Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Schumacher Fast on Two Wheels


Mister Stephen is getting over the lack of Wimbledon on television this week by settling down to his month long trip round the roads and mountains of la belle France. He is very much hoping it is a clean race however from what I've seen those cyclists sweat a lot and must need a shower ever day.

Anyhoo, yesterday a German man named Schumacher (no not Michael or Ralf) won the first time trial of le Tour 2008. Unusually in recent years this was not the prologue but occurred on day four. You can see Herr Stefan Schumacher to the left holding one of my cousins.

Now ITV4 were quickly on Schumacher's case last night, in possibly a sad day for the sport. You see he didn't just beat the rest he smashed them. Schumacher is a one day racer and may have had a chance over a shorter time trial but over 29.5 kilometres he was 18 seconds quicker that Scot David Millar and Kim Kirchen both fancied time triallists and also 33 seconds faster than the world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara.

However as ITV4 and others were quick to point out last September the Gerolsteiner rider crashed his car while drunk as as well as a high blood alcohol content there were amphetamines detected. As it was a police rather than a UCI sanctioned test this has not affected his participation in cycling but until the statutory results of tests on the stage winner and other selected participants are known there will remain a cloud of suspicion in this sport that is trying to shake that image off.

Today he set off in the longest stage of this year's tour in yellow, 12 seconds ahead of Millar and Kirchen, 235km from Cholet to Châteauroux.


Update: There was sadly more to Schumacher's speed than the quality of his rice cakes, he later tested positive for EPO and was banned for 2 years from racing in France.

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