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Monday
May282018

Giro d’Inhalers

Picture from Steephill TV

What did I just witness this weekend in the Giro d’Italia? One of the greatest rides in the history of cycling, or a total fraud. On Friday Simon Yates was in the lead, and although he had lost a few seconds that day and was looking a little tired, it was still his race to loose.

And loose he would in spectacular fashion. He blew up completely and lost 35 minutes. While Chris Froome who had struggled in the early stages, took off solo with 80 kilometers remaining, and held a 3 minute lead against a strong group made up of all the other leading contenders.

He leapfrogged over Tom Dumoulin to end the day in Pink. Going from 4th. to 1st. place. If this were anyone else but Froome I would be marveling at this performance, but I just can’t trust him anymore. Much less I trust the whole rotten Sky team organization.

Twists and turns in a plot are great for movies and novels, but the reason sports are popular we don’t know the outcome, or we are not supposed to. This was a great race when it was between Yates and Dumoulin. But then Froomey enters the picture, and the whole event gets a “Too good to be true” feeling.

If I give Froome the benefit of the doubt, I could say he found his form during the race, it does happen. But with Froome’s Salbutamol case hanging over him, should he have been riding in the Giro in the first place? And now the UCI is saying the issue may not be resolved before the Tour de France.

If he is found guilty in his Salbutamol trial, I understand his Giro win will stand, but it will however cast a huge shadow over the validity of the result. If he is found not guilty, everyone will cry cover up. He is in a no win situation, and it is hard to show sympathy when the whole situation is of the Sky Team’s making.

What annoys me about Team Sky is, a few years back they put out this “Ride Clean” statement, implying they were all squeaky clean, but “Jiffy-bag Scandals,” and Parliamentary Enquiries have proved that to be total BS.

What about “Being Innocent until proved guilty,” some will say. Sorry, but I drank the Pharmstrong Coolade for a decade, and stayed on the fence when doubts crept in. Only to have Lance go on TV and say, “Yea I doped.” I am not about to do the same this time only to have Froome write his biography when he retires, admitting he doped too.

I would have more admiration for Froome if he had voluntarily withdrawn from racing until his Salbuamol case is heard, and an acquittal would have been easier to accept. As it is if he rides the Tour de France, I may not waste my time watching it. I’ll start out by checking the results, if it is all Froomey, then I definitely won’t follow the race.  

This is just the opinion of one old guy who has been a fan of bike racing since 1950.  That is 68 years, starting back in the days of Coppi and Bartali. Before the days of race radios when the peloton often had no idea how far a break was up the road. Solo wins of 14 or 15 minutes were not unknown.

And yes the pros doped back then, they took amphetamines, but it was an open secret. Not the lies, deceit, and skepticism there is today. The problem is I have been fooled too many times in the last quarter of a century to believe that what I just witnessed was an epic ride like those of yesteryear. What is your view, agree or disagree?

 

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Reader Comments (14)

Whilst Sky are tainted now, I still think Froome is the best rider of his generation. I believe the sport is a lot cleaner than it used to be. Also, overusing an inhaler isn't in nearly the same bracket as Wiggins' steroid use.

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStephen McAteer

I agree with you, Dave. When I saw the result of that stage, I rolled my eyes a bit. Froome is tainted - and my belief is that Sky has figured out how to cheat and not get caught. I liked Wiggins, and he was dirty. Then Froome took over, was dominant, and dirty.

It looks like institutional doping to me.

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYohann M

Hi Dave,
I'm with you. I was following the Giro because it was a great race and it looked like Yates was going to win. Froome was over three minutes back and struggling so I thought he was a non-contender and would ride to keep his fitness. Then when he did well on the Zolcalon stage I thought he was recovering but never thought he would all of a sudden be "spanking" the peloton. He, like the others is a great rider, but when he attacked from 80K and gained over three minutes I was starting to become a non-believer. I think there are new "masked" ways for cheating that the officials don't have ways to detect..... yet. Riders are still being caught for cheating to this day, but less so than years past. A co-worker of mine saw Froome in an interview on Spanish TV last year literally right after a mountain stage and he says Froome looked totally refreshed while others were exhausted. Sky has built a strong team with several riders who could win any of the big races ( Bernal although young and has a future) but Froome looks "too good." If he is cheating and gets caught I think many people will quit watching races. I swallowed the same Armstrong koolade like many others too.

