61st Vuelta a España

Updated 8/26/2006: Velonews IS offering live reports from the Vuelta on both the full web at www.velonews.com/live and the mobile web at www.velonews.com/live_mobile. The BBC is not doing live coverage.

The cycling Tour of Spain starts tomorrow under the ominous cloud of the back to back doping revelations of Operación Puerto followed by l’affaire Landis. I don’t know who’s guilty and who isn’t but I do know that professional cycling’s reputation is in the dumps.

Maybe I’m dreaming but I have a feeling that the latest scandals have finally shown riders, team managers, doctors, soigneurs and everyone else in cycling that drugs are not only harmful to the health of the riders but also to the survival of the sport. There are always going to be individuals willing to take a chance but given the number of top cyclists implicated in the last few years you can’t convince me that there hasn’t been “as long as you don’t get caught” attitude at all levels within most, perhaps all of the teams. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying doping in cycling is worse than other sports. But cycling is in the spotlight and the sponsors that make it possible to make a living as a racer, cook or caravan driver are running away from cycling as fast as contracts can be broken. It’s going to take years of hard fought, exciting and most of all clean racing to restore the sport’s good name.

  Eurosport  I’m an optimist and think the 2006 Vuelta will be the exciting, clean race that marks the start of the sport’s turnaround. It looks like it will be pretty hard to follow this year’s Vuelta on TV in the US, though. There’s apparently going not going to be any OLNTV coverage this year. At least we still have the web including the mobile web. Cyclingnews.com has announced that they will have live text coverage again this year on both the full web and wap. In the past, the BBC and Velonews.com have had daily live reports of the Vuelta. and I think they will again but so far I haven’t seen a confirmation from their sites. The first stage of Vuelta was today and Velonews is indeed covering it live but the BBC is not – although they do have a short article and results.

Here in California the stages occur right during prime commute time so if you take public transportation to work like I do, the mobile web is a great way to follow the action.

Here are my favorite mobile cycling sites:

  • Velonews.com www.velonews.com/live_mobile – live coverage during the stages which stays up until shortly before the next stage.
  • Cyclingnews.com live.cyclingnews.com/wap/ – live coverage similar to cyclingnews.com but with more detail although I find it harder to use as the reports are split up into over a hundred pages most of which only have a single sentence on them.
  • BBC Cycling PDA Edition news.bbc.co.uk/solpda/ukfs_sport/hi/other_sports/cycling/default.stm?live coverage that is less detailed than either Velonews or Cyclingnews but it includes The BBC site does have photos and pre and post race stories unlike Velonews and Cyclingnews. This is a big site best suited for PDA’s and Smartphones and an unlimited data plan.
  • BBC Cycling WAP Edition www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/bbc_sport/cycling/ – a lighter version of BBC’s mobile cycling coverage with the same text as the PDA version but fewer and smaller photos.
  • Yahoo Cycling wap.oa.yahoo.com/raw?dp=sports&lg=sc&ac=news – a comprehensive collection of timely full length newswire articles on cycling.
  • Eurosport.com mobile.eurosport.com/homepda.esoml?sportid=18 – no live coverage but original stories by staffers of Europe’s leading sports TV channel. Always has a good wrapup of the days stage.

If you don’t want to type those long urls into your phone, I’ve set up a Cycling page on my YesWAP.com mobile portal. To get to it go to yeswap.com and click Sports and then Cycling.

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