20 July 2008

The Tour - Seconds from Victory

Another of my Tour predictions/fears proves well founded. Cavendish pulls out of the Tour to prepare for glory in the Oympics. When he won his four Tour stages he quite rightly said he couldn't have done it without his supportive team. So why isn't HE supporting THEM now?.

And yet we assume his departure is made with the approval of the team manager, so what are they thinking? Is the only value to be gained from stage wins, publicity, and sponsor recognition? If this is true, it unfortunately chimes very closely with the drug-taking culture of other teams in the sport - to undermine it completely.

All those supporters cock-a-hoop about flat stage wins from Our Boy from the Isle of Man should ask themselves 'Where is he now?' And why is he not there, when the rest of the 150+ riders are still struggling through the Alps, and prepared to make the effort to see it through to Paris next weekend?'

The only consolation I took from today's events was that the leaders all ended up together, battling up the final Col - with nobody making Pantani, Armstrong, or Ricco-like jumps away from anybody else as if fuelled by benzedrine, EPOs, amphetemines, or any other performance-enhancing drug. Let's hope it stays that way in the last few days. Maybe leading by only a few seconds is a good sign for the future.

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