Tour de France - Performances Still Believable?
How jaded have we become?
times when I’ve posted about this subject on my Facebook page I usually get at least one, “I only follow this for the entertainment value. I don’t believe these performances are legitimate” type of response.
While Froome and Quintana put in amazing performances on the slopes of the Ventoux they paid the price once they crossed the line. I read that both had to be given oxygen and there was video of Quintana sitting in the road, doubled over, chest heaving, and unable to even unbuckle his helmet. He had left everything on the road. Does this prove innocence? Of course not.
Is it up to the media to brainstorm ideas for Brailsford so we can sleep better at night knowing a bike racer is riding clean? No.
What we do know is that we’ve seen some great performances in this Tour de France and not just from Sky. Mark Cavendish winning from a breakaway, which also completely upended Valverde’s chances of winning the Tour. Peter Sagan’s powerful sprint showing how, like Froome, barring a catastrophic disaster, he will win the green jersey competition.
What about the drama the Tour de France produces year in and year out? We had the heart-wrenching Ted King story. There’s the sideshow aspect like the GreenEdge team bus jammed under the finish line, to Sagan pulling a wheelie at the base of the Ventoux, and a guy running alongside the riders with a stuffed boar.
This is the centennial Tour de France and no matter how many scandals it has to endure, there will always be the Tour. The past has indeed clouded our perception of the race, but we can’t let it ruin our love of it. There’s so much more to it than just a bunch of skinny guys riding their bikes. It’s an event steeped in history. It’s an event where people go for a vacation. It’s an event that, no matter what happens, brings a sense of national pride to people. Don’t let the doping ghosts of past generations ruin it for you. But don’t put on those rose-tinted glasses either. That’s the delicate dance we must do when we see amazing performances. I don’t expect (or want) you to be investigative journalists and scream DOPER at every stage winner.
Just remember why you loved cycling in the first place and let your gut lead you from there. Does this result bear further scrutiny or is it a legitimate result?
Some of this year’s stages will require a bit of soul-searching by the die-hard fan. Is Froome as clean as he claims? Again, I don’t know, but personally I’m not at that point where I’m willing to lump him with the dopers of the past. However, I will continue to question results (as should you) as I have and we have all been burned before.
As I was finishing up this piece, I read Jason Gay’s excellent article in The Wall Street Journal, “The Awkwardness of the Tour de France.” He had visited Mellow Johnny’s bike shop, opened by Armstrong. Inside, Gay