25 July 2007

Stage 16 DELAYED

Most of the riders are rolling in the neutral zone right now, but amid all the interviews and excitement after the positive test of Vinikourov, there are about a dozen riders who refuse to start riding.

Standing astride their bikes at the start line of the neutral zone, these riders delayed the race for about 30 seconds to a full minute and then started riding.

I can only surmise that this was in protest to the way in which testing is handled.

If you're not aware, the way I understand drug testing in cycling is that you are guilty until proven innocent; there are precious few 'baseline' tests done (so if someone has a superhuman day like Landis last year - then there's no way to see if that person's hormones are within an acceptable range of THEIR 'normal'); the appeals process is convoluted and fraught with single chances and riders are seldom if ever allowed to present their own tests or science.

That said, I still think cycling has some dirt in it that needs to be cleaned out.

Right now there's a live interview with the director of the race...but Stage 16 is rolling.

And from a pure sports point of view, this stage should decide with finality the winner of the 2007 Tour de France. I believe it will be Rasmussen, Cadel Evans, Contador or Levi Leipheimer. Maybe I shouldn't go so far out on a limb, but race position seldom changes much this far into a Tour.

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