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July 22, 2013


"he appears to be clean"

Perhaps I am jaded, but I am unsure what being clean "looks like." In the past there were people I thought were clean (for various reasons), but I was mistaken in pretty much all cases.

Right now one thing that might make me think a rider is clean is seeing climbing stats that are worse than those of the past dopers. Not sure what this would look like though. Wattage? Alpe h'Huez time? Even these stats would seem to have a lot of variability (e.g. how hot was it, what did the previous stage look like, was it the second big climb of the day, etc.)

Agree on the scenery though.

I agree in general about "appears to be," but in this case Froome is not - as Armstrong was - surrounded by suspicious individuals (including those with the suspicious jawline of a George Hincapie) nor followed, so far as I know, by rumors of drug-taking (even though Lance fended these off for many years by passing every test they could concoct - his chemists were simply better!). They say he has also submitted performance details that would seem to refute a marked, and therefore suspicious, recent improvement; I'm not quite sure what these would be or how the analysis would work, however.

All this being said, I've been burned before and am reconciled to the possibility of being burned again.

Froome is clean - at least I'd put money on his being so that I would not have put on 'so long, Lance'. His (relative) frailty on the last few stages does not give the appearance of someone doping.

I was most impressed by Cavendish, who was clearly out of sorts on the Tour, and still managed a couple of stage wins.

Predictions... Froome will be back in yellow next year, with a more together Sky team (no team car breakdowns, for example, and fewer crashes), though Quintana will be serious opposition... and Cavendish will overwhelm the Germans on stage wins.

But will Wiggins be back? And what will that mean in terms of Sky strategy?

And - perhaps most important - how much Scenery Porn is there in Yorkshire, where the Tour begins??

Wiggins ought to be fit next year and will more than likely be back. I don't think any other team will match his salary, so Sky will find a way to use him, and if anyone can manage the egos involved, then they can.
Porte will probably get his chance in Italy next year - keeping him happy in 2015 might be quite another matter.

Stage 1 through the Yorkshire Dales is rather splendid; stage 2 a little ore industrial, but parts of the old mill towns are not unattractive.
Just pray for good weather.

These guys are tough.

I'm just dredging up a memory, wasn't there a guy last year who had a spill, broke his collarbone and still kept racing. I also remember the odd fact that he was using a mouthguard to keep himself from grinding this teeth down and he had to use a new mouthguard each day. Jeez.

This year Jean Claude Peraud rode on broken collarbone until near the end of the time trial he had a sickening fall on that very shoulder. In 2003 Tyler Hamilton cracked his collarbone on the first stage, rode three more weeks to finish the Tour. In 2011 Johny Hoogerland was knocked by a car (!) into a barbed wire fence while traveling at full speed, and finished. Yeah . . . tough.

(Just google "Tour de France injuries" for many more cases, with details and, in some cases, photographs)

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