Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another black day for the Tour

Another day in Le Tour, another scandal. The whispers got louder over the week following the news that race leader Michael Rasmussen didn't turn up for out-of-competition drug tests. Only 2 days ago, Rasmussen went from "no comment" to denial when challenged about this. He then defiantly won today's stage - only to be kicked out of the race this evening by his own team, Rabobank, after it emerged that he had told porkies about his whereabouts at the time of the missed tests.

The yellow jersey is now on the shoulders of the young Spanish rider for the Discovery team, Alberto Contador, who already provided some intriguing race-within-race battles in the Pyrenees stages this week with Rasmussen. We can only hope and pray that he's clean. But given the continued scandals, it is now irrelevant who is in the lead, as everyone is now under suspicion, clean or otherwise.

The sport's efforts to clean itself up after the numerous scandals of recent years, have obviously not gone far enough - the only punishment should now be a life ban. If you love Le Tour like I do (as I have for the last 20 years) then you will probably have mixed feelings tonight: glad that another cheat is gone, but disgusted that the cheats are dragging it into the gutter, into a dark tunnel with no light of credibility at the end.

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