Last year, despite all the doping scandals, I hung onto a tiny bit of hope that the tour would continue to be a great event and it was only a small portion of morons who chose to ruin it by doping. This year I was disappointed but understood the reasons behind excluding Astana, it would have been great to watch Alberto Contador defend his yellow jersey but he did make a strange career move… there was some bad news when the ASO (tour organisers) walked away from the UCI (governing body) and questions were raised about the French doping controls but overall it was good – the stages looked exciting, they’d done away with time bonuses which was supposed to shake things up (not sure if that’s worked) and there was a newer generation of cyclists racing.
First Manuel Beltran was kicked out for testing positive for EPO and that wasn’t too bad, he was one of the dinosaurs of the doping generation and it was good news that he’d gone (bad news in a way for Lance Armstrong since this was his fourth former team mate involved with doping). Then it was Duenas Nevado, a younger ride (27yrs) riding for a supposedly ‘clean’ team… I hoped he would be the last and that we’d get to Paris without any more incidents.
How wrong I was.
Riccardo Ricco, the 2x stage winner and second in the Giro, age 24yrs tested positive for EPO after stage 4. He’s been kicked out and his team, Saunier-Duval has done the decent thing and withdrawn all it’s riders. This news actually hurt, and despite Mark Cavendish’s third stage win of the tour (he’s 23yrs old) I feel that I don’t believe it. It’s all a lie and Cavendish is as guilty as the rest of them. I love the Tour de France, it’s an amazing endurance event with a great history… but I don’t know if I can carry on defending it or watching it… it’s really all a big lie.