Saturday, February 11, 2012

Contre le dopage

What a week for doping.  What can one say that has already been said, and surely more eloquently than I ever could?

The big surprise, perhaps was Benjamin Martel, a Quebec amateur, popped for testosterone last yearLa belle says the francophone blogs have been abuzz with this news and whilst most are condemning him, he has his share of supporters, many trotting out the "his bidon was spiked" defence. 

Really?  Spiked bidons?  Really?  What is this?  1975?  Speaking of 1975, testosterone is so 70s!  I thought the use of the big T as a doping agent went out with flares and disco!  Testosterone and spiked bidons, haven't we come any further than this in 35 years?  What's next?  The Jack Daniels and dehydration defence?  The phantom twin defence?  Or maybe the spiked steak defence? 

What?  Too soon?

I never thought that they'd ding Contador.  Personally, my view was that it should have been a slam-dunk but given the stakes I was sure that it wouldn't happen, to the extent when I read the news it was an almost visceral shock!  Armstrong?  Well, if I have to tell another fanboy all it means is federal laws regarding the use of federal money for the purchase of illegal substances were not broken, well you get my drift.  It's SCA all over again.  As for Ullrich, well hey, he has as much as admitted playing with the heavy water.  I always said he had class and once more, it shows.  Armstrong and Contador have tied themselvs in linguistic and legal knots, straining credulity to prove their innocence whereas der Kaiser has 'fessed up, faced his fate and taken his punishment like a true campione.  Class.  The two year ban may seem strange, but it if he were still involved in cycling it would stop him from being in team management, a DS or the like.  There are way too many former dopers running teams.  Riis, for one.  I sense a certain poetic justice if Saxo were to be demoted to Pro Conti after this.  Oh, and a certain Erik Lyman.  Who?  Benjamin Martel's manager, who himself served one, if not two, doping suspensions.  See what I mean?

How's this for unintended consequences following Contador's ban?  He is stricken from the Tour de San Luis top-three, promoting a certain Stephan Schumacher to the podium.  F#%k!

That notwithstanding, this may have been a bad week for cycling on the surface, but maybe not for the future.  Maybe the good news is that the "authorities" have finally grown themselves a collective pair and are not afraid to bust riders for doping, regardless of who they are.  No longer, perhaps, are the days when a Grand Tour gave immunity from prosecution.

Le cyclisme est mort, vive le cyclisme!


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