I’m listening to Five Live, wanting to keep up with any news of Rasmussen’s withdrawal from the Tour de France, only to discover that one of the guests is Claire Fox from the Revolutionary Communist Party Living Marxism LM Institute of Saying Whatever Will Get Us On The Air Ideas, spouting the old nonsense about ‘why shouldn’t they all take drugs if they want to?’, though not taking that to the logical conclusion that, really, why should they do it all on bikes? Surely it would be quicker for them all to drive or fly along the route, or maybe even just take the Eurostar straight from Paris to London and declare themselves the winner. After all, why should the contestants let themselves be constrained by those outdated old rules that say they must follow a defined route using a bike?

Not only fun, but you learn about chemistry as well

On the Tour de France website, one of the regular ads you see is for the Pro Cycling Manager game, and after the recent revelations, the cynical part of me can’t help wondering if there are special options in there to open up a pharmacy section of the controls, and if not, will someone write a patch for the game that adds them in?

And I can’t help but wonder if Alexander Vinokourov is getting Steven Moffat to write his excuses for him, given that this BBC report says his excuse for failing a blood doping test that indicated he’d received a transfusion from someone else was that:

“I think it’s a mistake in part due to my crash. I have spoken to the team doctors who had a hypothesis that there was an enormous amount of blood in my thighs, which could have led to my positive test.”

Given that I don’t recall any reports stating that he crashed into a blood bank, I’m not sure how that’s supposed to explain anything.

While I’m waiting to hear the by-election results, a quick note of congratulations to cycling’s Team Barloworld for their two victories in three days in the Tour De France. As far as I know, I’m no relation to the company behind the team – and I’m really not that sure quite what an ‘industrial brand management’ company actually does, or what benefit it gets from sponsoring a cycling team – but it’s nice to see the Barlow name getting some prominence in international sport.

It does confirm that this is probably the most open Tour since the mid-90s – you can make a good case for any of the current top 8 riders finishing on top of the podium in Paris – but for a team that only got into the race on a wildcard, picking up two victories and get riders into second place in the points and King Of The Mountains competitions is a brilliant achievement, and I hope their success continues.

Le Grand Depart

I had a nice day out in London yesterday – even if I did get a little sunburnt – watching the prologue time trial of the Tour de France. There are pictures here, and I even remembered who some of the cyclists were, so they’re not all nameless blurs in lycra.