I was pretty upset to read this:
Vino was one of my favorites and I called him to win the Tour in the WC Velo 'call your Top 3" challenge. I had picked Vinokourov, Kloden, and Leipheimer. *sigh* So much for my top 2.
More than anything, I'm just sorely disappointed. Bicycling Magazine had an article this month about how we're finally getting back to the pureness of this competition - it's about the Yellow Jersey, not about one rider. This year we've been seeing different guys wearing it and it's exciting to see what's going to happen next. Levi Leipheimer seems to be holding back a bit (in fact, many of them are) because they know they've got to save some of their energy for the days to come. That didn't happen when doping was so much more prevalent because they knew they could handle it. The race coordinators had to make it harder and harder every year because these men were enduring and going the distance with super-human abilities.
I really thought when Vino won the time trial on Saturday that his achievement was one of pure athleticism, will and a commitment to break through the pain that he was surely enduring that entire ride. That's not to say that none of that is true; he is still one of the best cyclists in the world and clearly fought hard to make that victory happen. It's just disappointing that it was done with the aid of something else.
My last point - it really annoys me that there is so much negative attention being given to the cycling doping scandals (and rightly so) and yet, so many people are caught up in the Barry Bonds chase to beat Hank Aaron's home run record. Do we not see a parallel here? Barry Bonds is this 'hero' of some sort and yet, the man clearly had the aid of steroids in the past as he made his way through beating home run records. It's utterly ridiculous.
I guess the Lombardi Sports guys' t-shirt is right: "Dopers Win."