Yep, it’s that time of year again.
But first, lets recap on some of last year’s highlights.
The story so far:
Some key moments:
Stage 8 Alps
The Boss hits the ground, at the base of the first climb.
The team fights to bring him back to the peloton. Then the second climb.
Its horrible, but you can’t look away.
Fascination, slow motion death, opera, thud. The whispers: “Armstrong dropped”
12 minutes down. A puff of wind clears the wisps of smoke and …. – he’s gone – no longer a contender.
Schleck wins the stage and Cadel moves into the yellow jersey.
Cadel: “I can’t quite believe it just yet. The cameras probably didn’t catch the crash in the first kilometers. I hit the ground pretty hard but fortunately I took all the impact on my arm and not on my legs but it made a hard day even harder.”
Stage 9 Alps
The day begins with the Col de Colombiere and then goes on to even bigger mountains. Cadel implodes and loses over eight minutes to the new leader: Andy Schleck.
It later turns out Cadel was riding with a broken elbow from the previous days crash.
Pathos, bathos, opera.
Stage 17 Col du Tourmalet
Contador leads by 8 secs, and it is Andy’s last chance to get time back. He rides off everyone – except for Contador who sticks with him like a 12 metre yacht match racing in the America’s Cup.
Schleck: “I tried to find out how he was feeling. You need to look at someone to see how he was coping. I think you can find out a lot if you look someone in the eyes. He didn’t have the sunglasses on today so it was possible to see, that’s why I looked so many times. But he always looked good and that’s kind of what killed me.”
Schleck wins the stage, but Bert still has the GC.
Stage 20 Paris
At the end, Contador comes first by 39 seconds, but tests positive for the banned drug clembuterol. So far this seems to have worked out for him. Originally found guilty and banned for a year, the Spanish cycling association reversed it’s decision after getting a tweet from the Spanish president. “Of course he’s innocent!” However, making the positive drug test go away is proving difficult and the final decision from the CAS appeal will not be delivered until after the 2011 Tour de France. It is generally felt that it would be unfair to ban Contador from cycling until an acceptable reason is found for his positive drug test.
What will it be? Teams of lawyers have been working for months on this conundrum. Contador is not guilty of cheating because:
1) It was only a little bit.
2) Everybody else is doing it, so he’s still the best rider.
3) Everybody else is doing it, so it would not be fair to ban him.
4) Drug positives are ruining the sport, so it would be better if it just went away.
5) He didn’t mean to cheat, the team cook accidentally imported some Spanish beef across the border into France that was contaminated with the drug. Such contamination has never been documented before, but luckily the chef kept the receipt.
6) The labs get it wrong all the time. You cannot trust their results.
7) If you talk to Contador, he really is the nicest guy and would never do anything to harm the sport.
8 ) The test for plasticisers had not yet been officially approved, so you can’t count that.
9) Why drag up old history? Lets look to the future. Cycling is much cleaner now. Isn’t it time to move on? No other sport has done so much to rid itself of drug cheats.
10) Being the top ranked rider he is the most drug tested athlete in the world.
11) To all you haters out there, I feel sorry for you if you cannot believe. Why are you trying to destroy the sport?
l2) This is cycling.
Doping has always been an important feature of the Tour:
Let’s look at some archival footage on how Armstrong dealt with these types of doping taunts back in the day:
I’m already missing him. It’s difficult to understand where the Lance unbelievers come from.
A closer look at Lance’s seven Tour victories below. Not only did he win, he was pretty much one of the very few riders that didn’t dope in the top 10: (The grayed riders are those implicated in doping.)
Note that in the 2005 Tour of the above graphic, this means that Cadel comes in second. And if the many eye witnesses to Lance’s blood-doping regime are correct, then Cadel actually won the TdF in 2005!
It is in this manner that we intend to adjust the TdF field for their doping history. The VXE team has a zero – tolerance of drug taking.
This year Xmas Epic promises to “clean up the sport”, “once and for all”. At each stage we will be examining the past histories of “adverse analytical results” of all podium winners and announce the true winner. Something has to be done about lifting the VXE results.