However, once again, cycling’s greatest race – the Tour de France – has been overshadowed by yet another doping scandal. Frank Schleck, third in 2011’s contest, is awaiting results of his B test results to be processed after failing his initial, A, sample. The broken record has not been fixed. The familiar, yet saddening, tune continues, persistently gnawing away at all the progress made in recent years.
Jens Voigt, experienced with procedures of this kind having ridden 15 Tours, told ITV sport: "I understand [if people are angry]. It’s the same for me. All I wish for is just to have one quiet and peaceful Tour de France, where we just concentrate on the sport ... And every year it seems like we have another happening of the unpleasant kind. So, yes, it’s pretty hard [to take]." Schleck has withdrawn from the race; allowing the Tour to, in the UCI’s (cycling’s governing body) words, "continue in serenity". If only the tranquillity we and the UCI so desire could actually occur. Though Schleck "formally rejects" the accusation of using the diuretic and "specified substance" (only allowed for certain uses) Xipamide and vows to defend his position fiercely, the lingering sense of frustration and anger is difficult to repel. Contador’s conviction was viewed as a positive step. This latest finding, especially if fully confirmed, is a kick up the backside for clean riders and anti-drug campaigners, and validates the claims of the accusers, whom Bradley Wiggins just days ago labelled "f****** w******". Though Wiggins was attacking specifically those who doubt the transparency of his achievements – he is leading by a convincing margin the current Tour de France – his team-mate Chris Froome struck a more complacent tone; one that could jeopardise the advancements made. "Critics," he tweeted, "need to wake up and realise that cycling has evolved. Dedication and sacrifice = results. End of story!" Cycling’s doping tale has definitely not finished nor, unfortunately, looks like reaching its final chapter anytime soon.
Is cycling five years away from fully eradicating doping, forever?
Yes (2 votes)
No (78 votes)
80 total votes