2006 Tour de France Declared “Year of the Asterisk”

Paris France, July 30 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – In a press conference following the ejection of Tour favorites Jan Ullrich, Francisco Mancebo and Ivan Basso from the Tour de France, race director Christian Prudhomme announced that the 2006 TdF had been officially declared “The Year of the Asterisk.”

“I am pleased to announce that the asterisk (*) will play an exceptionally prominent role in this year’s tour,” said Prudhomme. “Of course, it already had a starring role, due to Mr. Armstrong’s absence and the universal certainty that the only reason he wasn’t going to win this year is because he isn’t racing.”

“Now, however, with Basso and Ullrich gone, combined with efforts to remove other racers like Vinokourov, we feel certain that any victories won in this year’s tour will be very nearly meaningless.”

“We are taking measures to really make the asterisk play a special role this year,” continued Prudhomme. “Instead of a stuffed lion, stage winners will be handed a stuffed asterisk. Instead of excited discussion about who raced how in a given stage, Phil and Paul have been instructed to talk about who would have raced better, had they been present.”

“Most importantly,” concluded the race director, “the leaders’ jerseys have been specially modified. The yellow jersey will be a much paler, washed-out yellow; in fact, it will be hard to tell it’s yellow at all. The white jersey will be more off-white than white, and may prominently feature a coffee stain if we don’t get around to washing it soon. The polka dot jersey will have red asterisks instead of dots, and the green jersey will have a camoflauge pattern. And of course, all jerseys will have a big asterisk over the right breast.”

 

Racers React

“I’m so glad all of these dirty racers have been caught,” said one professional cyclist, who on the advice of his lawyer asked to remain anonymous. “You see, all the rest of us are absolutely clean.”

“Yes,” agreed another cyclist, who also asked not to have his name printed, “With all of the leading names in cycling gone from this race, viewers—if there are any—can have high confidence that the person who wins has never taken drugs. You have my word on it.”

“Isn’t it amazing,” asked a third unidentified racer, “that there are so many of us who are dirty, but none of us were able to beat Lance? It just goes to show: clean living pays in the end.”

 

Fans React

Elden Nelson, an avid cycling fan who was so excited about the Tour de France he recently purchased a Slingbox so he could watch it wherever and whenever he wanted, looked despondent upon hearing the news. “This thing cost me close to $200.00,” said Nelson, close to tears. “And now I don’t know if I’ll even bother watching at all.”

“That’s not all I’m upset about,” said Nelson, who appears to be approximately twenty pounds overweight. “I was more excited for this TdF than I have been for three years. I mean, finally: a tour where there could be honest debate about who would win.”

“Now,” said Nelson, glumly, while idly scratching his paunch, “I guess people could still debate who’s going to win, but it’s not easy to get worked up about it. I guess I’ll cheer for Floyd, but that’s just kind of a fallback position.”

Nelson then wandered away, evidently looking for something to eat.

 

Race Predictions

With Ullrich, Basso, and Mancebo out of the tour, other racers suddenly have newfound opportunities to shine. Expert cyclist analysts say that faces to watch include:

  • David Millar: Oh, the irony. It is rich, is it not?
  • Floyd Landis: Dollars to doughnuts, Floyd will win the whole thing. And he might have won the whole thing even if Basso and Ullrich were racing. But now we’ll never know, and it’s suddenly tough to care.
  • David Zabriskie: OK, I’ll admit: if Zabriskie shines, I’ll get excited. Really excited.
  • Others: There are likely other candidates for a strong showing in this year’s tour, but—unfortunately—the expert analysts got bored of listing them, mumbled something about “doesn’t matter anyway” and walked off.

OLN Fails to React

OLN, the network broadcasting the Tour de France, was unavailable for comment on this development, because everyone involved in the broadcast (with the sole exception of Al Trautwig, who had no idea what had just happened) had committed suicide.

0 comments

  1. barry1021

    Cheer up FC, I just heard on OLN that T-Mobile is looking for you. If you pass the drug test (they are not testing for blood sugars, I understand), then you are ON the TEAM for the TDF. The only bad news is that Rick is riding for CSC and Al M for Astana-Wurth.
     
    B21

  2. Unknown

    Even the small chainring and cogs look like astrisks to me now. 
     
    Don’t get me wrong; winning the Tour is an amazing feat, no matter who you’re racing against, but unless somebody wins by 20 minutes or more . . .
     
    I’ll just say it: I’d rather watch the top riders ride, whether they’re dirty or not. It looks like they’re all doping anyway, so it’s a fairly level playing field.
     
    As has been suggested before, I’d now like to see "tested" and "not tested" catagories. They two catagories ride simultaneously and the numbers of teams and numbers of riders are held at the same number as is currently used. So teams will have part of their riders riding ‘tested’ and some riding ‘not tested’. Make the punishment for testing positive in the ‘not tested’ group a first offence life-time ban.
     
