No big surprise- Lance will be doing Triathlons in 2011, including the World Championship. Thanks to Mark P for sending me the link. He was in the shop just yesterday when we were talking about when Lance might make the move, and voila, this morning comes confirmation that it’s sooner rather than later. For us Trek dealers, the writing was on the wall when we saw the HUGE new commitment Trek made to the Tri market this year. We’ve now got the coolest, fastest Tri-bikes on the market! And now quite possibly the fastest person riding one. –Mike–
Tomorrow’s the day the TdF announces the mountains & cities it will visit next July. Normally they’d have the past winners of the yellow (overall leader) and green (best sprinter) jerseys but not this time, as both are subjects of ongoing doping investigations. It’s been quite some time since doping allegations haven’t been a major part of media coverage of the event.
But regarding the route, it will be counter-clockwise this year, hitting the Pyrenees first and saving the toughest climbs in the Alpes for the finish. The Galibier, Chamrousse and yes, the Alpe d’Huez all get crammed into the last week, at least according to usually-reliable sources.
And yes, plans are for Kevin (my son) and I to return, again, with our BikeFriday folding travel bikes, and bring you close-to-live coverage. In fact, with this new wordpress blog format, I can update from almost anywhere using just my iPhone!
This assumes of course that Kevin’s kidney issues will finally be a thing of the past by then. Right now I’m writing this from the surgery waiting room at Kaiser in Santa Clara, where he’s undergoing a 4 hour robotic surgery procedure that will hopefully put his severe abdominal pains behind him. Well, they’re sort of behind him now (lower back), so I guess what we need is for it to become an out-of-body experience.
For those wanting to know how I decided to make appropriate reservations for seeing the decisive stages in the Alps for the 2011 Tour de France, well yes, I did a whole lot of internet searching (like everybody else) but eventually came across this site that seems to likely have it down best.
If you’d like to try and do the TdF thing in the Alps on your own, it could be pretty tough to find a place to stay right now. Just about everything booked up 10 days ago when a few more rumors firmed up, specifically regarding the likely stage finish on the Alpe d’Huez on the last Friday and the individual time trial up Chamrousse on Saturday. There will be plenty of opportunties to book with tour companies though, including Trek Travel. Another exciting option would be to ride the “citizen’s race” known as the Etap du Tour. This is held each year on the exact routing of what would be considered the “queen” or most-pivotal stage of the TdF, and this year, it is rumored to be the stage that finishes at the top of the Alpe d’Huez, and will take place on Sunday, July 17th.
After seeing the TdF in person many times, I’d have to say my preference runs to the Pyrenees, but I’ve always thought it most interesting to watch the final week, when the winner is determined. This year, that means the Alps, while for 2010 it was the Pyrenees.partner
I’ll stick my neck out and say Contador’s going down, but in a carefully-managed & orchestrated fashion that allows cycling to not lose further (or perhaps excessive) credibility.
Essentially a plea bargain in which the plasticizer evidence is ignored and they let him off with just 3 months saying that the amounts were so low they cannot be certain of their source, and the lack of establishing a legal limit of clenbuterol did not reflect the realities of a world in which it’s made its way into the food chain. A level will be set, probably only slightly above where AC tested, essentially legitimizing one more aspect of doping up to a certain amount.
AC loses the 2010 TdF title but is able to come back for 2011 and fight again. The three month suspension will have no effect on anything but his TdF win.
And in the meantime, everyone’s scrambling for new ways to dope, knowing that transfusions appear to have some serious issues. Maybe there will suddenly be a whole lot of medically-required rehydration IVs to explain plasticizers in the blood?
That’s my prediction. What say the tribal council?
There’s an excellent article on the Contador doping situation on Sports Illustrated’s on-line site. Apparently there was more than just Clenbuterol found in Contador’s samples; they also detected “plasticizers” which are used to improve the suppleness of blood bags used in transfusions. Transfusions are every bit as illegal as EPO or any other banned drug, but there is not as yet a limit to how much “plastic” you’re allowed to have in your body (because they’re still working out standards and tests). What isn’t asked & answered in the article is whether such materials are used for the bags used to rehydrate cyclists (saline solution), which, as far as I know, is completely legal. [I've since learned that using IVs for rehydration was made illegal around 2007, with exceptions made only for those deemed medically required and must be done with a doctor present. It's also come out that the "plasticizers" would be found in bags used for saline IVs as well, not just blood bags. In the end, it means that finding plasticizers in any current doping sample is going to get someone in a lot of trouble.]
At this point, I’m no longer of the opinion that Contador is innocent simply because the amounts of Clenbuterol are so low, as another explanation is that he had a blood transfusion, using his own blood (that’s what you do so it’s not detected), and when that blood was drawn from him at an earlier time, he had been using Clenbuterol… and so contaminated himself. That’s just one possibility and doesn’t negate others. He may yet be an innocent victim, but hopefully not in the same manner as many other Spanish cyclists of the past, who have turned out to be part of a wide system of abuse that their government has looked the other way from (Operation Puerto).
Note: I had to disable comments on this piece because it’s attracting a zillion robotic spam zombies. Probably the references to drugs. Sigh.