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November 16, 2007



HORNER to Astana!!!!!!

Sara Best


Good for him and smart move by Johan. Not many better workhorses to have on a team than Chris.

susie b

I promise I'll come back later today/tomorrow to weigh in on Sinkewitz & OMG, I never saw Horner going to Astana! Wow! And I am SO happy Chechu is going there too. I was getting very upset that no team had picked him up!

BUT, for now I just need to sing. Yes, the spirit has come over me, well, last night at 11:00 to be exact while watching ESPN. Clap your hands Brothuhs & Sistahs! Sway back & forth & sing it with me - "Oh Happy Day, OH HAPPY DAY"! I am ECSTATIC. And every time a commentator would moan that it's a "sad day for baseball" or " a sad day for all of sport", I laughed. Laughed & laughed. My cheeks hurt from all the laughin'. Like the song says " He Had It Comin'!"

Don't worry, I won't run down ALL my reasons (AGAIN ;) why I hate Barry Bonds or why I see him as the APOTHESIS of all that is wrong with ALL professional sports. But, can I just say I hope the City of San Fran CHOKES on their freakin 'key'... BTW, a few months ago I wrote that that little FARCE was a sure Sign of the Apocalypse. So, what is the opposite? A renaissance? I'm in! The fact that it has rained almost every day here for the past two weeks & TODAY is nothing but gorgeous blue skies makes it perfect. I'm taking this as a SIGN people! Sing it with me, "OH HAPPY DAY"!


Here is the press release hot off the press from Astana:

"* Horner, Gusev and Rubiera join Astana Cycling Team in 2008

16th november 2007 - Astana Cycling Team came to an agreement with Christopher Horner, Vladimir Gusev and Jose Luis Rubiera for the 2008 season.

Christopher Horner (36), has 13 years experience as a professional rider in American, French, Spanish and Belgian teams. The last two seasons, the American rider was of extreme help for Cadel Evans in the stage races. Horner obtained stage victories in Tour of Switserland and Tour of Romandy and obtained top 20 places in Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne and Paris-Nice.

Russian Vladimir Gusev (25) joined Discovery Channel in 2006. Gusev is all-round. He is time trial specialist, he likes the flemish cobblestones and he finishes with succes a Tour de France. Last season, he won the Tour of Belgium as well as the queen stage in the Tour of Suisse (Horner second).

In 2000 Jose-Luis (Chechu) Rubiera (34) joined US Postal Team and Johan Bruyneel. The Spanish rider (two stage victories in Giro d’Italia, two times top ten in Giro as well as in Vuelta) rode six times the Tour the France. Leading the peloton, thousands of kilometers in front of the race, Rubiera assisted Lance Armstrong in five of his Tour victories.

Team Manager Johan Bruyneel is delighted: “With Astana new style we want to invest in riders for stage races as well as for one-day-races. We believe in Chris Horner. He will be of extreme value in the mountains for our leaders. Chris is extremely motivated to join our team. For us, the capacities of Rubiera and Gusev are known well enough. We are delighted that both riders kept confidence in the team staff. We are very ambitious. In the next days, we will announce more details about the Astana Cycling Team 2008.”

* Financial obligations to fulfil

The Kazakh Cycling Federation (KCF) expressed already her extreme confidence in the new team management. The Federation assured that all financial obligations towards personnel and staff of the 2007 team will be fulfilled. Apparently, a certain number of Astana 2007 Team members did not receive all their salaries from the former team management (Zeus Company of former manager Marc Biver). As KCF did not have the exact information on outstanding debts, payments could not yet be made. As soon as clarity exists about the magnitude of claims - a complex affair due to impact of social security, taxes, etc. - all payments will be made by KCF the forthcoming days.
KCF, that ended collaboration with Zeus due to mismanagement/lack of confidence, does not exclude to start a legal procedure against Zeus and/or Marc Biver."


Wow, Cathy! Nobody else is reporting this at this moment . You beat and velonews to the punch. That is impressive news. If it's a well run team, that team is going to do a lot a damage in 2008.


