Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Passing Thought...

I hate myself for it, but I must admit, there are occasionally times when I miss the era of ridiculous, drug-fuelled performances in cycling. My memories of Riis on Hautacam, of Pantani's in-the-drops attacks, of Jalabert building up nearly 11 minutes lead and still having almost half of it by the summit of Mende, they all seem so much more exciting than the current trend towards a short sharp burst in the final 2 or 3km of a mountain climb.

Today, however, I watched Fleche-Wallone and got to see a well-drilled chase from BMC, an attack from Carlos Betancur, a chase by Philip Gilbert, Peter Sagan, Joaquim Rodriguez, Sergio Henao and Daniel Moreno. I saw Gilbert drop Sagan, J-Rod fall back, and Moreno and Henao come over the top of Gilbert and Betancur. Ok, it was all pretty last minute, but it was lively.

Fleche-Wallone is the race where cycling fans first got wind of something seriously wrong in cycling. It was the race where doping went from being a way for bottle-carriers to survive races to a way for middling-to-top level riders to boost themselves to untouchable levels. For some reason none of the embed codes are working, but the link below has the pivotal moment for cycling, when four riders from a team tended by Dr Michele Ferrari just ride off the front, and three of them go on to hold off the might of a chasing peloton. And you know what? Compared to yesterday's Fleche Wallone, it's boring. What a relief.

(Edit: Yes, I know it jumps from "Today's Fleche Wallone" to "Yesterday's Fleche Wallone", that's how long I've been trying to get the video to embed!)