In 2003, President George ‘Dubyah’ Bush landed a jet on an aircraft carrier with a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner waving from the top of the bridge of the ship. Eight years later, the US is still involved in that mission, and the bombast and unnecessarily badass announcement has since become an especially embarrassing moment in a rather ugly eight years as President for Mr. Bush. Unfortunately, the Bohunk has a similarly embarrassing moment to fess up to, and to blush in naive shame over.
Tyler Hamilton should know. He was there in the good times for Lance Armstrong, serving as a faithful lieutenant for four years and three Tour victories. He was there for Sestriere, for the early battles against Pantani and Ulrich. He saw Armstrong single handedly bring cycling back to the minds of Americans at a time when the rumors of cheating were just surfacing. Those rumors were not about Armstrong. They were about baseball players ballooned to sizes and thicknesses scene only in circus freaks and weight-lifting competitions. Armstrong was still a hero. Hamilton should have seen that, too.
As promised, or threatened, yesterday, the French newspaper L’Equppie released a short document it says was leaked from the UCI just before last year’s Tour de France. The list was meant as an internal communication to identify suspicious fluctuations and blood hemoglobin levels in riders’ biological passport. Never before has such an inside look at the minds of the UCI (insert joke here) been released to the fans of the sport, and the emergence of certain names toward the higher end of the scale is definitely a shock and surprise. The relative low numbers from riders like Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso, and the slightly higher score from Contador, give an intriguing insight into the case.