Would you look at the article on Eurosport about today’s first stage of Criterium International? Talk about poor. Igor Astarloa is a “sprinter”? When his two biggest wins, the ’03 Fleche Wallonne and ’03 World Road Title, came at the top of, or immediately after, extremely steep hills? And his “ill-fated stints” with Cofidis and Lampre, that each happened in the same season? A better assesment of this situation might be to say that his teammates were on drugs, and he got caught up in the fallout. And calling Floyd Landis and Bobby Julich “Texans”? Un-fÂµÂ¢&ing-believable. Yeah, I’ve been known to botch a nationality from time to time (Cancellara, Parra, etc.), but I’ve never called a Sicilian a Tuscan or a Norman a Breton. And you know what else? I don’t get paid to write about cycling; the author of this article does. Some truly weak sauce indeed from Eurosport’s French correspondent. Anyway, as far as the racing went, some aggressive riding left Erik Dekker to spank Ivan Basso in a two-up sprint, and a select group of 9 in contention for the win.
In Italy, Coppi & Bartali wrapped up with some 22-year old beating Paolo Bettini in a sprint, while Damiano Cunego took the overall. In Belgium, Tom Boonen and Alessandro Ballan jumped away from the field with 40k to go, before the World Champ opened a 100m gap in the last 150m to take the win. But the real news today was the story broken (scroll down) by Belgian paper HNB on IGF-1, the alleged new dope rage of the peloton. Though Jon Vaughters holds the drug’s effectiveness in decidedly low esteem (search “Balls”), apparently it’s readily available, undetectable, and makes you awesome at biking. Effects include increased muscle mass, reduced body fat, faster recovery and pleasant, spring-fresh aroma. Some less desirable effects are the noticable enlarging of hands, feet and forehead, all sorts of f-ed up hormonal imbalances, and, oh yeah, heart attacks. Use at your own risk.