Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"Trials and Tribulations"

i came across an interesting article from CycleSport from what looks like a 2003 Tour (Centenary) special. for those who haven't read CycleSport but love the cycling racket, it's certainly worth the read. great pics. indepth articles. it originates in England and can be expensive as hell. afortunadamente, my wife works in bookstore.

the article has the aforementioned title. following are a series of major scandals that have rocked the Tour since its inception. we weep and moan at Operacion Puerto; will it kill the Tour? taking these into account, no. will all the major sponsors stay? will cyclists make top $$? will it be one of the top sports in Europe? these are different questions, but the Tour will remain.

1903 Riders threatened at gunpoint by roving marauders. Riders later threatened beaten by pissed-off crowd with sticks. and some kind of train scandal too.

1907 Leader Georget disqualified for riding borrowed bike.

1911 Leader Duboc poisoned from borrowed bidon, perhaps from competitor Garrigou. Garrigou later disguised to avoid lynching from crowd.

1924 Previous winner Pelissier (and brother) quit on 3rd stage after being found with "cocaine, chloroform, and pills".

1935 Francesco Cepada of Spain dies in crash.

1937 Previous 2-time winner Maes withdraws un protest after being penalized, having pepper thrown into their (Belgian contingent) faces, and one Belgian rider having his bike sawed through.

1950 Former winner Bartali, and rest of Italian team, withdraws after tiff (sp?) with Robic and French. Crowd unpleasant on Cole d'Aspin, Bartali crashes.

1953 Previous winner Coppi shows up as spectator with mistress, "scandalizes much of Europe".

1967 Former World-Champion Tom Simpson dies of drug overdose/heat exhaustion.

1978 Leader Michele Pollentier found hiding hardware to provide fake urine (or at least someone else's) at drug test. Booted!

1988 Leader Pedro Delgado found to have steriod masking agent probenicid in urine. listed on IOC banned list, but not on cycling list. allowed to continue under cloud.

1995 Italian Fabio Casartelli dies in crash. Teammate Lance Armstrong wins stage two days later in honor.

1998 Festina Scandal.

2006 Operacion Puerto scandal.

as you can see, a juicy history. this, of course, doesn't include farmer protests, worker strikes, random glass and stuff on roads, rider strikes and protests, etc. a juicy history indeed! The King is Dead. Long live the King!

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