26 julio 2007

Cycling - Dopping - Tour de France

My favourite sport is cycling. I have 6 bicycles, I always try to keep the bycicles I have ridden. I love not only to ride those bikes, but also to fix them. For about 10 years I used to cycle every Sunday morning on the roads of Madrid's mountains. For another 10 years I have also been cycling over mountain bikes everytime I can (lately a lot, about 3-4 times per week). For two years in London I used to go to class in my black Raleigh, raining or not. Finally one of my uncles was a cyclist, and my dad knew and got on well with the first Spaniard who won (in 1959) the Tour de France, Federico Martín-Bahamontes, and with many other cyclist.

Well I guess you understand how much do I love this sport. I love to practise it, but I do not like to watch it on TV. Simply because professional cycling is a very dirty sport. It is nothing new at all, since I was a child I could listened to stories about dopping (few of them told by my granmother) and I soon became aware of the great distortion existing in this sport. I prefer not to mention names, but it is obvious that most of the greatest "legends" of this sport have achieved their merits packed in drugs. One has only to review the biographies of Tour de France winners to realise that few of them died from diseases related to drug-taking: cardiac problems or stomach cancer for instance.

90% of people is aware of this, so audiences and sponsorship is declining as to put in danger the existence of the sport in a professional manner. This year however, Tour de France's organisation, some media (e.g. German TV), and even the teams have taken very agressive measures to fight dopping. I am writing this post becasuse I just read that Michael Rasmussen, the leader of the Tour, has been withdrawn by his own team (Rabobank), which also self-excluded from the competition, as also have done another two teams, Astana and Cofidis.

I honestly thing that this measures can be the only way to find a solution to the problem. Also I would rise the penalties (now only two years of suspension) and I would freeze blood to carry out tests years later (some dopping sustances are invisible to this year's tests, but not to next year ones) and condition the prizes and honores to passing those delayed tests.

I hope one day I can enjoy -and believe- an Alpe d'Huez climbing as it deserves!

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Are you talking about Indurain?
As I said.. "I prefer not to mention names"


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