Monday, July 09, 2007

Lance to Landis: Le Tour or Le Suck?


One of our local races made up yellow shirts with "Le Suck" on them. I can see why. With in the insane doping problems surrounding the sport it's hard not to be cynical. The only Grand Tour champion in the last decade who hasn't been busted, Lance, may have been the most guilty one of all. At least that's the opinion in the racing world. And the publication of From Lance to Landis does nothing but add fuel to the fire. This work may not hold up in court but you can't read it with an open mind and not know it's true--at least to a degree. It would be impossible to make up. Not only that, it makes perfect sense if you know anything about doping and sports performance. And, well, when you race your bike and hang out in that world you meet people who've worked/ridden with people.... The big thing I learned from this book was that all teams don't necessarily dope. All have turned a blind eye to it but some programs are leaders and others followers. Postal, um, sheesh. You've got to read it if you enjoy the subject. So, anyway, bike racing has a big black eye at the moment.

But I love bike racing. I love the Tour. C'mon, doping has existed in sports--all of them--as long as there has been performance-enhancing drugs available. Armstrong may have doped to the gills but he still worked harder than everyone else. Dope didn't win him the Tour. Hard work did. Because, ya know, Ullrich and Basso were on the sauce too. If they want to rid the sport of drugs, they need to rid the sport of doctors, which may mean ridding it of money. But that still won't do it. People were regularly doing drugs during my high shcool days! College? Of course. Everyone joked about it. Anyway, cycling has done a lot more to combat this issue than any other sport. And it deserves some credit. I think it's getting better. Dope or no dope, you've still got to train like a maniac and race your bike.

Last year I blogged in depth about the race. This year I won't have the time. But for those who would like to learn more about bike racing, you can read through them starting here:

http://steve-edwards.blogspot.com/2006/07/explaining-tour.html

The race began in England to "the largest crowds I've ever seen" according to most everyone. Today they're in Belgium, it's raining, and the crowds are still huge. Long live cycling!

It's an open race and should be great. You can check it out live on the net on Versus streaming video which, thankfully, is only Paul and Phil and no Al Trautwig.

Versus network

Cyclingfans always keeps you up to date on the latest media options:

Cyclingfans

4 comments:

Ted said...

I'll be plugged in, watching every day. Like you say, at least they try to keep the sport clean. It's a joke that people argue about baseball, of course they are all doped up, the sport has had no real drug policy for years.

Alice said...

Lance Armstrong won ONLY because of dope. You know it. A bas Lance!

Brad Rassler said...

Haven't read the book. I have however been connecting the dots...

Here's a link to a blog post from Boulder xc skier and cyclist, Nathan Schultz. The post and comments (far more entertaining than the post itself), capture the denial, acrimony, defensiveness, and dichotomous thinking (black/white, right/wrong that has characterized the discussion in the community. It's just damn fun reading -- to a point.

Schultz blogged in March '06, prior to Landis, Operation Puerto, and the recent cavalcade of mea culpas. Wonder what the reaction to the same blog would be today?

Cheers.

P.S. The language and sh*t slinging gets an "R" rating. Many of the responses are horrifyingly boorish, but some, from Tyler Hamilton's wife, are priceless. You've been warned.

http://www.teamfsx.com/Home/tabid/351/EntryID/163/Default.aspx

steve edwards said...

Thanks for that. Great--um, okay maybe not great but entertaining--read. Haven is a piece of work. To lie with that type of conviction takes some kind of ego, I suppose.

I'm alwasy fascinated by blind hero worship. All these people believing Tyler just because they'd seen him on TV and attacking the honest guy simply because they didn't know him or, at least, hadn't watched him on TV. It's weird. I do agree, however, that Tyler seems like a very nice guy. I wanted to believe him but, c'mon. Walsh's book is interesting addressing Hamilton. He, too, seems to love his personality. Then he catches him in a series of lies on the record. Not about doping but about every day things, such as constantly talking about how he didn't need cycling because he had a college degree. And, althogh Tyler did you to college, he has never graduated.

And no one's blogged since the Puerto implications. I wonder what those people think NOW?