Thursday, January 27, 2011

Contador, Doping and the Tour

Well, well, well...turns out there may be a reason Spanish cyclist Alberto Condador was so good over the past two runnings of the Tour de France.

He may have ingested performance enhancing substances. And, it's looking like he'll be stripped of his 2010 Tour title. Story HERE and HERE. He says it ate "bad meat" one night during the Tour and that the meat had some chemical properties that showed up as a banned substance. Right.

Now, a top level cyclist doping or taking performance enhancing drugs is like, well, baseball players taking steroids - it just is the way it is. The sky is blue, people breath oxygen and cyclists cheat - or at least most who actually win the races do.

But, I'm glad this dude has been questioned.

He had to sit out the 2006 and 2008 Tours because his team was implicated in blood doping cases.

In 2009 in particular the guy basically won the whole race on one day where he just ROCKETED AWAY up a steep mountain and away from all other racers. It seemed inhuman at the time, and well, maybe it was.

In 2010 he seemed to be having trouble early staying in the mix, but then by mid-way through the Tour he was in the top three. He sealed his win with a controversial move to race past the then leader Andy Schlek when Schlek had a problem with his bike chain. In cycling it's a no-no to do that. You don't win the race based on someone elses machine failing. But no matter to Contador...he went ahead and seized the moment and took off, never to be challenged again.

Anyway, who knows what Contador did or didn't do. I just think it's interesting that this issue is now. Too bad for the sport. I like the Tour, but so many of its top performers are accused of or actually do dope or take performance enhancing substances that it's disheartening.

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