Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My wife actually got after me for posting about Soccer when I haven't said anything about Cycling yet this year. Well the cycling season is in full swing, the Dauphine Libre is going on right now, and the great American cyclist, George Hincapie, won today's stage. Alberto Contador, winner of the Tour de France last year, won the Giro. If you haven't been following things you may wonder why the heck someone hoping to compete strongly in the Tour would even race the Giro. Well Team Astana, the team that Contador (and Leipheimer and Bruyneel) moved to after Tailwind disbanded (i.e. the Discovery Team and before that US Postal), was banned from the Tour for the "damage caused by this team to the Tour de France and cycling in general, both in 2006 and 2007".

I got to tell you, not having Contador or Leipheimer there has cooled my ardor for the Tour. Not enough that I won't watch it, but it has taken some of the shine off of it. Particularly since the decision by the Tour seems kind of weird? Here's what Bruyneel said:

We have done everything to change the dynamics of the team. New management, new riders, new philosophy. Only the name of the sponsor remained. We are spending €460,000 or $671,000 on internal anti-doping efforts for 2008. What more can we do?

Assuming that's true, and I assume it is, since all of those claims (with the exception perhaps of "new philosophy") are pretty easy to check. Then the decision would almost be viewed as punishing the sponsors. Which seems like the last thing you'd want to do in Cycling. As far as I can tell, the sponsors are so far removed from the team operation and the individual cyclists that they're very unlikely to be in any way complicit in the doping. And without sponsorships cycling just doesn't work as a sport. Which means you've punished the people who are the least likely to have been involved in damaging the sport and most likely to keep it alive...

I guess the silver lining in all this is that Contador did win the Giro, and he plans on racing the Vuelta which means he could join the really elite club of cyclists who've won all three grand tours... Even Armstrong can't say that. With Contador and some other favorites out of the running Cadel Evans is the favorite. I wouldn't mind seeing him win. I've liked him ever since I saw him in his breakthrough performance in the Giro.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.


Anonymous Ed said...

Is cycling ever really going to be able to recover to the same pre-scandal level? I just don't hear anyone talking about the Tour anymore.

Ironically, the best savior for the Tour de France would be another Lance Armstrong.

6:46 PM  

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