Jul 29, 2007

tdf - stage 20

Well another Tour de France is over. This, more than last year, seemed like a tour where the old guard has made way for the new. A 24 year old Contador perhaps begins another great reign of Spanish climbers in the tour by winning in what is the closest race since Lemond rode to victory in '89. A 24 year old Soler took the mountains award. And a 26 year old Boonen took green. That's damn young for a tour rider. Basso, Ullrich, Landis all seem like history. A real changing of the guard.

And like most recent tours this one had more than its fair share of drug news. That seems to have impacted a lot of people's interest in the tour. A poll showed,
Of 808 respondents, only 13 percent said they were very interested in the Tour, down from 16 percent two years ago. Sixteen percent were somewhat interested, down from 22 percent, and 46 percent not at all, up from 40 percent.
I guess I can relate to that somewhat. It'd be nice to have a truly clean tour. But what sport is clean? Darts? Bowling? At least cycling is actually doing some systematic testing. It's not handled the best. But the drug users are getting kicked out. Bonds is going to set a new record this week because baseball doesn't give a crap about drugs. I haven't paid attention to that sport since Kirby Pucket was playing.

Some have argued that drugs should be legalized. This is a really stupid idea. What if the best athlete in a sport doesn't actually want a brain tumor when they are 40? What are they supposed to do? At least in cycling they have a chance of competing against a clean set of competitors. Contador would not have won without this testing and the related pressure to keep a clean team. So cycling is miles ahead of other sports in that regard.

In that sense watching the tour is more interesting to me now. All sports have their cheaters. At least I feel I have a good chance of watching someone win who is clean. What other sport can you say with some confidence that you think the winner did it without drugs? This is the only one. And it's the only sports event I'll continue to pay any attention to as a result.


Unknown said...

Anyone know why soccer never comes up in discussions about drugs? Some soccer fans I know are convinced the sport is absolutely clean, but they can't point to any evidence that leads them to that conclusion.

C. Fuzzbang said...

Not knowing much about performance enhancements and having played a lot of soccer let me offer one possibility. Drugs don't help. Endurance isn't an issue. No one drops dead from playing a soccer game. Strength could be useful up to a point where it detracts from speed and agility. It seems like soccer requires more neurological talent. Finesse. Knowing when to pass and placing the ball perfectly. Coupled with some strategy and well rehearsed plays. Soccer = darts?