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#31

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 4:00 PM

Noooooo!! Not Vino too!!! I love him.

I was believing in Rassy's innocence until proven guilty but he's most likely doping too. Oscar Perreiro is my last hope.

I only started watching cycling in 2004 because of Lance (who's doped too I'm sure). I'm at the point now that I realize everyone is doping. So what's the big deal? They all should be pretty much even then.

Or maybe they just need to dissolve the sport of cycling all together. Or at least say, if you get caught doping even once you're out of cycling for good.

#32

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 4:49 PM

I think Discovery was already #1 team. They were in yellow during yesterday's ride and had 3 in the top 10 again (and higher up in the GC than Astana's 3).


Astana was a couple minutes ahead today I think.

#33

jolanda

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 5:00 PM

Astana was a couple minutes ahead today I think.

that is correct. The top 3 after stage 15 were:
Astana 209h 52.24
Discovery at 2.53
CSC at 15.01

#34

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 8:19 PM

I realize this is strange, and I am disappointed by the people who have been doping, but for some reason, it does not seem to affect my enjoyment of the race.


I tend to agree. I guess it ruins my enjoyment of the race only in the sense that the doping thing receives so much attention. And while Vino may have been doping (probably was doping) his time trial was still pretty thrilling as was his second stage win, though his uneven performance obviously raised red flags. And from what I've read, blood doping is hard to prove definitively and the studies on the effectiveness of the tests are still questionable.

Or maybe they just need to dissolve the sport of cycling all together. Or at least say, if you get caught doping even once you're out of cycling for good.


I wonder if, to some extent, we are seeing cyclists hitting the outer limits of the capabilities of the human body, leading to the inevitable search for "artificial" boosts? This seems to be happening in some track events, as well, where it seems like pretty much every sprinter is under suspicion. I've read so much about the flawed systems of testing, etc. Maybe the target ought to be the doctors rather than the athletes (or in addition to?). The doping thing broke wide open in the states with the bust of the Balco lab. I have no idea how that would work so this is pure armchair speculation.

On the front page of Versus they have a shocked and appalled letter from Phil Liggett in which he refers to reformed drug taker David Millar which seems a somewhat charitable assumption. Eh, I guess I'm a cynic, too.

#35

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 8:49 PM

The scandals don't spoil my enjoyment of the sport either. I just feel a bit annoyed because I know the media are going to run amok. Last time I checked cycling wasn't the only sport with issues about drugs but I don't remember people talking about banning track and field or swimming from the Olympics or cancelling major events in those sports.

I'm glad they are doing the work to fix this and I think we are going to have a couple more years of doping issues at least before the tide turns. There are way too many cooks in this particular kitchen and they all want to get the attention. A little co-operation would go a long way to clean up this mess and create a system that the majority of athletes and their teams are going to totally buy into. Right now it feels like an 18th century royal court where people were playing fast and loose with the rules to get ahead or would manouever to destroy anyone who crossed them.

I really would like to know what motivates cyclists to still dope in this day and age when they know they are being monitored and any success gets them a date with the drug testers. Do they not care? Is the pressure to succeed so high that they are willing to risk it? Vino doesn't strike me as a stupid man so why would he do something that is supposedly so easy to detect? Very odd.

As for Lance Armstrong, I'm very hesitant to say he doped up. He went through cancer treatment and had all of those chemicals pumped into him just to get well. Why would you want to risk your health and the possibility of getting sick again? Armstrong was such a tactical rider with a tactical team that his victories were just as much a result of intelligence as they were of physical ability. As much as his constant success took the suspense out of the yellow jersey race for me I respected his abilities as a racer. Who knows?

#36

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 10:01 PM

As for Lance Armstrong, I'm very hesitant to say he doped up. He went through cancer treatment and had all of those chemicals pumped into him just to get well. Why would you want to risk your health and the possibility of getting sick again? Armstrong was such a tactical rider with a tactical team that his victories were just as much a result of intelligence as they were of physical ability. As much as his constant success took the suspense out of the yellow jersey race for me I respected his abilities as a racer. Who knows?


