Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘Bernard HInault’

Tour offers first boring wet jersey contest

In Bicycle Racing on July 17, 2009 at 8:41 am

Funny to read now: Bicycle.net’s pre-stage analysis, where Stage 13 “may reveal just how far some riders are willing to go to fight for the Tour de France yellow jersey.” Um…let’s just say, not very far at all.

Cyclelicio.us: “Nocentini’s last day wearing yellow.” And I agreed when you posted, Richard. Based on everything we know about professional cycling and the Tour’s great history, yellow should have changed hands today.

Instead, the whole peloton was yellow…as in cowardly, as in yellow-bellied.

OK so yes, it was raining, and raining hard. And it was cold. We’ve all been there. Still, one has to wonder, seeing the peloton go through the motions day after day, if this bunch of shoulder-watchers just is not a competitive group. The pack’s excuse-making is just another reason for a champion to make hay. Would Hinault or Lemond or Merckx or any of the great names of the past have just sat in the pack and pedaled along when an obvious opportunity was at hand? Do any of this year’s riders deserve a nickname like the Badger or Cannibal? Only the sprinters seem to have nicknames, because they’re the only ones really putting out.

A great rider would have at least tested Astana today, throwing himself off the front on one of the 15-percent grades to see what happened. The other benefit to launching attacks when everyone else is sitting back: You up your fitness level for next time. The way things are shaping up, with no one even trying to assert himself, this year’s Tour could be decided more by chance — a random crash, bad weather, a flat tire — than true worthiness on the part of the winner.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain this coming week in the Alps. Otherwise the 2009 edition of the Tour de France will be just one big mass poor-mouthing about how this or that or the other prevented anyone from launching an attack. Cadel Evans was right: We got a buncha whiners on our hands.

This day in drugs (again)

In Bicycle Racing, This Day In Doping on June 12, 2009 at 4:00 am

Thanks to Bicycle.net for bird-dogging the cycling-illegal substances links.

Self-injecting blood cheats pose a real problem for testing. This is where the cyclist freezes his own blood, saving it for a later date, and injects it on race day. Doing this with someone else’s compatible blood is generally detectable. With his own blood, well, that’s where it gets tricky. Supposedly technology is on the way to assist in this process.

Laurent Fignon, recently diagnosed with advanced cancer, on a possible link between doping and his diagnosis: “In those days everyone was doing it.” Really? Because Greg Lemond beat Fignon in the closest Tour ever, 1989, by 8 seconds. And Lemond is the guy who keeps agitating to clean up the sport without ever having acknowledged doping himself.

Bernard Hinault (without acknowledging doping himself), in Velo News: “The French have taken as much as the others. What is not normal is that they are not treated in the same manner as other sportsmen.”