More Jaksche, Curse of the National Champ Jersey?

Jul 3 2007

I know I said I was done talking about doping yesterday, but Cyclingnews’ additional coverage on Jaksche is just too good. The specificity with which he calls out Walter Godefroot has apparently convinced Astana to jettison him – after the Tour, that is. So if you’re a Tour de France rider, you’ve gotta sign the pledge; if you don’t, you might find yourself staying home. But if you’re a team director, eh, no big deal.

Now, it’s fine by me that a guy like Bjarne Riis can direct a team at the Tour. He confessed completely, and has made the most ostensible commitments to clean cycling of any director to date. Even if Jaksche’s revelations spun Riis’ team doctors into full-on damage control mode, I honestly find their explanation of cortizone use acceptable – though it’s worth noting that other teams have controlled it more strictly in the past. But this “we didn’t use anything on the banned list” argument has never held much weight with me. After all, everything is legal until someone decides to ban it, right?

Anyway, the National Titles – not such a big deal this year. I mean, check out this provisional TdF start list: Belgian Champ Stijn Devolder – not racing. Sweedish Champ Magnus Backstedt – not racing. Joaquin Rodriguez, first Spanish Champ in two years – not racing. Other non-starters: Giovanni Visconti (ITA), Koos Moerenhout (NED); heck, Denmark’s National Champ doesn’t even ride for a ProTour squad. Honestly, are any countries not celebrating their independence this July sending National Road Champions to the Tour de France? Or is it that national federations are a bit nervous about having their emblematic jerseys get blown up on 7 July’s second anniversary?

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