27 July 2008
José María Jiménez, nicknamed 'El Chaba' (the Wild One), because of his attacking style of riding was the ultimate protege and potential successor of Miguel Indurain, who in the 90's won five Tours in a row.
He had a reasonably successful career with excellent stage wins in the big stage races but without winning the G.C. in the Tour. In 2000 he lost to another exceptional talent, Marco Pantani 'Il Pirata', in the final meters of the alpine climb to Courchevel.
Marco Pantani died of a cocaine overdose in 2004. He suffered from depression which worsened after he was kicked out of the Giro in 1999. He could not live with his hurt pride and did not ride a race that year.
On 14 February 2004 he was found dead due to an O.D on cocaine.
Like Jimenez, Pantani was an attacking rider who caused some serious headaches to the Armstrong machine.
Jiminez equally suffered from depression, retired in 2002 and died in a Madrid clinic of a heart attack in 2003. Jiminez also was a lost insect in the closing web of narcotics.
Carlos Sastre is Jiminez's brother-in-law.
Initially Carlos stopped riding but Bjarne Riis helped him out of his depression and this little great man deservedly won the Tour de France yesterday in the time trial.
Cycling mad Belgium started a fan club for him a few years ago. He does not have a fan club in Spain. The Belgian club has 400 members who's donations go to a children cancer charity. Sastre doubled the donations out of his own pocket without making this public.
Had Contador started, he might have won. Had Evans a better team, or had he not fallen and hurt himself he might have won. Had customs at the Luxemburg-French border found epo in father Schlecks car, CSC would have been sent home. Had.