On the eve of the tour, we are in a full blown feeding frenzy. Reporters are in search of one story and one story only. That story is doping. With the individuals such as Riis and Stanga, behind the last wave of stories staying behind, the press is hungry for new victim.
The media horde seems to have found new prey at the Astana bus. Earlier this week, the team revealed that it’s superstar, Alexandre Vinokourov, has been working with controversial doctor Michele Ferrari. Vino’s response is if he was good enough for Lance, he is good enough for me. What he forgot to mentioned is that when the good doctor was convicted, the seven time tour champ severed all ties to the Italian doctor. Which was before Vinokourov decided to hire him.
In addition, the T-Mobile fallout has followed Andreas Kloeden to his new team. First you have the ongoing rumors that the reason Kloeden left his job as leader of the T-Mobile squad for a support role on Astana due to the former team’s drug testing program. Add all the recent revelations regarding the T-Mobile program and its doping culture and you have enough fodder for an explosive pre tour press conference. Which is exactly what happened.
The question in my mind is if this distraction is good or bad for Astana. Since Vinokourov is an emotional rider, he may take this energy and be consumed by it or channel it into a great performance. Assuming he is allowed to start.