Posted by: canthold | July 25, 2007

De-Tour

Move over Desperate Housewives, there’s a new high-drama soap in town. Have you been watching the Tour de France? There isn’t anything on TV that holds a candle to the excitement, drama, scandal and suspense.

First of all, I’ve mentioned that I liked Vinokourov because he reminded me of Pippi Longstockings. He’s notoriously inconsistent as a rider, which made him potentially a race favorite, but it was anyone’s guess how he’d turn out. Then he did that amazing time trial and he was racing in stitches. What glory! What courage!

Next, you could just see the hunger on the faces of the riders who wanted to win. Rasmussen wanted it badly. Valverde looked hopeful (and such beautiful teeth!) Levi was the sweetheart that everyone wanted to cheer for. And Contador – have you seen this man ride?

Boom! A thunderbolt came and cracked Vinokourov off the mountain. Cheater! His team, Astana, was invited to withdraw, which included teammate Andreas Kloden. They did. I have yet to hear what Kloden has to say, but if he’s not in on it, he’s got to be po’d.

Crack! Moreni got popped for cheating, too. Confidis, his team (whom my husband never fails to point out is the one that bailed on Lance Armstrong when he got cancer,) pulled the plug.

Shazam! Rasmussen can’t account for his whereabouts during pre-race testing and gets the boot from his team, Rabobank.This, after being kicked off the Danish national team for the same offense. Speculation that he wasn’t merely absent from mandatory testing, but lying about being in Mexico while training in Italy.

Apparently, the little document that the Tour officials had all the riders sign before competing did nothing to discourage these guys from cheating. So that makes them cheaters and liars. It’s a bad day to be a parent when faith in humanity and the integrity of healthy competition is compromised. What is this world coming to?

Perhaps this isn’t an exciting high-drama, but in fact a re-run from last year. Ho hum. Big yawn. Cyclists are cheaters and the Tour leader fails a drug test.

But no. It’s different this year.

This year has been very exciting. There are so many interesting and great accomplishments to feed the fans that keep coming back for more. Did you see Levi working with Contador to help him up the mountain today? That was great sportsmanship. Levi could have just taken it because he was supposed to be the man to do it. Instead, he helped his teammate eke just a bit more out of his race because he needed it. There is a sense that anything can happen this year. It’s been a wild ride.

I doubt these new doping events will bode well for Landis’ fight. They throw more fuel onto the fire that cyclists are cheaters. But call me crazy, I still want to believe that there are still riders out there who compete the way they’re supposed to – with honesty and integrity. Where the win means something because it’s done with honor. I don’t want to lose faith in humanity.

I don’t think that it’s naive to want the good guys to come out on top, either. I don’t think it’s naive to believe in innocence until proof of guilt. I don’t want a few bad apples to spoil the whole bunch.

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