Friday, July 27, 2007

Tour de Specimen Cup

As a huge fan of the Tour de France, I am disappointed and perplexed by the way this “clean tour” is panning out. It is no longer a race of who is the fittest and most courageous. It’s about politics, power and who can get away with the most the longest.

It is really disappointing that the top riders in this year’s tour have been removed. They say Vinokourov was caught blood packing and Rassmusen lied to his team about where he was when he missed a couple tests. If so, I can’t abide what they did, but I can understand at least Rassmusen and lay the blame largely elsewhere.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has taken an adversarial role that begs resistance and rebellion. You can see them from time to time at the finish line being more obnoxious than a news reporter, grabbing the winner of a stage and hustling them off to be tested. Lance Armstrong, in his book Every Second Counts tells how the random testers would show up at the most inconvenient times and make a pest of themselves. At one point, his wife Kik is in labor and they are heading out the door for the hospital to deliver their twins. The people from random blood testing show up and insist that they go through with the testing. The only compassion they got was the female tester telling the male tester to hurry.

That anecdote came to mind when I heard about Rasmussen – I can see a guy trying to get away from the annoying pestering of the UCI’s yapping dogs. It doesn’t excuse him lying to his team – which makes little sense – but it is understandable.

So now the tour isn’t about teamwork and struggle and pain – it’s about rules and testing and cheating. I think I’ll just go out and ride my bike – and anybody who rides faster than me….they must be blood doping.


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