2006 Tour de France – Stages 13 and 14 Recap; Why DNA Banks are Bad

Jul 18 2006

I haven’t updated since Stage 12, and what is it, now? Stage 15? Geez, what a slacker. Good stuff to report on, too. On stage 13, Jens Voigt and Oscar Pereiro were the sole survivors from The Break of the ’06 Tour, with the unflappable German taking the win, and the aggressive Pereiro (who’s shown in the past he’s no pancake in the hills) taking Yellow from the Floyd by over a minute. Assessments on the tactical savvy of losing the GC lead by letting a break cruise home half-an-hour up range from brilliant to blunder, with everything in between. I tend to think any day Jens Voigt wins is a good day, despite the fact that he’s voiced support for a DNA database in the pursuit of doping.

I don’t feel, as does Ivan Basso’s lawyer that DNA tests are particularly traumatic or unreliable, just that my DNA is my business. If I were a cyclist suspected of doping, I’d have no problem supplying some blood to clear my name (not that I should have to, as Jan Ullrich points out). The UCI has already shown it cannot guarantee the confidentiality of its testing (or even properly punish its testing leaks), and no cyclist should have to risk the complete contents of their genetic makeup becoming a matter of public record, just so no-result mollycoddles like Jerome Pineau (who all but pronounced the peloton clean just two weeks ago) can rest easy knowing they’re getting smeared across the tarmac by top-level talent, not of top-level drugs.

But there I go again, making big sentences and getting sidetracked. Stage 14 was probably the best French victory yet, with Pineau’s teammate Pierick Fedrigo using good politics in the break, catching a bit of luck, and then outfoxing Salvatore Commesso in the sprint (no small order, as Vino’ once found out. Funny, but I can’t seem to ever recall Fedrigo yapping about dopers and two speeds in the media. Maybe he was out training or something – according to Laurent Fignon, it’s something the young Frenchmen tend to struggle with.

Today’s stage (15) rocks l’Alpe, with the Tour potentially on the line. I’ll report on it once results are in.

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