21 July, 2009

NASCAR Seems to Have a Drug Problem

Never thought, good, old-fashioned, red-blooded Americans from the Red States needed drugs to drive a car fast. Apparently, I thought wrong.

The Times has a piece on NASCAR's drug policy, and the suspension of driver Jeremy Mayfield. He tested positive for crystal meth. but he also has a prescription for Adderall. I'm not a drug expert, but anything that can increase alertness without adding jitters or calm someone down without slowing them down seem to be the kind of drugs a guy driving 200+ mph might be interested in. "Mayfield and his lawyers contend that the two positive tests may have been caused not by meth but by his use of Adderall for attention deficit disorder and Claritin-D for allergies."

The difference between you and the pros is swishing Gatorade

Maybe not just. Seems that the mental component of fatigue is huge. so much thathttp://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/going-all-out/?ref=magazine"> swishing some Gatorade in test cyclists mouths, not swallowing, was enough to make a difference in terms of riding hard.

Astana Truck Searched at Border

It appears that Team Astana is hell-bent on proving they are a clean team. A team truck was searched for three hours at the Swiss-French border. That will show those doubters.

I'm tired of people complaining about the scrutiny. It's a great thing. It shows that the sport doesn't have dope in the Astana Truck. Or in the tested riders.

Pope Piggybacks on The Tour

Always looking for a way to get himself in the news, Pope Bendict XVI sent greetings to the Tour. They passed a residence of his today, one that looked like his mitre. "Benedict said in his message that sports can contribute to a person's growth and should always respect moral and educational values."

Wonder what he said.

Did You Know Lance is "Choosing" Not to Win?

That's what the Daily News says. "Armstrong, barring unforeseen circumstances, says he will follow in the grand, albeit odd traditions of the Tour de France and yield to the current owner of the yellow jersey, his Astana teammate, Alberto Contador."

A Stain on the 2009 Green Jersey

Mark Cavendish is miffed at his relegation in Stage 14. He doesn't seem to want the sprint jersey now and is seemingly conceding it to Hushovd.

From the article in the Guardian:

"This guy [Hushovd] thinks so highly of himself that he thinks I'm trying to cheat to beat him. He thinks so highly of me and my team that the only way he can beat us is to have us disqualified.

"He even admitted yesterday it was a fair sprint: what happened was [there was] a right-hand corner and there's a kink in the barriers and he thinks I've blocked him in but I've held a straight line. Usually you're disqualified if you deviate from the straight line. I held it but the barriers kicked in and he's blocked in and he's kicking and screaming and it causes you problems. But that's bike riding for you. Worse things happen.

"I spoke to him yesterday and said to him: 'You've won the green jersey now but that's always going to have a stain on it.'"

The "good" old days of Tour sponsorship

Back in the day, local sponsors would do something for the riders, or the lead rider, or a local rider in order to get a little press. The Tour has largely moved on from that era.

I'll concede that such a tradition can seem a little low-budget and possibly bush-league, but I like the intimacy it confers. You can still see the tradition in some places, like the winner of Clasica San Sebastian wearing a Basque beret, or when I was at Driedagse De Panne when the winner of the stage got a huge chocolate cake/brownie/treat.

So I was happy to see Alberto Contador posing on the podium with a St. Bernard dog at Verbiers, and then again at the start of Stage 16. I wonder if they gave him the dog. In years gone by, riders have been awarded horses, watches, wheels of cheese.