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Daily Feedbag

Some suspicious substances in the feedbag today, alas.... though no shockers. But first, some road news:

  • VN checks in with Christian Vande Velde, who celebrated his recovery from a crash at the Volta a Catalunya by going high-side yesterday and landing on his back. He departed the Dauphine with his injuries, but is undeterred in his prep for the Tour... and his love of Bell helmets.
  • Good writeup of today's Kazakh 1-2 over at VN, which doesn't suck on the days Andy Hood is writing. Alexandre Vinokourov swears he's not here to win, though he excelled today because his Tour prep has focused heavily on ITT work. Could it be that the Vuelta champ and impending Tour fave agrees with my initial assessment that the Tour will be won against the clock? I'm not horn-tooting here... I'm genuinely shocked.
I know the course for 2007. Despite having two long time trial stages, the race will be decided in the Alps and Pyrenees - not necessarily in that order.
  • Dave Zabriskie, third (again) today behind the two Kazakh stars, bites his tongue... or maybe suppresses a Borat line:
"I'd say a bunch of funny stuff, but I don't want to get my ass kicked," Zabriskie joked about Astana. "I felt like I was kind of losing it there in the end, so it was nice that I caught Egoi (Martínez - his two-minute man). That kind of helped me keep my concentration. I saw (Vinokourov) got some time on me at the end - that's just the way it is."
  • The Giro d'Italia reported three "non-negative" doping tests as it wrapped up this year's business. The more suspicious one involves an unnamed Spaniard who showed elevated testosterone, while two Italian riders (also as yet unnamed) exceeded the limits for salbutamol, the asthma drug. Of the latter, one is far enough over to raise eyebrows. But thanks to the CONI surprise drug controls following the Zoncolan stage, none of the big names are under any suspicion (outside of Eddy Mazzoleni's well-known issues).
  • In case you missed it, Franck Vandenbroucke did finally admit to attempting suicide last week, so apologies to the Belgian media who had been accused of perpetrating a hoax. As some have said, VDB's life isn't really any of our business... more importantly, though, VN ran an interesting article yesterday trying to draw a link between doping and depression. Though written by Dr. Dawn Richardson, she admits the study wasn't very scientific, but after years of interviews her study certainly raises a question concerning the link between doping and subsequent mental illness:
Most surprising was the disclosure of common and long-lasting mental illness and frequent substance abuse among dopers. Some had alcohol- or substance-abuse histories before professional cycling. None was treated for mental illness until after doping. Those with substance-abuse histories escalated or started while doping. There was often a family history of addiction. They described an overwhelming and lingering psychological burden from their participation in doping that reminded me of Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment." Some were relieved when they were caught, as it seemed the only way out of "the club." I have heard more than once, "I'd be dead if I continued doping."

Read the whole thing, if you can stomach the sadness. If we ever do get rid of the PEDs, you'll no doubt see a slower but happier peloton.