With the first rest day behind them, the riders on the 2008 Tour de France took to the road again today with a fast dash from Lannemezan to Foix covering 167.5 km (104 miles) that had Kurt-Asle Arvesen of Norway claiming the stage victory and Australia’s Cadel Evans remaining in the Yellow Jersey for another, clinging to a 1 second lead over Frank Schleck of Luxembourg.
Today’s stage was another transition for the riders, as it they put the Pyrenees behind them, and move back towards flatter ground. It was a fast run through the foothills of the mountains, marked with rolling roads and curves. A very different stage then what we’ve seen so far, with a number of riders pressing throughout, although the top GC riders mostly playing it safe and waiting for the Alps. This stage is in sharp contrast to tomorrow’s which will be a 168.5 (105 miles) km run from Lavelanet to Narbonne that will once again favor the sprinters and offer up some quick times.
The real news of the day however was that another rider has been dropped from the race do to doping issues. Spain’s Moises Duenas Nevado reportedly tested positive for EPO and was removed from his team and was speaking with French police. Countryman Manuel Beltran was also removed from the race for the same reasons last week.
The sport continues to have a black eye and, despite it’s many attempts, to clean up the doping issues. While we haven’t seen as many big name riders this year, the mere fact that racers in the peloton continue to test positive for this stuff is not a great sign. I’m not sure it can get any worse than last year, but cycling’s image problems don’t seem to be improving any.
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