Yes, susie - and Im SURE you heard the clapping and yelling from my couch last night, all the way across the states!! WooHoo. If I weren't enjoying my popcorn so much, I would have gotten up and done a little dance. Wait, I'll do it right now, here in the office.

OK. Done.

But....I did wonder if perchance. Maybe. I've been a little myopic/tunnel vision about all this drug testing/hearings stuff. I know, many have tried to point this out. But last month I was trolling thru my un-read magazine pile and settled on an Outside issue. An article about this guy who joined up with this group of Mad-For Barry Bonds guys, who would get in their kayaks, position outside the baseball park in the water, and wait for his foul balls (!) to sail over the wall to try and catch. And they'd really done their research; what spot was best and how to anchor there, had special gear they'd built at home and a shot of hard liquer to keep them warm, etc.

And at the end this fella says "I don't know if drugs matter because you couldn't do this sport unless you had the ability to begin with. No one can do this w/o the skill and no drug can change that".

UGH. That's been said here many a time. Just insert any suspected riders name and it's been said about ALL of them.

I'm not sure if baseball players have any better rights than cyclists. Possibly their only leverage is the $$$ amount they bring into a "club". But what makes that guys statement any different then when a pro-cycling fan says it?

OK, I know this was the equivalent of popping the balloon in the room and watching it deflate slowly and no one may reply to my post. But its a question that's been festering and the Bonds ruling brought it out again.

And please, stay away from the "foul balls" line. I know we could have a field day with that one!! =)


Team Astana is going to be one awesome team!! Chris surprised everyone!!! Remember that Chris said someone on Discovery didn't like him(I wonder who??) and that's why he was never on Postal. But that person now longer is part of pro cycling!! Johan knows good riders when he sees them!!!

One thing I will say about Patrick, is that his testimony was the most open and honest picture that we have gotten of the past T Mobile team!
Floyd is being sacrificed because he fought WADA/USADA, and they are using the French as an excuse to keep him off the bike for as long as possible!


The thought of cyclists informing on one another...oh joy, like something out of 'Blow',...makes my blood run cold.

I'm afraid that in the season of scandal 'fair' is a four-letter word, if it has any meaning at all.

So a pro can part with 56K and shrug it off? What do our guys normally command? Anyone? (I've looked for info on cycling salaries and didn't come up with anything but what one makes for winning le TdF)

As for Astana...! "Disco East" Gotta love that. Bruyneel is impressively clever. Now we got us a horse race! Very excited about 2008.


I have to say thanks to Cathy--you brought a big smile to my face after a long hard day at work with your news.


I think Sinkowitz salary was in the 700,000 euro range. That is about 10,000,000 US dollars now? Right? Allez Horner!


Okay-at last a chance to comment about my night at the Slipstream Launch. Yep, it was as fun as I had hoped. The Boulder Theater was pretty well packed it seemed to me, which was great. We saw the TV pilot for a reality show that will air on the Sundance channel featuring the Slipstream Team as they grow. Looked quite amusing. Jonathan Vaughters spoke most eloquently about doping and how committing to not doping is going to look for their team. Sure hope one of the magazines will quote his speech because it needs to be heard. Then another short film about David Miller, finally the team intros, followed by Q & A. And yep DZ did not disappoint! Someone asked him what race was he hoping to win in the next season, he stood at the mike with that goofy half smile and said ummm for what seemed to be 10 minutes then - 'I guess maybe ummm.... some ummmm.... timed event.' Funny! Especially considering his new bike sticker. A little girl about 12 years old said she and her friend were wondering what he ate for breakfast. The audience and the team all said AHHHH! He stood up, he moves so darn slow! Ummm.... I eat .... ummm... burritos (laughter from all of us) He indicates the huge Chipotle burrito blimp floating over our heads and says, In fact EVERYONE should eat burritos for breakfast! Quite funny, that guy.
My sister had to leave so I didn't get to stay for the auction to benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation. Drat!
I came away from the evening thinking I had just witnessed a piece of history being made. They are most certainly going to be contenders.
Yikes Sara and Cathy this "reporting" stuff ain't easy. Glad you two are the drivers seats!
Hooray for Astana! I second what Kathleen said Now we've got us a horse race! It's going to be fun!


