We’re getting a kick out of what’s become pro cycling’s last haven, a Middle East gulag for the disenfranchised, riders with a dark past, lackluster results and poor negotiation skills.
No matter — the Sky Dive team in Dubai holds out a warm Saharan embrace. Wandering Puerto nomad Francisco Mancebo is already on the roster while his Spanish compatriot Sammy Sanchez mulls over a jump into the desert.
The latest news is that Moldovan Alexandr Pliuschin has signed with Sky Dive after an underwhelming year at IAM. I Am Now In Dubai! Gas is cheap, the skyscrapers are tall and Winter averages 73 degrees. Bring a bathing suit!
Highness SheikhMohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum welcomes you. He is a big fan of Eddy Merckx and the exploits of the Cannibal are taught to each and every child in Dubai.
Such is the sad economic decline around the globe that Paco and Sammy and Alex must go where the money is. And that luxurious and gilded place is Dubai and Sky Dive. An ironic name that seems to capture the falling career fortunes of all three riders.
Can that young 42 year old Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner be far behind? Sky Dive awaits and lycra is lycra, right? The Winter is Dubai is far, far better than the freezing conditions in Waterloo, Wisconsin, home of his ex-squad RadioShack-Trek.
Speaking of Vuelta, did Senõr Cobo, a surprise Vuelta winner some years back, make a wise move choosing Turkey over Dubai? Surely, Sky Dive has more money than those tight fisted folks at Torku Sekerspor.
Most people still wonder how you managed to beat Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins in that Vuelta but they do not ask those questions in Dubai. They would have slaughtered the finest goat and young dancing girls would have fed you dates.
Sadly, the Italian Olympic Committee has recommended that serial doper Danilo di Luca be banned for life. Is Sky Dive not the ideal home for such a daring and handsome fellow? Ahh, the parties they could have thrown. Danilo of the Desert, a Killer to dominate the Tour of Dubai. No, it’s not his beloved Giro d’Italia but we must take what we can — a camel is not a Ferrari.
The road goes on and on. One must not give up hope despite the drug charges, the sporting failures, the contract disappointments, the physical decline that inevitably arrives with advancing age.
There is still Dubai and always Sky Dive. After all, they even have a facebook fan page with 53 likes!