The 100th edition of the Tour de France has crowned a first-time winner and he insists he’s clean.
Okay, call me sucker. I admit I believed Lance Armstrong for every one of the seven times he won the Tour de France. Despite my bitter French friends who kept insisting Armstrong was dirty, I persisted in believing that since Armstrong had never failed a drug test, he must have been clean. Boy, was I wrong.
So I completely understand the skeptics. This year’s winner, Chris Froome, won in a dominating enough fashion – by almost four and half minutes – that he was dogged by drug questions for practically the entire race.
Here’s why I tend to believe him and the two previous winners as well.
The most recent winner stripped of his title was Alberto Contador in 2010. The reason that’s significant was that his first Tour de France win was with Lance Armstrong’s team – the same coach and same teammates who cheated their way to Armstrong’s “wins.” It makes sense that Contador would cheat in the same way that Armstrong successfully had.
Interestingly, the very next year, 2011, a long time cycling veteran who never could quite make it to the winner’s circle, Australian Cadel Evans suddenly won. After all these years!
There’s never been a hint of scandal around Evans and the hunch was – maybe, just maybe – the sport had cleaned out enough of the cheaters to allow a clean rider to win.
Then last year, for the first time in its century long history, a Brit won, Bradley Wiggins from Team Sky. Again, another suspicion-free winner.
And now this year, Chris Froome from the same Sky team.
Wiggins couldn’t defend his title because he was injured shortly before the Tour de France, so Wiggins’ second-in-command, Chris Froome, took over and he won, too.
I am reassured that a seemingly clean team last year also produced a winner this year. It’s unlikely a winning clean team would suddenly turn dirty to win a second time. And anyone who saw last year’s race knows that at times Chris Froome, seemed even stronger than his captain, Bradley Wiggins.
Of course, it’s always possible I’m being duped again. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I guess the question is, what kind of fool am I?