I’ll admit to sharing some of Byron’s disappointment in this year’s Tour de France.
Organizers have disinvited last year’s winner, Alberto Contador, and his entire Astana team, barring U.S. podium finisher Levi Leipheimer and former T-Mobile rider Andreas KlÃ¶den, as well as perennial Tour scrapper Chris Horner (who I hope winds up a race commentator based on his consistently excellent interviews). Also disinvited? QuickStep’s Tom Boonen, the defending green (sprinter’s) jersey champion, who tested positive for cocaine in an out-of-competition test in late May. Slipstream-Chipotle’s David Zabriskie (back injury) and Tom Danielson (fitness) won’t get a chance to show off the team’s new sponsor and name, Garmin-Chipotle.
And, since it’s apparently impossible to announce a cycling doping verdict during the 50 weeks of the year that don’t precede the Tour, we’ve got a final (maybe) Floyd Landis verdict arising from the ‘06 Tour and a Michael Rasmussen decision arising from the ‘07 Tour. This doesn’t smell like the recipe for a great Tour.