I’m usually not so keen on a pretty obvious play like that, but what else can I say? Ivan Bass, Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla, Tyler Hamilton get ousted from the 2006 Tour de France for drugs and blood doping. Hamilton could even get banned for life! WTF? Is it worth it? I mean holy crap! Ullrich is on the tail end of his career, and if he gets the 4 year ban, that’s it. A great way to end a very prestigious career.
I don’t think this takes anything away from the Tour, and I am not going to go off on some tangent about how I do or don’t think Armstrong took any drugs. And just for the record, Bobke is still a jackass. This isn’t the first time the Tour has been marred by drug scandals. Right after LeMond returned after getting shot, the Tour was immensely different and noticeably faster. It seems like every year since has been the faster Tour ever. How can that be? Dunno.
What I do know is that the Tour de France is still, by far, the single most amazing sporting event on the planet. Nothing anywhere comes close to the magnitude of this event. The athletes who are able to participate on this level are unparalleled in their ability and at the utmost extreme levels of fitness. I cannot even imagine. I raced competitively for a few years on the track, and it was intense. I was a fast sprinter (before I got fat and lazy), and was ranked nationally – but I never even came close to the top level pros – not even in my dreams.
It looks like it will be an excellent race. Due to the insane amount of hours of coverage that OLN floods the Satellite with, I am not willing to pony up the dough to watch this year, although I will be following online.
I don’t have a favorite this year, I would like to see George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Christian Vande Velde, and Thor Hushovd do very well. Good luck gents, only 18 more to go. I also have to say, I’m glad no one can call it the Tour de Lance any more – that had to be the stupidest thing ever to have been bestowed upon this race.