Holy cow, the Tour de France is becoming on of the most interesting sporting events out there right now, and none of it for the action that is happening on the roads of France. Alexandre Vinokourov and Cristian Moreni caught doping, and their respective teams dropping out of the race, and then leader Michael Rasmussen being fired for lying about where he was training in June. ETA denotes two bombs yesterday along the route (no one was injured). The French media is kicking the tour while it's down - Liberation, the national newspaper, announced "La Mort du Tour" - The Death of the Tour - on its front page and said the race had been “emptied of all sporting interest”, and France Soir ran an obituary notice announcing the Tour's death at "the age of 104, after a long illness". And now the Times Online is reporting that "Audi, the car maker, and T-Mobile, the mobile phone group, have already suggested they may withdraw their backing for the race, and organisers fear other sponsors could follow suit."
I biked a little in high school (was never very good, though), and started watching the tour a few years ago when I was working from home during the summer and there was nothing else on TV during the day (I can't of been working very hard, though). I liked watching the tour because it combined the fun of watching a sport with the interest of watching a travel TV show.
Anyway, I wonder what happens next...
Any news is good news.
Look at Paris Hilton. How many times has she been caught doping, bombing, fired and whatever other crap !?! Look at where she's now ?!?! These days it's all about how much publicity you create. Front page of the Liberation & France Soir is a good start, eh ? Next, the French will rally around the Tour, demonstrate in the streets of Paris, burn a few effigies, nothing will change, and then all will be fine.....
Aha, I wondered why almost no one reacted upon my Tour entry a few weeks ago, there must have some lovers of this event.
Oh well, there is a big difference with the years when Hinault and Merckx were still riding. They were using dope as well, but someone like Hinault just refused to cooperate with any controls. Of course he could get away with this: it was 1980 aprox and he was french.
The last 40 years only the winner of 1976, belgian Lucien van Impe has never been accused of using dope or getting caught at all.
But the media is just on top of it these days/years, and as usual, although the studied to become a journalist, they are just a bunch of sensation seekers, not able to say or write something usefull about sportive things, but gossiping is their hobby.
That said, there are lots of riders as well, just being completely stupid and in the near future punishment will get worse, probably no cycling competition for life. Wonder if that helps though because I compare it with a normal society: death penalty doesn't automatically mean crime rates will lower, sometimes it works contraproductive even.
Maybe, some other questions need to be asked as well, because this sport exist also because of public attention:
Isn't the tour maybe a bit to heavy: are two weeks with shorter stages an option?
Isn't the pressure to high: example the Kazakh president who visits the tour, sees a Vinokoerov with problems after his fall, but Vino wants to get back and do something like winning stages?
Why not accept some usage of dope instead of saying it is not negotiable without talking about it at all...typical stubborness?
Just some thoughts...
By the way, Rabobank will still be sponsor, and they will add a bloodbank as well
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 26, 2007, at 7:03 AM by Utrecht ]
I think this situation typifies what many people will do to win.....cheat. They have no honor.
It is no different than many sports in the US...athletes will cheat to win. Barry Bonds is a good example in baseball. He is set to break the all-time home run record set by Hank Aaron. But he has used performance enhancing drugs most of his career, so his record should not count. Cheaters should not be lauded for their achievements.
If they can prove that Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs, he should be stripped of his titles.
The point of the exercise (athletics) is to compete and hopefully win. To do so by gaining an illegal advantage nullifies the honor of competition. But then, these cheaters probably live their lives that way as well...attempting to gain every advantage regardless of cost. In my mind, that makes them worthy of scorn.
So, either ban the cheating competitors for life, or allow everyone to use whatever performance enhancing drug they want....either enforce the rules, or have no rules at all.
Make sense? Oh, by the way, I do enjoy watching cycling.
I love the tour, but have been without tv access to it for the past two weeks. Amazing to watch the news every night though and hear some other dope thing. Too crazy!
I don't think this will be anywhere near the end of the tour, but it's certainly a serious wake up call. I heard something about a team suing another team because their sponsor would otherwise have sponsored them and they missed all the revenue to a team that has now withdrawn over doping. When money starts to talk in that way, it could mean some teams get their act together!!
I'm impressed with the Rabobank team for firing the yellow jersey rider though. That's got to be a first, right?! It's kind of a shame as I was looking forward to Rasmussen falling another 8 times on the final time trial and changing bikes 3 times, haha, that was crazy when that happened
This years tour is a perfect opportunity for the drugs companies to get on the bandwagon and get a bit of sponsorship on the cheap.
All that free publicity