Saturday, July 5, 2008

The 95th Tour de France

Here it is again. The media circus of the year in sports the ‘Tour de France’.

Cycling’s most prestigious race begins Saturday and riders will attempt to reach the finish line in three weeks as the new winner of the Tour. Even with doping scandals stirring around, it is still the biggest cycling event of the year.

Which is a pity as the sport is trying and going overboard to shake off its history of drugs and cheating. A whole host of the sport’s biggest names will not be in the Tour as the Tour organizers are in guilt by association mood. Last year’s winner, Alberto Contador, will not be defending his title as his team, Astana, wasn’t invited because of doping scandals it faced in the last two years. Like I said; ‘guilt by association’.

That’s not even counting the fact that Contador only won the title last year after last year’s tour leader Michael Rasmussen was forced to quit amid doping suspicions. Note that it is doping ‘suspicions’ because there was no proof at all. Rasmussen had 17 tests while on the tour, all of which were negative, but was still forced to quit due to suspicions. A Dutch court had already ordered Rasmussen’s former cycling team to pay the Dane $1 million for wrongful dismissal, and rumors are that Rasmussen’s lawyers will go after the Tour de France organizers next.

This year is the 95th edition of the Tour and organizers has said that they hope fans will focus more on the drama of racing, and less on the doping scandals. Hopefully they will take their own advice.

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