Friday, June 30, 2006

Disaster in France

At least twenty riders are out of the Tour- BIG names, Ullrich, Basso, Mancebo, Beloki, the list goes on, for allegedly doping. The riders will not be replaced so there will be far fewer riders racing.

The teams had voluntarily agreed to purge the riders implicated in a Spanish report issued today. NYTimes has an interesting article about it that includes the method some doctors have used to decide whether EPO has been used. I will give you the Cliff note version- apparently doctors may see evidence in the test, but decide it is not enough evidence or is too vague. Is this any way to run a bike race?

AS a fan, I am devastated, since Ivan was my favorite to win. Chris thinks this will give all the clean riders a chance. My argument is an implication in a report does not make a rider 'dirty'. I feel particularly sad about Jan Ullrich's suspension since he was on the precipice of all-time greats. What if you train for 15 years, you win one time, lose 7 times (just barely) then right before possibly your last Tour you are suspended because someone named you in a document? What if you are innocent?

These cases are so difficult to fight against, it is trying to prove a negative- although in this case hopefully urine/blood tests could easily establish guilt or innocence. The riders cannot let this drag out, they owe it to the fans to 'fess up, one can make a comeback (ask Virenque).

All of road racing is tarnished by this too; the establishment must give us fans a reason why it swept all this under the rug for so long, why cheating is so widespread, the governing bodies must accept responsibility themselves & establish accountability procedures. Those clean riders deserve it.

Thank goodness tomorrow we can focus on racing- watch on OLN! Bob, Phil and Paul will surely lament and tell the sad story while focusing on the brilliance of the difficult stages and riders who were not implicated. Look for a lot of Americans to be in the mix (go Levi!)


mckora said...

Does this mean the Direct TV will be cancelled?

Chris said...

Like Jen said, it will be interesting to see the so-far clean riders having a chance. With no clear favorite, it should be brutal!
We'll keep our Directv package through July, since it is the cheapest tv package that includes OLN, beating out Dish & Adelphia.

Jennifer said...

Dont worry, not until after you leave.