Lance Armstrong and the USADA

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock in a dark cave with earmuffs on, you will have heard by now about the statement issued earlier today by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) regarding the findings of their investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. This was followed a few hours later by a meticulous 200-page summary of their full 1,000-page report. Even in ‘summary’ form – we’re still digesting it here, but suffice to say that parts of it read like a Raymond Chandler novel – the evidence and testimony presented by 26 witnesses (including 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates) is as unambiguous as it is comprehensive. At the same time George Hincapie, Armstrong’s most trusted lieutenant, released a statement on his personal website, as did Michael Barry.

Here at VeloVoices we like to express the positive side of cycling fandom, but we are not blind to its harsh realities either. We have previously discussed how we felt about Armstrong’s decision not to contest USADA’s charges against him, but in truth what is important is not what we say on the subject, but what you say about it. In recent months we have brought you Tweets of the Week specials capturing a cross-section of the cycling community’s views in reaction to USADA’s decision to proceed against Armstrong in June and, a little over seven weeks ago, the announcement that he would not call for a hearing. Some of these views we agree with, others we don’t. But what is important is that these are the honest thoughts of fans all over the world who, like us, care deeply and passionately about cycling.

While everyone else is rolling out official statements, we are going to take a step back, absorb USADA’s findings and listen to the depth and breadth of commentary across social media. It’s your voices that matter at a time like this.

For now, the series of tweets below is our only word on the subject. But, like the Terminator, we’ll be back with a round-up of the fall-out from this most significant of days.

Thanks for your patience.

Jack, Kitty, Panache, Sheree & Tim

Tour Tweets of the Week: Celebrations, pain and puking, and the Millar-Zabriskie show

Funny, cruel, odd, personal … you get it all on Twitter. Each week, we’ll have a rundown of some of our favourite tweets. Here are the tweets for the week ending 22nd July 2012.

It’s time for some champers on the Champs

If you’ve never been on the Champs-Elysees for the last stage of the Tour de France, you’re really missing out. And this year, it was especially rollicking, as thousands of British fans had crossed the Channel to cheer on the maillot jaune Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky. Here are some of the pictures, from both fans and riders, of the celebrations after the stage.

One of the highlights of the day is when the teams ride out after the stage to get their picture taken in front of the Arc deTriomphe. It’s an opportunity for the fans to get autographs and to see the guys giddy with excitement that, thank God, they made it through!

If you remember a few TofW back, Adam Hansen had a bet with Andre Greipel – and Greipel lost so he had to ride down the Champs in surfer shorts and flipflops. Personally, with no Cancellara in the offing, this was my favourite part of the whole day! That Andre Greipel … blimey, he’s got a fine chest … and Hansen isn’t too bad either!

A lot of riders have their kids with them on the bike – Cadel Evans had his lil man with him and the Tour champ himself is obviously getting his son used to riding on those Parisian cobbles.

But let’s take a step back… A key moment in Sunday’s stage was when the peloton honoured George Hincapie by having him lead them out as they came onto the Champs, showing their respect for his long and illustrious career and giving him a retirement moment to remember.

And just to plug our darling Panache’s handiwork, here is a fan picture from the Champs … and she’s wearing a SchleckChute teeshirt!

But the week wasn’t only about the Champs. They had some mountains to get over …

I hurt myself today … again

And then there’s adding insult to injury … sounds like he’d be better off staying on the Team Sky bus.

But it wasn’t all pain, there was some lightheartedness along the way …

What happens on the Tour … goes on Twitter

Seven lions and a frog makes for a winning team!

If only we had a picture of THIS tweet …

We don’t know if Dave Zabriskie’s invitation was taken up – if you know (or if it was you!), tweet us!!!

Back to the frog …

While we may have a new contestant for Australian Idol, if he has time …

A little joke for Jens …

And, as always, the guys make sure the fans are having a good time too.

Anyone who follows Melissa German knows that she adores The World’s Greatest Living German™, so imagine her excitement when she got to meet and talk to him during the rest day in Pau. Apparently, it was Frank Schleck‘s mum who took the picture. And this must have been about an hour before the news broke about Frank’s positive A sample …

Hansen-Henderson move over … it’s the Millar-Zabriskie show!

For quite a while now, no one has been able to get near the Hansen-Henderson show. Until now. David Millar and Dave Zabriskie were sharing a room during the Tour and @millarmind made a strong bid all week to take the Comedy Duo crown away the Lotto boys. He won this week, but will this become a rivalry to cherish?

