Bad for cycling, good for US Cycling!

The day before the Tour de France starts, the top contenders were ejected from the race after “overwhelming evidence” showed that they were doping. Three of the top 5 from last year are included. The most shocking ejections are Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, one of which was practically guaranteed to win this year. Basso and Ullrich deny the charges, which is probably expected.
And poor Vinokourov… he left T-Mobile last year because Jan was the captain and now his new team is all but gone from the race and he wasn’t even implicated. If only had had stayed on T-Mobile, he’d be the team leader on probably the winner. He can’t possibly win now. Update: He can’t win now because his whole team has been pulled.
On the bright side, this is going to make it much easier on Americans Hincapie, Leipheimer and Landis to get on the podium, if not win it!
It’s great that the UCI is hard-line about anti-doping. If only other sports were as strict.

7 thoughts on “Bad for cycling, good for US Cycling!

  1. I am on such a downer about this, was so so so excited about Ullrich vs. Basso – the immoveable object vs. the unstoppable force! Have been supporting Ullrich for years, i am so sad he is not in it anymore and hope he is not guilty – have been unable to find out the real deal – whether he is guilty or has been chucked out because of suspicion.
    That said, no offence but I will be backing a European rider (I am not sure who yet), but I am European, so no anti-US sentiment from me – I hope that is clear!
    No idea who I am going for now….Klodi?

  2. Valverde is probably your best bet.

    I was actually pulling for Ullrich this year, he’s the sentimental favorite for me since he’s always #2 and deserves another victory. I have to think he’s innocent, the evidence seems vague concerning him.

    Basso seems more likely to be guilty, which is probably the end of his career. And it throws his Giro victory into question too.

  3. Who wants to win the tour only to have an asterisk next to your name that all the real guys are out due to a witch hunt. The Tour de France is killing itself, the pressured the Spaniards into getting info before the tour. It is all such speculation. Test them… if they pass the tests fine, if not then toss them out. This digging into every nook and cranny is what is killing the sport. All these guys are potenitially being libeled. But then the French papers don’t worry about that. Zero tolerance is stupid. Test positive you’re out, know someone of questionable charcter who might make it look like your doping… you’re still out.

  4. It sounds like it’s more than speculation, and it’s not the French press that started this (this time, at least). And the problem is that they’d pass the tests, it’s not illegal to have your own blood in your body, but it’s illegal to take it out and put it back in months later right before the race.

    I don’t think this is killing the sport, killing careers, yes, but not the sport. Look at baseball in the US, it’s a joke that obvious cheaters are allowed to continue, get in the Hall of Fame and record books, etc. That kills the sport, IMO, and baseball’s been in decline for years because of this (the latest World Series was the lowest TV ratings in 30 years, apparently).

    Cycling will survive and be stronger after all of this. The 7 years since 1998’s mess proved that.

  5. The problem with this mess is that the top riders were on the list & are therefore suspected. Take note – they are not yet proven guilty!! If you’re following the careers of the consistently strong contenders thru the years, you can not say that they use performance-enhancing drugs or whatever. Ullrich , from the words of Lance himself, is the most talented rider in the peloton. You don’t need to take drugs if you’re already the most talented rider. Same with Basso. Since joining the Tour has always been in the top 10.

    The problem with pro cycling now is if you look too strong they automatically charge you as cheat!

    Norman

  6. Yes, the sport is being killed. Baseball is dying from the opposite end of the problem, ignore the drugs. Cycling is assuming guilt. Neither approach is correct. I was looking forward to two talented riders going for it. No matter what the outcome the winner can only say they won the race, not that they were the best of the group. Its a bit like the entire starting line up of a Superbowl Team being unable to show up for the game. If you beat the ailing team, you can’t really feel that great, after all you didn’t beat the best team, you beat an ailing team. If they are guilty, prove it. But I am not going to make that assumption. I have been proud of the UCI for trying to clean up the sport, but this is getting rediculous.

  7. It is a shame this whole thing. I was really looking forward to this years tour. I have to agree that this will not kill the sport. It is amazing what people will do to their bodies in order to achieve what they think is a competative edge.

    sigh..

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