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Pinot dropped out of the race on the penultimate stage with a lung infection, something frequently caused by steroid inhalers. Just saying.

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered Commentered

The last time l witnessed a solo ride like the one Frome just did l was standing at the top of the Col de Juex Plane in France.
The rider who came over the top first was Floyd Landis !!!!
And we all know the result of that miraculous ride !!
As a British Cyclist for many years l’ve become very suspicious of to good to be true results because they normally are too good to be true !!!!

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStuart Jago

So much has been said and written about the conflicted feelings between being amazed and suspicious, but it is undeniable that Froome put minutes of time into his competitors on the descents (as I recall he crested the first Col with only 35 seconds on them). Racing downhill is all technique, guts and a bit of luck...forget about the inhaler, I'd be holding my breath the whole way down at those speeds.

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Maher

If Froome gets away with it, it will start a new doping "arms race" again.

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBill K

Agree with you Dave.

After turning themselves inside out, the Italian organizers got their wish, Froome rode the Giro with the result they hoped for, (apart from an Italian winning).

But with the questions now being asked about Froome's win, was it worth chasing him to ride with the salbutamol case unresolved.? They got what they wanted, not what they expected. In my eyes, it not only makes Froome look bad but the Giro brass.

Not sure how tight the connection is now between Sky and British Cycling, but it would behoove British Cycling to stay as far away from Sky as possible, if the crap hits the Sky fan their results and methods will come under the microscope.

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

It is all about MONEY The old saying "MONY IS KING" holds true. Let them dope and kill themselves, No way to spend all the money they made is it I quit watching all pro sports, many years ago. Even college sports are getting as bad, Great shame DISGUSTING,

May 28, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Agreed. Everything about Froome raises red flags. Has there ever been a multiple grand tour winner with such a mediocre career start? The man was 26 before he showed any sign of being anything but field fodder. Then comes the 2011 Vuelta and it's off the races. Unbelievable, one might say. Yes, not to be believed.

May 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChris Hepp

Just like you, Dave, I wanted to believe in the Armstrong miracle, and made all kinds of excuses and even tried to argue he was for real when others dismissed him as a doper - until the evidence simply became too overwhelming. That "say it aint so" moment was a tough one. Today, I just can't get too excited about pro racing, because any time someone puts in an incredible performance, I can't help but have my doubts. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I really wanted to believe in Froome, but the doubts keep adding up. And it's not just Froome - it seems like half the peloton claims to have asthma and needs "medication" for it - medication that just happens to have performance-enhancing effects. I really feel like professional bike racing has become almost as hard to take seriously as "professional wrestling." Last note - yes, racers of the past used amphetamines -- but those drugs had a very different effect on racers and racing than the drugs of today, like EPO. The drugs of today make such a huge difference in a riders strength, endurance, and recovery time that it can be almost impossible to race clean and have any hope of being able to compete with riders who are doping. The racers I respect the most today are the ones who cut their pro careers short rather than compromise their integrity.

May 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKyle Brooks

Dave, you might find it more enjoyable to read about the history (aka "The Good Old Days") of the Giro. I just this morning listened to this interview with Colin O'Brien, author of a new book about the Giro

http://outspokencyclist.com/2018/03/show-394-march-31-2018/

May 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

I did race a few times in Mass Starts in the 1950s in Brum England, against riders from, as we called them, from the Continent, We had heard that they did use DOPE over there? They always seemed like nice fellows and very hard to challenge and beat. We also had heard that Coppi used something? I left England in 1957 for the USA to become a Pro musician. I soon found out that if I was to be any kind of a star in the music world I also would have to get into the drug world, I also knew that I would probably be dead in a few years if I got into this. I got out and back into cycling Now 85 and I have never even smoked a cigarette my whole life, OR DONE DRUGS Money is NO use if you are dead, Do they NOT see that?

May 29, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

All I can say is “Johnny Crump, you’re the best!” Missed you at Cali Eroica this year...

May 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEric

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