The Tailwind Backstab, Tour of Germany

Aug 11 2007

Man, I feel really sore all of a sudden. I’m thinking maybe this had something to do with it? I mean, this is a new era in cycling. I was jonesing hard for that “I’m about to get busted” confession. I suppose with old Johan looking over his shoulder, we should have never expected anything else out of Contador, but in cycling’s current atmosphere, the unflappable “I swear on the grave of my dog” announcement carries about as much weight as a subprime mortgage investment. In today’s era, clean or not, Contador’s name will always be shaded with tints of dope.

Possibly the clearest indication of this change in attitude was the announced dissolution today of the Tailwind Sports juggernaut. With quite possibly the most convoluted logic I’ve ever heard, the team management explained themselves, saying, essentially, “yeah, we could have gotten a sponsor, but it just wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.” Excuse me? Since when has a gang of ubercapitalists ever had qualms about securing an investment? A lawsuit is the only thing that I could see inspiring that sort of scruple. And what, exactly, could make a cycling sponsor sue a team? Oh, I dunno…

Furthermore, I think we all remember 2004, when a certain Lance Armstrong hunted down Filippo Simeoni during a Tour de France stage, to prevent the Italian from even riding in a break. Ole’ One-Nut’s explanation for the move was, literally, “I was protecting the interests of the peloton” from a guy who “says bad things…about the group in general.” So who’s going to drag you back to the field, you simple-minded hypocrite? Could you possibly have sent a more destructive message about cycling than “It’s too dangerous to put money into the sport now?” Every time I see you stump for more cancer research, I find myself further hoping that you’ll relapse.

But enough negativity, supposition and intrigue! We’re off to what may now be the cleanest land in all of cycling – Germany. The Deutchlandtour’s first stage was taken by Robert Forster, who’s really been making a case to have his name listed among the top echelon of sprinters this season. Team CSC struck back in the Second Stage TTT, and returned 2006 winner Jens Voigt to the leaders’ jersey. The attentive fan will note that Team CSC has been a very committed sponsor, even instituting and releasing intra-team blood tests. Forster’s Gerolsteiner squad is also no slouch in supporting clean cycling.

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