It's been a rough week for the Tour de France. For starters, the French anti-doping police have been targeting questionable riders and coming up rather successful in their quest to rid the peloton of cheaters. Now, I'm sure that target list has help in being made from ASO; it's far from random testing.
The biggest star to fall was Riccardo Ricco. The double stage winner was remarkable to watch in the mountains but proved no match to the neon-vested medical control personnel that swarmed around after each finish. On the Hautacam stage alone they tested the first nine riders. On the time trial stage they tested up to fifteen different riders. There is no UCI here so the French Federation can adjust and do what they want to make sure that they have a clean race. I figure this is the way it should be done and they have made fast business in cleaning up the Tour.
The above picture shows just two of about ten neon-vest people that run around every day. They are standing in front of the mobile drug-testing trailer where each athlete is required to give their sample when their number is requested.
As for bike racing, no one can catch Mark Cavendish. He has won 4 stages, the most of any British rider and has a burst of speed that no one can match. Each time in the final 50 meters, you can see him switch gears and accelerate past everyone. He also gives a pretty good interview, unlike some other riders who seem to have no personality at all.
I actually have a nickname for Cavendish: "the horse." This is because every time I interview him he is always moving his head from side to side looking beyond and glancing back. I have to move my microphone all over the place just to keep it near his mouth to hear his words. Pay attention next time, or go back and look at some of the early days.
Speaking of dull, what do you think of Cadel Evans? A rider with a ton of talent that follows wheels, almost never attacks, and has a voice that some people find shrill. Speaking of shrill, check out youtube and type "Cadel Evans don't touch me." It's funny and scary.
Of course, you have to remember that Cadel spends probably over an hour longer than anyone else at the finish because of the media requirements.
The big mountains are around the corner and this will not only be Cadel's first big test in yellow but also his team's first test to defend yellow in the mountains.