Twisted Spoke

My twisted take on the world of pro bike racing.

Millar wins Vuelta’s Toldeo time trial. Valverde seals overall victory. Who is the real champion?

with 4 comments

A real champion for the Vuelta?

A real champion for the Vuelta?

There were two winners in stage 20, the final time trial of the 2009 Vuelta a Espana. One inspiring, one dispiriting; one a victory for clean cycling and the other a defiant and embarrassing reminder that the battle against doping goes on.

David Millar’s tremendous ride in Toledo was yet more proof that grand tour stage wins are possible without resorting to doping. Garmin Slipstream won three stages in the Vuelta — a sprint, a breakaway mountaintop finish and a time trial. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters’ strong anti-drug stance is a model for the peloton.

Since his own suspension for EPO three years ago,  Millar has done what almost no other suspended rider has done. He came clean, admitted his mistakes, spoke openly and honestly and put himself at the forefront of the fight for clean cycling. It’s been a long, hard road back to the top. He now stands as a rider of integrity and a true spokesman for the sport.

The second winner in Toledo was Spaniard, Alejandro Valverde, who effectively sealed his first overall win in a grand tour. Spain rejoices but the rest of the cycling world shakes its head and holds its breath, waiting for the legal verdicts of his doping cases. Implicated in Operacion Puerto, Valverde was finally handed a two year ban by the Italian Olympic Committee. He is barred for riding in Italy and was forced off the Tour de France roster.

Yet Valverde rides on, defiant, his lawyers fighting the UCI and WADA and arguing with the Court for Arbitration in Sport. He cries conspiracy, haggles over testing protocol and disputes jurisdictions. With a decision pending at the end of the season, Valverde faces the real possibility of being stripped of his Vuelta title.

It was a pleasure to watch Millar win today and a disappointment to watch Valverde win. It’s a fair question to ask, in a sport that has suffered so much, who the real champion is. David Millar or Alejandro Valverde?

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4 Responses

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  1. Wow Waynes World is another american joke!!! If David Millar has integrity and is a spokesman for the sport of cycling then we might is well take up square dancing!!! I know you are american and thus dis-advantaged but please learn to spell and also learn about the world before you comment.

    Timmers

    September 20, 2009 at 10:29 am

    • Hi Timmers,
      Thanks for the spelling catch. An embarrassing one, I admit. Doing a blog post each day of the Vuelta requires some fast writing and sometimes there are some bad slips.
      I noted several grammatical errors in your response but I’m not going to insult you or your country or get angry about it or question your intelligence or ability to comment on the world.

      TS

      walshworld

      September 20, 2009 at 6:46 pm

  2. Stop bashing Valverde it’s getting annoying. They both did doping a few years ago. Why is Millar suddenly a hero? He got caught and now he’s suddenly totally reformed? Give me a break, if they found that stuff anywhere else but his own home he would have denied just as hard as the rest of them. Valverde did a great Vuelta and deserves all the praise for that.

    henkio

    September 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    • Hey Henkio, I can understand that it’s getting annoying.The Veulta is over so there’s probably not much more to say about Valverde for a while. For you, as a faithful reader, I’ll take a break. I do think he is guilty as sin — DNA samples don’t lie. Millar admitted his mistake and joined a team with a hard core anti-doping program and he’s been a vocal advocate for clean cleaning since he came back. I would bet money that the UCI will nail Valverde soon and I won’t expect him to clean up his act. But I appreciate you taking the time to write and disagree. Consider the Valverde bashing finished. Uhh, for now. :)

      walshworld

      September 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm


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