Given that the riders that finished around Lance in the last few years: Ulrich, Basso, Vino, etc. have all cheated and that so many of Lance's former teammates have been caught cheating (Landis, Heras, etc.) it seems very likely that Lance cheated too. You have to believe that a) even an undoped Armstrong was so clearly superior to the doped 2nd, 3rd and 4th best riders in the world and that b) his teams had a culture of doping, but somehow the guy it all revolved around didn't dope.

This doesn't even get into the "doctors" that Armstrong worked with or the testimony that indicated that he told his cancer doctors about his doping. As for the cancer, I could see that working the other way - you had cancer, you faced death, you'd want to live in the now and do whatever it took.

Versus' coverage is abysmal. Their recap this evening didn't even cover the Astana withdrawal. I think that was big enough news to warrant taping a few new segments.

#37

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 10:17 PM

Not to mention that Armstrong was an entirely different type of rider before the cancer. He was more of a one day event kinda guy and came back after the cancer as a multi week event rider, which is a big difference. It's absolutely great that he beat cancer, but I don't believe for a minute that he was clean, also for the reasons stated by krispywi

Like I said before, I've gotten very jaded through the years.

Edited by jolanda, Jul 24, 2007 @ 10:19 PM.


#38

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Posted Jul 24, 2007 @ 11:33 PM

Too bad about Vino. I was rooting for Andreas Klöden. I don't care when or why the info came out now. Rasmussen missed those tests on purpose so he is likely doping also. Maybe Contador can pull out a victory. He is an exciting young rider.

I agree wtih krispywi and jolanda. I don't believe for a second that Armstrong didn't dope. Having cancer doesn't mean anything. He survived and was determined to do whatever it took to achieve his life's dream of winning the Tour. Armstrong clearly became a different rider after the cancer which suggests that he did something. He was a single hitter and became the home run king after remission which simply does not happen without help. Armstrong's passionate defense of Dr. Michele Ferrari combined with the fact that almost every single one of his former teammates have been caught is more than enough circumstantial evidence, imo. I don't hold the doping against Armstrong though. All those guys were cheating. He just was best at it. What I do hold against him is his threats against others who talked about his doping.

Edited by SimoneS, Jul 25, 2007 @ 7:10 AM.


#39

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:21 AM

I think maybe we need to rename this thread: "Le Tour est Icky".

I will admit right off the bat that about 30% of the reason I watch the tour coverage is for the gorgeous scenery. But I find myself aligned with those who are not all that worked up about who is or is not doping. When you think about what it is they are doing, riding five - six hours a day, seeking an extra edge just isn't that unbelievable. Doesn't make it right, but not at all hard to believe.

I am also one who thinks Armstrong probably doped, just like I believe that many players beyond Barry Bonds took/take steroids. I guess until those on the inside are willing to turn against the "fraternity" mindset of not ratting out their "brothers" there will always be doubt; for me anyway. Turning a blind eye is just as much a form of cheating as those who are breaking the rules. What is that saying, "If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas."

What seems a shame is that other forms of cycling, like track cycling, are probably being tainted along with road cycling. And in track it seems like it is mostly the sprinters who are getting in trouble, perhaps because that is the highest profile event. I am not familiar with doping scandals in swimming, besides the East German women back in the '70's(?). But is there any money to be made in swimming, unless you are a Michael Phelps? I never see it on T.V. outside of the Olympics, so I guess doping in swimming would not make much news here in the U.S.

It is kind of ironic that Lance Armstrong made the Tour more well known here in the U.S. and if it wasn't for that Versus probably would not be covering it and the scandals would not even be registering here.

Edited by MittenGirl, Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:22 AM.


#40

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:37 AM

It's very weird to watch the Versus recap of the tour on rest day with no mention whatsoever of today's revelations. I wonder if the commentators are gnashing their teeth in frustration that they can't get on the air and discuss this. It can't have been their decision to not tape anything additional. Maybe it's an issue of the union cameramen demanding a day off or something. That would be very European.

