July 26, 2007
Cycling suffers another doping blow
By JODY VANCE -- Sun Media
Scandal in sports is really bumming me out big time this summer.
Honestly, I was trying to find a somewhat feel-good story to use today, but unfortunately , my scan of the sports headlines just compounded my blues.
I found more bad news in the form of more cheaters; more athletes looking for that unfair edge to bring them to glory.
It's sad to see that it is a familiar scene for a doping scandal -- a stage winner at this year's Tour de France is out and so is his team.
Alexandre Vinokourov, the Kazakh rider, and his Astana team pulled out of the Tour after he tested positive for blood doping on Tuesday.
This is yet another blow for a race which has been winding through picturesque European villages, en route to the Champs-Elysees, for 104 years.
Science has damaged this event so much that, as in recent years, each July is marking the arrival of some sort of doping scandal.
Headlines of "CHEATER" started back when the seemingly untouchable American, and six-time champ, Lance Armstrong owned the yellow jersey. Armstrong has long been dogged by rumours of doping; however, the cycling poster boy has always managed to dodge confirmation by way of lack of hard evidence to date.
Whispers of "cheater" did their damage and tarnished the sport, but no one could have imagined how the Tour would suffer in the years following Armstrong's reign.
Last year's winner, Floyd Landis, out-and-out failed his post-race drug test and was immediately removed as champion in disgrace. Of course, he denies any wrongdoing,but as Grissom says in "CSI," "the evidence never lies."
On the heels of that scandal, two of the Tour's top riders, Germany's Jan Ullrich and Italy's Ivan Basso, found themselves implicated in a major Spanish doping investigation; their great reputations forever stained by the accusations.
This past May, 1996 Tour champ Bjarne Riis admitted to doping during his career.
It is hard to love sports when you are unsure of just how many cheaters there are taking part at any one time. It ruined boxing, has forever scarred track and field, has done serious damage, the full extent still to be realized, to Major League Baseball and now another strike against the Tour.
Can someone please explain to me how any of these cheaters find the smallest hint of satisfaction whatsoever from a tainted victory?
Perhaps if I understood I wouldn't be so bummed.
Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.