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Letter From The Tour De France

  • July 25th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

tour-de-f-evans.jpgAnother doping sensation has set back the Tour de France after another day of crowd-pleasing competition on the road.

EUAustralia spoke with John Flynn from the SBS Television team covering the event for Australia.


Alexandre Vinokourov, from Kazakhstan, is at the centre of the latest and most sensational doping event.

The pre-race favourite and winner of two of his last three stages tested positive to a prohibited substance and together with the rest of his Astana team has been withdrawn from the Tour.

Official rankings for Stage 15 had Michael Rasmussen and Alberto Contador first and second, with Australia’s Cadel Evans third; the results for Stage 16 still to be posted (25.7.07).


John Flynn a video journalist on the SBS coverage team has been keeping up with a hectic schedule during two weeks of racing, movement, and discord over the drugs problem that refuses to go away.

He sent his impressions to EUAustralia during a rare break:

“It’s rather manic at the moment. We’re in Pau, on a ‘rest’ day. More like a recovery day. It’s four p.m, we’ve just finished shooting for the day and Mark, the cutter, is next door bashing out the next highlights program which has to be fed in about two hours.

“We’re starting at six am most days, and rarely get back to the hotel before midnight. Much of the time is spent on the road, caught in traffic jams after mountain top finishes …

“I’m told the ratings are going ballistic in Australia – hope my small contribution is helping that along!

“The doping issues make for interesting thoughts about ethical approaches and the like … We had one of the biggest press conferences I’ve ever attended today for Michael Rasmussen defending doping allegations [Missing tests – ed]. The story wasn’t advanced at all. As I see it, ultimately the tour is about the human condition and I guess the cheating comes under the category of human frailty and lack of self belief.

“We need to keep it all in perspective. In the midst of it all is the narrative of the race – my primary job – to relay back to people back home.

“The finish line remains the most feral media gathering anywhere on the planet – as the French say the tour “is what it is”, a creation of the media in its genesis, and a media circus, it would seem, for its eternity. Every day is a fight, but so far we’ve managed to get our Aussie riders and get the story out. It’s almost come to blows on a few occasions … (You know) about the hardcore style of myself and cameraman Ryan Sheridan …

“Time for a few zd’s, then dinner at a pizzeria in the restaurant district of the old city of Pau, a cold lager or two and a decent night’s sleep. Tomorrow is the great one, the Col D’Aubisque – it’s going to be a very long day, one where the race will create a new champion.”

Tuesday 24.7.07, 17:17 at Pau.

Picture: Cadel Evans