Counting down to Tour de France 2009

MonacoThe Tour begins tomorrow in Monaco with a 15.5km time-trial forming the first stage. What will follow for me and you is almost a month of fantastic television.

What will follow for the competitors is almost a month of the hardest, most competitive riding they will ever face.

So, on the day before, how does one prepare for such a grueling event? To find out, let’s turn to the most accessible of all professional cyclists, Lance Armstrong (thanks, Twitter).

* Wake up in glorious, sunny Monaco.
* Strap on a pair of LIVESTRONG-themed trainers and head down to your bike.
* Do a few circuits of the Stage 1 time-trial course, learning every curve and dip.
* Meet Laurent Fignon, a.k.a. The Professor (have blurry picture taken).
* Grab a bite to eat with Bono of U2 fame.
* Write thoughtful blog post entitled Why I Ride.
* Unveil latest in a string of artist-designed custom Treks, for use in Stage 1.
* Go to sleep and dream of yellow jerseys.

Tomorrow, Lance will be focused on putting in a good first day, ultimately aiming for that eighth win. I’ll be spending the first half of the day in Thetford Forest getting muddy, and the second half glued to the television.


Battle of words between Tour de France winners

Tour de FranceFive-times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault has struck out at Lance Armstrong’s chance of winning this year.

In short, according to Hinault, he hasn’t got one.

“I hope he will not be there. Is he afraid of France? Nobody forced him to come, he only has to stay home! He cannot win the Tour. I hope that Contador gives him a beating.”

Strong words indeed, but not as strong as Armstrong’s reaction on Twitter;

“What a wanker. 5 TdF wins doesn’t buy you any common sense.”

Winning the Tour at 37 would be a huge achievement, but even if he doesn’t pull it off he’ll still have seven wins under his belt. Bernard Hinault will never have more than five.

Lance Armstrong OK to race in TdF

lance_armstrongLance Armstrong looks set to try for his eighth Tour de France win as the AFLD drops its investigation into a controversial drug test.

The French anti-doping agency said last month that Armstrong had violated its rules by taking a shower before giving a urine and blood sample.

Although Armstrong claimed the tester had given him permission, the AFLD later complained this was against testing rules.

The argument is that if athletes are left on their own before a test, they could get up to all sorts of mischief. Continue reading

Lance Armstrong in trouble over a shower

Lance Armstrong

Thanks to puliarfanita on

Lance Armstrong is having a spot of bother with the French anti-doping agency, the AFLD, which claims he’s violated drug-test rules.

He arrived home from a ride to find a man waiting for blood and urine samples – the 24th drug test since his comeback.

Understandably, his manager called the International Cycling Union, UCI, just to check that the chap was bona fide and not a mad fan after an unusual souvenir.

While that was going on, Armstrong asked if he could take a shower, and the tester said that was OK.

Now it’s emerged that this is against AFLD rules, which say the athlete needs to be kept in sight at all times to prevent funny-business involving bodily fluids from a clean-living accomplice. Continue reading