Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


You can laugh out loud at Tim Moore's alcohol-at-lunch solution to overcome pain while cycling up the Pyrenees. But believe that it's just a piece of dramatic license, and the joke's on you. The dark side of the pretty peaks of the Tour de France is turning out to be more fact than fiction as skeletons keep tumbling out.For an event that began as a newspaper's circulation-boosting gig, damaging disclosures are nothing new. Stories of a little something to help overcome the tough road have been floating around from the time the Tour was started by L'Auto , now called L'Equipe . But as sport was codified, the line between fairness and cheating became too thick to skip past. Now, with cycling probably at the lowest ebb in its history, and talk of credibility overriding every stage win, maybe it's time to look at the race itself.There are stories of positive tests too often these days, across sports. For a fan, every request for a B-sample examination comes as a blow. Why is it that the Tour de France practically lives in the shadow of chemicals? There have been clean riders who have won the race. It would be unfair to cast a suspicious eye on each of the maillot jaunes . But is there something about the 21-stage, 23-day examination of the body, heart and the mind, guaranteed to bring out the best in a rider, that brings out the worst in a man?What if the race was made just a little less 'superhuman'? Of course, it can be argued the biggest draw of the race is exactly that. The masses want to see the riders fight, suffer, and cover themselves in blood-oozing glory. French towns continue to bring on the carnival atmosphere as the peloton puts their tiled streets and sunflower fields on the world stage for one day.The stakes are high. There is television and sponsors. But as an advertisement, it must be said, the Tour would rank pretty low. TMobile withdrew its title sponsorship from what is now Team Colombia. And fans are choosing to take a long, measured look everytime a glorious stage victory is achieved.The last two years have seen one race winner, and one winner-in-waiting, being disqualified and thrown out of the sport. Floyd Landis lost his Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal recently, while Michael Rasmussen is still team-less. Jan Ullrich, a former winner, and Ivan Basso, both long-time favourites, were dismissed even before the race started in 2006.This year's race, touted as the one where the cycling would come out of its murky past, has already seen three positive tests. The cynics have been given another helping of raw material. What will it take to set the Tour de France right? An easier route? A smaller race? A five-year break to get rid of the dirty riders? Athletes are a much-admired lot. Since when did chemicals find the same pedestal


  © Free Blogger Templates Blogger Theme by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP