It’s like the TdF is kryptonite, because Roberto Heras flew like Superman to the top of Valdelinares today, taking the stage win and swiping the jersey from Brad McGee. When Heras is on, no one can climb anywhere near him. Denis Menchov gave it the old college try, though, ceeding only 13 seconds the scrawny Iberian, and now sits only six seconds back on GC. Infinity seconds back is Euskatel’s Iban Mayo, who has now abandoned yet another grand tour. There was also racing the Tour of Britan today. No idea on conditions or how it developed or anything, but Quick.Step’s Luca Paolini took the stage win, while teammate Nick Nuyens held on to the overall lead.
For today’s installment of “Ask A Random Person Somehow Related To Cycling What They Think About Armstrongate,” we have Alessandro Donati, who apparently works for Gazzetto dello Sport, but has previously served as a member of the Italian Olympic committee and president of the “I Hate Michele Ferrari Club.” Donati has recently been quoted in the German daily Die Zeit, taking the thus far unusual position that l’Equipe has not gone far enough.
“No one could achieve what Armstrong has achieved taking EPO on its own. EPO improves your breathing capacity. But you also need other substances, such as anabolics, testosterone and a lot of others.”
At least, this is Cyclingnews’ translation. The English version of German mag ProCycling phrases things a bit differently. Anyway, it should be noted that Donati is no stranger to making sweeping and controvertial allegations. In 1996, he stirred up a hornets’ nest by claiming EPO was used by 70% of professional cyclists; during this most recent interview, argued that “practically 100 per cent” of pro riders dope in some way. His reason for believeing this? “Tactics plays a very minor role. What you need absolutely most of all is sheer physical strength.” Riiiiight. With a drafting advantage of up to 40%, cycling isn’t tactical? Anyone who compares Italian Nordic Ski Teams of late 90’s with those of today can see a sport where sheer power (and EPO) really matters.
Some more little bits of news for you: Allan Davis’ little bro Scott (who has been described as “the fast one”) might be jumping into Erik Zabel’s old boots at T-Mobile next season. Alexandro Valverde, after being “definately out” for World’s seems to be pulling a bit of a Monty Python, and warming to the idea he might be good to go and take a shot at the Rainbow Jersey in Madrid by the end of the month. And just when you thought he was out, is he pulling himself back in? Giancarlo Ferretti, the “Godfather” (yuk yuk) of the Italian Fassa Bortolo outfit, is rumored to be trying to find a new sponsor and team to help him keep his ProTour license. Gibo Simoni has apparently already yapped about heading the the new sqaud, despite being closely linked to Quick.Step for next season.