Now what do they do? Lance has chosen martyrdom instead of defendant, so by default the spoils of victory fall to the next in line.
Well let’s see…
In the 1999 Tour de France the riders who occupied the second through fifth places had doping troubles of their own. Maybe the yellow jersey shouldn’t be given to any of them; ya think?
Same thing with the 2000 Tour…and the 2002 Tour…and the 2004 Tour…and the 2005 Tour.
Hey, this isn’t looking good.
So many yellow jerseys needing a new home, and so few slender shoulders to put them onto.
But…in the 2001 Tour there’s Andrei Kivilev slotted into fourth place. And in the 2003 Tour we have a winner in Haimar Zubeldia, who came in fifth. Neither of these guys were implicated in any doping charges.
Andrei Kivilev died in 2003 after crashing in the Paris-Nice race from head injuries, prompting the mandatory wearing of helmets. He was good friends with Vinokourov, who just this year won the Olympic road race. You can see Vinokourov’s name in the graphic below which lists the 2003 champions.
Zubeldia is still rolling down the road. He just finished 6th in the 2012 Tour de France, riding for Radio Shack. In 2009 he was a rider for the Astana team that Lance Armstrong rode for when he made his comeback…and then on the 2010 Radio Shack team that Lance Edward Armstrong put together…and the 2011 Radio Shack team…and the 2012 Radio Shack team.
Maybe Zubeldia should get the 2003 Tour de France yellow jersey, if for no other reason than the remarkable fact that he is the only living clean rider remaining in the top five finishers of the 1999 through 2005 tours.
‘Clean’ meaning never having been implicated for drugs.
Well, here’s the graphic from Great Britain’s Daily Mail that pretty much sums up the state of cycling in the Tour de France.
Which leads me to declare; you have to be ballsy to believe Lance Armstrong kicked so many guy’s butts riding clean, when all those behind him had performance enhancing advantages.