Tour de France '07 – Back From the Dead Again

Jul 23 2007

Entertaining though it may be, I am highly suspicious of Vino’s roller coaster riding. Granted, I’ve never raced a Grand Tour, so I can’t say firsthand how the body reacts, but this up-again, down-again seems physiologically improbable, at least through natural means. A brief look back at some notably inconsistent rides would seem to support this:

Santiago Botero at the 2002 TdF – wins the first TT, loses 15 minutes, bounces back to win the next day. At the ’05 Giro, it was Ivan Basso who rode strong early, cracked massively with a stomach bug, won two stages, then cracked again the next day. And I think we all remember last year’s Tour. What do these cases all have in common? Yeah, you guessed it.

But strange results are hardly grounds for ejection from a race, right? After all, even with all the negative press on Rasmussen, cycling experts agree that you can’t just kick him out on suspicion, right? The Tour would never allow anything like that to happen. The worst cycling authorities can do is click their tongues and say they’d prefer not to see a Rasmussen victory, same as they would have preferred not to see seven consecutive Lance Armstrong victories. In fact, it’s pretty clear who they’d prefer not to see win – just make a note of whose buses they search.

Anyway, getting back to racing, Contador and Rasmussen further distanced all others today, and with only two major obstacles remaining before Paris, it looks like the winner will be one of these two dudes. Contador took more than a few potshots at The Chicken today, but as the photo shows, he couldn’t do much more than ruffle his feathers. Tomorrow’s a rest day, so it’ll be interesting to see how everyone’s legs react to the resumption of hostilities on Wednesday’s final mountain test.

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18 Responses to “Tour de France '07 – Back From the Dead Again”

  1. Derek 24 July 2007 at 7:24 am #

    I can’t agree with your assessment of Vino’s riding. If anything, I think it suggests less likelihood of doping rather than more. I’ve never ridden a Grand Tour either, but I think the ability to put out superhuman efforts day after day seems much more improbable than being up and down. I know I have good and bad days back-to-back all the time, it seems more than natural to me.

  2. cosmo 24 July 2007 at 8:39 am #

    While I agree that three consecutive weeks of “extraterrestrial” performances are extremely suspicious, I really think when the body really wears down, it’s a one-way progression.

    Look at Valverde, for example – he’s been getting whomped day after day since the time trial. And Evans, while hanging tough, seems to be undergoing a slow, steady deterioration.

    Now, Vino’s always been an odd case, so he might just respond to the strain of racing in such a fashion. But historically speaking, such high-frequency shifts in ability seem to me highly correlated with doping revelations.

  3. Eric 24 July 2007 at 11:05 am #

    Well, you called it… Immediately after I read your post, cyclingnews dropped the bomb… Stupid, stupid, stupid…

  4. SPEEDTHRILLS 24 July 2007 at 11:09 am #

    We’ll, based on news just in, looks like Cosmo just won that debate. Anyone want to give me odds on Chicken Man now? Anyone??? What a cluster.

  5. Colin 24 July 2007 at 11:34 am #

    You clairvoyant motherfucker.

  6. GeWilli 24 July 2007 at 11:39 am #

    no shit colin…

    no shit…

  7. josh 24 July 2007 at 11:46 am #

    so does this mean chicken is not doping by being consistently good?

  8. GeWilli 24 July 2007 at 11:52 am #

    he and his wife have been doping for so long he’s just better at it than Vino

  9. Murat 24 July 2007 at 11:56 am #

    Any chance that after the stage 5 crash and stitches and everything, that he may have required a transfusion at the hospital?
    As for the highs and lows.. we all experience that kind of thing. Sometimes, on days when we believe form should be excellent, we fall apart due to poor nutrition, depression, lack of sleep, or just bad luck. Other times, on days when we feel like crap, feel tired, or just dread riding the bike, sometimes those are the days when we get our best results.
    We’re not baking a cake.. Performance is not that predictable.
    To bird dog Vino’s good to bad to good form is highly speculative. Let the B sample speak for itself and look at the hospital records. Maybe some clues about this are in there.

  10. GeWilli 24 July 2007 at 11:58 am #

    if he got a transfusion it probably would be on his ME (medical exemption) papers… at at least mentioned before the withdrawal of the whole team…


  11. jim 24 July 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    Maybe Cosmo was playing coy and somehow heard about it early?

  12. dan 24 July 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    what the f was he thinking? the irony is that cycling is probably one of the cleanest sport yet because it work hard to out the cheats it get a bad rep. wonder if sport like baseball,football,basketball had as stringent a testing method as cycling if we would have not seen more positive case

  13. Derek 24 July 2007 at 12:07 pm #

    Yeah, you called it. I just saw the news. Shit. I loved Vino’. Let’s call the whole thing off and just go back to riding our bikes. Shit.

  14. rachel 24 July 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    thank you for preparing me for the Vino news. although I dismissed your post when I first read it because of my blind love for Vino, it did plant the thought in my mind that helped me deal with the shock when the news came. wow.

  15. Murat 24 July 2007 at 12:30 pm #

    A pity that perhaps the only thing preventing a decline in popularity of our sport, is the doping news.. Uncertainty and suspense have a street value, they sell. Ask Versus if they mind that doping is being reported. Vino has always been a class act. I am at least hopeful that if the allegations are true, that he owns up to it immediately and takes the consequences like a man.

  16. Glenn 24 July 2007 at 1:23 pm #

    What an idiot Vino was. If you’re gonna transfuse, use your own blood maybe?!?! Dr. Michele Ferrari will obviously take a black eye for this but I don’t think Ferrari is to blame, because he would at least have had the sense to have Vino transfuse with his own blood, since that is much harder to detect.

    Also, I don’t think that Vino’s win in the mountains yesterday was due to doping. He had lost so much time the day before that he was naturally more well rested than the other GC contenders. In fact, I think he may have sand bagged it the day before so that (a) he would be more well rested than the other top climbers, and (b) so that the other GC riders would not be concerned about him getting into breaks.

  17. SPEEDTHRILLS 24 July 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    They just reported on TF1 evening news that French police have sealed off the Astana hotel and searching it for evidence. Let’s see if after today’s events the TdF management continues to let Chicken Man stay in the race with the clouds over his head. You just know how bad Prudhomme wants him gone. Despite the legal risks of doing so, I bet he will pull the trigger on The Chicken soon. We’ll see…..

  18. GeWilli 24 July 2007 at 1:51 pm #

    Of course everyone’s seen this already, right?


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