There seems to be more sad news than good news lately. Everyone was saddened by the report of Jose Maria Jiminez' death over the weekend. Althought he hadn't ridden for the last two seasons, he is still remembered for his dynamic riding style and fantastic climbing abilities. Unfortunately, his greatest competitor was not another rider but a demon within himself. Many people hoped that he would be able to win that battle and be able to lead a normal life again, maybe even return to pro cycling. Now the battle is forever lost.
Of course, the third sudden death by heart attack of a pro rider this year has raised the usual ugly questions. Many people think that the obvious answer is the use of illegal drugs -- drugs used to enhance athletic performance which ultimately weaken the athelete's heart. Many people also think the true cause of death will never be known. There are too many people associated with cycling who have too many reasons to cover up anything which might damage their reputations.
The Olympics are still some eight months off, but are already making themselves known. The Italians have already made a pre-selection for the road team, which includes Mario Cipollini but excludes Alessandro Petacchi. I sure would like to know who they know so far in advance who will be in good shape next August!
I have lost track of who all has said that they want to or plan to win one or more gold medals at the Olympics. Modest as always, David Millar proclaims not only that the Olympics are his top priority next year, but also that he intends to win first the time trial, then the road race and then top it all off with a gold medal on the track! Well, let's just say that the young man is'nt suffering from a lack of self-confidence.....
Mario Cipollini isn't lacking any self-confidence either -- but of course we already knew that -- and also has his eye on a track medal. I can only wonder what the track specialists think of all these road riders trying to poach on their territory!
Michele Bartoli apparently has broken his arm while working out in the gym during the CSC training camp, but when on a 3 hour ride before seeking medical assistance. Sounds mighty like Tyler Hamilton riding the Giro with a broken shoulder and the Tour with a broken collarbone. I can't say that I think much of this new policy of yours, Bjarne.....