Tour de France '07 – Casar Wins, The Fans' Blind Eye

Jul 27 2007

Say what you will about doping; I think today’s finish was the saddest and most unfair of the entire ’07 Tour. Not that three-time runner up Sandy Casar was an undeserving winner – he bounced back from an early spill, made his turns in the break, and played his speed edge perfectly in the finale. But poor Michael Boogerd; after two weeks of flogging himself to exhaustion, over the most heinous mountains in the world, in his final Tour de France, all for cheatin’ teammate he didn’t much care for, if there were any justice in this world, today’s stage would have been Boogie’s.

Not that anyone else out there thinks that. Ask people who don’t know what they’re talking about and the consensus is clear – all bike riders everywhere are on drugs. It’s kinda funny, really – cops make a drug bust, and it’s great press. Cleaning up the streets, they’d say. Cycling makes a drug bust, and it’s a sport “mired in scandal”. What a bunch of crotchless journo hacks. When Shawne Merriman gets a two year suspension, plus two seasons playing to empty seats in Utah, then you can talk to me about clean sport. Besides, it’s not like the doping bothers cycling fans that much. As The Simpsons so perfectly allegorized (in an episode about drug dependence, no less), fans of a sport will blind themselves to the most heinous of its flaws.

Which brings us to this – what if the Chicken really is telling the truth? Granted, if this is the case, it should be pretty easy to prove (well, prove convcingly) that he was in Mexico, not Italy, for his pre-Tour training. But with lawsuits flying, organizers dis-inviting, governing bodies using the the dope stories for political leverage and calling for summits, maybe Rabobank figured the advertising dollars weren’t worth the cost and cut the Dane free – even while still giving the riders their Tour winning bonus. Certainly, an ejection of an unpopular and probably-dosed-up rider isn’t something fans will think too deeply about.

And then there are those news stories that no one wants to hear. Greg Lemond, for example, turning the spotlight of suspicion onto Alberto Contador. While one would like to think the youngster is clean, for someone with the future of the Tour on his shoulders, he has something of a checkered past. And does it strain credulity that, stage after stage, Disco could put three riders against an isolated Rasmussen and Evans? Should we maybe inquire to see if these guys are on the UCI’s watch list – or would we rather just sit back and watch them sock a few dingers?

10 Responses to “Tour de France '07 – Casar Wins, The Fans' Blind Eye”

  1. Guy July 27, 2007 at 3:44 pm #

    Bravo well said!!

  2. Doug July 27, 2007 at 4:01 pm #

    According to Walsh, Contidor is suspect because of the speed with which he climbed. If memory serves me correctly, Lemond continues to hld the fastest TT time in the TdF. By Walsh’s logic, that ‘proves’ Lemond a cheat and doper. I don’t think Walsh’s logic holds.

  3. cosmo July 27, 2007 at 4:38 pm #

    Lemond held the record through 2005, when Dave Z took it. I think Zabriskie still has it, but I might be wrong there.

    To be fair, Lemond’s ’89 TT was only 24k and downhill into Paris, so it’s understandable that he’d go faster.

    BTW more rumors of another positive. I hope it’s not Soler; the world needs more goofy bike riders.

  4. Doug July 27, 2007 at 5:07 pm #

    Not looking good for Soler according to the incoming news.

  5. Kevin July 27, 2007 at 7:20 pm #

    Dingers! Dingers!

    But seriously, HLN.be, tour.tv2.dk and uk.eurosport.yahoo.com have all posted that it’s Soler. Or ‘allegedly’ Soler. Maybe. But it’s not proven yet.

  6. colin July 27, 2007 at 8:46 pm #

    Great post.

    You had to appreciate Casar’s win, although it’s unfortunate it came at the expense of Boogerd … did you see him get taken out by that dog? Maybe I just hate dogs in front of my bike more than I hate Rasmussen.

  7. elvisgoat July 27, 2007 at 10:08 pm #

    Lemond…”Methinks thou doth protest too much”

  8. Doug July 28, 2007 at 8:05 am #

    Glad to hear the Soler rumours were just that–rumours.

  9. jonshea July 28, 2007 at 9:11 am #

    Casar’s move was, hands down, the best break of the Tour this year. From behind, he jumps to the inside of a road divider as everyone else goes outside. He had 40 meters by the time the road merged again. The others actually closed the whole gap to him with 500 m to go, and still he just rides away from them hard enough for a time split. Awesome finish.

    I feel bad for Boogerd (who, along with Popovich, is my pick for MVP of the Tour). Axel deserves some sympathy too. He’s retiring too, so yesterday was his last chance ever to get a stage win. Paul or Phil said, “If Axel wins it would make it 35 for the Merckx family.” He was on the verge of tears in an interview after the race. I think he really wanted to make it on the board with his dad.

  10. rachel July 28, 2007 at 9:14 am #

    I agree wholeheartedly about Boogerd–I was desperately hoping for him to win. but Casar’s move was pretty genius…

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