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  1. #1
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    Doping and the Tour de France

    I have to admit that I'm still in shock over the recent happenings in the Tour de France the past few days. I admit, I try to catch as much of the Tour as possible but sadly, Canadian coverage of the Tour is spotty at best. I guess this is the root of why I hold the Tour in such high regard when compared to other sports not embraced by the typical North American sports fan. Prolly also the reason I love WRC so much but try catching that on the tube in Canada without satellite, forget about it.

    Back to the Tour, these racers punish themselves to the brink of mental and physical exhaustion not only on the stages but in building up to the Tour itself. You see them bite it on the cobblestones or fall over each other by the dozens when theres a crash in the Peloton and you start to see what I mean. These guys race well beyond the average persons pain threshold so it's really a shame when their disgraced as is the sport they train so hard for, by some cheating pinheads.

    I can't imagine how bad some of these riders must be feeling with their front men either being pulled from the Tour or fired from the Team due to doping scandal. Sure a lot of this race is physical but there is also an equally strong mental component that drives each athlete to perform. Imagine how hard it must be to member on a team with one bad apple tainting not just the team but the entire tour. Un-frickin-real if you ask me, poor guys.

    Team Rabobank has voluntarily pulled Michael Rasmussen from the Tour de France even though he's tested clean along all 17 stages. Regardless of his test results, his team felt his stories were spotty at best. Rasmussen's "stories" coupled with pre-race drug screening missed (dodged?), was enough reason to pull him from the Tour. While this may have been the best course of action I find it increasingly sad a rider is now guilty until proven innocent. Even though I'm sure it is necessary, imagine doing all this work and having your dreams shattered even though there is NO PROOF you cheat but reasonable doubt remains.

    Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for a banned blood transfusion a few days ago which was enough of a shock. If Vinokourov's B sample fails he'll be facing a two-year ban on the Tour.

    These are big names and it's really sad that they can cast such a huge shadow over the entire tour. What's even sadder is a stage without a Yellow Jersey on the road.

    Most troubling for me as a remote fan of the tour though is every year, the tour seems to get a bit more chaotic and nonsensical. I've been watching in wide eyed disbelief a few stages where fans are getting within reach of the racers and in many cases, possibly impede the race course. Maybe I've been in a coma the past few years but I certainly don't remember fans ever being allowed this close to the racers, that's just plain stupid! I'm not sure if it shows disrespect for the riders/sport or just stupidity of the average fan, but whatever it is, show these guys the respect they deserve and get your @ss off the course numbnuts.

    As much as I respect the tour, the heritage, all the work that goes into it and all the beautiful countryside we get to see, I'm starting to feel as if the tour itself is falling apart. I really hope this isn't the case and they use this recent doping scandal to clean up all aspects of the Tour de France.

    CTV.ca | Tour de France reeling after days of controversy

    BBC SPORT | Other Sport... | Cycling | Vinokourov fails Tour doping test

    BBC SPORT | Other Sport... | Cycling

    Anyone have any thoughts on this years tour or do you believe I'm talking out my rump?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    I heard a small piece of it last evening on the News; but not enough for all the details. I think it's extremely sad for any sport...as with the Michael Vick case related to illegal dog fighting...

    I don't have time to take a read on the links this morning...will comment later

  3. #3
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    Le Tour De France, 2007

    Has anyone else here watch or keep up with the tour?
    This year has definitely been an interesting one. From guys crashing going down hills in the alps, a guy running into a dog (both were uninjured) to the top two or three riders being ejected from the tour for doping.

    I hear there's even talk about taking cycling out of the Olympics and replacing it with rugby, due to the high levels of doping in the sport.

    There's currently 141 riders out of 189 and only 2 of the teams are intact.

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    Re: Le Tour De France, 2007

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomSkater View Post
    Has anyone else here watch or keep up with the tour?
    This year has definitely been an interesting one. From guys crashing going down hills in the alps, a guy running into a dog (both were uninjured) to the top two or three riders being ejected from the tour for doping.

    I hear there's even talk about taking cycling out of the Olympics and replacing it with rugby, due to the high levels of doping in the sport.

    There's currently 141 riders out of 189 and only 2 of the teams are intact.
    It's definitely a sad state of affairs this year which was pretty much the reason for my rant. There's a lot of doping in many sports so dropping this from the Olympics shouldn't even be a consideration, just create more stringent testing methods and rider control.

