Thursday, July 26, 2007

La Mort du Tour?

They just keep coming. The cheaters and the cheating; first Vinokourov. Then Moreni. Now Rasmussen. It just seems like you open the paper or go on the web and all you see and hear is another doping story. Is this The End? Should this year's tour be halted? Is cycling done for as a sport?

I keep coming back again and again to this guy:

He never gave a thought to shutting down the game. The idea wasn't to just throw up his hands and surrender - Kenesaw Mountain Landis just wasn't that kind of guy. I mean, look at him. Mean, irascible, arbitrary...but not your basic cheese-eating surrender monkey.
Here's what he had to say about the cheaters of his day:
"Baseball is something more than a game to an American boy. It is his training field for life work. Destroy his faith in its squareness and honesty and you have destroyed something more; you have planted suspicion of all things in his heart.... Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ballgame, no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ballgame, no player that sits in conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball."
The current president of the Tour was interviewed this morning and he said this: “We have to break every link of the chain, not only the riders who are the final part. Now we have to pursue the doctors and managers of the riders. When I see riders sitting down to protest against doping at the start of the race, it’s completely different to what happened 10 years ago. It’s the absolute opposite because, at that time, they were protesting against the controls. That means that we have a part of the path [to a clean sport] has been forged. In the future the access to our races, which will be determined by a sporting criteria, will be primarily determined by ethics. We will create a new set of conditions involving the institutes like the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD). We won’t give our confidence to people who no longer deserve it.”

Almost...Kenesawesque. It sounds like - and I hope - that he's not going to let the dopers and cheaters take away the chances of a great young rider like Contador. These scandals and defenestrations mean that the dirty riders are being caught and being thrown out of the sport.
Let's keep riding. Vive le Tour!

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