Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dope in sport

In this dismal domain (primarily, dope in cycling), much has happened over the last year, and new events are still being revealed.

First, Floyd Landis is likely to lose his Tour de France title, because the presence of synthetic testosterone in his urine has apparently been confirmed.

Above all, we're still in the middle of the gigantic fallout from the so-called Puerto affair of May 2006, when Spanish police arrested sporting director Manolo Sainz and the doctor Fuentes, whose trial will be starting next June. [Click here to see a French-language website with the names of cyclists involved in this affair, or simply Google with the expression "puerto affair".]

The Italian rider Ivan Basso has just severed his links with Discovery Channel, and he has been summoned for a confrontation tomorrow with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). In the near future, he could well be caught out, like Jan Ullrich, by DNA testing.

Furthermore, the Italian Gazzetta dello Sport has just announced that 49 additional cyclists (whose names have not yet been revealed) must be added to the list of 58 already involved in the Puerto Affair. That makes a grand total of 107 professional cyclists who are indirectly suspected of using dope. So, it's not just a marginal phenomenon. It sounds as if a great part of the professional cycling system is rotten, but it's still too early to know what global effects this conclusion might have upon the sport, and the outlook of the general public.

When I read the nasty blood-bag tales of doping in cyclism, I'm nauseated. It's truly sickening, enough to make me want to put away in the attic all my spontaneous enthusiasm for the grand summer ritual of the Tour de France. Will this ugly medical mess ever be cleaned up?

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