One of our local races made up yellow shirts with “Le Suck” on them. I can see why. With in the insane doping problems surrounding the sport it’s hard not to be cynical. The only Grand Tour champion in the last decade who hasn’t been busted, Lance, may have been the most guilty one of all. At least that’s the opinion in the racing world. And the publication of From Lance to Landis does nothing but add fuel to the fire. This work may not hold up in court but you can’t read it with an open mind and not know it’s true–at least to a degree. It would be impossible to make up. Not only that, it makes perfect sense if you know anything about doping and sports performance. And, well, when you race your bike and hang out in that world you meet people who’ve worked/ridden with people…. The big thing I learned from this book was that all teams don’t necessarily dope. All have turned a blind eye to it but some programs are leaders and others followers. Postal, um, sheesh. You’ve got to read it if you enjoy the subject. So, anyway, bike racing has a big black eye at the moment.
But I love bike racing. I love the Tour. C’mon, doping has existed in sports–all of them–as long as there has been performance-enhancing drugs available. Armstrong may have doped to the gills but he still worked harder than everyone else. Dope didn’t win him the Tour. Hard work did. Because, ya know, Ullrich and Basso were on the sauce too. If they want to rid the sport of drugs, they need to rid the sport of doctors, which may mean ridding it of money. But that still won’t do it. People were regularly doing drugs during my high shcool days! College? Of course. Everyone joked about it. Anyway, cycling has done a lot more to combat this issue than any other sport. And it deserves some credit. I think it’s getting better. Dope or no dope, you’ve still got to train like a maniac and race your bike.
Last year I blogged in depth about the race. This year I won’t have the time. But for those who would like to learn more about bike racing, you can read through them starting here:
The race began in England to “the largest crowds I’ve ever seen” according to most everyone. Today they’re in Belgium, it’s raining, and the crowds are still huge. Long live cycling!
It’s an open race and should be great. You can check it out live on the net on Versus streaming video which, thankfully, is only Paul and Phil and no Al Trautwig.
Cyclingfans always keeps you up to date on the latest media options: