This article originally appeared on The Roar
First Roman Kreuziger, then Daryl Impey. Who next? Which of the best men from their generation will join these two fallen warriors, needle in arm/sicknote from Mum in hand/shocked expression on their chops (delete as approptiate) on the naughty step?
I’m with Sean Lee on this one, I have indeed heard it all before, and now Impey joins the long list of ‘It wasn’t me, honest’ chaps who invariably get slapped with a suspension.
Don’t fret though Daryl, Frank Schleck will be on the blower soon enough with some consoling words too, because he also never cheated but still got whacked with a ban.
The timing of the Kreuziger and Impey news is interesting, and does follow a pattern of sorts. Is ASO sending out a message to would-be dopers ahead of the Tour to let them know that they won’t be happy if they find any unsightly track marks and unauthorised inhalers?
Who can blame them? We’re a good few months into Brian Cookson’s new reign at the UCI and if I’m not mistaken, cycling fans who want a cleaner sport are still wondering just what plans are afoot to tackle the problem of chemically-enhanced performances.
There seems to be a whole lot of bluster and no little bluff, but just where the new policies and initiatives are is anyone’s guess.
Next up for a grilling are the Trek Factory boys. Samsung has just announced that they will be sponsoring the team which is good, though Fabian Cancellara’s interview recently when he spoke about the electronics giant coming on board was not quite as good.
“To say cycling has a bad past is bad,” he said, which makes me wonder what question could have prompted him to start talking about Lance Armstrong’s favourite subject when he was talking about his team’s newest sponsor.
“Cycling has lots of potential for sponsors. We should not look in the past, we have to look to the future. When we talk about the problems in sport, we should remember it’s a global sports problem, not only cycling had problems, the whole of sport had problems. These partners showed there’s a future.”
Agreed, global sports is also screwed, when you look closely enough, but the whole ‘forget the past thing’ is utter tripe. These guys may ride bikes very well but that doesn’t mean they have to be listened to when it comes to matters related to doping, thank goodness.
Back from the dead to a sort of waking coma stage are the aforementioned Frank and his brother Andy, who are both on the Trek roster for the Tour. The younger of the two once won one of those Yellow Maillot things once, remember?
Back in 2010? When he came second? But then Alberto Contador got busted for his love of Spanish beef? No, I can see I’ve lost you. Check Wikipedia. It happened, trust me.
Anyway, Andy is now pants, he even admits as much too.
“I’ve still got a name, good capacity and good legs even if I’m going into the Tour with low ambitions,” he trumpeted into the paper bag he’d just about managed to fight his way out of.
“There’s no need to go back over the past,” he continued, as he perched on Cancellara’s shoulder. “There’s a good interview on Cyclingnews that explains the last two years. This is not the place to go into details.”
So, where is the place Andy? Rumours are a-flying, you don’t need me to tell you that. A curious case indeed. Top 10 for the former Tour winner? I’d be surprised by a top 25.
Interestingly, Chris Froome out in his tuppence regarding Impey, a good friend of his, when he said it was “shocking” to hear of the South African’s positive test result.
However he did set himself apart from Cancellara and Andy when he started talking about the past, making it clear that he believes cycling has to sort the past out before it can move on.
“I do think it’s a good thing that we talk about it,” he said in a press conference ahead of the Tour start in Yorkshire. “That we put all of our cards on the table and we tell people how it is now. It is a shame that with cycling’s past we find ourselves in this situation now.
“But the only way we’re going to move on from it is to accept what has happened. Get it all out there. And then move on. Show people this is not how it’s done any more.”
Agreed! Shall we start with Sky then? Or…?
Finally, and back to Fabian for this one, the cobbles! The big man has warned of a “big attack” on the cobbles that loom in the first week of the 2014 Tour.
“When people ask if it’s safe or not, I say that we’re in the Tour de France and it’s part of racing,” he said of the decision to include the hallowed stones in the Tour.
I’ve already made my views clear on this subject as indeed did many of you, but it’s worth reminding ourselves of the havoc these cobbles could wreak on the peloton, and in particular on the skinny men.
Froome and Contador won’t like the idea of the stones and neither will the Schlecks, but hey, this is bike racing. The sprinters don’t like going uphill but they’d never ask for the Ventoux to be taken out of the race.
Suck it up, calorie counters!
Oh and just in case you’ve missed it – the Tour de France starts this Saturday. A part of me doesn’t want to enjoy it and yet I know I’ll be glued to my screen as the action unfolds. It’s tough love.
But it’s our love.