Anyway, I've now become just pessimistic enough to think no amount of testing is going to really clean up this sport. Maybe they should just give up and accept that drug-taking is part of the physical challenge of the sport. I'm pretty sure that no amount of drugs could transform me into the athlete these guys are. If they want to play with their health, maybe it's none of our business. It must be horrible to be a cyclist and constantly live a lie--the toll the lying and hiding would take on you would be crazy-making.

#41

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 2:34 AM

The rest-day round-up in the UK started with a statement that the Astana withdrawal happened after taping, so they were going to play it anyway, then at the end Boardman and Imlach, I think it was, phoned in some commentary on the day's events over footage of Vino in the tour this year.

I really would like to know what motivates cyclists to still dope in this day and age when they know they are being monitored and any success gets them a date with the drug testers. Do they not care? Is the pressure to succeed so high that they are willing to risk it? Vino doesn't strike me as a stupid man so why would he do something that is supposedly so easy to detect? Very odd.


It's so similar to what Landis did last year, it feels like sheer desperation. To have put so much work into getting the best form of your career, and then to see it all slipping away: particularly galling if it's from a crash rather than a stronger rival. These cyclists push themselves so hard to do something virtually physically impossible, year after year, the temptation to give yourself a little edge must be overwhelming. Like Tyler Hamilton, he went through agony riding through races with all those broken bones, grinding his teeth away. I find it hard to get that upset about giving himself a little help to keep pushing himself along the road. They are already outstanding athletes in a world where drugs are rife in every sport. I can see that it detracts from the romance of it, but I think it's very understandable.

#42

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 4:58 AM

Anyway, I've now become just pessimistic enough to think no amount of testing is going to really clean up this sport. Maybe they should just give up and accept that drug-taking is part of the physical challenge of the sport.


I'm imagining a jersey ceremony in which the athletes step up on the podium with their doctors who get their very own stuffed lions. Or a polka dot lab coat.

I think doping is rather dangerous, though I don't know if it would be made safer in regulated form rather than athletes and their doctors continually seeking out new and undetectable ways to dope. I know there were a few deaths from EPO usage but does anyone know if there have been overall patterns of health problems like those surfacing in pro wrestling or pro football?

I can understand the allure of doping. In particular, Landis last year was looking at a hip surgery that could end his cycling career and a Tour in which many of the favorites had been knocked out. I would imagine that the earning potential of a Tour winner is dramatically different than that of domestique for Lance Armstrong. I would guess that most cyclists dope out of a belief (and perhaps knowledge) that others are doing it and the fact that a lot of cyclists have gotten away with it.

The Versus coverage yesterday was surreal. They'll have to address it today, right? They need more pre and post coverage.

#43

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 6:43 AM

The rest-day round-up in the UK started with a statement that the Astana withdrawal happened after taping

Versus did that as well, with a crawl on the bottom of the screen stating what was going on and that they'd have full coverage of it on today's stage.

I'd talk about what they said when they opened the stage today but since it's still running live I'll wait.

Count me in the "I'm bugged about the doping but it won't effect my enjoyment of the rest of the tour too much" group. With any sport I think it would really bug me but cycling not so much and I'm not sure why.

ETA: Also color me disappointed but not at all surprised that I couldn't find any actual coverage of this whole fiasco on ESPN's SportsCenter when I caught part of it this morning. Unless they covered it in the first ten minutes I missed, which I doubt given Bonds, Vick and the NBA scandals, I don't think it was even mentioned outside of the ever so popular bottom of the screen crawl you see everywhere now days. I guess I need to file that under the "if it's not about Americans it's not happening" mentality. US Sports Coverage is just so annoying most of the time.

Edited by SanLynn, Jul 25, 2007 @ 7:50 AM.


