The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Disastrous Tour

The greatest and hardest sporting event of all, the Tour de France, has been knocked cold by the ouster of the race leader, Michael Rasmussen, by his team Rabobank, for lying to them about his whereabouts last month while training. He missed three mandatory out-of-race drug tests and told his team that he was in Mexico when, in fact, he was training in Italy. (Ironically, he has passed 17 drug tests during the Tour itself).

This on the heals of the ouster of two other riders, including the pre-race favorite (and winner of two stages).

This is an unmitigated disaster, coming, as it does, a year after Floyd Landis was stripped of his title for testing positive for Testosterone in last year's Tour.

I don't know what to make of this. On the road itself, this year's race has been nothing short of amazing. Rasmussen himself was heroic, fighting off rellentless attacks by Alberto Contador and Team Discovery. The other prominent rider who was expelled, Vinokourov, was also heroic, winning two stages after falling in an earlier stage and and receiving 45 stitches to his knees. And the emergence of an astonishing young rider, the aforementioned Contador (who is now the race leader) has been exciting and refreshing. Finally, the brilliant (albeit unsuccessful) strategy of Team Discovery has been compelling.

I am saddened that the reputation of this great event has been so damaged. As a rider, I continue to be in awe of the phenomenal ability and strength of these riders who cover massive amounts of the most difficult terrain for three weeks straight. I am at a loss.

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  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger PsycleSteve said…

    I'll be stopping off in Italy... I mean, um..., er...., Mexico, on the way to Alyn. Care to join me?

  • At 11:42 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    If someone could promise me that I could climb like Rasmussen by taking a drug I'd say "where do I sign up".

  • At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No you wouldn't because of the harmful potential side effects. Don't you want to be there for the toddler. Why would you risk that by taking a drug just to climb a mountain better. Please tell me you are kidding.

  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger PsycleSteve said…

    I don't think that the majority are using "drugs" - it's mainly blood doping - using various methods to increase the amount of oxygen carrying red blood cells. It can be done by using drugs such as EPO to stimulate RBC growth, or by transfusions (Vino)of one's own or someone elses blood. Lance used to get this effect by sleeping in an oxygen deprivation tent which fools the body into producing more cells. Relatively harmless unless taken to the extreme.
    However, MoC, the benefit is a 2-3% gain, which in the Tour is a BIG difference for people who are separated by only minutes over 3 weeks of racing. For us mere mortals, the effect would hardly be noticed. Sorry.

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    anonymous. Of course I'm kidding. I'm always kidding.


    2 to 3% wouldn't even be enough to get me to do the Challenge Ride.


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