Shame and scandal again in this year's Tour de France, and heroes are tumbling off pedestals with alarming regularity. Vinokourov and the entire Astana team were banned yesterday and the Yellow Jersey Rasmussen was unceremoniously booted out today after a gutsy stage win only the day before.
It's an arduous sport, this cycling. It's all about the physical, then it's all about the mental and then it's about the human body again. I couldn't ride out a kilometre with 60 stitches in my knees and elbow, leave alone stretches of 150-220 km daily for a fortnight. Then I wouldn't assume that I could get illegal blood transfusions and get away with it, not when the sport and its officials are in such uber suspicious mode.
Why would a rider do it? Is good performance so addictive? Is it that frustrating not to have your body cooperate that you simply HAVE to help it along? Is it worth it, to be able to fly along mountain curves, cross that white line first, pump the air when you know you could just as soon be flying home in disgrace, in tears?
I'm all for clean sport and fairness, of course I am. But I can't help feeling for the desperation these men feel, the loneliness that must grip at the end of a long stage, when you have finished way down the lists, in a body that can't execute what the mind can imagine. A cyclist on dope is a pathetic creature.