Friday, June 30, 2006

Science, Innocence and the Tour de France

This years Tour is turning out to be a total mess - due the what is being called the latest doping scandal. For some good coverage of this see Velonews. In summary, a whole bunch of riders names have been associated with a Spanish doctor who himself is implicated in doping. Apparently, the evidence is strong that these riders did something untoward. But from my reading of the news stories I am not so sure. What they are reporting on is finding log books with various riders names (or, actually, their names in some code) and notes as to what illegal doping activities they were doing.

And this has led to these riders basically being kicked out of the Tour. The list includes many of the top current riders, including Ullrich, Basso, Mancebo and others. Yes, I am sure a lot of professional cyclist dope. What I do not get is the almost depserate rush to kick these guys out when all that is being publicized is a bunch of innuendo. Apparently, the concept of innocent until provde guilty does not apply here. In the Olympics, they do not kick someone out for this type of thing - they kick you out if you fail a test. In other sports, testing is also the key. Yes, testing is imperfect. But you know a few years ago it was reported that Hitler's diary was found. And then Jesus' brother's grave. And so on. If you accept that people are willing to inject someone else's blood into themselves to gain a few seconds in a race, why would you not believe that someone might falsify some doping recrods just to screw with the Tour. I think they should be a litle more cautious in responding to the latest doping accusations in order to avoid sweeping up the innocent along with the cheaters.

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