Predictably the Tour has descended into farce yet again, and after such a nice sunny start in London too. One by one the big names are dropping as the positive tests keep coming and it's obvious that no-one can be trusted.
It's not even as though they are doing it in a subtle way. Rasmussen, notably dire against the clock, produced an amazing time trial in stage 13 which saw him lose only a small amount of time to the winner, Vinokourov [results on cyclingnews.com]. "You can trust me", he had said during interviews on the first rest day when asked about doping, prompting an old associate to go public about vials of cow medicine. Ras-moo-sen's defence since then has been to remind the world that he has had 14 negative doping tests in this Tour, but then of course someone in his position wouldn't be so careless as to have anything show up in tests.
Unlike Vino that is. In a Landis-style comeback Vinokourov went from losing almost 30 minutes to the leaders on stage 14 to winning stage 15 in spectacular style. Unsurprisingly there came shortly afterwards a Landis-style announcement of a positive doping test, this time for homologous blood transfusions rather than Landis' testosterone irregularities. The "good doctor", his suspicion-laden "coach" Dr Ferrari didn't bat an eyelid though, posting on his website 53x12.com "In a breakaway for 140 km, he [Vinokourov] passed over the top of the Port de Bales with a 6 minute advantage on the yellow jersey group and lost only 30 seconds over the last 40 km, basically riding alone". Mmm hmm.
The main thing I have got out of all this (as if I needed reminding) is that when a top pro says they are clean, they are probably lying. Maybe some aren't but they are trailing round somewhere near the back of the field like Bradley Wiggins and David Millar. It reminds me of a TV programme I saw a few years ago, when Louis Theroux hung around with some body builders for a few weeks. Even though there was a Clean Mr Universe competition, and a plain old Mr Universe competition, the non-clean competitors just couldn't bring themselves to say publicly that they doped. They used every euphemism possible but wouldn't acknowledge publicly that they were injecting all sorts and I am sure it's the same in pro cycling, they just can't bring themselves to accept what they're up to. Even when they get caught it's all still the same old "suspicious French testing lab" excuses and denials.