Thursday, July 26

Drugs scandal at the tour de France (next up: dog bites man)

The Tour de France is getting tough on drugs cheats - and anyone else who doesn't comply fully. And it looks like some of the teams, at least, are joining in.

Rasmussen, who looked certain to win yellow after the riders most capable of catching up enough time to threaten him in the time trial were pulled, has suddenly lost the jersey, and probably ended his career, when his Rabobank team discovered that he didn't merely forget to inform people of his whereabouts and missed drugs tests, he appeared to have lied about it. Given the pressure on the tour these days, that simply isn't good enough.

Sadly, it looks like the man now likely to win the Tour will also be viewed with suspicion by many. Contador was previously in the Manolo Saiz run Liberty Seguros-W├╝rth team, so will be linked to Operation Puerto in many people's minds. And while his recovery from a blood clot may make the sort of comeback from hardship that the US media love, others will mutter darkly about how steroid and EPO use are known to cause clots.

Once again, and despite all the efforts otherwise, I still don't feel convinced that the winner of the Tour this year will be clean.

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