Many of you keep up with cycling news as much as I do, but the off-season for Pro Tour road racing can lull many into a break from day-to-day reading. Here are a few tidbits that have gone down in the last few weeks which will likely help shape the 2010 season:
Astana: Alberto Contador is staying after much suspense over the team's ProTour status. He will now be joined by 2006 Tour winner Oscar Pereiro. The Spanish rider signed a contract, only to be told the team could not honor the financial terms that they had offered. He threatened to sue and is now on board. His 2006 win came after an unlikely break-away that gained him big time over the favorites, followed by Floyd Landis's being busted for exogenous testosterone. He was awarded the yellow jersey only after Floyd's protracted legal battle, so the win did not come with the usual glory.
BMC: Pro Continental Team BMC has signed both American veteran George Hincapie and perennial runner-up Australian Cadel Evans. Pro Continental teams must count on wild card invitations to the Tour de France. Radio Shack has been awarded a ProTour license and is almost certain to be included, though they are not guaranteed a spot under current agreements between the UCI and Tour organizer ASO.Other teams depending on invitations include Cervelo, Katusha and Team Sky.
Garmin: The team is now Garmin-Transitions as they pick up a new sponsor in the photochromatic lens maker. They have lost sports physiologist Allen Lim to Radio Shack, as Lim was tired of the travel requirements and can now spend more time in his home of Boulder. Garmin is an American team, but is based in Girona, Spain. It appears that the team has also lost surprise 4th place 2009 Tour finisher Bradley Wiggins to the British upstart Team Sky. This has been brewing for some time as the new team has deep pockets and was hot for a British team leader. Wiggins should get a nice raise and he'll get to race for a British team. All good for him, but a big loss for Garmin.
Greg LeMond/ Trek Lawsuits: On the surface, this may seem like just another commercial dispute, but it is likely to involve a lot of testimony under oath regarding Lance Armstrong and doping allegations.
This could get very ugly for Lance. Depending on what is considered relevant, LeMond could very well drag a lot of dirt into the proceedings which are unlikely to prove anything, but may likely show Armstrong in a very negative light. LeMond contends, among other things, that Trek failed to hold up their end of the bargain in marketing LeMond branded bikes in Europe and that their actions were in large part a reaction to comments Lemond made regarding Armstrong.
I'm not taking a position on the veracity of any of this, but here is a link with some very interesting reading.