Thanks Philip. So would that make the 56K a wrist slap?

It's not like these guys are going into dark alleys to 'score' all by themselves. Sorry, hackles rising again. I just hate to see the riders get singled out and vilified.

Yes Lindaloo. Argyle, Burritos, Cycling, Yum!


Thanks for the fun report, Lindaloo! DZ never fails to crack me up -- talk about a laid back kind of guy. I'm REALLY hoping that Slipstream is included in most of the major races this year. Can't wait to see what they can do.

Leave it to Cathy to bring us the exciting breaking news about Horner and Chechu! I really NEVER thought we'd see Horner at Astana; was sure he'd either stay at PL or end up on a continental team. Good for Johan! That team is really shaping up to be something amazing. Does anyone know about Kloden? I've heard conflicting info about whether or not he'll remain on Astana next year. That guys seems to have made a career of being "second fiddle", but its hard to tell if its completely by choice or circumstance.

Can't wait to hear about that giant crazy race, Debi.


Sara and Cathy,thank you for the good and interesting news!

Here's something from the BBC (Dick is at it again):

"Drug cheats to face four-year ban"
BBC Sport special report

World anti-doping officials have doubled the potential punishment for those caught using banned substances for the first time.

Offenders could now face a ban of up to four years if found guilty in aggravating circumstances".

The move is one element in the revised World Anti-Doping Agency code, which is being ratified in Madrid.

"Nobody thinks the code we have adopted is perfect or final," said outgoing WADA president Dick Pound.

"But it's a big improvement on what we had."

The definition of "aggravating circumstances" includes athletes who are found to be:

* involved in a larger doping scheme

* using prohibited substances, including anabolic steroids, on multiple occasions

* enjoying the effects of the prohibited substance for a period longer than his/her ineligibility

* impeding the investigation of an anti-doping offence

The new World Anti-Doping Code was approved on the final day of a three-day international conference on fighting performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

The revised set of rules and sanctions, which also includes reduced punishments for sports people who help authorities catch other drug cheats, will come into effect on 1 January 2009, after sports bodies have had time to implement them.

Athletes will be considered guilty of a doping violation if they accumulate a combination of three missed tests and/or fails to provide information of their whereabouts within an 18-month period in the new code. There will also be possible ban reductions for athletes who admit to doping. And athletes could face lesser sanctions if they can prove the prohibited substance was not intended to enhance performance.

"This is an ongoing process," said Pound. "It sends a message to the public that we remain firm in our resolve."

The WADA code, which first went into effect in 2004, is the central set of drug-testing rules across all sports and countries.

"While we can be understandably proud, I think it's also fair to say that the fight against doping is a living exercise," said Pound said.

"It will never cease. There will always be people out there who will break the rules.

"It will continue to require unwavering vigilance and the willingness to tackle those people who are the sociopaths of sport - they'll always be there."

Following complaints from football's governing body Fifa and other team sports, Wada agreed to further discussions on the provision that those serving doping bans should not be allowed to train with their teams.

"I don't want my kid practicing every day for a team with someone who's been suspended for drug use," Pound said.
Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2007/11/17 14:21:49 GMT


Interesting article about the IRS agent who has been finding evidence against baseball players, like Bonds, who use steroids and the "providers who love them"....


Thanks cat. Great article. My point exactly - 'it takes a village' - and a lot of villagers who look the other way.


Hello and HAPPY MONDAY everybody! I survived the annual Boyz weekend...thankfully the MASSIVE quantities of beer dulled the pain of yet ANOTHER Michigan loss to our nemesis Ohio State. Oh wait..I mean the massive quantities of beer CREATED a dull pain...something like that. Certainly the 8 hour car ride home yesterday were not necessarily the highlight of the trip. However I was quite audibly chuckling at the BB story! I want to hear him GROVELING for forgivness! That record is going DOWN! DOESN'T EXIST! Though to be fair we need to hear what the Gov has in it's case. But certainly no sympathy here!

