Sadly, illusions I’ve had about cycling just keep on being broken. Today was one of those days that really starts to get you down.
After all the mess and fuss about drugs in sport and drugs in cycling especially, capped off by last year’s Operation Puerto affair with naming of 200 European athletes — 30 or more of the cyclists, assorted suspensions and fines, I had thought that this year’s Tour de France would be free of it all. Surely with all the publicity and all the testing there wouldn’t still be riders being caught during the event? Whatever did happen to all those other athletes named? The soccer players, basketballers, track and field people?
Sadly, this morning I hear the Alexander Vinokourov has tested positive and been suspended, and that the whole Astana team was asked to leave the tour — and that they did. Why? You just have to ask why, not why the suspension, but why they did it.
It just puts such a bad taste in the mouth, all that good feeling you’ve put towards the riders through the weeks… are they all on it, are only some, have only the unlucky ones been caught, are they really unlucky and subject to a false positive from the test? I just don’t know, but the trial by media and pontificating by all and sundry left in the event just adds to the indignity.
The other illusion? Oh, that’d be the stupid belief I have that maybe one day people will stop being absolute obnoxious lethal idiots the second they step into their cars; that maybe just once I can ride to work without having to take evasive action because of some idiot in a big metal box. That once wasn’t today, the woman taking the kids to school who drove into me on Haughton road didn’t even glance round after the bang — she passed and pulled in when only half a car length in front, belting my hand with the mirror and knee with the door.