Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Le Tour de Disaster 2007

What can one say? Vinokourov has been painted black by an A-test and he and his team are sent home. So, like Landis et al it's not "proven" that he homologously transfused (is that real or did I make it up?) but it looks so much like he did that "we" really can't risk it. (One thought - did he have a transfusion in hospital after that fall? Surely if he did that'd be too obvious to overlook.) Plenty of people have expressed surprise that a rider of such class should bother to cheat but...
  1. We are dealing with an entrenched culture of drug-enhanced racing going back at least 30 years, probably 50 - I think we all understand that, don't we? I'm sure it's the same in other sports, if not in most people's everyday culture of alcohol and caffeine-driven lives!
  2. Like Landis and his worn-out hip last year (not that I'm saying Landis is guilty as charged, as it's still not proven) this is probably his last shot at winning Le Tour - so there's a lot at stake personally
  3. Vino was a contender apparently knocked out of contention by injury - and it's always tempting to use anything to overcome the unfairness of such luckless injury
  4. He's human and can succumb to temptation just like anyone else.
Yesterday when writing about Vinokourov's amazing comeback I said "go figure". Well I guess we just figured it out. I also expressed puzzlement over Rasmussen's amazing TT performance as well as Valverde's inability to reproduce his past form. Now I fully understand that riders can train and enhance aspects of their riding by sheer effort and practice, and Rasmussen is no exception to that rule - so it's unfair to suggest that he has done anything untoward, despite the latest allegations. It's still a puzzle to me that he did so well - and can't wait to see what he does in the next TT. As for Valverde I know equally as well how hard it is to maintain form and peak at the right time whilst avoiding illness and injury, but it is always notable when highly talented riders appear to lose form at the wrong time. I just hope my puzzlement over such reverses in fortune are based on natural causes alone.