Iban Mayo…

David Millar (just signed for Slipstream) ought to be absolutely furious with Iban Mayo.

On the first day in the Pyrenees, Millar and David De La Fuente of the Saunier-Duval team drove the peloton over the Port de Pailheres at a crazy pace, in the hope that team-leader Mayo could do something on the way up to the stage-finish at Plateau de Beille. But he couldn’t, and lost nearly ten minutes on the final climb. And now we learn he was on drugs too.

Mayo had a terrible tour, finishing 16th at 27’09”. I thought the drugs were supposed to prevent that kind of thing.

Hari / Cohen Cage Match

This is all terribly, terribly funny. First we have Johann Hari writing about Nick Cohen’s not especially good recent book What’s Left? in Dissent here (with bloggers’ responses here, here, here, here and here). Then we get NC’s reply to JH here and JH’s reply to NC’s reply to JH here, with today’s blog discussion over here [update: subsequently removed].

I want this one to run and run.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Oliver Kamm weighs in, again; AaroWatch has an Ode to Kamm [update: subsequently removed]; and JH has added bits and pieces to his reply to the reply [update: and some of the bits and pieces have been, er, subsequently removed].

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Indecent Left, Conor Foley, Chris Bertram, Blood & Treasure.


I don’t think I’ll try to become a professional sports photographer any time soon. But here are three images from this afternoon’s racing, anyway.

Quite by chance I seem to have got Alberto Contador in the middle of this pic, on the second half of the first circuit of the Champs-Élysées, flanked by the rest of his Discovery Channel team.

Here comes the peloton!

The Lampre riders, on their way to set up the stage win for Daniele Bennati.

Druggies on Two Wheels

Hmm, what was I saying the other day about drugs scandals that “inject a bit of life into the cycling soap opera” but which “won’t destabilise the whole event”? Actually, I’m not sure the whole event is destabilised, even with Rasmussen chucked out, and calls for there to be no winner this year, or to scrap the event, or whatever are excessive. The Tour isn’t just bigger than any individual rider; it’s much, much bigger. And it’s far better that it ends this way, tossing the yellow jersey out before Paris, than with the way things turned out last year, in a Tour that still doesn’t have a winner. Anyway, I’ll be on the Champs-Élysées this year — for the fifth time, and the third year running — and I’m still very much looking forward to seeing them all come home. I’m just hoping that (i) Contador turns out to be clean and that (ii) he can hold off against Evans in the time trial…

Dead Socialist Watch, #282

Leonora Eyles, novelist, journalist, agony aunt and socialist. Brought up near Stoke-on-Trent, Leonora Pitcairn ran away to London at eighteen, and then emigrated to Australia, where she married Alfred William Eyles, whom she later divorced. Having returned to England she went to work for Dr Barnardo’s, becoming a munitions worker in the Woolwich Arsenal during the First World War. Her 1922 book, The Woman in the Little House is a minor classic about women and urban poverty. She regularly wrote for left-wing publications but was best known as an agony aunt for Modern Woman and Woman’s Own. Born in Swindon, 1 September 1889, she died in Hampstead, 27 July 1960.

Vino Fails Dope Test!

Over here, or en français.

Not entirely clear why Klöden et al should be pulled from the race, too. Maybe we’ll find out in the hours to come. Anyway: this is just what we want: a drugs angle to inject a bit of life into the cycling soap opera that won’t destabilise the whole event.

While I’m on the subject, do other Stoa-readers agree with me that Vino looks funny when he rides his bike? Especially when he’s being filmed from the front on the breakaway. I can’t really describe it; he looks like some kind of comically stubborn child as the legs pump up and down. The bandaged knee has something to do with it, but I don’t think it’s just the bandage; he’s stockier than the average cyclist, and that has something to do with it, too. Maybe it is just me.

Anyway: it’s been a cracking Tour, and I can breathe easily now that it looks as if Cadel Evans won’t be winning it.

UPDATE: Good piece (as ever) by William Fotheringham in tehgraun.