It's Tour de France time

News & Results

06/25/2013| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Alberto Contador and Chris Froome are ready for the Tour de France 2013 Fotoreporter Sirotti

It's Tour de France time

This time of year means two things: Doping accusations and Tour de France predictions.

I don’t make a habit of arguing on the Internet. Sure, I’ve mixed it up a couple of times, but the reality of web-based arguing is that it’s a colossal waste of time. Have you ever seen two hardcore Facebook or Twitter arguments end with one side saying, “You know, this has totally changed my point of view on the subject. Thank you for your insightful analysis.” No. It’s mudslinging which ends in challenging the other’s cognitive mental abilities or the chastity of the person’s mother.

However, I saw something on Facebook that made me stop and reply to this person’s statement. Perhaps I took his innocuous statement like it was a personal affront. I replied and then immediately regretted doing so.

After a bit of back and forth the debate ended as well as it could - no one changed their mind and there was no name calling. In fact our disagreement ended with the promise of us having beers together if he came to my little berg of Greenville (or this might be a trap).

What I really learned from this exchange is that there is still confusion regarding the ongoing doping scandal in cycling. It seems to swing from stories of professional riders cuing up in front of Lance Armstrong’s Gerona house as he handed out ampules of EPO like Halloween candy, to riders were given no choice by Armstrong and team director Johan Bruyneel and strapped to a chair in a dungeon as IV bags were hung from the ceiling dripping a PED cocktail into their skinny arms.

As with most stories the truth lies somewhere in between. As I was writing this article I went back to my timeline to check on my statements. Additional people had commented, but now with the often used response of, “they were all doping so this was a level playing field.”

There’s no way to effectively convince anyone that “the level playing field” is a legitimate excuse for doping. This argument has been shown as an erroneous theory too many times to count.

So after a frenetic thirty minutes on social media debating a point about doping I learned there’s no point in getting too bent out of shape about someone’s views on the matter. They aren’t going to change and chances are neither are your views. To quote George Bernard Shaw, “I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

In other news that we already knew: Jan Ullrich admits to blood doping and Laurent Jalabert’s urine sample from 1998 was chocked full of EPO. For those who may be new to the sport of cycling Frenchman Jalabert has won both the green sprinter’s and polka-dotted climber’s jersey in the Tour de France. So yeah...there’s that...

In the case of the German, after years of veiled hints and not so subtle comments regarding his shady T-Mobile past, he finally came clean. He said the infamous Doctor Fuentes helped him blood dope. You didn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure


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