Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso are among a slew of riders that will not be competing in this year's Tour de France due to Spanish doping allegations. This really breaks my heart, as Basso is one of my favorite riders. I was really hoping he could pull the Giro-Tour double this year. I sincerely hope that he is not guilty.
Having the two top contenders suspended from the Tour puts a severe stain on the race and on cycling in general. I'm sick to my stomach about this.
In lieu of my usual, jubilant pre-tour post where I pick the top contenders and the dark horses I will only offer two predicitons:
1. Floyd Landis, Alejandro Valverde, and George Hincapie are my new favorites to win. I would have mentioned Alexandre Vinokourov but it looks like at least half of his team will be suspended, and we all know that you need a full team to defeat a well organized machine like the Disco train.
2. Whatever the outcome, this year's results will be marred by this scandal. This race will always be remembered as the battle of the titans that could have been. So sad and confounding.