Wednesday, August 26, 2015

History of Cheating in Sport

The Vuelta a Espana seems to stand distinctly third among the three grand tours of cycling.  The Giro d'Italia goes first, the Tour is the big one, and then comes Spain at the end, mostly showcasing what a hot dry arid country much of Spain is. Also Ryder Hesjedal has skipped the Vuelta to ride in the Tour of Alberta next week, so Canadian attention should be turning to the Rockies: Big mountain finishes around Jasper, bring it on.  (CanCon update Quebeckers Antoine Duchene and Dominique Rollin are both in this Vuelta.)

But in a world where sports cheaters use the most incredibly sophisticated medical regimes and the most obscure drugs, there's something refreshing about a good old-fashioned outrageous breaking of the rules. To wit, this bit of Vincenzo Nibali, last year's Tour de France champion, in the Vuelta the other day (near the end of this short clip):

You have fallen behind the leaders in the bike race.  So you call up the team car. You grab on to it.It goes rocketing ahead at 40 km/hr. The cyclists who had been with you vanish in the rearview mirror.

They threw Nibali out of the race, and his team director too.  But you gotta admit, it has a refreshing simplicity!
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