i've been watching the tour on and off for many years now, first in england over 20 years ago, watching miguel indurain win his 5 tours.
i can't ever remember a tour so close, wide open, and rocked by scandal. even the 1998 festina debacle doesn't match up to the vinokourov & rasmussen shocks of this year's race.
and we thought the floyd llandis affair, along with basso's ban had resulted in a clean tour.
one thing still strikes me as very odd about vinokourov's positive blood doping tests and results. first, blood doping is very easy to spot and test for. the rider winning the stage knows with 100% certainty that he will be tested. it's like deliberately driving at 150mph past a police car on the highway, knowing you will be caught. it was his last tour and he was ending his career going out a hero. that just doesn't make any sense.
i can't stand that nasally, whining levi leipheimer, who is seemingly incapable of completing a sentence when interviewed without using the word 'but' in it when team discovery aren't in the lead...
and as for versus, while phil liggett and paul sherwin continue to do a fantastic job of commentating on the tour, it would be nice to have just a fraction little less bias for everything team discovery...
team discovery. apart from paolo salvadelli's win in 2005, and andrew hampsten of 7-eleven in 1988, no american team has featured well in the world's SECOND biggest cycle race the giro d'italia.
why? because they train to win the biggest. ask anyone on the street in america who is the best cyclist of all time, and most will probably answer with lance armstrong, a sporting legend no doubt for his incredible achievments and what he has had to overcome. however, go to europe, and it's universally eddy merckx, a man who not only won the tour de france 5 times, but also the giro d'italia 5 times...he also established world cycling records, some of which remain unbroken to this day.
he is also the only rider ever in the history of the tour de france to win the king of the mountains competition, the sprinters' points competition, and the tour itself in the same year (1969). that is unthinkable today.
sorry america, but it's a belgian who is regarded as the greatest and most successful cyclist of all time. 525 career victories...
one very significant fact about lance was that he seldom competed in other tours and was able to train 180 days per year for the 23 days of the tour de france, a significantly greater training time than riders who have to compete in other races.
so here's to predictor-lotto and australia's cadel evans! attack! attack! attack! on the last stage of the tour. because if you don't, you'll have a an awful lot of answering to do when you get back home to australia...
...and all the rabobank riders that sacrificed themselves protecting michael rasmussen while he was wearing yellow.
maybe it's time what with all the fall-out from this year's tour de france to somehow make the world's biggest cycle race less of a cherry picking event.
combine the UCI tours and make a grand prix, 'un grande champion', culminating with the last race of the season.
there is some good news: at least there won't be a team discovery in next year's tour :)
... (look out for the military channel team...)