Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

6.30.2006

Wide Open for the Americans

For the past few weeks a situation has been developing in Spain where a doctor was caught providing professional athletes from a host of sports with banned substances. The details aren't completely clear yet, but information is slowly being distributed to governments, governing bodies, and the press. 58 cyclists are said to be involved. A couple of teams have lost sponsors and trainers. A preliminary report finally reached the Tour de France organizers in the last two days, and it looks like a good 20 riders are going to be suspended before the race gets under way. No one has been proven guilty yet, but some have been caught at least lying. The team coaches/sponsors have all previously agreed to an ethical statement that riders will not be allowed to race while under investigation for doping, and they have decided to honor that agreement.

The top five finshers in last year's race: Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Francisco Mancebo, Alexandre Vinokourov. Armstrong: now retired. Basso: a pre-race favorite, now suspended, is maintaining his innocence and vowing to fight the allegations. Ullrich: a pre-race favorite, now suspended, is maintaining his innocence and vowing to fight the allegations. Mancebo: a definite contender, now suspended, decided today to retire from cycling. Vinokourov: a definite contender, not implicated individually, but part of one of the primary teams involved; the entire team has withdrawn.

So who does this leave? The other names being tossed around as serious contenders behind Basso and Ullrich include: Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, the best rider from Discovery--potentially George Hincapie, Paolo Savoldelli, Yaroslav Popovych, or Jose Azevedo--Cadel Evans, Alejandro Valverde, Denis Menchov, Damiano Cunego, and a few others. Basso's Team CSC and Ullrich's T-Mobile each have a number of riders with the potential to contend (including American Bobby Julich on CSC, who was third in 1998, the last time the Tour was rocked by this kind of controversy) but who have been preparing for support roles, so we'll have to wait and see on them. It's wide open now, but I really like the chances of the three top Americans: Landis, Hincapie, and Leipheimer, in that order.

Since I was planning on making a pick today, I'll make my prediction: the winner of the 2006 Tour de France will be Floyd Landis (who gets the edge because we share a Mennonite background).

2 Comments:

At 6/30/2006 6:36 PM, Blogger The Girl in Black said...

Whoa! That is quite the development.

But Landis, the dude that bailed from Discovery for a shot at fame-- over the dutiful lieutenant content to support Lance? I don't know. It would seemingly be Hincapie's time.

Besides, poor Floyd needs a catchier moniker. Doesn't sound rockstar enough.

 
At 6/30/2006 10:56 PM, Blogger Degolar said...

Sentimentally I'd like to see George win, but I think Floyd has a better chance. Up to now he's been better at both climbing and time trialing. He's younger. And he's had a year to adjust to the pressure of being a team leader. George doesn't even know if he'll end up as the leader or still in a support role, whereas Floyd's goal is clear and his team is all there to help him.

 

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