And Cathy, AWESOME news on Horner! How very cool...we will have a plethora of teams to root for next season! Astana is looking GOOD (as is Slipstream). T-Mobile has Big GEORGE, Rabobank will be on my A list too (I'm part owner after all). SWEEEEEEET!

OK...I need to get busy (Vacation is hell!) Coffee to drink, deciding how many donuts to wolf down, shopping to do...stuff like that. Ahhh...vacation! Ya'll have a GREAT DAY!

susie b

It's a struggle to declare whether Sinkewitz's fate is justice or not. Who here has totally outgrown the childhood indoctrination to "NOT SNITCH"? Loyalty was valued; blabbing to the parental figures or to any outsiders, not. All these years later, it's difficult to still not feel the same. However, as in almost ALL legal cases, if you've got something to "trade" to the prosecutors, your sentence will be lighter. Otherwise, we'd NEVER be able to takedown a crime organization. One problem is how much to believe. He's trying to get a lesser sentence. Mighty big incentive to "elaborate"....

I guess in Sinkewitz case, since I desperately want cycling cleaned up, as long as he's not snitching on fellow riders & is instead illuminating how the "system" worked by revealing how it was encouraged, expected, & facilitated by the team management &/or by the sport overseers, etc, then it's a necessary evil. Kicking out the riders will NOT stop doping. Just like jailing a single drug user won't stop drug dealing. The "organization" must come down. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much of that. Just more scapegoats - like those German T-Mobile doctors.

It will be interesting to see if Sinkewitz not just finds a job in the peloton but is accepted by fellow riders. Most likely, it will just depend on how good he is. If he is a GREAT talent, it won't matter squat. Excuses are ALWAYS made for the "talented". And that's why there are so many a$$holes in sports who believe they are ENTITLED to any & everything & that mere laws don't apply to them. 'Pooooor' Michael Vick is an ultimate example of this. I'll tell you right now, if Vick is still in good shape after getting out of jail & the NFL feels he has "shown remorse", a team will snap him up quicker than the LNDD leaks test results. What's that team that had/has the 'Dawg Pound'? He'd fit right in there.... ;)

And Matt, I'm sorry about Michigan. How do you feel about Lloyd Carr retiring? And don't be surprised if OSU is back in the BCS championship race. With Oregon & Oklahoma both losing, they're already back up to 5th. Kansas & Missouri's faceoff this week will knock one of them out of it. If WVA loses, well, is Kansas really better than OSU?

I think this year's college football season shows 3 things - parity, that the 'experts' don't know half as much as they think, and that once & for all, being good on "paper" (or in a computer nowadays) means squat on the field & that it is a FARCE that there is not a playoff system to determine the champion. If this year doesn't convince people that the 'rankings' are meaningless, I don't know what will. These Bowl game sponsors/cities are so myopic they can't see the big picture! The four BCS Bowls can be the Final Four like in basketball; & they can even still be held on New Year's Day. The two winners then move on to the Championship game the next week. Plus, the damn games will actually MEAN something finally! Someone tell the NCAA my services are available for consulting... ;)


LindaLoo thanks big time for the info on the team presentation!! HOW COOL!!! I need to check and see if I get the Sundance channel....

Busy weekend, but it was beautiful here! I rode both days, but not as long as I wanted. The sun goes down so early, I was afraid of getting caught at sundown. Plus a friend from work went under my house(UGH!) and did some stuff for me. One of these days I might do that if I have dryer has been venting under the house for YEARS..what a mess!!

The only thing I saw that Pound said that I said, "hear,hear!", was his comment that OP COULD NOT be JUst cyclists. Yeah, when are we going to hear about all the OTHER athletes involved?

susie b

I've been thinking today that I'm really gonna miss Dick Pound. Oh, I hear ya laughin, chokin, gaspin, smirkin. But tis true. For the last two years I took great glee in informing the ignorant & the innocent of the Poundster's verbal diarhea. Where we would then bond in our mutual disbelief that THIS guy was in charge of anything let alone a worldwide agency. But I'll especially miss no longer being able to tell any & all that "sure there may be a lot of Dicks in WADA, but DP is the head Dick. In otherwords, he is the Dickhead".

