"A black day for the Tour de France"
excerpt from the International Herald Tribune
GOURETTE, France: Let no one mistake it: This was one of the blackest days in the 104-year history of the Tour de France.
Less than 24 hours after Alexandre Vinokourov, and his team, were thrown off the Tour, the mood was grim as the riders lined up in Orthez in southwestern France for the start of the 16th of 20 daily stages on Wednesday.
Dozens demonstrated their anger over repeated doping scandals by staging a silent protest.
The Associated Press reported that some fans booed the leader, Michael Rasmussen, himself under suspicion.
And the French sports daily L'Equipe reported on its Web site that cycling officials would announce later Wednesday that another rider had failed a doping test, after the 11th stage on July 19.
There is a DAILY French paper just about SPORTS? Do we even have that here?
I really don't know what to think with all this doping nonsense. I do believe that part of the problem stems from the (literally) Olympic shift away from amateur athletes to people who, even if not all professionals in the Michael Jordan sense, train and compete in their sport on a year-round basis. And maybe the shift was critical to the continuation of the Olympics, but I see doping as a side-effect of the push to be the best at only one particular thing.
I say all of this, of course, from my own perspective as a globally-competitive...mmm...shoe-buyer.