Tour de France

The Tour de France has not been my favorite cycling event to watch over the past few years. As many other true cycling fans I prefer the Giro and the Vuelta. The Tour has become overloaded with ‘stress’-factors, the stakes are too high, the riding is often defensive, and the ‘parcours’, with all the flat stages in the beginning, asks for a boring narrative.

When all the news about the big doping affair in Spain began to spread and exert influence, I began to have hope for an exciting Tour, if not because of the riding, but because of all the changes that professional riding is going through at once (and that athletics and football will have to go through too). There are too many interesting sides to this affair, just one of them is that it’s mainly top riders who are involved — no ‘small riders’, no ‘domestiques’.

Today came the big news: all the riders on the Spanish list will not be allowed to start. On the list (here’s a very provisional list: http://www.cycling4all.com/d_news.php): Ullrich, Basso and Mancebo. Ullrich is immediately expelled by his team, Mancebo has immediately resigned from cycling. I don’t know about Basso.

We still do not know if Vinokourov will start, and if he starts he will be under tremendous pressure, because his team is (or was) a key in the whole scandal that’s now unfolding.

I suddenly have high hopes for a exciting Tour — in terms of the course (‘de koers’). Now there will really be about 30 riders who can win. And with this whole doping-story it can only gets stranger and stranger.

The weirdest thing is: David Millar is back for his first day of competition after being expelled from cycling for EPO-use for 2 years. He could be a major contender if he has been able to regain his old form.

cycling,en | June 30, 2006 | 18:47 | comments (0) |

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