He covered the 54 Kilometres in , around and through Albi including 2 hills in 1 hour 6 minutes 34 seconds at a blistering pace of 48.661 Km/hour, a stunning 74seconds ahead of Cadel Evans and with his Astana Team colleagues Andreas Klöden and Andrej Kashechkin in 3rd and 4th place.
was ecstatic, but not entirely truthful,
"It’s a new Tour that begins for the Astana Cycling Team today! I recover all my
sensations. I would like to thank my teammates, my masseur as well as my
ostheopath and the whole staff who all helped me a lot to feel good again. I
wish also to thank the numerous public that always encouraged me. The Tour will
be over only in Paris. But for sure, the team will attack tomorrow ! "
On Sunday the Tour moved into the Pyrenees and Alexandre Vinokourov on the 197 kilometre stage from Mazamet to Plateau-de-Beille, trailed 23 minutes behind the field in 70th place. Yesterday on the 15th Stage Foix-Loudenvielle - Le Louron over 107 kilometers 1st, 51 seconds ahead of Kim Kirchen. He r4ecorded on his website ...
"I felt good, as well as my legs. At the first break, I thought here were too many riders and that I had to go on with my effort. As I saw I could make it, I tried to be alone and first at the top of the last climb,(Col de Peyresourde, 21.5km from the finish) in order to be sure to win the stage."
It was then that the results of his bloodtests after the Saturday win showed that, incredibly he had two people's red blood cells in his body - imputing he had received a blood transfusion before the Saturday stage. Vino told the French sports paper L'Equipe that it was a mistake, when he was injured last week there was blood everywhere etc.,
Now Vinokourov's performance has exposed that the whole sordid cycling circus has learnt nothing ... Now Danish Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen riding for Rabobank team has admitted making a mistake in missing out-of-competition drugs tests.
Rabobank manager Theo de Rooy said he was aware of the missed tests and revealed he fined Rasmussen 10,000 Euros (£6,720).
1. German TV networks ARD and ZDF had announced plans to cut their live coverage of this year's Tour de France and write off a €7 MN investment. "We want a clean sport," says Nikolaus Brender, chief editor for German public broadcaster ZDF. Private broadcaster Sat.1 has taken over covering the Tour since last Thursday.... and bought the rights for peanuts.
" Professional cycling has dug its own grave. There is nothing left to disclose,
no unresolved mystery and no room left for illusions. Everyone has known about
it for years and everyone has chosen to look the other way."
Sports TV is part of the entertainment industry, it generates massive audiences, enormous license fees, and mouth watering advertising revenues. It's participants and their camp followers of agents, publicists, can and do earn huge sums and it's sponsors hopefully dwell in the reflected glory of a healthy sweat soaked sport for their brand.
Greed has driven sportsmen to cheat. If cheaters can survive and win the illusion is lost, it becomes a spectacle of economic crime, just as fake as fixed TV quizzes and the smile of a Prime Ministers who fixed the 2012 Olympics for London by bribery of the Olympic Committee members - whose votes can be fixed with whores, foreign travel and quite modest kick-backs.
In came American millionaire and cycling fan Bob Stapleton, as T-Mobile's chief of racing. Rolf Aldag, (who hadn't come clean by then) was the team's sporting director. A dope monitoring system managed by Professor Walter Schmidt of the University of Bayreuth , was contracted to conduct random testing of team members to uncover possible cases of blood doping. T-Mobile also contributed €500,000 ($690,826) annually to Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency's testing program. All to provide the team with an ersatz (and short lived) patina of honesty and transparency.
The ARD and ZDF media networks, Adidas are evidently are determined to stop supporting this addiction. T-Mobile, bottled water producer Gerolsteiner and the dairy group Nordmilch, are looking very hard at continuing their sponsorship of pro cycling - how can you promote pure water, milk and healthy living with dopeheads ?
One female athlete whose sample raised a few eyebrows discovered to her considerable surprise that she was in fact pregnant - she only learnt of the fact after her dope test showed traces of the hormone HCG. HCG is produced by the placenta, and has been used - at least in male athletes - as a agent to hide other illegal substances.
After a gynaecological examination, the woman was congratulated and cleared of any suspicions of doping.
Lest you thinkthe Finns are especially meritorious, at the 2001 The Nordic Skiing World Championships in Lahti, Finland, were supposed to be the Championships of all time. Before the games were over, a total of six top Finnish cross-country skiers had been caught using a banned blood plasma expander called Hemohes.
In Beijing next year the Chinese will stack up the gold medals who have had little if any in training monitoring... no bets are being accepted on the London 2012 Games.
STOP PRESS Midnight 25th July 2007
Overall leader wearing the yellow Jersey today, 33 year old Dane Michael Rasmussen has been sacked by his team Rabobank. Rabobank director Theo de Rooy said: "Several times he said where he was training and it proved to be wrong. The management of the team received that information several times and today we received new information." The bank said, "Rabobank at this point does not plan to withdraw from cycling."
It is not clear that the Rabobank team will start the 17th Stage today.
Rasmussen was jeered by the crowd after winning the 16th stage (see pic as he croses line) , the final mountain stage. He had beaten Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer by 26 seconds on the 218.5km route from Orthez in the Pyrenees to retain the leader's yellow jersey. The start of the stage was delayed by 10 minutes after riders from the six French and two German teams protested against doping in the sport.
The Astana team did not start but more bad news included the news that Italian Cristian Moreni had failed a drugs test for testosterone his Cofidis team subsequently withdrew from the race.