tdf-logo.gifCan we take back the tour? Despite the best efforts of race organizers, sponsors and television networks like Versus, which adopted the slogan “Take back the Tour” for its coverage of this year’s Tour de France, cycling’s most prestigious event can’t quite right itself after weathering a decade of doping scandals. The problem? The riders are still using drugs. Moises Duenas Nevado of the Barloworld team was kicked out of the Tour today for testing positive for EPO after last week’s time trial stage. This morning, police raided his hotel room and found supplies of the popular blood boosting drug. Nevado is the second rider in this year’s Tour to be tossed from the race. Fellow Spaniard (and former teammate of Lance Armstrong), Manuel Beltran, tested positive for EPO after the first stage.

tdf-logo.gifCan we take back the tour? Despite the best efforts of race organizers, sponsors and television networks like Versus, which adopted the slogan “Take back the Tour” for its coverage of this year’s Tour de France, cycling’s most prestigious event can’t quite right itself after weathering a decade of doping scandals. The problem? The riders are still using drugs. Moises Duenas Nevado of the Barloworld team was kicked out of the Tour today for testing positive for EPO after last week’s time trial stage. This morning, police raided his hotel room and found supplies of the popular blood boosting drug. Nevado is the second rider in this year’s Tour to be tossed from the race. Fellow Spaniard (and former teammate of Lance Armstrong), Manuel Beltran, tested positive for EPO after the first stage.

In the last 5 years, the reaction of journalists and fans has cycled through a tumultuous evolution: from willful ignorance, to denial, to disappointment and finally a bitter skepticism that has spread to track and field and baseball as well. The next stage in this evolution could only be one of two things: apathy, or resurgence of the sport. Which would it be? This year’s tour has been exciting and the second half of the race may offer the drama to make 2008 “year #1” of the new, post-doping era. Without any clear favorite the yellow jersey has traded shoulders 5 times, and American Christian Vandevelde sits in third place with ten stages still to ride. We are no longer innocent enough to allow two cheaters to spoil the whole race. But cycling cannot survive another round of doping scandals. I hope we aren’t seeing the beginning of that. –Ryan Quinn

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