So the Tour de France begins on Saturday, July 1 and once again, pro cycling is eating its young.
The Astana Team of Alexandr Vinokourov - a pre-race dark horse to win - has been kicked out because their team director was found with enough drugs and frozen blood (really!) to embarrass even Barry Bonds.
Pre-race (and my) favorite - Jan Ullrich - has been cleared of doping allegations, but a cloud of doubt is hanging over his head.
Lance Armstrong continues to pick fights with everyone who breathes oxygen (or speaks his name) including Greg LeMond and former teammate Frankie Andreu. It appears Lance has TWO life quests now that he is retired - curing cancer and putting out PR fires relating to all the drugs he never took. I think both will continue for the rest of his life.
This was supposed to be an exciting year - the first in seven years without Lance Armstrong. We actually will be left wondering who will win after the first day, unlike recent years when Lance would dominate so big at the beginning that for three weeks we would sit and wait for him to ride off the side of a cliff or for the earth to spin out of orbit and burn up in the sun. Neither happened, so Lance won every year since 1999.
I'll say this: screw these guys. I hope the doping gets so out of hand that they destroy the sport and it has to start over from scratch. Or I hope that the authorities just give up and say "May the best drug win" and allow any kind of doping. Either way, the playing field will be level. And when a bunch of these professional cheaters die in their sleep because their blood is so thick from EPO that their hearts stop, well, maybe THAT will send a message to the rest of the world that performance enhancing drugs really are bad and should not be used.
I love cycling, but I'd rather take a drug-free ride on my own bike than watch a bunch of hopped-up zombie cheaters pretend they are innocent. And if the Tour goes down in shame, well, that just means less time in front of the TV and more time out on the bike for me.