Finally a good day for the French and a possible crumb of comfort for Lance’s rivals, but drug raids
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
La belle France: Bastille Day had it all: baking heat, roadside picnics, girls in bikinis, fat men asleep in the shade – Le Tour was in its element as it headed out of the Alps towards the Mediterranean. Best of all, David Moncouti, French cycling’s ‘Mr Clean’ took a second stage win in his career.
procycling‘s ed team: After all those years on the Tour, we finally came across what we had only read about in the French papers – a bona fide drugs swoop! It certainly gout our paparazzi pulses racing..
T-Mobile and CSC: The news that Manuel Beltran had crashed out of the Tour will have given some heart to both teams as the race begins to set out towards the Pyrenees. At least the ‘Disco Boys’ will have one fewer in their mountain train, they will think, although the way things are at the moment, that seems unlikely to affect the overall result.
Cycling’s good name: After Petrov and Frigo came more drug searches as the police swooped on five teams in what they insisted were random raids. Such events hardly merit a mention these days – the race goes on, even as customs officers take team vehicles (marked and unmarked) apart.
Phonak: Is the Swiss team losing touch with the race? Yesterday was not a good day for Floyd Landis’s squad with Robert Hunter’s abandon and Nicolas Jalabert finishing a shattered last on his own, 34 minutes behind the bunch. Looks like it will be down to Landis and Botero to fly the flag in the Pyrenees.
Finish line security: These days Tour finish lines are a picture of organised chaos, with Lance Armstrong at the heart of that frenzy. But even so did he really have to run the gauntlet after yesterday’s stage of pushing, grabbing, cheering – and booing fans – as he and Sheryl Crow battled to get to the bus? His team played it down, but the look of concern on Armstrong’s face as he fought his way to his bus spoke volumes.