Cycling – the 2007 Tour de France

07272007.jpgThis may be a wine blog, but once in a while it’s cathartic to write about something else. 🙂

Anyone who knows me, knows what a road cycling nut I am. Any day that it isn’t raining here in Vancouver usually means that I’m out for a ride, cranking as hard as I can.

Since I was a kid, I’ve followed the Tour de France with that can only be described as a near-religious fervor. In the last few years, doping suspicions and suspensions have cast a dark shadow over my beloved sport, and even more so, le Tour. 2006’s “winner”, Floyd Landis is still waiting on a ruling to see whether he’ll lose the title because of a positive test for steroids.

2007 has been unbelievable at the Tour. First up was race favourite Alexander Vinokourov‘s expulsion for homologous blood doping (injecting blood from a compatible donor). This was followed a few stages later by Team Rabobank pulling Michael Rasmussen from the race and firing him while he was wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey for missing doping control tests and having mis-informed his team as to where he had been training.

Damn… who can we trust? Apparently no-one in the sport… save for a few militant anti-dopers, such as David Millar (a formerly convicted doper himself who served his suspended time and saw the light). The diary entry he wrote after Vinokourov was kicked out of the race is heartfelt, well-written and reminds us why he (and we) love(s) the sport. Check it out. Riders like that give me hope for the race and the sport.

OK, I’m not going to prattle on here… I just hope the few greedy and stupid riders who have damaged the sport haven’t dealt it a fatal blow. Let’s face it, if all sports were as vigilant and public about their doping scandals, pro football probably wouldn’t exist and people like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire would have no more fame than the average steroid monkey at your local gym.

Enough said. I’m going for a ride.