#44

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 7:07 AM

I feel terribly naive, as I'm feeling kind of crushed about the doping. My heart was in this all for Vino this Tour, and it's awful to have been so elated at his triumphs, only to be so disappointed at the recent news. I have perhaps an antithetical response to all the doping: I try hard not to believe the tests! It's pathetic, I realize, but I'm still holding out hope that Landis's appeal will prove a conspiracy against him and his long-awaited innocence.

I'm kind of joking, except there is a seed of hope and disbelief. I just can't believe that the riders would attempt to hope to get away with it. I'm still in denial about Basso, and cannot even begin to consider that Armstrong had any of this going on.

And because I really want the incredible athleticism of what these riders do to retain the respect it deserves, I agree that a more thorough analysis of the situation - rather than the judgment and scorn - would be helpful for me. If it is really as rampant as it would seem, what about these events could be preserved without pushing the human capacity beyond its limit?

#45

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 7:16 AM

I don't understand the denial, especially about Basso who I adore as a rider. The Spanish authorities caught him red handed. Basso accepted his ban. What is there to deny? These guys all cheat including Armstrong and the even more obvious Landis. The xenophobia embedded in blaming the French and the French lab for the positive tests of these riders has got to be over or cycling will never regain its glory days.

Edited by SimoneS, Jul 25, 2007 @ 7:16 AM.


#46

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 8:35 AM

I hate to be the bringer of bad news again, but L'Equipe is reporting another positive test,this time on testosteron. No name yet, the UCI will release the name later today. It happened after Stage 11, the stage Robert Hunter won. Except him, Zabel, Kirchen, Jegou, Moreni, Vila Errandonea, Iglinski en Rasmussen also were tested that day.

The xenophobia embedded in blaming the French and the French lab for the positive tests of these riders has got to be over or cycling will never regain its glory days.

It's so easy to blame the French, everything is their fault, especially when it's concerning American riders(YMMV of course). I do think that the Tour direction is using a double standard when it comes to positive tests or riders admitting the took doping. If it's a foreigner(Riis and Ullrich for instance) they take away the jersey(for the retired ones) they won or won't let the rider/their team compete(Ullrich), while if it's a French team or rider they tend to do nothing(Virenque anyone).

I'm getting at the point that I think they should just dump all doping rules, let them all dope up, let doctors run it and let riders mess up their body is that's what they want. I don't think doping will ever go away, the testing labs will get smarter, but the doctors treating the riders will continue to get smarter as well.

Edited by jolanda, Jul 25, 2007 @ 8:36 AM.


#47

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 9:44 AM

I hate to be the bringer of bad news again, but L'Equipe is reporting another positive test,this time on testosteron. No name yet, the UCI will release the name later today. It happened after Stage 11, the stage Robert Hunter won. Except him, Zabel, Kirchen, Jegou, Moreni, Vila Errandonea, Iglinski en Rasmussen also were tested that day.

I must be living in naive land or something. I just wasn't expecting the tour to go down this way. Especially after the Landis fiasco of last year.

I mean I'm not totally naive. I know there's doping. I guess I just didn't expect the more experienced riders to be so brazen and get caught out on it. Of course in Vino's case he probably thought he wouldn't, given the difficulty in proving blood doping.

So any guesses on who it is today? Zabel? Rasmussen? I'd lean toward Rasmussen given his ducking of the tests in June but I'm thinking in the end it won't be him.

This is the craziest tour I've watched yet.

#48

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 9:57 AM

This is the craziest tour I've watched yet.

I watched way back when the Festina disaster happened, trust me this is nothing *g*

According to L'Equipe Vino not only tested positive after the time trial(stage 13) but also tested positive after stage 15, which he also won. I have to admit that I found that win extrememly suspicious, considering the really bad stage he had between those two stages, kinda reminded me of Landis last year.

Edited by jolanda, Jul 25, 2007 @ 9:57 AM.


#49

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 10:23 AM

So any guesses on who it is today? Zabel? Rasmussen? I'd lean toward Rasmussen given his ducking of the tests in June but I'm thinking in the end it won't be him.


