2006 Tour de France – Stages 2-4 Recap

Jul 6 2006

You may have thought, with so many favoites under dope suspensions, and with Jimmy Casper winning Stage 1, that this was going to be an utterly out-of-the-ordinary Tour de France. Well, wrong you are. Stages 2-4 contained Robbie McEwen stage wins 9 and 10, a late flyer for victory, a GC contender crashing out, the pointless relegation of a non-French rider, and lots of cows; all fairly common occurrences during the opening week. Perhaps the only real unusual thing to happen at this year’s Tour has been the inability of Boonen to win a sprint without his train. This guy is supposed to be a classics rider, right?

Unlike most recent Tours, however, there’s been no shortage of dope twists in ’06. The anti-doping gestapo have decided to toss us a bone of evidence. And it’s relatively convincing – if you want to believe the phone conversations of a guy who still doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Still, it’s easily grounds for an investigation; would it have been so hard to release the document before suspending the rider? Anyway, The Terror rolls on, with anything having a possible connection to doping now being news and a half. Even long-closed dope cases are being reopened, now that trampling riders’ rights is in trend; it’s quite possibly the worst time for Lance Armstrong to call his legal dogs off those Righteous Vigilantes of sport.

It is good to see though that the traditional methods of buying speed haven’t quite gone extinct. Just check out this gaggle of hot pro rides. I’ll save you the suspense – they’re all light and stiff. How light and stiff? Ha. Yeah right. Cycling publications wilt like lilies in a sandbox when it comes to quantitative analysis (though I am kinda curious to see how this study works out. Too bad about the different wheelsets and lack of power meter). There’s also a feature one of the uglier helmets I’ve ever seen. Giro might want to consider hiring away some product designers from Apple before their next big release. Also, considering what that ugly hunk of foam and carbon probably costs, you may want to take in some of Lennnard Zinn’s tips on how to not crash in the first place.

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