSC) seems poised to repeat his win in the Deutschland Tour after an impressive performance in Tuesday’s stage to the top of Austria’s hors categorie Rettenbachferner. He finished a mere 12 seconds behind the day’s stage winner, David Lopez Garcia, solidifying his hold on the overall standings. [More]

Speaking of strong climbing performances, Tour de France KOM winner Juan Mauircio Soler surged into the overall leads at Spain’s Vuelta a Burgos, on the strength of his win of the stage finish at Lagunas de Neila. [More] Remember back when nobody had ever heard of the guy?

And we thought we were in for a post-Tour cruise for a while. Maybe in December, eh? Meanwhile, have a good week and we’ll check in next Thursday.

All the best,

Charles Pelkey
Editor, VeloNews.com
CPelkey@insideinc.com