Would they let the individual with the positive test race? Do they wait for the testing of the B sample? I hope it's not Rasmussen--his battle with Contador is good TV and if they're close for the time trial even better. To their credit, Sherwen and Liggett have managed to maintain their excitement even as Rasmussen has been waving away the motorbikes. (??)

I'm also curious, was Astana's withdrawal voluntary or forced? If forced, why Astana and not, say, T-Mobile for having a positive for testosterone? I suppose it is possible that a team member might be surreptitiously injecting himself with something without team knowledge but a bit less likely that no one on the team would notice a team member getting a blood transfusion just before a stage. Does anyone know the rules on this?

#50

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 10:25 AM

I'm also curious, was Astana's withdrawal voluntary or forced?


From the information I have, it was forced. I have no idea why the whole team was forced to leave.

#51

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 11:43 AM

So any guesses on who it is today? Zabel? Rasmussen? I'd lean toward Rasmussen given his ducking of the tests in June but I'm thinking in the end it won't be him.

It's Cristian Moreni of Cofidis - the team Millar was riding for when the team got pinched.


I suppose it is possible that a team member might be surreptitiously injecting himself with something without team knowledge but a bit less likely that no one on the team would notice a team member getting a blood transfusion just before a stage. Does anyone know the rules on this?

The rules are that you are not supposed to receive any sort of medical treatment from anyone except the team doctor, but people find ways around this (having a session with their "personal trainer", for example).

why Astana and not, say, T-Mobile for having a positive for testosterone?

Sinkewitz tested positive nearly a month before the prologue, not during the Tour. That's not to say that he should have been subjected to a suspension immediately and called for a B sample test, which was foolish of T-Mobile not to demand.


I find it hard to get that upset about giving himself a little help to keep pushing himself along the road. They are already outstanding athletes in a world where drugs are rife in every sport. I can see that it detracts from the romance of it, but I think it's very understandable.

I have a good friend who is a former competetive cyclist and has written many articles and even a book about the Tour, and he's of the mindset that either it's OK for everyone to use drugs or it's not OK for anyone. He's had many people share their opinions that all of cycling must be dirty and everyone must be doping so let's disband the UCI or give people a "one and done" lifetime ban; but when he brings up steroid use in baseball, football, etc. there isn't the same sort of outcry about other sports. I don't see anyone chasing Jason Giambi out of Yankee stadium despite the fact that the man was juiced up to his eyeballs, and Bonds can claim he was taking flaxseed oil until the day he dies and while I doubt few people believe his protests no one's asking him to turn in his uniform or give up his records. Track and field athletes, swimmers, and plenty of other profesional and amateur participants are caught using banned substances, and it's viewed as an anomoly rather than the norm.


And jolanda's right - two positive tests is like a walk in the park compared to the Festina fiasco.

Edited by screamapiller, Jul 25, 2007 @ 11:47 AM.


#52

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 11:57 AM

Thanks for the info Screamapillar.

I think you're right that cycling to some extent suffers from having one of the more comprehensive and successful drug testing programs. Hockey and football have largely cosmetic testing programs and there's plenty of evidence and testimony their athletes are regularly juiced . And the same day a Balco chemist said he gave Bonds steroids, the commissioner said he would try to catch Bonds break the HR record. In comparison, cycling isn't SO scandalous.

#53

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:06 PM

And the same day a Balco chemist said he gave Bonds steroids, the commissioner said he would try to catch Bonds break the HR record. In comparison, cycling isn't SO scandalous.

Totally ot but I believe that the commisioner has no choice, whatever decision he makes it's going to be the wrong one. I hate to say this, but as long as Bonds doesn't test positive or admits, the commisioner has to be there. I hope for Bonds sake that he breaks it in SF and not in an away game.

