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For a rainy Friday...

If Cycling can substantially eradicate doping from the peloton in the foreseeable future, it will be more popular than it ever was.

There. Now go forth and prosper. Or read my "rationale" on the flip...

First off, this thought somehow popped into my head when departing the Burke Gilman trail on a side street where, during the height of the Lance days, an enthusiastic Tour fan painted a phallus on the street, Alpe d'Huez style, that survives to this day. Not especially cool, but the message is that before the scandals exploded, Cycling was poised to really take off. I can't prove this, of course, but there just seemed to be a fast-growing interest: bars everywhere putting up signs saying come watch the Tour; outdoor screenings; merchandise getting more common; etc.

All the doping has put the brakes on, but even there lies opportunity. Cycling has a huge PR advantage over a number of other sports in that they're admitting and dealing with the problem (however poorly) while other sports are still burying their heads in the sand. Let's say Cycling makes progress and starts looking sufficiently clean by, say, 2009. What if baseball, soccer, etc. are still in denial mode while various scandals leak out one by one? Fans will be pretty depressed and ready to embrace any sport that has turned around the doping problem. There's a pretty good (not great) chance that Cycling will be the sport that does away with doping first.

OK, who's got my bucket of cold water?