Its been a busy couple of weeks in the world of cycling since the Olympics came to a close. We’ve seen the return of Contador in the Vuelta a Espana, Cavendish secured more stage wins in the tour of Denmark and the biggest story of them all involving Lance Armstrong.
7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong decided not to contest accusations of doping offences any further. United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) claim to have sufficient evidence to prove that Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs during his Tour de France wins and have stripped him of all his titles and issued a lifetime ban. Lance Armstrong never once failed a drugs test as a pro rider whilst many of his rivals were banned for doping offences during a dark period of cycling.
Journalists have been quick to take Armstrongs failure to challenge the USADA as a statement of guilt. Why else would he not want to challenge to clear his name? They claim to have 10 of his former team mates willing to give evidence proving he took drugs. Armstrong who has battled to beat cancer seems unwilling to fight any further to clear his name in what he described as a ‘witch hunt’ to ban him from the sport.
Whether Lance stays as a cycling icon or another name to add to the list of cheats seems to lie in personal opinion. I for one find it hard to believe that a cyclist who never failed a drugs test can be proven guilty, especially by an outside organisation that doesn’t govern the sport. There’s a lot of people who share the same opinion, but with USADA ready to showcase their evidence it may be a only a matter of time before the truth is out.
From one accused drug cheat to one who was banned for 2 years and stripped of his Tour de France titles. Alberto Contador returned to action in the Vuelta a Espana and after 2 weeks battling behind Rodriguez, today he took the overall lead going into the final day of the race. Rodriguez had full control of the race having secured 3 stage wins and coming through the toughest of mountains with his lead in tact. However, Contador raced away in stage 17 to overhaul Rodriguez to lead the race by 1:52”. Chris Froome lies in fourth place after droping significant time in the last 2 stages. Froome looked a strong contender in the race but fatigue caught up with him in the mountains and he will finish outside of the podium spots.
And Finally…Sunday marks the return of British cyclings prodigal son. The Tour of Britain begins with man of the moment, 4 times Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins returning to his saddle for the first time since taking gold in the London Olympic time trial. Big crowds are expected after Wiggins has propelled cycling into the spotlight with his dominance this year. Mark Cavendish is also riding in what will be his last race wearing the World Champion jesrsey, before the 2012 championships begin later this month