Season starts with more doping nonsense

Headline:  ”Cycling has another week riddled with news of doping and not much else”

Well, at least that is what you’d think if all you read is the mainstream press, or even the mainstream cycling press.  We’ve already had racing action this season.  First in Australia with the Tour Down Under, and the Tour of Qatar just started.  Now honestly though – how many folks do you suspect actually know the standings of the early season races?  I’m betting a fair sight less than the number that know that 1) Lance Armstrong is off the hook, and 2) Contador has been stripped of his 2010 wins – including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

And this season is promising to be a great showdown.  The combination of some of the riders from both Leopard Trek and Radio Shack into one team.  Renshaw free to clash sabers in the sprints without having to focus on delivering Cavendish to the front.  This is real racing drama – happening now.  Armstrong doesn’t race anymore – remember?  And now Contador won’t be racing this year until the Giro either.  So let’s focus our attention on the people out there trying to beat each other on the roads and single tracks – not in the court rooms, press rooms and headlines.

If only we could get as much coverage of our race winners as we do the doping circus…  Just one man’s opinion.

Finally I can post about the Tour de France

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been fairly silent about this year’s Tour de France.  To be honest the first week was kinda hard to watch – and I was not really motivated to write about it much.  It is unfortunate when the most dramatic moments of the race have been the result of folks surviving through horrible crashes. Sure, I’ve mumbled short quips on Twitter, and we’ve been discussing stages over in the VeloReviews forums, but no real write ups here at JustAnotherCyclist.

Things appear to have turned around today though.

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Jens Voigt: The Bloody Menace, Part II

I unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) missed this when it happened as I was on southbound I5 traveling back from the 2010 Seattle to Portland bicycle classic.  It looks like the mountains in the Tour de France have taken a second swing at Jens Voigt of Team Saxo Bank.  In the 2009 Tour de France Jens was unfortunately taken out of the race in one of the most dramatic crashes in the tour in recent memory.

This year the mountain tried again, but couldn’t knock him out.  Jens hit the tarmac on stage 16 while descending from the Col de Peyresourde.  In Jens own words, his front tire “just exploded” sending him to the ground, his bike rendered unusable.  Unfortunately all of this happened behind both of the Saxo Bank team cars – leaving Jens without a bike.  He was finally able to get a spare from the neutral support teams, but unfortunately the bike didn’t really fit him.  I think this may be one of the most compelling images of this great rider: tattered and bloody, finishing the stage on a borrowed bike that doesn’t actually fit him, refusing to quit.

The post-stage interview shows typical Jens Voigt attitude and humor remained intact after the crash:

There is a saying among cycling fans: “Jens Voigt doesn’t get road rash.  The road gets Jens rash.”  It captures the toughness this rider has shown throughout his career.  I’m sure the Jens mystique will be even further strengthened after this and as he crosses the Champs-Élysées.

Video of Armstrong crash caught by spectator

Video posted toYouTube shows the immediate aftermath of the crash on Stage 8 of the Tour de France.  In retrospect this may be viewed as the moment that ended Armstrong’s hopes of the Yellow Jersey in what he himself has declared his last Tour de France.

Rough start to TdF for riders – and me

This has been a tough start to the Tour for me. First off I spend the first three days without internet access and spotty-at-best cell coverage.  I mean – how in the hell am I supposed to properly enjoy and communicate about the tour without twitter??  Imagine my horror as I look on suffering alone, in isolation, as my pick for the overall win Andy Schleck cradled his arm, looking as if we wouldn’t be able to get back on the bike.  Or waiting on the edge of my seat for a smallest nugget of information out of Phil Liggett regarding the state of Tyler Farrar.  This tour is already started with precious few sprinters to challenge Mark Cavendish.

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