Friday, July 27, 2007

No more heroes any more

The Stranglers (a fave band of my youth) might have had it right when they sang that there were "No more heroes any more".

Hayley and I have been watching the Tour de France since it started nearly 3 weeks ago. It has seen some of the most exciting riding in years with Michael Rasmussen and Alberto Contador sparring on the mountainside, attacking each other as if track sprinters.

But then late on Wednesday night Rasmussen was thrown out of the race and sacked by his team for lying about his whereabouts in the month before the tour.

Leader Rasmussen pulled from Tour

He also missed drugs tests during that period. It all smells very bad, especially after last year's tour was marred by Floyd Landis' win being revoked for a positive testosterone test after the finale in Paris. "Tour de Farce" is a common phrase in the papers over the last couple of days.

On top of this, the plucky pre-race favourite who we had all admired when he won the time trial after crashes and bad days, Alexander Vinokourov, was thrown out for blood doping.

How is anyone meant to look up to these sociopaths intent on victory at all costs, even when that cost is an early death?

I love cycling. I do hope it cleans up its act by the time Oliver is old enough to have boyhood heroes. Because what these riders achieve is phenomenol and it's a tragedy to diminish it by cheating.