Cycling's Darkest Days

3. They haven't come close to solving the problem.

I love the Tour. I love the history and the geography. I love watching the shots of the riders climbing the towering mountains. I love listening to the Versus broadcast team. I love the dedication, endurance, athleticism and pain thresholds the riders display over the three weeks. I love getting on my bike after the broadcasts and racing away as fast as I can, pretending I'm breaking away from the peloton as I struggle up my own modest slopes.

And before this Tour began, I wrote that despite cycling's many scandals in the past year, I still was excited for and eagerly awaiting the event. Just this Monday I wrote a couple paragraphs praising Vinokourov for the way he had fought on through injury.

I don't feel embarrassed about that any more than do people who eagerly anticipate a football season when they know that sport is dirty as well (one reason cyclists get caught so often is because they are tested so often).

Mostly, I feel depressed and saddened by the latest scandals. And worried that the Tour's very future is in jeopardy.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for He can be reached here. His Web site is at, with more installments of "24 College Avenue." His new book with Steve Buckley, "The Best Boston Sports Arguments: The 100 Most Controversial, Debatable Questions for Die-Hard Boston Fans" is on sale now.

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