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 month, as you might have suspected. The Tour de France ended on Sunday, with a narrow overall victory by Discovery’s young phenom’ Alberto Contator. [More] Read the final stage report while you’re there, but also take your time a sift through the incredible amount reporting by our staff during the world’s greatest bicycle race. Through tough times and good, the Tour keeps going and we were proud to bring you all of the news for the duration.
Of course, the biggest story of the Tour was the ejection of then-race-leader Michael Rasmussen. The man in the yellow jersey was pulled from the Tour by his own Rabobank team, following nearly a week of allegations that he had missed out-of-competition tests and been less-than-candid about his whereabouts in the weeks prior to the Tour. It was the first time since Michel Pollentier’s 1978 ejection that the yellow jersey was kicked out of the Tour. On Thursday, Tour winner Contador expressed frustration, saying that Rasmussen’s forced exit was fundamentally unfair and set a bad precedent for the sport.
“I would have liked to have won in another way,” he noted.
Scandals, frustration and concern about doping problems led German officials to consider cancelling the 2007 world championships, slated for that southern German city from September 26-30. Fortunately, the promoters of the event, the UCI and the German Cycling Federation have reached an agreement outlining a set of strict anti-doping protocols to be enforced throughout the event. As a result, the world’s will go ahead as planned. [More]
Meanwhile, American cycling fans may be treated the presence to a second major international team, as Slipstream ramps up its program for 2008, including plans to seek ProTour status for 2009. To show just how serious the team is for next year, manager Jonathan Vaughters arrived in Paris to announce the signings of three very big names to the team’s roster. Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie will be moving to the team from CSC and joining Saunier Duval’s David Millar on a squad that hopes to get a wild-card invitation to the 2008 Tour de France. [More]
On a sad note, we also learned of the untimely death of Barloworld’s Ryan Cox, the winner of the 2005 Tour de Langkawi. Cox had recently undergone surgery for constricted iliac artery – a problem common among cyclists. Cox was recovering back home in South Africa when the 28-year-old rider suffered rupture in the affected artery’s wall. [More]
Finally, I would like to encourage you to check in with VeloNews.com throughout the season. Now that the Tour is over, we have a bit more time to devote to regular favorites like our VeloNews photo contest, our mailbag and regular technical features by Lennard Zinn and Matt Pacocha
Have a good week,