Tour de France: ‘Cycling is War’

sastre
Just moments after finishing my last post on le Tour, Alexandre Vinokourov was tested positive for blood doping. Though Vinokourov claims he and his teammates are the innocent victims of a conspiracy, Team Astana has left the Tour (Vinokourov also stated that he has no intentions of wasting time proving he’s innocent…!).

Now, some 24 hours later, Christian Moreni of Team Cofidis was tested positive for using artificial testosterone. Moreni confessed immediately after, and has been arrested by French police. Team Cofidis has now followed the trail of Team Astana, out of the Tour.

The allegations against Rasmussen continue: a former Italian rider claims he met Rasmussen in Italy in June, when he is supposed to have been training in Mexico. We also understand that the French really don’t like Rasmussen, though his riding style has proven spectacular and deeply entertaining. Too bad for Tour-boss Prudhomme and ASO chief Patrice Clerc that the doping sinner of the day is, unfortunately, from a French team. Our condolences go to the Goody Two Shoes of French cycling organizers…

This day, Danish paper Berlingske Tidende ran an essay by Metabunker Mentor Jørgen Leth titled ”Cycling is war”, in which he once again defends cycling as a dirty sport: ”It’s supposed to be Hell going through Tour de France, that’s the point of the race”. Today it surely looked like Hell – five mountains, 218 kilometers, frustrated and angry riders – and add to that the rumors about ETA plans to detonate bombs during the stage! Good Lord, when you think there can be no more surprises, there’s always another one around the corner…

The stage of day – the hardest in this year’s Tour – was won by maillot jaune Michael Rasmussen, who proved himself the best rider in the peloton. His final climb on Col d’Aubisque was a great one, and the images of Rasmussen waving at the motorcycles, kindly padding Team Discovery Channel’s Levi Leipheimer on his behind, chatting with an exhausted Alberto Contador, showed that this maillot jaune is a fully deserved. Still, it seems like Rasmussen is hiding a thing thing or two, but again: Contador doesn’t seem divinely clean either. I don’t care: Rasmussen is superior, the right winner of Tour de France.

But the rider of the day was Carlos Sastre of Team CSC. Though he’s not the strongest rider in the race, he’s the most sympathetic, and today he was the bravest as well. Sastre attacked from early on, but his companions – most notably the eternal disappointment Iban Mayo – didn’t cooperate, so Sastre ultimately failed, but reminded his audience how beautiful a defeat can be.

Carlos Sastre, rider of the day.

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