It's always interesting to read Swedish news papers when a cyclist has failed a doping test. They say that nobody cares about the sport, that all cyclists are doped, that the sport should discontinue. I laugh as much every time. Five Jamaican sprinters were found doped and what did people say? Nothing. Well, yes, the Jamaican sprinters dope but nobody else. Totally bullshit. Athletics, skiing, tennis, swimming has all big problems with doping, just like ice hockey and football. Doping is bad, but few sport federation care as much about deleting doping as the different cycling federations. I must congratulate them to all their work, because they should be proud that they are doing something at all.
Today I heard that Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) failed a doping control on June 26. 25 days before he won the Tour de France's mountain stage to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. I was very sad. Astarloza is a rider that I really wished to win a stage. I was extremely happy when he won the stage to Bourg-Saint-Maurice and thought he deserved it. Now I am not so sure anymore.
His Euskaltel-Euskadi team says they have not seen any abnormalities in the team's internal controls. They also said that he will be considered innocent until proven guilty. I don't know what to think, I get head ache. He should have been sacked from his team, at least until the answer of the B-test arrive.
Astarloza tested positive for recombinant EPO, a blood booster, in an out-of-competition control. Earlier this month the team's Inigo Landaluze was suspended after twice testing positive for EPO CERA. The team should do something now. Two tests are way too many and right now it seems they are not serious about fighting. In the case of Landaluze, the team condemned the rider and he took full responsibility for his positive tests. But Astarloza has said nothing and they don't touch a finger. Most teams take responsibilities nowadays when they have had dopers in their team, so far I have not seen it from Euskaltel-Euskadi. Surely this may chance and I hope it will.
Two leaders in Astana Team during the Tour de France meant a fight. Two leaders in Garmin-Slipstream, well, they could handle it but in the end Vande Velde was no longer a favourite, right? Now Belgium's Jurgen Van Den Broeck says he wants to share the leadership role with teammate Cadel Evans in next year's Tour de France.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck finished his first Tour de France last Sunday and he finished 15th. Cadel Evans has a whole lot more experience, but he had some unluck and finished in 30th position. Evans will give it all next year and so will Van Den Broeck. It will be interesting to see how they will handle it, but most likely they won't talk so much shit about each others as Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador have. "Evans has been on the podium before and proved he can be a good leader at the Tour. It would be good for me if he is still around so we can have two guys for the GC," Jurgen Van Den Broeck said.
It should be said though that Van Den Broeck finished so high up in the classification because he was often part of breakaways. Would he be able to follow the favourites in all the mountains? I don't know. Maybe he would. "I did not really have a goal in the classification, especially after the team time trial. But by taking time, being in all the breaks, I moved up bit by bit to arrive in 15th," said Van den Broeck.
Cadel Evans just had a bad Tour de France. Some unluck. The two riders will come back to the next Tour de France and they will ride together as friends. But surely the 2010 Tour de France is faraway. I miss it already.
Johannes Fröhlinger, Christian Knees, Linus Gerdemann, Thomas Rohregger, Martin Velits, Peter Velits, Paul Voss and Peter Wrolich will race the Clásica San Sebastián for Team Milram. The race is difficult, really tough, and it's always an interesting race to watch.
At the same time the sponsor of Milram, Nordmilch AG, has said that it will stop its sponsorship of its Continental Milram team at the end of the season. They will continue their sponsorship of its ProTour level team, Milram, through the 2010 season.
The Continental team was a little mess, so in some kind of way I have understanding for their decision. The Continental team formed from Team RSH in 2006. The team was supposed to prepare young cyclists to ride in the ProTour, but only one rider has made the step - Christian Kux, who moved up in 2008. Well, that's a pretty poor percental number, don't you think?