Paul Winkley writes…
So Contador wins the Giro with little or no preparation.
This should really focus the minds of the organisers of the Tour de France and their decision to exclude the Astana team from this year’s race. Despite a very good parcours many of us outside of France will not take the result of this year’s event seriously.
As usual there is not too much ‘entente cordial’ with the usual French self interest and double standards, isn’t it ironic that the antics and drug abuse of ‘Tricky Dicky’ Veronique was ignored for many years! You only have to follow the Tour on French TV to get a less than one sided view. The Tours history is littered with many other strange decisions and for years dogged Lance Armstrong with allegations of doping.
Much has been made already of its uneven treatment of other teams caught up in doping scandals in last year’s event. With Rabobank, Cofidis and High Road – Columbia [Ex – T Mobile] all being included.
With the prominence of the new world order in cycling, history may judge ASO as foolish in its stand against the UCI. Indeed, the Tour may have peaked in popularity and with two of the largest new teams registered in North America they might eventually find a shift in commercial interests.
The UCI is not blameless in this and should have scrapped the ProTour long ago; however, the ASO and French Federations tactics in running Paris – Nice and The TdF without UCI sanction should have made French riders ineligible to ride the Olympics and The Worlds in my humble opinion. Mind you would anyone notice apart from the lack of whingeing?
Maybe the ASO has already seen ‘the writing on the wall’ and has just bought a 49% interest in Unipublic the organisers of The Vuelta – Tour of Spain and has also recently bought an interest in the Tour of California. Maybe this is just a bid to usurp the UCI?
Above all let’s hope for a clean TdF in 2008 with believable performances. If not it’s really ‘Egg on face’ time for Messrs Prudholme and Clerc.