/ cycling

Dopes

What a bunch of idiots these guys are. With the Floyd Landis Show currently unfolding at Pepperdine University, complete with tales of Greg LeMond's weenie and an obsfucatory defense that would make Johnnie Cochran proud, now it appears that Oscar Pereiro -- the man who finished second to Landis in the 2006 Tour de France and the man who stands poised to claim a belated yellow jersey if Landis is proven guilty of cheating -- is also mixed up in the Operation Puerto scandal, the scandal that has already forced Jan Ullrich out of the sport and brought Ivan Basso into the darkest point of his career (and hopefully will rid the sport of Tyler Hamilton once and for all).

Doping has been going on for years, this much is clear. For me, the wake-up call was in 1990 when I read A Rough Ride, by Paul Kimmage. Kimmage, a former pro, saw first hand what was going on and was one of the first to come out (after retirement) and say how dirty the sport of cycling was. But business as usual remains the order of the day, and it only seems to have gotten worse. The Festina affair and then Marco Pantani have come and gone, and then the biggest mess of all: Operation Puerto blows up the '06 Tour, and then Landis with the manufactured testosterone coursing through his veins.

Puerto is kicking some major ass; Ullrich, Basso, Hamilton. And now with Perriero implicated, we have the loser-was-doing-it-too scenario. Which begs the question, "where does it end?" It sure as hell seems like no one is clean in the sport. And what pisses me off is that they all take us for a bunch of fools, with their explanations for all these drug test failures. Landis has the Jack Daniel's defense, Hamilton has the hilarious chimera defense. But so far my favorite is the latest from Pereiro:

"...if I have to use DNA to demonstrate my innocence, I will leave cycling, because it's obvious that cycling like that isn't worth it."

Cycling like what? Like an honest competitor? Like a guy who has nothing to hide? Or do you mean cycling under a system that has an ironclad method of catching all the dopers? Yeah, proving you're not an outright cheater (and a contract violator and a fraud) via a simple drug test, remaining in the sport you supposedly love, getting paid to race a bicycle -- just isn't worth it. What an ass.

I don't know what the answer is -- and cycling sure as hell isn't the only sport that is completely suffused with drugs -- but I'm just sick and tired of these guys offering lame-ass excuses for their results. In some ways, Ullrich has shown more stones by "retiring" than any of these other guys with their nonsense.