Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lance Armstrong and the Tour

As was noted in yesterday's comments, Lance Armstrong was cleared of doping during the 1999 tour. In fact the Dutch investigators recommended looking into possible legal and ethical violations by the World Anti-Doping Agency. There's been so much bad doping news out of cycling recently (for example Manalo Saiz the current manager of Liberty-Seguros and the former manager of ONCE, being arrested) that it's nice to see some good news for a change.

I am particularly worried about possible damage to the Tour (though there has already been some). I've been looking forward to the first Tour without Lance since at least 2003 if not earlier, and I would hate to see it marred by this crap. Fortunately there hasn't been even a hint of suspicion around the two leading contenders, Ullrich and Basso. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Of the two leaders I'm going to have to go with Ullrich, he got a late start to his preperation, but this tour was made for him (two time trials and a hard third week) and I really think Basso and CSC (which was pointed out in this great interview with Levi Leipheimer) have spent too much energy winning the Giro (Tour of Italy). Basso's stated goal for the year is to win both the Giro and the Tour, a noble ambition, but I would have focused on just winning the tour, then I would have tried to do both.

The excitement is palpable


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