Yes, I will miss snickering like a 10yr old.

Did I mention I LOVED being 10?


Yo Susie, you nailed the BCS BS on the head! Playoff, Playoff, Playoff. PLEASE! The dang teams finish their seasons in late Nov...and all the bowls are in late Dec and early Jan. Whats the prob? I just don't get it! Time isn't a factor, there is SURELY huge $ to be made. AND you could eliminate almost all of the wondering and what'if'ing. I have immensely enjoyed this college FB season..with all of the TOP contenders losing at least once. So who will get 'the shot' at the title? Hawaii? (I like Hawaii..lived there for 10 years, saw the 'Bows' play numerous times...but they would get killed by most any SEC team). And No, OS isn't that good...even though they beat Michigan (yes, we sucked) but OS proved last year what happens when they meet..they got their clocks cleaned by an SEC team. Still not parity in the divisions. And about Carr retiring, it's about dang time! Yes, he had his day and WAS great..but I think a coach a BIT more progressive (and who can teach the team to actaully THROW THE DANG BALL TO THE FIRST DOWN LINE instead of BEHIND IT) would be appropriate! That was a painful game to watch as a Wolverine fan. OS whooped us and they aren't that great either. Who do they play? Oh..sorry folks....kind'a hijacked Sara's site w/ football talk. I also agree I will be GLAD when Dick Pound retires, but it looks like his replacment might be even WORSE? Can it be possible that we will be looking fondly at the 'good ol' days of DP???? Gads what a scary thought! But I AM snickering STILL on the BB situation. And RIGHT ON, where the hay are the REST of the results from OP??


Interesting interview with Chris Horner; sort of commented on what you had been saying about Postal, T.


Who watched DWTS last night? OMG the dancing was incredible! I loved every dance by every couple, but I think Marie needs to go. She brings plenty of personality and pizazz and her entire body has transformed this season, but her quality of dancing doesn't quite measure up in my opinion. Jennie has come so, so far. I split my votes between Jennie and Helio last night, hoping she can get more fan support than Marie. But I love Mel too, she has been a hoot. I guess if I could only pick one I'd go for Helio because I love everything about him, but at this stage I think all of them are deserving. What a great season of dancing--so many great moments of beautiful dancing! The quality was so good this season that even hubby Rob got hooked on it!

susie b

I agree with everything you said Cathy! Before the show started, I had PLANNED on voting for Helio & Jenny, but they were all so good & I like Marie so much as a person that I ended up not voting for anyone as I liked them all too much! And Janann - I thought Mel & Max's Paso dance was SO great that I completely forgot that I don't like Max! It was THAT great!

But if we're talking strictly dancing skills & not showmanship or improvement, I guess Helio & Mel are the top two. But it's definitely possible that Marie's fans will keep her there. And as much as I like her & am glad the rest of the non-QVC watching country got to know how funny she is, I still think it would'nt be quite right if she's in the Final.

Kenny Mayne will on the show again tonight & I can't wait to see what he'll say this time. Late last night, I ended up on ESPN & there he was doing Sports Center. I just kept laughing as it was the 1st time I'd seen him at his regular gig since his Dance Center bit. No eye makeup this time though. LOL! What's also funny is that even though he was a dreadful dancer, he's now my fave ESPN guy (well, at least until my OTL Rick gets there next summer... ;) as I adore his smart alecky comedy bits on DWTS. His continual appearances MUST be helping his career as now many more women know who he is. Can't you just imagine the slack-jawed men of America when the wife walks past the TV as he's watching Sports Center & she says "Oh, there's Kenny, he is soooo funny". Cracks me up just thinking about it. :) :)


I read that article, Janann. And,yes, it points out that Lance had a lot of say about who he thought would work well for him. Look what happened when Floyd started asking too many questions. Oh, well, past history, and doesn't matter today, anymore at all. I'm glad Levi has so much respect for Chris. Funny about the Belgians knowing about Astana before Chris knew!!

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