The cycling world takes another blow. The credibility of riders in the tour de france comes into question again! When will this end?
Yesterday I watched an incredible race of a ten mile climb up the (Aubisque) mountain pass in the Pyrenees. It was between four riders, three of them challenging the yellow jersey leader Rasmussen. It was very dramatic as each rider challenged Rasmussen, kicking in bursts of speed on inclines I can't even imagine, trying to push Rasmussen to a point that would challenge his lead. At the very end, Rasmussen broke away from the riders and crossed the summit maintaining his lead and his yellow jersey with intention on winning the 2007 Tour de France.
Last night as I'm watching the replay of the days events for moments I'd missed earlier, I see the news scroll by on the ticker revealing that Rasmussen has left the tour and has been pulled by his team. What? Of course I thought at first he was caught doping, but then all I can figure out is that he's been pulled because he lied to the team as to where he was training in June. Oops. Why did he lie? There's the question I'd like answered.
So this is on top of further scandal in the tour as Vinokourov tested positive for doping causing the whole Astana team to be sent home from the tour. I had been wondering about "Vino's" ability to recover so well from a terrible crash early in the tour that led to both of his knees being stitched closed and yet he somehow carried on and even went on to win a stage. The next day he was confirmed as testing positive for blood doping. Now he is on a list along with Moreni and I wonder who's next?
Contador is the leader now after Rasmussen has been pulled, but I wonder how "clean" he is or any of them.
The tour is a mess because of all of this. It really is a beautiful race and incredible to watch, but it's so dirty and tainted now with questions of doping can it ever become a clean race? After Floyd Landis? Is there really anyone who doesn't question Lance Armstrong (except maybe himself)?
I still enjoy watching the tour de france, but I watch it with the knowledge that there's a good chance those on the course are cheaters and it's a race between who can outsmart the anti-doping force.