The Paris-Nice is over with the Race to the Sun ending in clouds and ran after clammy weather for most of the race. Thomas “The Bold Frenchmen” won the final stage in yet another brave and long breakaway effort. The very, very German Tony Martin (HTC) retained the overall lead to win the race’s GC over also German Andreas Kloden of RadioShack.
The very, very German machine that is Tony Martin on his way to the TT win in the Paris-Nice…
Some writers have called the Kloden vs Martin fight for the overall “The Battle of the Generations”, alluding to the youth of Martin against the aged legs of Andreas Kloden. The Bohunk sees the obvious generation, but does not see the importance. There are a lot of older gentlemen in this race, not to mention the oldest man in the professional peloton, Jens Voight. The obvious intent of this juxtaposition is to show the future of cycling as clean and unassociated with the doping of the past. While that is more than fair to say, we run the risk of dragging racers without any history or evidence of doping through the mud. Kloden has ridden on teams with Jan Ulrich, Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, a convicted cheat, an exonerated champion and a suspected legend, respectively. Kloden has had no links to doping at any of these stops, yet is insinuated as being associated with the shadowy professional peloton of the late 90s and early 00s.
The claims are not overt, but definitely present. As much as cycling fans can be thankful for the emphasis on clean and honest riders in the future (and believe me, that is the best thing we can ask for) we cannot write off all the riders of the past just by association or having had ridden with some bad eggs. That would be a terribly unfair way to deal with riders like Voight, Kloden and Leipheimer who have been heroes and outstanding advocates for cycling for over a decade.
Congrats to Tony Martin and his HTC team, and check back in later for the Tirreno-Adriatico stage report, or, as always, follow me on Twitter for Updates.