    I'm also guessing that this means Team Discovery will definitely win the Team Race.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Never thought people on the other side of the pond would be that interested in cycling.

    Apparently Rasmussen was in Italy, instead of Mexico, as he told his team and the UCI (Cycling Federation). He apparently stuck to that story. No wonder he was not available for random doping-testing. There are rules with regards to being available for such testing, and he broke them to the point that the rules would not even have allowed him to start in the Tour, was everything known by the UCI and his team.

    It did start quite a debate among the Dutch population (Rabobank is a Dutch team). The sponsor is a big bank, so there may have been additional pressure to remove such a dubious person from the race.

    Cobblestones are mostly in Belgium, in one day classics like Gent-Wevegem. That takes a lot of courage, to go at 60 km/h on these roads. It is next to nothing short of madness.

    As for the audiences, that is quite common, not only in the Tour but also in other major courses like the Giro and Vuelta. A couple of years ago such an idiot caused the leader of that stage to smack against the asphalt. Luckily he was still able to win that stage.

    Apparently EPO is on the increase in athletics as well. And not so long ago there was a huge scandal involving many US athletes, who were possibly shielded by their national athletics federation.

    Luckily Petacchi's non-negative test was cleared - he apparently used a bit too much of an anti-asmethic medicine, for which he has dispensation to take it.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    I actually love the Tour but I can never catch all of it and I'm lucky if I ever get to see a full stage. There's a lot about it that I love and I do agree with the madness because it is a punishing test of ones endurance even without those murderous cobblestones.

    I would like to see a bit of work done in the way of crowd control as well. I have to say I enjoyed watching much of stage 17 for the very reason that the crowd was not crowding the riders. This to me seems far more respectful to the riders and the sport in general so I'd love to see it in all stages.

    As for Rasmussen, whether or not he's actually guilty of anything will likely never be known but I agree with you on why he was removed. There's a lot of talk though that he shouldn't have ever been allowed to race in the first place which is what I'm sure Team Rabobank is having to listen to.

    It's just sad overall to see such a prestigious event such as The Tour de France be shrouded in this kind of controversy. These days it seems more emphasis surrounds the off sport action than the sport itself.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Cycling in Canada is probably similar to Hockey (Ice) or American Football in Europe. Impossible to see, unless you shell out the $$$$.

    I am not too fond of the madness either. But it is part of the whole history of these major cycling events. It is just hoping that nothing goes wrong. The same we do, despite drivers having driving licenses, in everyday traffic. So many people not paying enough attention, or being distracted. Something minor has to go wrong and you have an accident.

    The controversy has existed for many years. Armstrong could use a lot of doping apparently, ust because it was on doctor's orders. Hopefully Landis can be sorted out soon, and we have no further doping cases.

    I hope they can do some research into the physiological reactions to 3 weeks of cycling 200 km a day. That way it might be possible to catch cheaters even more effectively.

    24 km to go in this stage.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    I missed this topic earlier...

    I actually like how the people can get so lose, though it can be a problem (remember that bag, armstrong?).

    There are actually a lot of pretty hard core roadies here in the states.
    I'm into it myself, but not too crazy yet.

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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomSkater View Post
    I missed this topic earlier...

    I actually like how the people can get so lose, though it can be a problem (remember that bag, armstrong?).

    There are actually a lot of pretty hard core roadies here in the states.
    I'm into it myself, but not too crazy yet.
    I think that is why the hill stages are my least favorite because I'm just not a big fan of crowding a racer. They just put so much work into being the best they can that the thought of having their stage or race ruined by some idiot is too much for me to comprehend.

    I don't really have a favorite stage in the Tour de France but I do admit that I enjoy any stage where fans are out of the picture more. About the only stages I actually dislike watching in the Tour de France are the time trials.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    I used to like watching the team time trials (maybe they called them differently), I love watching the "choreography" of a team rotating every few seconds...

