With all talk of late regarding doping and the Hautacam, I thought it might be time to talk about Stage 10 of the 2000 Tour. At the time, Cyclingnews.com described it as follows: “Armstrong’s exploit was one of the most impressive in recent years; he blew away the competition one by one and essentially took over the Tour De France.”
Lance Armstrong on the Hautacam in 2000.
You don’t really need to know anything aside from what you see in that video to know what Armstrong was doing. And I’m talking about doping here people.
Sure, people will read what I just wrote and say that the video is meaningless. It only shows he won, he was more talented, he trained harder. Never to take the “no comment” route, instead he always claimed he was above it, saying, simply “What am I on? I’m on my bike, busting my ass, six hours a day.” when, really, he could have said nothing.
And, yes, it would bother me less if he wasn’t so damn adamant about being clean.
Look at some of the other men in that video. Think of what you’ve read about them since that day.
The day’s top:
1 Javier Otxoa
2 Lance Armstrong
3 José Maria Jimenez
4 Richard Virenque
5 Manuel Beltran
6 Fernando Escartin
7 Roberto Heras
8 Christophe Moreau
9 Joseba Beloki
Don’t forget Pantani, Zulle and Ullrich. Those three got their collective doors blown off. None placed in the top ten for the stage. Armstrong had absolutely annihilated his adversaries that day. All of them.
Where are those guys now? How many of them left the sport on their own terms? How many were forced out? How many of them got caught doping? How many were implicated in scandal? How many of them admitted to using EPO? How many of them are dead?
To be perfectly clear: A clean cyclist does not beat a cyclist who is using EPO. It does not happen. It is impossible. If you can keep up, it is because you are also doping. If you win, it is because you are also doping. Let there be no confusion on that point.
You know who else had great legs on the Hautacam on his way to overall victory? Bjarne Riis.
Riis lit the fucking world on fire in 1996. And we all know just how he did it.
Bjarne Riis on the Hautacam in 1996.
After Will Voet watched that unbelievable onslaught, knowing full well how doped up all the riders under his charge were (because he was doping them), he was simply in awe. What Riis was doing, it was way over the top.
Remember Bjarne Riis’s stunning win on the Hautacam climb in the 1996 Tour de France. The Dane, who was to win the race, literally played with his rivals before obliterating them. And the haematocrit level of his rivals, certainly at Festina, had been blithely boosted to about 54 per cent. His exploit was as perturbing for those in the know as it was spectacular to the uninitiated.
Doping is as doping does. Me? I’m leaning towards a full loaded Surly touring rig and a bottle of wine in my jersey pocket over the likes of these jokers. Good on ya, Chris. Keep the faith.by