There are many sports that have many drugs problems, track and especially field(shot put anyone), weightlifting(always fun at the OS to find one weightlifter that's clean). I find it unfair that the bulk of the doping attention goes to cycling when there are many other sports with the same problem.

edited to add that it's all in the public's perspection, people might not want to know that their favorite athlete is drugged, Carl Lewis admitted and where was the outcry/treatment that Ben Johnson got. Hell I believe the top 4 of that 100m in Seoul got caught/admitted at one point that they did doping. It's kinda like Hollywood, as long as you can keep up the deception, people will believe you. I hang out on a lot of gossipboards and hear things that people who don't hang out there will never believe.

I hope that made sense, once again English isn't my first language and I hope I got my points across.

Edited by jolanda, Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:11 PM.


#54

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:08 PM

It's Cristian Moreni of Cofidis - the team Millar was riding for when the team got pinched.

Ahh thanks for the update. What is this Festina scandal you keep speaking of? I've only been watching the tour the last couple years. You know back in the "good ole days" where no one said a word about Armstrong and the scandals occurred either prior (Ullrich) or after (Landis) the Tour was done.

Also, regarding Versus coverage of the Astana situation I was intrigued by Al Trautwig's opening (referencing Bonds, Vick and the NBA Ref Donaghy) and then tying it in to the Vino situation. Particularly the way he spoke of Bonds and Vick.

SaraLynn, here's the 1998 Tour doping scandal history and timeline, which centered around the Festina and TVM teams.

Wow, that IS crazy. I take back what I said about this year's tour. Compared to that this tour is a breeze, lol.

Thanks for linking me up screamapiller

Edited by SanLynn, Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:51 PM.


#55

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:17 PM

SaraLynn, here's the 1998 Tour doping scandal history and timeline, which centered around the Festina and TVM teams.

Edited by screamapiller, Jul 25, 2007 @ 12:19 PM.


#56

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 1:11 PM

I like in the Festina story that the masseuse originally claimed that the 400+ doping materials were for him. That's some serious massage therapy! (I know that's not what he claimed. Still, I am easily amused.)

Screamapillar, does your friend in cycling think they should allow doping? I would be interested to see what would happen, but then it's not my body at risk. I agree it is a problem of perception that doping is supposedly much worse in cycling than in other sports.

I am pulling for Rasmussen, as I have been from the beginning, but even if he wins and all his drug tests are clean, there will be a cloud over his win. I say this as someone who always suspected Armstrong so I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite.

#57

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 1:56 PM

I want the Chicken to win too. I'm annoyed at how Versus are outright rooting for Contador. He has his own doping skeletons and rides for a team with a storied doping past.

Of course, the real winner of this Tour is probably some guy 40 minutes down who actually doesn't dope. Hopefully someday we'll get to see what an undoped Tour will look like.

#58

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 2:11 PM

Now, now, folks, Lance didn't dope - his success is due to the extra lung the surgeons put in!

The entire Cofidis team has pulled out of the Tour.

#59

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 2:15 PM

Cofidis couldn't stay, my dad told me that the Cofidis team manager was crying out in disgust about the whole Vino thing and saying that the whole team should leave. Oh the irony.

#60

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 2:32 PM

Screamapillar, does your friend in cycling think they should allow doping? I would be interested to see what would happen, but then it's not my body at risk. I agree it is a problem of perception that doping is supposedly much worse in cycling than in other sports.

He's definitely not in favor of doping being legal, but he does get frustrated that cycling is seen as so dirty when other sports have just as many problems but as you said their testing is just for show rather than to actually put a stop to anything.

the Cofidis team manager was crying out in disgust about the whole Vino thing and saying that the whole team should leave. Oh the irony.

That was, in a very sad way, hilarious that he was ranting and raving yesterday and now he's on his way out with his tail between his legs...

I have to say, I'm not really pulling for anyone in particular this year - as long as I continue to see good racing, attacks, and strategy, I'll be happy. I will say, I really miss the team time trial. I know it was seen as handicapping strong riders who didn't have really great teams, but I wish they'd bring it back.