In need of cleansing
Los Angeles Times
News that three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has tested positive for a banned stimulant, and is now claiming he ingested it through some bad beef is another blow to a sport that already has endured Floyd Landis' positive test and long-held lies, and now finds itself in the crosshairs of anti-doping's top investigator, Jeff Novitzky, in a Los Angeles federal grand jury setting.
The top target of that probe is seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong. So now we have a decade of winners clouded by doping claims, with new details certain to emerge in sworn testimony.
Cycling needs a cleansing like baseball, and when it gets there, then the rest of us can once again view the sport as an appreciation of fitness and endurance, not as nothing more than a chemistry test.
Fans don't care
Gary R. Blockus
Cycling will recover just fine. The streets and mountainsides of France were still lined with spectators for the Tour de Farce, uh, France.
And the fact that the pro cycling tour's Tour of California was sponsored by Amgen — the maker of the banned endurance performance enhancer EPO — is just another nudge-nudge, wink-wink at the mockery drug use has become in all of professional sports.
Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Alberto Contador and the ever-mounting allegations against Lance Armstrong will not hurt the sport itself.
If football fans don't care how their offensive tackles get to 300 pounds, and baseball fans really don't care about Jose Canseco milkshakes, why should cycling fans be any different?
Business as usual
For a decade, I have seen professional cycling the way most people do a bad highway accident: You know something awful may have happened, but you can't stop looking.
Cycling's "grand tours" — especially the Tour de France — offer stunning scenery, and the riders are so technically skilled and fearless I am lured to watch, even if I do it with the same jaundiced eye I focus on other sports (baseball, football, track) because of the doping that has badly undermined the credibility of performances.
Neither the grand jury investigation into the possibility seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong doped nor Wednesday's news that Alberto Contador, Tour winner the last two years, has tested positive will change my view of the sport.
Nothing will change
Of course it can because there's really nothing to recover from. It's like asking if pro football or pro baseball can recover from all the black marks those sports have endured.
Fans of the sport will decry the situation and say it's terrible that three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is the latest star cyclist to test positive for a banned substance.
But the bottom line is after the furor dies down, nothing will change and cycling fans will flock to next year's Tour just as they always have.
Like it or not, using performance-enhancing drugs is a way of life in cycling — just as it is in other sports.
It's nothing new, and fans still will sit back and enjoy the ride.