Saturday, July 17, 2010


He was thrown out of the Tour de France three years ago for using illegal blood transfusions to give him the edge over his rivals.  With him, the entire Astana team was expelled.  He denied his guilt and has never confessed it.  He served his two-year ban from professional cycling.  The Kazakhstan-based Astana team he originally formed was prevented from riding in the tour in 2008, preventing Tour de France champ Alberto Contador from defending his 2007 title.

And yet there was Alexandr Vinokourov: admitted back into the Tour de France and riding alongside Contador.  No one has ever denied his abilities.  But no one will ever know which of his efforts were drug-assisted or transfusion-enabled.  Since he never confessed what he did and since he never cooperated to help expose and end other doping, I must ask: why is he riding in the Pro Tour.  And why is an "all's forgiven" approach taken by Tour organizers and the news media?

For me, it's not about forgiveness.  It's about integrity of a sport with a dangerously-low integrity quotient.

All I can say is: on this day, an ex-doper won a stage of the Tour de France.

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