Category: tour de france

TdF: Another one bites the dust

Maybe not too unbelievable, but disappointing none the less: Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco of Team Saunier Duval tested positive for synthetic EPO and CERA before the start of today’s 12th Stage of the Tour de France. Saunier Duval has pulled out of the Tour de France.

Before he was pulled from the race this morning, Ricco was in the top 10 of the GC and points and led in the mountains. His team, Saunier Duval – Scott, was in third place when Stage 11 concluded yesterday.

As I write this, Stage 12 is almost concluded in Narbonne. Watch for complete updates.

EPO is a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Continuous erythropoiesis receptor activator (CERA) is a new drug still undergoing FDA review that’s used to enhance the effect of EPO on red blood cell production.

Trust But Verify plenty of commentary on how this story is breaking. The comments there at TBV are interesting, too. Among the tidbits there:

  • A comment from a drug expert who says there’s no test for CERA.
  • ASO isn’t testing French team riders: “Of the Crédit Agricole riders, only stage winner Thor Hushovd was tested since the start of the race.”
  • “L’Equipe…has become the ersatz source of doping announcements for the ASO.”

The comments about “il Cobra” coming out of Italian blogs are fascinating:

  • L’onestà è una speculazione (saying of l’ex maglia gialla Kim Kirchen’s skepticism of Ricco): “Che smacco.”
  • From a comment at the Italian Motor Sports blog: “As always when an Italian is likely to dominate in cycling come the doping allegations.”
  • Oops, it looks like Ricco was on the Italian Olympic squad. His positive test puts his participation in question.
  • Finally, Diego @ Sui Pedali expresses his extreme disappointment:

    The disappointment is indescribably immense because of this new betrayal. Here on Sui Pedali I always focus on the sport of cycling and don’t emphasize the problem of doping. We don’t do this because of disinterest or because I’m convinced the problem doesn’t exist, but because there are so many other beautiful stories to tell. Faced with this case, however, I cannot remain vague or leave this as a footnote of another article.

Tour de France Stage 10

KWC really should consider a career in sports writing, although his current profession pays much better I’m sure. Check this out:

We get a rock ’em sock ’em mountain stage with carnage spread over two giant mountains. The race was blown up like a pinata by CSC and Saunier Duval swept in to pick up the candy.

The only thing missing was a metaphor about storming the gates of Bastille on this French national holiday in which French cyclist Rémy Di Grégorio of Française des Jeux win Most Aggressive Rider. Compare against this humdrum “just the facts” reporting from Velo News:

Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) seized the yellow jersey atop Hautacam on Monday as Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott) won the mountainous stage 10 of the Tour de France.

Alistair at Pez Cycling shows some enthusiasm about today’s mountain stage, and Bike Hiker is camping in the woods so he’s following and covering le Tour through his cell phone which sounds either abusive or dedicated. More also from TdF Blog, and the other usual suspects.

Who will win le Tour? Masiguy has a poll up at his site where most voters now are picking Cadel Evans. Before today’s stage I would have picked Valverde but he’s toast now.

Manuel Beltran – EPO

Tour de France: Liquigas cyclist Manuel Beltran positive for EPO.

Update: Bobke on Beltran. Trust But Verify expresses some cynicism about L’Equipe breaking the story. Boulder Report says Beltran’s an idiot. Bicycle.Net reports the whole team might be expelled.


l’Espagnol Manuel Beltran (Liquigas), 37 ans, présente des traces d’EPO dans l’échantillon A de ses urines prélevé à l’issue de la première étape du Tour de France, samedi 5 juillet entre Brest et Plumelec.

Professionnel depuis 1995, Beltran a débuté sa carrière chez Mapei avant de passer par Banesto, Team Coast et de devenir l’un des principaux équipiers en montagne de Lance Armstrong à l’US Postal et chez Discovery Channel.

Beltran fait partie de ceux qui avaient été ciblés par l’Agence Française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD) lors des prélèvements sanguins effectués les 3 et 4 juillet derniers à Brest avant le départ.

That’s French for “37 year old Spaniard Manuel Beltran of Liquigas is SO busted! His A sample from Stage 1 tested positive for EPO.” Beltran has been pulled from competition.

Beltran started racing professionally in 1995 with Mapei. From 2003 to 2006, he raced on the USPS Team and Team Discovery, often assisting Lance Armstrong with his wins as his teammate.

For Tour de France Stage 7 news and commentary, don’t miss KWC’s link round up.

Stefan Schumacher

Who is this guy who won the Yellow Jersey in today’s Stage 4 of the Tour de France?

German cyclist Stefan Schumacher came out of nowhere today to snag the first place finish during the individual time trial today during the Tour de France. Stage 4 today started and finished in a loop from the town of Cholet, France. Schumacher has been racing for Team Gerolsteiner since he made his UCI ProTour debut two years ago. He will celebrate his 27th birthday on the rest day in two weeks between Stages 15 and 16.

More on today’s Individual Time Trial in the Tour de France:

Google maps announces Streetview Europe with Tour de France routes

Google launched their European edition of Streetview last week which provides an interactive “street view” of various map locations. The really cool thing is that they launched with almost the entire Tour de France 2008 route included in their Streetview coverage. Here’s the view from Avenue du Commandant de Champagny in Cholet near the beginning of Tuesday’s Stage 4 time trial race.

View Larger Map

If you click on the view to go larger, you’ll see that Google (appropriately enough) uses a bicycle icon to note the location of the street viewer on the map.

Scrolling through the Google Streetview isn’t quite as exciting as the real thing, but it’s a great way to see the Tour de France stages from the driver’s seat, so to speak.

I just noticed that Carlton was on this news like stink on an old soiled chamois.

Danny Pate in Garmin / Chipotle kit

Here’s Danny Pate on his Felt bike looking sharp in the Team Garmin – Chipotle (nee Slipstream) kit during Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2008.

Pate’s teammate Will Frischkorn made the podium today as Most Aggressive Rider. Team Slipstream has uploaded several photos to their Tour de France photo set on Flickr. They also have a separate set of “behind the scenes photos” under the Team Garmin account.

More Tour de France photos on Flickr.

I’ve always wondered about how race organizers get the team name so quickly on the winner jerseys that are presented on the podium just moments after the race end. Ron at Cozy Beehive uncovers the magic of heat pressing podium jerseys. I guess they’re like big iron ons.

Meanwhile over in South Carolina, James discusses the tech of le Tour.

KWC notes that Road Bike Action magazine has launched a new website that includes Tour de France updates. He also points out a few of his photos are in the print edition of the current issue.

Earlier this morning I saw that is down, with a note about some quota was exceeded. It looks like Jonathan has upped his service plan, however, and the site is back up. As interest in cycling as skyrocketed over the past six months I’ve been keeping an eye on my bandwidth to ensure Cyclelicious doesn’t go dark!