Le Tour de France
Today the Tour de France begins. Sigh. I love that race and have been following it every summer since I was around 10. This year is an important year since the in my eyes awful Lance Armstrong has resigned after seven years of complete and boring dominance. This year my favourite rider was supposed to win! He was ready, he looked great, he deserved it. Until yesterday when he was suspended from his team. Ivan Basso’s name was on a list no sportsman should ever wish to be on. A list of clients of a Spanish doctor known for helping riders to dope themselves.
Now since the Festina doping scandal in 1998 I have taken a pragmatic position. I think all riders have doped themselves at some point and that at least the ones who make it all the way to Paris are still doped. I don’t like it (mostly for their own health), but I love the race too much to really care. This year I wanted Ivan Basso to win and with him and some of his important colleagues out of the race Tour de France 2006 is in my eyes going to be a year to be forgotten instead of a legendary year. Too bad.
A couple of days ago I watched a documentary (“Overcoming” by Tómas Gislason) about Ivan Basso’s team, Team CSC. A marvelous film showing the very special atmosphere on a very special team. A team where they don’t hate each other and work together because they want to, not because they are ordered to. The film had both suspense and poetry and when it ended I just wanted to watch it again. It even provided some basic truths about life as when you see a couple of guys (mecanics I think) philosophizing. One says: “You should be happy about life. Even when you’re in a difficult moment and you think everything sucks you just have to turn around to look behind you. And what do you see? The peloton (the large group of riders in a race). … I am a happy man”.
Today I will watch the prologue of the race and try to figure out who to cheer for. Yesterday I was in shock and so was friends and family who are also into cycling (I have never received so many messages in so short a time before). Today I have to rearrange my ideas and come up with alternatives. As a Tour de France fan I have survived worse and I will not leave it because of this.
If you think that I seem over dramatic then you should hear me when the important mountain stages are approaching:-)
Now only one thing left to say:
Ivan Basso: Rest in Peace. At least until next year.