The British cyclist Chris Froome on the podium of La Vuelta, on August 21, 2017 in Andorra la Vella
The elite cycling season (WorldTour) begins on Tuesday in Australia, in the Adelaide region, with the traditional Tour Down Under, a year-long prelude marked by several issues:
– What will Chris Froome answer? –
The British, who must justify an ‚abnormal‘ anti-doping control in the last Tour of Spain, awaits authorization to compete in the Giro and the Tour, the two great races that figure in his ambitious program.
„Get out of darkness and ambiguity,“ asked Tour director Christian Prudhomme. Same request made by his Giro counterpart, Mauro Vegni.
In cycling the tone has been hardened since the ‚abnormal‘ control of Froome was known in a race he won. „If I tested positive, my team would suspend me immediately,“ said Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, world time trial champion.
„If there are rules, you have to follow them,“ said Quick-Step team principal Patrick Lefevere.
The American Greg Lemond, winner of three editions of the Tour, was more direct, describing Froome’s apology as „ridiculous“: „He is responsible for what his body ingests“.
– What will be the new hierarchy of the sprint? –
„I have not yet shown everything I can do,“ said the Colombian Fernando Gaviria, 24 years old and the most promising of the new generation of sprinters.
The ‚Missile‘, winner of four stages in the Giro, hopes to debut in the Tour. In front of him, the German Marcel Kittel, who won five stages in the last edition of the ‚Grande Boucle‘.
Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel want to prove they have not said the last word. And then there are others who also aspire to consolidate, like the Dutch Dylan Groenewegen, in progression, and the French Arnaud Démare and Nacer Bouhanni.
All will be watched closely through the video, since this season a supplementary commissioner will follow the races on a screen, after the incident between Peter Sagan and Cavendish in the last Tour, which cost the expulsion of the first of the race.
– Where will Colombian cycling come from?
Esteban Chaves and Miguel Ángel López will run the Giro. Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Urán will be in the Tour. Everyone will have options to fight for the podium. For the Colombian cycling the top would be to finally conquer, the great objective.
Quintana, twice second, will try again, this time without running the Giro before. Although the arrival to the Movistar team of the Spanish Mikel Landa, fourth in the last edition of the Tour, can complicate his role as head of ranks.
„It will be very helpful,“ Quintana said of Landa, who seems not to accept his role as lieutenant.
– Who will take the role of Accountant? –
Spectacular in recent years in his role as animator of the peloton, the Spanish ‚Pistolero‘ has retired and is about to see who is the new ‚dynamiter‘, ready to break the team tactics.
No leader seems willing to assume it, despite the growing demand from the public and organizers, so that the races leave predictable scenarios. It could be the Italian Vincenzo Nibali, who as Contador is one of the cyclists who has won the big three.
– And the bike with a motor? –
A recently published book and especially a judicial investigation have relaunched the ghost of the absolute trap that fears professional cycling in recent years. In the work of Philippe Brunel, entitled ‚Roll faster than death‘, the Hungarian physicist Istvan Varjas claims the paternity of motor bicycles since 1998.
Some indications indicate that a first user could have been Lance Armstrong from 1999. Without evidence at the moment, the investigation of the French Financial Prosecutor’s Office could try several hypotheses to uncover the past and guarantee the authenticity of the present.