2007 Tour de France Update – It’s A Great Day for Cycling
Michael Rasmussen, AKA The Chickenshit, has been pulled from the Tour. This is an unqualified Good Thing. Adios amigo. The Tour de France has become ruthless towards doping and it is high time. While the Rabobank team made the decision to dump the Chickenshit, the decision was probably forced on them by their sponsors and the Tour itself.
All this might make for a difficult day for Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen who have done their best to ignore doping in this year’s Tour TV coverage, but for the rest of us it is cause for a cold beer (in my case two, and both free at that). There appears to be a school of thought that all of this conflict and trouble are bad for cycling and should be ignored, at least when presenting the public face of cycling. Watching this year’s Tour on TV is like entering an alternate universe where there is no doping and no one is under any suspicion. I couldn’t disagree with this approach more. What cycling needs is to air all the dirty laundry and publicly humiliate the teams and riders that have been guilty of doping. Frankness is what is needed, not cheerleading.
The yellow jersey has now gone to Alberto Contador who unfortunately turned in his own unusually good time trial and mountain performances over the last week, and he and his Discovery Channel team are hardly above suspicion in any case. He will also still have to out time trial Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer on Saturday, so anything is still possible. The most unfortunate aspect of all this is that the time gap Contador holds was gained in large part through his cooperation with the disgraced Rasmussen in the mountains.
This week was gut check time for the Tour de France and they came through. Far from casting a permanent shadow over the Tour the Rasmussen and Astana incidents are nothing more than a couple of clouds in the sky which have done their worst and are moving on with the first breeze. The real danger was the chance that the Tour would do nothing, and in doing so effectively cave in to the dopers. This would have been a real shadow that would have permanently relegated the Tour to the level of the WWE. Today cycling didn’t return to the darkness, it emerged from the shadows. There is still a long way to go, and it may take a new generation of riders to undo the damage this generation has done, but today was a beginning, and a very good day indeed.
Posted by BVBigBro at July 26, 2007 04:41 AM
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|# July 26th, 2007 8:28 AM Easybee|
|The TV commentators were lamenting that perhaps this is cycling's darkest hour. But wise old Phil commented, in true Churchill fashion, that with a few years of hindsight, it would in fact be cycling's finest hour. I couldn't agree more.
Also worth noting that Rabobank (Rasmussen's team) pulled him from the tour, not UCI or Tour officials. This was the perfect solution. Rasmussen avoided tests, and lied about his whereabouts, and is probably guilty, but as far as anyone knows right now, he only strained the rules, without actually breaking them. The UCI could not rightfully boot him.
Rabobank doesn't have those constraints, and here is the turning point. The sponsor decided that the bad press over his behavior and suspicion of wrongdoing outweighed the benefits of having their name on the yellow jersey and TDF winner. So they fired him.
In the end, it is all about money, and money is now in the corner of clean cycling.
Three of the 4 TV commentators this morning were lamenting that this was cycling's darkest hour. But good old Phil, in true Churchill fashion, said that, with a few years of hindsight, this will be cycling's finest hour. I couldn't agree more.
|# July 26th, 2007 8:29 AM kris|
|I honestly can't think of another athlete that has ever been disgraced like Rasmussen. At least Ben Johnson and Floyd Landis had their moment of triumph and some people had already moved on before they were exposed. Rasmussen was brought down in the middle of the spotlight.
I hope he realizes there's only one way to save his name - confess everything and bring down as many of the dopers and doping facilitators with him as he can.
|# July 26th, 2007 9:01 AM BVBigBro|
|As Easybee has stated, money is the core problem, and possibly also the solution.
A few years ago Mapei pulled out of cycling because of doping and nobody thought twice. Mapei was the single biggest sponsor, sponsoring both a team and numerous events. I thought both their pull out and the lack of reaction to it were shocking. Times have changed, and at this point they can only change for the better.
|# July 26th, 2007 1:28 PM james|
i think this would make an excellent TDF icon.
|# July 27th, 2007 6:56 PM kris|
|Rumors are that Soler has been caught doping.
Is it wrong that I really want the Disco riders to go down too. I doubt it'll happen as they are apparently pretty good at the doping.
|# July 27th, 2007 9:12 PM BVBigBro|
|It's a jersey holder, and Soler is the obvious choice. |
|# July 28th, 2007 10:27 AM kris|
|I call shenanigans on today's results. Contador was 5th in the time trial? Yeah, I don't think he was just "inspired" by Lance's presence in the team car. |
|# July 28th, 2007 10:36 AM BVBigBro|
|It will be taken with a grain of salt. Tomorrow's time bonuses will be contested, and Predictor knows how to lead out a sprint. |