    Split the prize money equally between the two groups and let ’em race.
     
    This year, the RAAM had two catagories that raced simultaneously (traditional and enduro) and it increased participation and spectatorship.
     
    Botched

  3. Unknown

    Maybe FC should start a TDF team – Sprinters BIg Mike, Al M, me as lead-out man, Botched, Caloi, and FC himself as mountain goats, maybe dug and Rick for g.c. along w/ abunch of the other usual supects as domestiques. We’d have to start late, but we could get there by Sunday. Just a thought.
    Oh, ya, bring your own food, as I hear Tour food leaves alot to be desired.

  4. Jose

    I don’t want to be categorized as a groupie (like Botched), but your post is brilliant, six asterisks for you, I meant six exclamation points. It’s really sad to wait one year for an event and then being deceived in such a way. I did not buy the slingshot by I paid $35 for the extended cable, only to be able to watch OLN. I feel so disappointed that I almost understand Jan, Ivan, Oscar, Francisco, Santiago, David, Joseba (he really looked like a good one, I even felt sorry for his fall), Unai, Angel (“Vicioso”, check the Spanish-English dictionary to see that I always suspected that he could not be clean), Jaksche, Carlos, Jose Enrique, ahhh Tyler!!! And Roberto!!!! I almost forgot him. “All the bad guys”; Do you know how difficult it is to stay doped the whole season? All of those shots and transfusions for nothing! Not to mention the money paid! It’s sad, really sad! I propose we forget the whole episode and concentrate in the Tour of Utah! Somebody told me that they will only allow Mormons in the tour so there is no doping at all! No offense. Is that true Fatty?

  5. Unknown

    I have a confession to make as part of this scandal.  I’ve been blog commenting with the assistance of dope.  Typically, it’s coffee, but lately I’ve hitting the expresso really hard.  We’re talking doubles, triples, and sometimes, to evade detection, I even have the dubious furriner at the shop slip an extra shot of high octane into my venti.  Yeah, that’s right.  It’s an insane cocktail we call the redeye.  It doesn’t end there.  We’re talking Mountain Dew, Diet Coke, and, from time to time, Irish Coffee.  I’m ashamed of myself, frankly.  Hell, I’ve even started using those espresso flavor, double-caffeine Clif Shots.  Sometimes, I even slip some Ho Ho’s or a croissant in there, or rifle a bunch of M&M’s from my secretary’s desk.  I’m so ashamed.  And jacked up.  Man, I’m buzzin. 
     
    And Boz, nice idea.  Though I suspect at this stage, we wouldn’t be competitive unless they had a downhill TT where weight (lots of it) was at a premium.  In which case Mike & I would get a chance to kiss podium girls.  (Other than our wives, who are the best podium girls ever…)
     
     

  6. Unknown

    This was a brilliant post.  It illustrates perfectly the way I and many similarly situated cycling fans view the day.
     
    The conversations around the office have focused on not who’s clean vs. who’s dirty, but rather who got caught and who didn’t.

  7. Jose

    Bob – The french are completely "clean" riders, that’s why they are going to disqualify everybody and for sure a french rider is going to win the TDF.

  8. Unknown

    Just when all hope was lost, in this, the final hour, when every single
    last person on the planet had given up hope, redemption has come for
    Phil Liggett.  Yes, just as Phil thought we would never be able to find
    a phrase to repeat anywhere near as much as he said, "Lance Armstrong",
    he has been thrown a lifeline from Spain.  How often do you think
    you’ll hear the following phrases during the Tour?

    "Operacion Puerto"

    "shocked and disappointed" – (or words to that effect to describe the feelings of the ‘cycling world’)

    "….names like Jan Ullirch and E-van Basso"

    (yes i am aware that Ivan Basso is spelt with an "I", however i chose
    to spell it in the infuriating way that Phil Liggett pronounces it). 
    It was annoying enough to stay up until the wee hours of the morning
    here in Oz just to hear Phil say, "Well, Lance Armstrong, he knows this
    stage intimately" (that phrase is rendered permanently in my brain since
    watching the L’Alpe d’Huez time trial in 2004).  I wonder how long I
    can stand to hear him talk about the Spanish doping scandal before the
    need to sleep prevails.

    PS. Go Cadel!

  9. Andrew

    joe,
    "….names like Jan Ullirch and E-van Basso" (yes i am aware that Ivan Basso is spelt with an "I", however i chose to spell it in the infuriating way that Phil Liggett pronounces it).
     
    ???? What the ????  E-van is correct pronounciation in Italian for "Ivan", I don’t see you complaining that he pronounces Ullrich’s first name as "yarn".

  10. Unknown

    well i guess thats me told!

    thanks for clearing that up andrew, it makes phil’s pronunciation slightly less irritating….

    i also assume that ‘Yarn’ is the correct German pronunciation for Jan –
    well at least it makes his name sound less like a contraction for the
    first month of the year, or a name for a woman.

