Friday, January 28, 2011

Tour de France winner gets 12 month ban


Alberto Contador at the team presentation of t...Image via Wikipedia
Alberto Contador at the 2010 TdF team presentation
Saxo Bank-Sungard's team leader and winner of the 2010 Tour de France, Alberto Contador, has been given a 12 month ban by the Spanish cycling federation for testing positive for a controlled substance.

Do read this in depth article by Tim Liew on the Contador scandal

I am a fairly recent convert to the thrills and spills of the marathon cycle races, and I am aware as a fan that there is a widely held public belief that many, if not most, of the tour cyclists take performance enhancing drugs. A title of any sort, in any sport, won with the benefit of illegal enhancement tarnishes not only the character of the sportsman involved, but damages the reputation of the sport as a whole.

I really enjoy the Tour, and I want to believe that these fantastic athletes are drugs free, clean and noble competitors.  The Tour de France, as with all major sporting events, carries with it the promise of glory, fame and fortune for the winner, and the chance to take an edge on your competitors over the gruelling 3,000+ k race is obviously still tempting for some riders.

Is Contador the only leading rider to be using controlled substances, either in race or more likely in out of season training as Tim Liew suggests ? It seems unlikely.  What a shame though that the greatest of the long distance sporting events has once again been sullied in this manner.
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