Saturday, 25 August 2012
viva la vuelta and that lance thing...
after the olympics frenzy it's nice to be back to the afternoon routine of proper bike racing (even if it means i'm going to have to find some place for a signal/sports bar on a tiny wee island in the baltic....). i don;t think it's unfair to say that there's been more incident in the first feel of the vuelta than there was in the entire tour de france this year. which is no surprise these days as both the vuelta and the giro are just better.
not just because of the comparison between the drab processions of the stages in this year's tour as opposed to ten (count 'em!) ten mountain finishes in the vuelta but just because it appears that the riders actually want to race. it's great! plus there's that subtext as the old school (valverde and contador) moves out of the way of the new (froome). in an action packed stage the other day valverde crashes and no body waits. valverde fumes (but neglects to mention he did exactly the same in the dauphine) and makes a frankly eyebrow raising chase back to the peleton.
back in the day i was a big fan of the then prospect alejandro but post doping he's only shown flickers of that previous promise so that a performance like that seems just a tad unlikely. then the mountains and what a joy to see contador jigging about just like of old. except at the sprint finish it's froome and purito rodriguez who're away and contador is left 'dehydrated'. perhaps his 'preparation' is not what it was.
such questions as these cannot, in any discussion of cycling now, have some nod backwards to lance armstrong. usada it appears have stripped him of all his titles even though it also appears they have no power to do so. this for me is the salient feature in all these shenanigans. even for that dwindling band of lance fans (go whom i was once one but those last comeback performances were filled with such arrogance it did it for me) there can't but be even the faintest glimmer of doubt that in an era blighted by epo etc it seems unlikely that lance was untouched. but equally it does seem somewhat odd, given usada's accusations of trafficking, that this will all not be let lie.
however, for me, this was never about lance but about usada and their efforts to position themselves. why armstrong still when that era and most of what went with it has been consigned to the dustbin. why are they not quite so full on when it comes to other sports, this last olympics being a prime example. who will get lances titles? what clean athletes were there back then? ullrich!! zulle!! virenque!! plus, if you coerce someone into testifying against lance is it really okay for them to get a gentle ease into retirement and a slap on the wrist and no title removement for them? the whole thing stinks of politics. that era was blighted and so was everyone associated with it.
much has been said about it all but, as ever, for me it's the badger who was most succinct.
Je m’en fous éperdument. C’est son problème pas le mien. C’est un problème qui aurait dû être réglé depuis 10 ou 15 ans et qui ne l’a pas été…
when i get old i want to be as grumpy as him!