Raiders of the Lost Cause
By Daniel Friebe, Features editor | Thursday, July 24, 2008 6.38pm
If Christian Prudhomme is really serious about cranking up excitement levels, for his next trick, it occurred to me today that Le Tour's Grande Fromage ought to take his nihilism to the next level and just do away with the bikes and the riders altogether. I mean, he's already got rid of prologues and time bonuses, so why not go the whole hog next year? Go on, Prudy, I say, forget about the Alps, the Pyrenees, sprint finishes and time trials, and let's just have three weeks of daily drugs raids.
Of course I'm joking, but actually think there are people in the press room who would prefer it that way. You should have should have seen them all chortling away when we arrived in Saint Etienne to discover that Johnny "Father of Andy and Frank" Schleck had been pulled over by customs and his car raided today. It's nothing personal against the Schlecks, you understand, but doping stories or non-stories offer a degree of titillation which simply isn't on offer in a two-man breakaway starring Marcus Burghardt and Carlos Barredo.
"If Johnny gives you any crap, just don't mention my name, okay?"
I've honestly no idea why the French customs pulled over Schleck senior, precisely what they hoped to find. No one does. I guess we'll find out more in the coming hours, but if Andy Schleck's body language at the finish line is any guide, the scandalmongers had better not hold their breath. It made me laugh when I read that it took half an hour to search Johnny Schleck's car; if they'd set about the Procycling-mobile in its current state, they'd still be burrowing among the Haribo wrappers this evening, mindful that a long and laborious night lay in store.
"C'mon, Bernie, let's see what's in those pockets!"
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