While I have been told that I am too trusting by many people, I find myself being a skeptic here in the last day or two of the 2011 Tour de France. As almost anyone knows – even those who do not follow the sport of cycling, doping allegations and proven cases have been rampant in the sport in the last ten years. While regulatory agencies are trying to clean cycling up as much as possible, it seems every major event brings about new accusations.
As the 2010 Tour de France wrapped up, news approximately a month later was that the winner, Alberto Contador of Spain, had a sample test positive. Contador defended himself saying the drugs in his system had come from meat treated with the drug. The final determination regarding this doping has not been made yet as the 2011 Tour is about to wrap up. My skeptism this year wraps around Contador.
Contador looked human in the Pyrenees. He didn’t have much on these mountains. He tried to take seconds away from his time that he was behind the leaders and did not do it. He, through my non-rosy glasses, looked like a man who suddenly did not have that extra that was necessary to win. In this case, he looked like a man who was trying to stay squeaky clean and that was making his riding less than effective in the mountains – an area where he had excelled in the past.
Then, there were rest days and some flatter stages prior to rolling into the Alps. Contador looked like the cyclist of old in the Alps. While he did not win a stage, or really take back time to draw himself closer to the leaders, he attacked and attacked again on these ascents. He did not look like the same cyclist that had ridden through the Pyrenees. Something – and the skeptic in me does not think it was pride – motivated him a bit more in the Alps.
While I know in my heart I should believe this man innocent until he is defnitely proven guilty (as if a positive blood test is not enough), I can’t for some reason. Maybe it is the persona that Contador has presented in previous years. Maybe it is the cockiness Contador always presents. Maybe it is just the skeptic in me.
Do you follow professional cycling? What do you think of the various riders in the 2011 Tour de France? What do you think of Contador?