Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tour de dope(s)

The news from this year's Tour de France has me shaking my head in disgust. Many cycling fans became increasingly cynical after last year's stunning victory by Floyd Landis was tainted by charges of illegal testosterone use.

This week has been a continuing implosion of the credibility of professional cycling.

Yesterday Alexandre Vinokourov was booted from the race after testing positive for an illegal blood transfusion, and his Astana team withdrew from the race, taking Andreas Kloden out of contention.

Today was Cristian Moreni's turn, this time for illegal testosterone use. His team, Cofidis, is out of the race with him.

The kicker was the news late in the day that Michael Rasmussen, the current leader of the race, was fired by his team (Rabobank) for violations of team policy related to drug testing.

I keep wondering who will be next and how they can take such a huge chance, given the extensive drug testing programs now in place and the sophistication of today's lab tests. Is there a cure for the disease of corruption afflicting professional sports? I hope that professional cycling will be able to rebuild from the wreckage of this year's Tour. If not, can we ever believe that future victories are legitimately earned?

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