Cheaters suck. I can’t put it any other way. I have followed professional cycling since Greg LeMond won the Tour de France and back in the day Andy Hampsten used to be my favorite cyclist. Obviously, like many other Americans I closely followed the Tour during the years that Lance Armstrong dominated. I ride both road and mountain bikes for recreation and occasionally let myself get talked into competing locally. However, with the latest revelation that fan favorite Alexandre Vinokourov failed a drug test after pulling off a spectacular stage win at the Tour, I think I’ve reached the limits of my tolerance for professional cycling as it stands today. I used to tell the uninitiated that following professional cycling was a little like watching the soaps. Over the years you could get to know a cyclist, watch the rise and fall of their career, revel in their successes and commiserate with their poor performances and crashes. George HincapieSome of my favorite riders are David Millar (for his humanity and honesty), George Hincapie (the ultimate domestique and a very strong one day racer in his own right–that’s him on the left racing in one of the Spring Classics), and Oscar Freire (for his ability to find the right wheel in a sprint on his own). Unfortunately the revelations of this and last year’s Tours force me to question my assumptions about these and other professional cyclists. I would like to believe that my personal favorites are above making such mistakes, but before their falls from glory–testing positive for performance enhancing substances–I admired Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Jan Ullrich, and yes, Alexandre Vinokourov. How can I possibly get excited about a rider’s performance when in the back of my head I’ll be asking whether or not it was legitimate? Until the promoters and participants in the sport find a way to keep it clean, I’ll be focusing my attention elsewhere.

The picture of George is taken from an interview by Thomas Valentinsen published on Roadcycling.com

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