Tour de France - 2007 - Update #3
The second week of the Tour is now over and though the racing has been good, and the race is down to only a few contenders, it has once again been overshadowed by a doping scandal. Once again it involves the race leader, Michael “the Chicken” Rasmussen (hereafter Michael “the Chickenshit” Rasmussen).
Rasmussen apparently decided is was okay to not inform doping agencies of his whereabouts and to miss four separate doping controls, two of them in June when cycling was in the midst of further doping revelations and right on the eve of the Tour. This is chickenshit. Rasmussen (and the UCI which withheld the information) knew fully well the state of cycling when he did this, and the effect it would have when it was revealed. In any event the only reason to miss controls is because you’re doping. In addition, it has since been revealed that the Chickenshit attempted to con another rider into smuggling doping products out of the country (editor’s note – this was five years ago). Had the Tour known this prior to the race, Rasmussen would never have been allowed to start.
For those who think this really no big deal, you are wrong. The riders and teams are well aware of the rules and Rasmussen knew fully well exactly what he was doing when he violated them. The lame excuses he offered are the equivalent of a baseball player acting as if he didn’t know corked bats were illegal.
The proper thing for the Tour to do now is give the Chickenshit the boot. They were probably hoping Rasmussen would lose the yellow jersey during Saturday’s time trial after which they could kick him out quietly. That didn’t happen. The best thing now is to kick him out as soon as possible. Better yet, they should do it right in the middle of a stage and on television. Stop his bike, tear off his race number and remove the jersey. That would send a statement to everyone.
As to the race outside of Rasmussen, it has been pretty good. For all their doping connections I didn’t think the Astana team should be allowed to start, but they have crashed themselves out of the race anyways so it doesn’t really matter. The race is now down to Rasmussen, Contador, Leipheimer and Evans. Sastre and Kloden have an outside chance but they would have to do something special.
Rasmussen and Contador have been best in the mountains, but Leipheimer and Evans have been good enough to possibly make it all up in the last time trial. Evans was strong until Sunday’s mountain stage, and how fast he recovers may determine his Tour. Rasmussen was unexpectedly strong in the time trial (Gee, how did that happen?) (editor’s note: because he was riding in drier conditions than the earlier racers and in a rare time trial where it actually mattered how he did), which makes his current lead comparatively large. If Rasmussen is allowed to continue’ and can maintain his lead through the mountains’ he will be difficult to beat. Look for the other teams to gain up on him and try to get him into trouble starting tomorrow. Discovery will try to be aggressive and probably send Leipheimer or Contador up the road and force Rabobank to chase setting up an attack later in the stage. Rasmussen can chase down some attacks, but not all of them.
The green jersey battle is now down to Boonen, Hunter and Zabel. Hunter stole a stage win, and Zabel can pick up points almost anywhere, but look for Boonen to get the points and jersey in the end.
For the Polka dot jersey, Rasmussen has it but will be busy chasing breakaways. Here’s hoping Mauricio Soler brings Barloworld the jersey (editor’s note: agreed, you gotta like Soler). The Barloworld team should not have been competitive but they been aggressive everywhere from the start and have been deservedly rewarded. Well done.
The next week will say a lot about the Tour. If Rasmussen is allowed to race, it will put pressure on everyone to dope and it will be a big step backwards for cycling. How the Tour handles the next few days will have a large impact on the future of cycling. The Tour has thus far been single minded in opposing doping, and now they face perhaps their greatest test. For the sake of cycling’s future let’s hope they stick to their guns.
Posted by BVBigBro at July 22, 2007 08:35 PM
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|# July 22nd, 2007 8:58 PM kris|
|It sucks because the racing has been really dramatic and fun to watch. There are obviously a million things cycling is doing wrong, but changing up the Tour this year and making the first ITT later in the race has made it a LOT more interesting and wide open.
I think the Chicken is going to be absolutely disgraced. What I wish is that he would just quit and confess. At least he could salvage his name.
That said, the Chicken isn't the only doper. He was just apparently the best at gaming the system this year.
How can you read about Rasmussen and Landis and Basso and Ulrich, etc. and then not believe that our national hero Lance Armstrong wasn't doping? I sincerely doubt that Lance won just because he tried so much harder than everyone else. Give me a break.
|# July 23rd, 2007 10:04 AM kris|
|Is it possible that Vino is really clean? It would make sense that he could put in a big effort in the ITT but then would need a day to recover, hence yesterday's poor effort and today's stellar one. I'd imagine that the doping is the reason the other guys aren't having bad days. |