Friday, June 30, 2006

Turmoil at Le Tour

Over the last several years my interest in pro cycling has been increasing. I started watching an occasional stage, then every stage and now I watch other races besides the grandaddy of them all, the Tour de France. Well today shocking announcement after shocking announcement has now blown this year's tour wide open.

The top two favorites, Ivan Basso and Jan Ulrich are out. Both riders suspended by their team (along with 20 or 30 other riders from various teams) for this years Tour. Basso looked unbeatable at the Giro de Italia this year, and Ulrich (a 5 time 2nd place finisher to Lance Armstrong and a winner of the Tour de France) looked to be peaking at the right time. Now they are both gone, along with lots of others.

This whole event pretty much makes me think there is no such thing as a "clean" cyclist, maybe not even professional athlete. How many 6ft 10in 255lb guys with 50in vertical leaps really exist? How about 295lb defensive linemen that run 4.5 40s? And don't get me started on Barry "My head has always been this big" Bonds. Ugh.

As long as the $$$ and notoriety are there, cheaters will be diligently working to stay one step ahead of the testing. Its really sickening to me to think that all these people that us normal athletes use as inspriration when we're struggling up what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle may not be that impressive after all. So thanks to all you cheaters who make me feel like maybe I am human that my legs hurt after a day of climbing and that now I know that you are not human.

Regardless, I'll watch the Tour and cheer on the remaining riders, who may either be clean or maybe just didn't get caught this time.

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