Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TDF: The Missile Gets Torpedoed

Today's although-not-crash-free-but-relatively-quiet Stage 10 had quite the sprinters run for the finish as Brit favorite Mark "The Missile" Cavendish was beat out at the last second by German Andre Greipel (Team Omega Pharma-Lotto).

Greipel is described as Cavendish's "Arch Rival", so this must have really pissed Mark off today.

The duo were team-mates and outspoken rivals last season, with Greipel denied his chance to ride in the Grand Tours by Cavendish's presence in the HTC-Highroad squad.

In other words, Cavendish took Greipels spot on the team. So today's sprint was a grudge-match.

However it was the first time ever that Greipel beat Cavendish outright in a sprint. Cavendish must've timed something wrong or thought that Greipel was further behind then he was and let up too soon.

Also today, Yarosolav Popovych (Team Radioshack) retired from the race this morning after coming down with a fever and in big news, Alexandr Kolobnev (Team Katusha), quit the race after failing doping controls.

The rider dropped out of the Tour on Monday after the International Cycling Union said a urine sample collected from Kolobnev last Wednesday tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic that can also be used as a masking agent.

Police searched his room but found nothing.

Kolobnev said he doesn't know how the banned diuretic got into his urine sample. He said he was waiting for the results of a test of his 'B' sample.

Katusha's team statement said that "If the 'B' sample also tests positive, he will be fired and will have to pay five times his salary as a fine."

Doesn't pay to dope unless you're named Lance.

In the other news regarding the now infamous car crash from the other day, tour organizers and tour officials have passed tough new rules to keep the media cars away from the riders DURING the fucking race.

Between cycling teams, organizers, police, and media, nearly 170 cars and motorcycles are on the course each stage. Many, like the France Télévisions car that clipped Flecha, are authorized to drive around the peloton throughout the day.

170 cars! That's so ridiculous. What on God's Earth would Eddie Merckx or Bernard Hinault have to say? In their day the Tour was riders and support cars only.

But Tuesday brought new restrictions for media vehicles on the course, including a mandate that cars must keep a two-minute distance from the race when roads permit.

“What we witnessed two days ago was both unacceptable and shocking,” said Jean-François Pescheux, the race’s director of competition.

Flecha, a rider for Britain’s Team Sky, spent Monday morning undergoing X-rays in a local hospital. He arrived at an afternoon press conference heavily bandaged. “I haven’t heard anything from the driver,” he said. “I don’t even know his name.”

The driver is known to French police, however.

Police spent yesterday interviewing witnesses, riders, and even the driver, though neither investigators nor Tour de France officials have released his or her name.

Trust us, the driver is IN TROUBLE.

Stay tuned for more mountain stages this week!

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