  11. Unknown

    you left out George, hes my hope for this year, i don’t care how realistic, we all know it would be great if he did.

    watching the race preview as i type.  pre-recording at its
    finest.  the mentions of basso and ulrich as the top two
    contenders are painful.

    this scandal definetly needs a drinking game.  the massive amounts
    of alcohol consumed (curtesy of phil) may make it more bearable for
    those dissapointed.  If you get drunk enough, you can just assume
    basso, ulrich, vini, and mansabo just dropped off the back.

    G  (my spelling and puncuation suck, oh well)

  12. BIg Mike In Oz

    I’m juggling requests from CSC, T-Mobile and AG2R.  CSC and the Germans were planning on using me as a rolleur, but AG2R have offered me outright leadership with Christophe Moreau as my lead-out man.
     
    I’ve got to be realistic though.  I think I would only be vying for the Green jersey.  Even with all the noticable absences I think the GC is out of my grasp at such short notice.
     
    The worst of it is that I’m torn.  I’d love to ride the tour but the local pizza shop has a whole week of 2-for-1 deals starting on the 9th.  They’d be cold by the time they were delivered 8000 miles.  I think I’ll just stay home and ponder what could have been.

  13. Unknown

    Mike Sez:   I think I’ll just stay home and ponder what could have been.
     
    You see Mike, that’s yet another thing you have in common with top Tour riders, along with long periods of ignoring your training, and having sported bad hair.   
     
    To wax serious for just a moment, it’s not the doping that bothers me.  It’s the fact that dopers may be cheating some small percentage of clean pros, then the lying, and the phony, "we’re shocked, simply shocked, to find doping here" proclamations that follow these scandals.

  14. Ariane

    WAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

    …snuffle snuffe….cough…hiccup….

    Dudes…. I’m just…. dunno. I guess it’s not that surprising… but still…

    PS: I understand there is going to be a Fat Cyclist TdF team…? You know, I maybe a wimp, but I am very good at making Tofu-Chiladas.

  15. pete

    F@~#ING THOR F@~#ING
    HUSHOVD?!

     Thor Hushovd wins a
    time trial?!! Ahead of Zabriskie and Rogers??!!

     Oh, they’ve definitely
    chased the dope fiends out of the sport.Strange. Me and a friend were talking last week about how much we were lookign forward to this year’s Tour and now. Now I feel like a fool. The only thing that could make the whole tawdry circus worse would be Tyler Hamilton challenging Dave Millar for the maillot jaune.

  16. Brie

    Ah yes the year of the asterix….sounds silly but it was a bit of a shock and huge dissappointment….guess that is what started Le Tour is newspapers to increase their circulation but it would have been nice if the invesigation and naming in the newspapers happened earlier that way Vino could get a chance to race….are they still ticked off that he won the final stage last year.
     
    I’m flying my Aussie flag for Cadel Evans…he may get a chance on the podium in this asterix year….then again all other riders including the sprinters could be podium material.
     
    This is overdue but.. Great news service – it was your news service that I saw on cycling news that brought me here all those news services ago….keep up the great blog entries.
     
    Guess I don’t need to stay up late this July now…good recovery from the world cup then
     

  17. BIg Mike In Oz

    Cosh – You shouldn’t be surprised.  Hushovd won the U23 World Time Trial Championship 5 years ago before he became a sprinter.  Plus, Zabriskie and Rogers are real time trialists and will eat him next Saturday over a non-sprint distance.

  18. barry1021

    The European press is reporting that the spectator holding the green hand tha injured Hushvold is calling himself only "Cycliste Obesite". Purportly at the time of the incident he was yelling "This is for Zabriskie"!! over and over. Very strange, those Europeans.
     
    B21

  19. Unknown

    I’m not upset about how the Tour looks to be progressing.  Instead of the strategic chess match between the warring armies of two or three riders, I believe we’re going to see a hell of a lot of actual racing, where the daily fights and tactics are more important than the grand strategy.  There’s a loss of generals to control the battles, so the sergeants and lieutenants are going to go at it, and I suspect a lot of finishes will be the wide open hammerfests that we saw yesterday.  I guess the answer to the question "what could happen if the big dopers were gone" was answered yesterday.  "Nearly anything" is the answer.  Isn’t it exciting?
     
    One other thing about it.  If all the other generals are dead, but two or three good generals live on, bet on those good generals to win.  Floyd, Levi, George… history is calling, gentlemen.

  20. jim

    I just don’t know what to think.  I feel bad for Ulrich.  His first opportunity to be Lance-free since 1997 and this happens.  I figured he would take 1st in TdF this year and retire or fail to beat Basso and still retire.
     
    On another note, the Americans are looking good for a win now.  I think Floyd is likely but is anyone besides me hopeful for Hincappie?

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