With all due respect to Bigalke, our resident cycling promoter, how on earth can anyone take this "event" seriously anymore? The heat is on, testing is up, baseball and football players clearly and obviously backed off on doping. The records are no longer falling, and players no longer need a larger hat/helmet every year. It ain't perfect by any means, but the physical evidence suggests it's working to a large degree.
Perhaps those who pedal to glory didn't get the last memo..or the one before..or the one before that.
Cycling, interestingly enough the WORST sport for doping in recent years, has cracked down harder than any other...or so it would seem. What kind of fool would dare risk it after the Landis nightmare? Seriously.
Then today we get the report today that Spaniard Manuel Beltran failed a doping test.
This can only lead to a few different conclusions.
1) Cyclists as a lot are stupid.
2) The tour is simply too difficult to compete in naturally.
3) The testing, as Landis apparently claims, is inaccurate.
Personally I'm apt to believe anyone who would intentionally put themselves through something as grueling as the tour de farce for no money or other recompensence can't be playing with a full deck upstairs, but others disagree. I don't believe completing the tour itself is too difficult, but doing so in the time it takes to win certainly might be.
So..is it possible the testing itself is flawed? I don't know enough about the science itself to form a conclusive opinion, but I'm also not inclined to just take the word of a few "scientists", either. The same scientists who today are warning of man-made global warming were warning of a coming ice age just 30 years ago. I fear the average man will never realize that "scientists" entire livelyhoods depend on doomsday scenarios that greatly sway their conclusions. But I digress...
Is it possible that Floyd Landis was telling the truth and the testing was flawed? Is it possible that the rumors about Lance Armstrong doping were TRUE, but it was in the tours best interest not to disclose it? Yeah, I know, conspiracy theory stuff.
Bottom line. Can we trust the ruling authorities and the tour itself? And is the Tour de France really the Tour de Farce?
The Saunier-Duval team withdrew from the event today after team leader Riccardo Ricco became the third rider to test positive for doping this year. This is a guy who had won two stages of the race, already. This is a guy who was becoming something of a cult hero in Italy. And this is a guy who just becomes the latest in a long line of riders to screw his fans, his team, his country, and the reputation of the tour itself.
The only questions left are who will be next rider to discrace the sport of cycling, and can the Tour ever again be trusted?