So how did that turn out?

The dynamic duo were out and about before the stages, spreading their own kind of Garmin cheer.

To end this final Tour Tweets of the Week we have …

Jens eating his words

Well, that’s the Tour over for this year … there have been some memorable moments and memorable tweets! Next up, the Olympics and then the Vuelta so there’s more where that’s come from. Thanks to all the tweeties for giving me such great material over the last three weeks! Let’s keep that standard high (or low, depending on how you look at it)!

Tour de France review: The Tour in numbers

Key race facts

3,497 – In kilometres, this year’s total race distance.

87:34:47 – Total race time for overall winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky), an average speed of 39.93kph.

153 – Number of finishers, out of 198 starters.

2 – Only two riders wore the leader’s yellow jersey during the race: Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and Wiggins.

Sagan dominated the green jersey race (image courtesy of Danielle Haex)

2 – Only two riders led the green jersey points competition during the race: Cancellara and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale). Cancellara led the competition for the first two days, Sagan for all 19 thereafter.

4 – Number of riders who led the polka dot jersey King of the Mountains competition: Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Chris Froome (Sky), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) and the eventual winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

19Tejay van Garderen (BMC) led the white jersey young rider competition for 19 of the 21 stages. (Cofidis’ Rein Taaramae held the jersey for two days mid-race.)

3:57:36 – Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) was the last classified finisher, three hours and 57 minutes slower than Wiggins. The final stage to Paris took 49 minutes less to complete.

The champion

32 – Age of Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins’ dominance was built on his two TT wins (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

3:21 – Wiggins’ final winning margin over teammate Chris Froome.

1 – Wiggins became the first British rider to take overall victory at any of the three Grand Tours. Before this year, no Briton had ever finished higher than fourth.

4 – Previous best performance at the Tour, in 2009.

2 – Stages won by Wiggins during the race, both individual time trials.

4 – Wiggins has now won four major stage races in 2012: Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour.

1 – Victory at the Tour has propelled Wiggins to the top of the latest UCI WorldTour rider rankings (and consolidated Sky’s position at the top of the team rankings).

The stage winners

13 – Number of different stage winners.

Greipel increased his Tour tally from one to four victories (image courtesy of Lotto-Belisol)

5 – Number of riders with multiple stage victories: Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) won three each, while Thomas Voeckler and Bradley Wiggins claimed two apiece.

6 – Different nationalities who won stages: Britain led the way with seven, followed by France (five), Germany and Slovakia (three each), Spain (two) and Switzerland (one).

12 – Between them, British and French riders won 12 of the Tour’s 21 stages.

0 – Italian riders failed to win a single stage.

9 – Just nine of the 22 teams won stages during the race, with Sky leading the way with six – three for Cavendish, two for Wiggins, one for Froome – including the last three in a row (Cavendish, Wiggins, Cavendish).

4Mark Cavendish has now won the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in each of the past four editions.

1 – Yesterday’s win by Cavendish in Paris marked the first time the reigning world champion has won on the Champs-Élysées.

23 – Cavendish now has 23 career Tour stage wins, overtaking Andre Darrigade to move into fourth all-time. Eddy Merckx leads the way with 34.

And a few other random stats …

99 – This was the 99th running of the Tour. Prior to the start of the race, the 198 participating riders had won a total of 99 Tour stages.

The oldest swinger in town (image courtesy of RadioShack-Nissan)

40 – Age of Jens Voigt and Chris Horner, both of RadioShack-Nissan, the two oldest riders in the race. Voigt turns 41 in September, Horner in October.

22 – Age of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat), the youngest rider in the race. Peter Sagan is also 22. The pair won four stages between them (Sagan three, Pinot one), and were the first Tour stage winners ever to have been born in the 1990s.

16 – Racing days between Mark Cavendish‘s wins on stages two and 18 – his longest ever drought between victories at the Tour.

5 – Top three finishes for Orica-GreenEDGE sprinter Matt Goss – but no wins (two seconds, three thirds).

29Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) had double cause for celebration in Paris. As well as completing the race, Sunday was also his 29th birthday.

17George Hincapie (BMC) started a record-setting 17th Tour this year. He completed all but one of them.

Some data is courtesy of Infostrada Sports.

Link: Tour de France official website