I’m quoting Renaud Dély and I don’t know who he is, but (if you have some French) check out A l’agonie. Road cycling, at one level it’s among the purest sports, or should be anyhow: one human against mountains and clocks and other humans and his or her own oxygen metabolism; strength and courage writ large. Post-Landis, I’d resolved not to care any more, but I woke up early one morning and accidentally caught a stage while looking for something else, and started to care about Vinokurov and Rasmussen and Contador and so on. Like Renaud said, shut it down now; either they turn it off or they’ve proved they just don’t care. Yes, Contador too; as of today, every professional cyclist is guilty until proved innocent. In case you hadn’t noticed, the teams had to be carrying the transfusion and steroid-augmentation equipment along with ’em; you can’t just drop by a village on the Franco-Spanish border and pick up your next day’s red cells. They’ve betrayed millions; to hell with ’em.


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From: franck (Jul 26 2007, at 01:12)

Sports at this level is an ongoing joke. Pretending that you can achieve the kind of results you see on TV without "help" is so naive! Especially in cycling. There is just no way a normal person can do the kind of stuff those guys are doing. Anyone who has done some mountain cycling knows that. And pretending otherwise is either extremely naive or just disingenuous.


From: Eric Cestari (Jul 26 2007, at 01:40)

Damn, you're right ...

I just wish French TV (I live in France) would do something about that, but there's too much at stake for them.

(And that being my first post, well ... thanks for that global warming XML thing :)


From: walter (Jul 26 2007, at 08:06)

Yes, i guess it's time to tune out of my favourite sport. Vinokourov, then Moreni, and now Rasmussen out. It's all too much. Bad enough we started the TdF with last year's 'winner" in limbo. I was glued to the tv for the past two weeks. but no more. And the rest of the sports world is no better. Bonds is a cheat who is about to break a record. who cares. Just another cheat. Then we have all the other steroid users in track and field, idiots in the the AFL/NFL and idiots on Hockey teams. Too much. To hell with all of them! Too much money for too little brain power.


From: Clayton O'Neill (Jul 26 2007, at 08:24)

I like to think that this is growing pains, as the teams get used to the idea that if they dope, they really are going to get caught. While it's really disruptive now, I believe it may lead to a better sport long term.

Really, compared to most any other sport, the UCI doping stuff is very very strict. In most American professional sports, drug testing is a complete joke.


From: John Cowan (Jul 26 2007, at 08:44)

As far as I am concerned, the fuss made about doping is on a level with the silly fuss made about amateurism at the Olympics (and historically in many sports that are now played professionally, notably baseball back in the 1860s, when everyone was all het up about how paying players openly instead of by giving them cushy sinecures would ruin the game forever). What next, genetic testing to exclude people with "unfairly" useful genes? Ban Kenyans from foot racing?

If you are playing in the Real World, you have to make use of Real World moves.


From: Irv Stern (Jul 26 2007, at 10:33)

Yep - while I agree with your cynicism, it does appear that the UCI and cycling are the only ones who are really doing something to remedy this growing problem in sports. Bud Selig and baseball turned their heads away for years, to put more butts in seats.

Between the cycling doping controversy, refs fixing NBA games, Michael Vick's after-hours obsession with pugilistic canines, does there remain a sport with a squeaky-clean image?

What next - should we test Tiger Woods or Roger Federer?


From: sits (Jul 26 2007, at 16:53)

Guys guys... such negativity. This really is nothing more than growing pains, if anything, its encouraging big names have been caught out in the last couple of years, the sport will be so much better without them.

It will probably take a few more years of pain, but eventually, we'll have a better sport for it.

Go Cadel!


From: Jean Doute (Jul 27 2007, at 02:02)

Laissez faire!

I say let them use all the performance enhancers they want. It makes for a way better show, all around.

Drugs are a part of our evolution, the same way computers and other forms of technology are. They are not going away. To think or wish so is neo-luddite.

A successful cancer or AIDS drug would garner a Nobel prize; why not one that allows someone to run a 3-minute mile?

Development from the experiments of these pioneers in performance enhancement might yield useful products for everyday use (maybe even more useful than "Tang" and the "Space Blanket" we got from our investment in sending man to the moon!)

And of course we'll continue to have the grand show of "Le Tour", with superhuman successes and spectacular failures. Sport at its best.


From: Rijk (Jul 27 2007, at 04:25)

In the case of Rasmussen, this is not about using doping during the Tour, but about suspsicously evading testing in the months before. No reason to descredit the whole team. There was no legal reason for the team to fire him, so they should be recommended to have done so (instead of riding on to a sure yellow Jersey in Paris).


From: Aristotle Pagaltzis (Jul 27 2007, at 18:46)

All the people who argue that doping should be legalised astound me. Why not also allow recumbent bikes or ones with bodywork?

Neo-luddite? More’s the question: what’s the point if anything goes?


From: John Cowan (Jul 29 2007, at 13:11)

I take the basis of road cycling to be people competing with one another over the same roadway using the same equipment. Thus it makes sense to standardize bikes, and the road is standardized by being the selfsame road (though we do not attempt to level road conditions such as wetness, which do in fact vary for each competitor).

But by the same token, it does not make sense to standardize what people do to themselves. Otherwise, why not ban good genes, or a high level of training? The only reason to label a practice "cheating" is if some competitors can use it and some cannot, apart from the expense (since it is obvious that more money will buy better training, and no one has ever claimed that training is cheating). It is quite all right to eat certain foods and not others, but the minute an ingested or injected chemical (foods are ingested chemicals) is called "dope", everyone is down on it. Sheer hypocrisy.


From: John (Jul 29 2007, at 16:49)

As an avid cyclist and fan, I'd hate to see what you're advocating (shut it down, declare everyone guilty until proven innocent). Talk about throwing the baby (clean riders) out with the bath water. Yes, there are huge issues facing professional cycling and they need to be addressed. However, I'd say those problems are in no way unique to cycling. Subject other athletes (e.g., baseball and football players) to the same, unprecedented level of drug-testing that cyclists receive, and I'd venture to say that we'd find the problem is just as bad in other sports. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to catch the prime time coverage of the final stage. It's still amazing to me what the clean guys (yes, they're out there) can accomplish.


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