Et tu, Brute?”
–From Julius Caesar (III, i, 77)
I had mentioned before that the greatest threat to Alexandre Vinokourov’s run for the Tour de France title would come from within his own Astana team. I’m sad to say that that seems to be a reality. When Vino fell the other day, the entire Astana team came back to help. The entire team with the exception of Andreas Kloden and Andrey Kashechkin. Without those two strong men, Vino came close to reintegrating but fell short. With them, he may have made it back.
I knew that one or both of these two super domestiques would defect (pun intended) his role as helper. Given Kloden’s past as a selfish rider and his qualified responses to his support of Vino, I picked him to drive the blade into his leader’s back. I was wrong. On Sunday, Kloden was there when Vinokourov need him in the mountains. Andrey Kashechkin was not.
I guess that the lore of being the Kazak stare was too much and Kasheckin turned on his friend and countryman. Cyclingnews today talks about the chilly atmosphere inside the Astana team bus. This is not the way to win a Tour.