I’m a huge fan of the climbers – that’s no secret. Last year I found myself rooting for perennial polka dot jersey contender Michael “the chicken” Rasmussen to hold onto the yellow jersey all the way to the finish. I bought a “Michael Rasmussen” signature king of the mountains jersey. We all know what happened. I was humiliated.
This year I’ve grown fond of the young Italian Riccardo “The Cobra” Ricco and his Marco Pantani-esque style of attacking in the mountains. Guess what? He failed a drug test (EPO) this morning and has been pulled from the race – along with the rest of his Saunier Duval teammates. Just two days ago I was going on and on to my wife about how I had found a new favorite rider. I was even considering buying a Saunier Duval jersey. And now this. Damnit Cobra! Remember Marco!? Let’s hope we don’t find the Cobra dead in a hotel room like “The Pirate”.
Maybe the “climbers” are so amazing in the mountains BECAUSE they dope. I really want to beleive that such super human efforts are possible though. Heck, thats why I push myself up every big climb I can find! I want to be special like those guys…to fly. I want to believe it’s possible. Today I want to cry for Riccardo Ricco (and for Rasmussen…and for Vinokourov…and for Basso…and for Ullrich…and most of all for Pantani). On Saturday I’ll go ride again and climb until my heart feels like it’ll beat out of my chest.