Lance Armstrong remains a pariah of the sport but continues to lay down some hard truths as he sees it about his time at the top.

The seven-time Tour de France champion gave an interview to The Times in which he defended his actions with this.

"The sport fostered that culture. You had a substance, EPO, that was so efficient and if they have an equivalent tomorrow that is undetectable, everyone would be on it."

True? Well if history is any guide maybe so. While there can be no question the sport has changed for the better, that result probably has more to do with policing than culture. 

If Armstrong stands for anything in the sport today, it's as a reminder that the ghosts of the past are never very far away.

 

 

Tuesday 8 Dec 2015

Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme thinks reducing peloton numbers will lead to better safety outcomes and more exciting racing.

"We also hope, as a consequence, that this will allow races to open up, and be less blocked, with a peloton that is less controlled and closed down by the big teams," Prudhomme told Velonews.

"It’s obvious that some teams have the means to control the race and dictate the action by the quality of its riders. To eliminate one rider would liberate some teams and open up the race. It could also help out smaller races, which are often left out because the bigger races absorb all the best riders.

"To start with one less rider in the major races would allow the top teams to have more complete line-ups in the smaller races, which right now is difficult to do when teams have to bring 18 top riders to two races that might coincide. Logically, if there is one less rider at the top races, that would mean one more rider for the smaller races, and as a result, a better quality of teams across all levels of races."

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The UCI is playing hardball over its decision to allow extensive trials for disc brakes for road bikes ahead of a full adoption in 2017. The move remains controversial in tjhe professional peloton, with many riders insisting they are unsafe.

Their advocate, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), has been trying to get a seat at the discussion table but have so far been rebuffed.

Statement:

"The CPA, international association of professional cyclists, is, with this release, responding to the documents provided to the press by the UCI earlier this week, about the authorization to use disc brakes in the peloton during the 2016 season. The CPA emphasizes that it is not at all hostile to any technological development in cycling, as it has already been shown in many occasions. Certainly our sport is also a mechanical sport, but so far, research and innovation should not be implemented without considering the priority concerns of the riders, especially in terms of security. On numerous occasions we have exposed the various problems associated with this technology. The CPA has asked to be part of the UCI Equipment Commission in order to explain the views of the riders but unfortunately without success until today and so we complain that we have no representatives in these meetings. We have many comments and suggestions from the riders, which however cannot express their thoughts freely as individuals. It is well known that the cycle industries are major financial partners of our sport and that sometimes it is very difficult to oppose. The CPA requests more exchanges and collaboration on this matter that, for the riders is an important development, on which for now it would be wrong to say that they have agreed."

There are two issues here. One is the continued technological advancement of the sport but also of rider representation. While the tension is clear, the UCI refusing a place at the table of a key stakeholder is not a good look, Wasn't President Brian Cookson's mandate also about transparency and inclusivity? Our governing body can do better on this issue.

Kit reveals are a big deal these days but how much can Sky really change its well established design given their existing sponsorships.

The training camps are under way and everyone is muy tranquilo, including Tinkoff-Saxo boss rider, Alberto Contador who celebrated his Bertday on the island of Gran Canaria.

Annette "Nettie" Edmondson will remain with road outfit Wiggle Honda even as she aims for track gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old from Adelaide, South Australia just claimed a gold medal as part of the Australian team pursuit squad, and a silver medal in the omnium at this past weekend’s Track World Cup, in Cambridge, New Zealand.

Five medals for Australia at UCI Track World Cup in NZ
Australia claimed a five medal haul of two gold, two silver and one bronze day two of competition at the UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge, New Zealand.

“I’m very excited to be re-signing with Wiggle Honda in 2016, although I’ll have a very limited programme due to my track commitments,” Edmondson said. “In the lead up to Rio it’s still really nice to know that Wiggle Honda are wanting to be part of the journey, and are there to support me and to help me out in any way possible."