The Tour de France will begin this Saturday and today the 198 riders who will race were presented.
It seems like Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) wasn't the most popular rider among the cycling fans. He was booed loudly during the presentation, and I do understand them. I know he has the right of racing, as the Spanish cycling federation cleared him, but surely it feels bizarre that a rider who tested positive for Clenbuterol at last year’s Tour de France will race, especially a the Court of Arbitration for Sport will soon make its verdict, which means he could win the Tour de France and then lose it one week later.
More fun is that the Norwegian rider Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) will race the Tour. He has recovered from shingles.
Boasson Hagen won the national time trial, but then missed the road race championship due to the illness.
"I never really felt sick; I just had a bit of a rash on my back but that's gone now and I feel just as good as I did before,” Boasson Hagen said in a statement from Team Sky.
"The doctor said I had to take it easy for a little while and get a bit of rest in order to recover as quickly as possible. I'm happy it's all worked out and I can focus on the Tour de France."
In the Tour de France, the rider will help Bradley Wiggins to have success, but personally he doesn't have many big goals.
Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) says he is thinking about racing for Kazakhstan at the world championships this year. The Italian cycling Federation recently introduced a rule that means riders who have been suspended for doping after 1 August 2008, will not race the Worlds.
And Alessandro Petacchi tested positive for Salbutamol, it seems he used a little too much of his asthma medicine. And therefore he is not allowed to race the national championships for Italy.
But as said, Petacchi has other plans for the Worlds.
“Race against Italy at the worlds? I’m thinking about it,” Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I’m sorry and disappointed. I don’t know if it’s legally possible to take a decision like that and make it retroactive. If they’ve done it, it perhaps means you can… And I get caught up in it all and thrown in the pot with all the other cases. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it and I’ve just got to accept it.”
And for some reason he seems to be interested in riding for Kazakhstan. It will feel a bit weird if he does.
In a few days time, the 2011 Tour de France starts and I am excited about it. Tour de France was the first race I ever saw, and the race that made me fall in love with the sport.
The different teams have either announced, or will announce its rosters, and many teams have already traveled to France to prepare.
The two big favourites to win the race is of course Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard). But who will win?
Alberto Contador has won the Tour de France three times already, and obviously that means he is the huge favourite, but he might have made a mistake by racing and winning the tough Giro d'Italia earlier this year.
And Andy Schleck has come close of winning two times. And both times his own mistakes have cost him victory. But over time he has grown to become a better and smarter cyclist, so it is possible that he can finally take the victory.