  11. #11
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Yes, but it is a bit unfair, if they are staged later in the Tour. Through no fault of yourself or your riders, it could happen that teams of 6 people would have to compete with teams of 9.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Quote Originally Posted by Vautrin View Post
    Yes, but it is a bit unfair, if they are staged later in the Tour. Through no fault of yourself or your riders, it could happen that teams of 6 people would have to compete with teams of 9.
    The same can be said for time trials as well if you think about it because some may have a wet ride where others later in the day have dry roads.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    So did anyone watch todays time trials? Normally I find them to be somewhat mundane but todays trials were nuts. I think it's safe to say that Team Discovery is a shoe in for the Team Race but I wonder what kind of race Leipheimer will have tomorrow?

    Watching Leipheimer and Evans time trial today was absolutely thrilling but I was mostly in awe by Leipheimer, he really looked like a bullet out there.

    The big suprise for me was Contador, he looked so messy I never thought he'd hold onto Yellow.

    So does this meant Contador is the Tour winner barring anything major or is there a possible shootout in the works with Evans and Leipheimer?
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    ...btw, Alexandre Vinokourov's backup sample has confirmed the original finding of a banned blood transfusion. I guess this means we won't be seeing him in the Tour for the next two years minimum, assuming he ever returns.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Theoretically if Evans collects 4 seconds in sprints before the finish, and wins the stage, he could still win the Tour, due to bonification seconds.

    Something similar holds for Leipheimer, but he has never been a sprinter.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Quote Originally Posted by Vautrin View Post
    Theoretically if Evans collects 4 seconds in sprints before the finish, and wins the stage, he could still win the Tour, due to bonification seconds.

    Something similar holds for Leipheimer, but he has never been a sprinter.
    Do you see this happening though? Something tells me that Leipheimer will be pushing Contador to the front while trying to secure second for himself.

    Regardless of how it plays out, I think it's going to be one hell of a thrilling finish tomorrow.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    No big suprise really as the Tour de France concluded today with Contador taking the Yellow Jersey as well as White, with Evans in second and Leipheimer finishing third.

    I have to say that I've come away from this Tour as a big fan/supporter of Leipheimer, he really is an astounding guy. He's never whined about being the team leader for Discovery Channel and has been the anchor for the Team throughout this entire race.

    It was really great to hear his thoughts on the Tour in an interview shortly after because he rejoices in the fact his Team has won and a fellow Teammate has taken home the Yellow Jersey. When asked what he'd like in the future he very humbly said that he'd really love to win it once.

    This may sound like a selfish reply to some but the fact is, if he wasn't as big a Team Player as he was, he could easily have made up that 31 second deficit that separated first and third place and won the Tour de France.

    Even with the scandal, this has been a terrific race and a very good finish given the controversy near the end.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    BTW, any thoughts on who will be replacing Team Discovery next year? Apparently the decision has already been made and was rumored to even be announced today but I still haven't heard anything yet.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Leipheimer is a good driver. But he is not a winner. The time trial he won, was his first stage ever. Given that he has been in quite a few Tours, that is just too few victories.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Quote Originally Posted by Vautrin View Post
    Leipheimer is a good driver. But he is not a winner. The time trial he won, was his first stage ever. Given that he has been in quite a few Tours, that is just too few victories.
    I agree but a part of me wonders, is this due to more of a Team Role or a lack of ability because I'm certainly leaning toward Team myself.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Part of it is the team role he had in the past. He did not do that great for Rabobank when he was team leader though.

    Part of it is ability. He has never won a stage in the mountains, and beside time trials that is where you win the Tour. Even more so with bonus seconds down the finish line.

    I think Evans or perhaps even Leipheimer would have won if it were not for those.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Well, it was a close race and a very thrilling final stages that I will remember more than the doping scandal and I hope that's what most folks will take away from the 2007 Tour de France.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    In a few years time, when the sport is thoroughly clean, noone will mention all those scandals anymore.

    Weightlifting had similar problems in the past, but the international federation took such drastic steps, that most of the problems are a thing of the past.

    Hopefully, the samples can be collected before each stage starts, with the testing done in the first hour or so. That way those who are using doping can be removed from the race, to keep it even more fair.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    I agree.

    I think you're going to see stricter standards when it comes to testing and team monitoring in the years to come. There's really too much at stake now to be caught amidst a doping scandal these days.
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    Re: Doping and the Tour de France

    Yes. I think contracts will include compensation payments, if a rider fails a test, because of his own illegal activities.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

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