Thursday, September 20, 2007

movin' on up

Anyone remember the 2006 Tour de France Champion? It was a Spaniard.

1. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B., time 89h:40m:30s
2. Andréas Klöden (G), T-Mobile, 00:32s
3. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 01:42s

Sastre is now also the winner of infamous Stage 17 where Flance, after being the first to clear the summit at Morzine, began his slow 2 year descent into infamy.

Enough doping you say? According to the 18 Janvier 2007 edition of Le Monde, Pereiro twice tested positive for the asthma medication salbutamol during the 2006 race, after stages 14 and 16. Pererio was issued a therapeutic use exemption for Ventolin (which contains salbutamol) from the Union Cycliste Internationale, although the French Anti-doping agency took issue with the 'medical condition' that enables a rider to take a drug designed to open up the air waves and considers much of the therapeutic use of drugs by cyclists to be nothing more than sanctioned doping.

As previously stated, the Devil isn’t done with Flance yet. First the jersey, next the hip. Big price to pay for selling your soul but Lord knows, the Devil works in mysterious ways, so don’t be surprised if Flance climbs back to the top of mountain biking were he was world champ before he left for the lights, glitter, and doom of road racing. And then......?? Protracted lawsuits are a given; it's the way of the Old Order.

There’s fallout from all the dope. At this year’s Tour of Missouri, 3 Pro Teams ended their sponsorship of cycling. Discovery Channel, Navigators Insurance, and Kodak Gallery will end their sponsorship after the season. None of the sponsors made mention of the doping scandals plaguing the sport, but Corporate doesn’t like a black eye. Excepting die-hard cycling fans (like moi), the sport has long been seen as dispensable by the majority of the USA, despite the fact that it continues to grow each year.

Looking to the future. Slipstream Chilpolte, the official ANTI-DOPING team of professional cycling, is poised to assume the mantle of the dominant US Pro Cycling team, but expect some rebuilding years before they place riders on the podium in the Grand Tours. A few stage wins on the European circuit and a strong showing on the domestic circuit might help attract more support and sponsors in the US.

Former Junior time-trial champion, Danny Pate of Slipstream Chilpolte, cleared the field in the last 2 km of stage 5 of the Tour of Missouri and soloed to victory in St. Charles.

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