Vuelta a España: The race went into the mountains today (which mountains? Some Spanish mountains). The winner was a Russian named Efimkin, of whom, due to my thin knowledge of the pro ranks, I can tell you nothing except that he was in a long breakaway today and managed to stay away from a hard chase even when the final climb hit 14 percent. Yesterday’s stage went to Paolo Bettini, Italian of Quickstep, reigning world road race champ and member of my own Berkeley Bombers fantasy Vuelta squad. Of which, read on.
Fantasy Vuelta: Thanks to its second consecutive one-two finish, the Berkeley Bombers advanced from 58th to 35th place. Sunday, Oscar Freire won a finishing sprint with Bettini second. Monday, Bettini edged Freire. Of course, those are just about the only guys on my team of nine who have scored. And now that the mountain stages have begun, the sprinters are toast (for awhile) and the Bombers face a steady slide toward the middle of the 600-strong pack.
Today’s top doping news: Handwringing in Britain, by way of The Telegraph, over the case of sprinter Christine Ohuruogu. She was recently banned from the UK’s Olympic squad for missing random drug tests. But last week she went to the world track championships and won a gold in the 400-meter dash. Noting that Ohuruogu has never failed a doping test, the head of the nation’s track and field federation is making noises about finding a way to get her reinstated. The Telegraph argues, in its headline, that “athletics faces ruin if it keeps bending its rules.” Also today: T-Mobile fires another rider over a positive drug test.
Life in limbo: Floyd Landis raced this weekend, his new hip and ongoing problems with the sports doping cops notwithstanding. The event: a marathon mountain bike race, the Shenandoah Mountain 100. He came in third and according to the accounts you come across online left a pretty positive impression on fans and fellow racers alike.