Monday, May 23, 2011

Doubling Up over the Weekend

Today's rest day at the Giro d'Italia was a welcome respite for everyone not named Alberto Contador or wearing an orange jersey. With the last week of the Giro presenting the riders with only more mountains to climb (save for the final time trial in Milan), it is unlikely that we'll see many other names or colored jerseys on the stage podiums from here on out.

On Saturday, Igor Anton of Euskatel-Euskadi was able to power away from Alberto (the first rider able to do that all race) and take the stage on top of the Zoncolan:

Igor was visibly excited about his win. I'm not sure what gearing he was using heading up this most ridiculous of mountains that maxes out at 22 or 23% on all three routes, but word on the street is that AC had a 34x32. It would seem that with a gear that low, professional riders would be able to ride up the side of a building.

Sunday brought a repeat of Saturday in that the team from the Basque Country was again victorious, this time with Mikel Nieve:

7 hours; what took you so long?Slumped over his handlebars at the stages finish, Nieve was clearly worn out after the 229 kilometer, seven and a half hour "epic." It would have taken him over eight hours, but anyone would ride fast if they were being chased by this guy:

The rapture will begin May 21st!  What, it didn't happen?  Shit. The big loser on the day was Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali who took a flyer and paid for it in the end. His compatriot, Michele Scarponi leap-frogged him in the GC. Heading into the final week AC has a solid lead of 4:20, and if he continues to ride anywhere near as well as he has been, this race was over after he first donned the maglia rosa.

Of course, the big news from the weekend was Tyler Hamilton's interview on 60 Minutes. Naturally Armstrong's camp categorically denied all of the accusations leveled at him in the interview by stating that Hamilton has no credibility. It even created a horrible website that is the equivalent of a school-aged child responding to his classmates poking fun at him by saying, "na ah!" What I noticed was how whenever Hamilton accused LA of doping, he always turned the gun on himself and expressed how it wasn't simply an interview to inform the world of what LA did, but also what Hamilton and a bunch of other riders in the peloton did.

This interview is huge news, as it is another of Lance's former teammates, and this time one of his former top domestiques, coming out and telling the world what they saw. How will this all unfold? I'm not sure. Will the truth ever be revealed? I hope so, if not for the sport of cycling, at least for the fans. Will Livestrong feel any negative repercussions? Perhaps, but only because the LA supporters who also support Livestrong can't seem to differentiate between fighting cancer and cheating. Will I ever stop asking questions of myself and answering them poorly? Yes, you can't count on that happening - now.

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