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The tour starts tomorrow (sorry, no design content)

Miscellaneous 4 16

And my how things were shaken up a bit today. Other blogs have already reported about today’s surprises, so I won’t go into much detail. Suffice it to say I was pretty upset to hear that numerous riders, including the race favorites, were ruled out of the tour. Now it appears that, as originally suspected, Vinokourov and the Astana-Wurth team will be out of the race as well.

Locally, the Greenville News Link picked up this story pretty fast. Of course, they reported the story as it relates to hometown pro George Hincapie. No doubt this turn of events increases Hincapie’s chances of an overall win, but I still have a hard time seeing it as a positive development in any way. Yeah maybe George or Floyd or Levi will be on the podium now, but this type of scandal is bad for cycling as a whole, right? Overall it is pretty disgusting. Or is it? Will the public see this as a serious attempt to clean up the sport? Will they even care? At this point I just don’t know.

4 Comments

  1. Tim Jackson- Masi Guy June 30, 2006 at 4:44 pm -  Reply

    In 1998 with Festina, the bike market took a hit. This is a much bigger development, as it involves multiple teams and the very top riders. This will lead to decreased sales of road bikes this summer, I predict. The public has a short attention span though, so I doubt it will last. For the US market, if another American rider wins, then it will just chug along with almost no noticable drop in sales. I do think the public cares, but I also think in it unrealistic to think this is in any way isolated. ALL sports have a drug problem and that isn’t changing as long as fame and/or fortune are available.

    Go Floyd/Geogre/Levi!

  2. tr June 30, 2006 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

    i really don’t know how the public will see this. as already stated, the drug problem is found in all sports…it’s more of a problem than post people want to admit.

    on a design note, i do feel that the UCI regulations regarding bike design and geometry do have somewhat of a role (perhaps slight) in this “doping culture” found in professional cycling. the restrictions imposed by the UCI regarding weight, aerodynamics, geometry, etc. was in response, in part, to the fact that the racing, in the UCI’s eyes, was starting to seem like it was all about machine, and less about man (which i, personally, would disagree with). the revised regulations somewhat leveled the playing field regarding technology and design, therefore putting more focus, and pressure, on the performance of the rider.

    i would much rather see gains in cycling due to design and technology of bikes, than to see riders win by artificially enhancing their bodies.

  3. Tim Jackson- Masi Guy July 2, 2006 at 2:00 pm -  Reply

    And now George is in yellow… Greenville must be going nuts!

  4. James July 3, 2006 at 7:02 am -  Reply

    Tim, you are right. All of Greenville is very excited to see Hincapie in yellow. It is great that the race is getting so much local coverage even if it is a bit skewed. Today, the whole front page of the paper was about George:

    http://greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060703/SPORTS/607030317

    Regarding you earlier comment, you are right that this is much bigger than the Festina scandal. You make a good point about the public’s short attention span though. Even after Virenque initially lied about doping himself as he was trying to implicate others, he came back to racing and the adoring French fans seemed to forgive him. When he won his 7th KOM jersey, fans didn’t seem to care about his doping past. Not to isolate the French fans. That is just one example tied to Festina, but the same thing can occur anywhere.

    TR, Blaming the UCI for the drug problem in cycling is a bit of a stretch, but I like your point. Thanks for bringing this post back around to include some design content. I am for anything that challenges the UCI’s draconian policies about the design of bikes for competition.

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