If you are a reader of this blog, y'all know that I've been at the Dealer Expo this week so I haven't had a chance to follow the build up to the Tour of California. Yesterday I did get in a short post wishing my friend Tyler Hamilton well in his return to US racing. Last night when I went to look at the results I couldn't find him and then I had an email from a friend saying that she saw he was left off the roster. That was curious, but I knew that it was really early in the season for him and maybe he just wasn't ready.
Oh no....after a little reading this morning I find that he was left off the roster because he and two others "were not approved entry because of a possible open doping investigation." Excuse me? Because they might be investigated again. Ok, I've had enough. Finally. I'm done. I love the fact that Cipo is back. I truly love the sport and if Tyler is racing somewhere that I can get to, I'll go and support him 100%, but as for the rest of it, I'm done.
From Michael Ball, team owner of Rock Racing about this whole thing..."This is not a decision governed by the agreement. There is no open investigation. AEG is acting irrationally to the detriment of the sport."
Let me preface all of this with I want clean cycling. Very clean. I have no issues with logical, legal methods to getting cycling clean.
I wrote about this last month when I was appalled at the new regulations at the Tour of California. According to the ToC organizers we do not live in the United States where you are innocent until proven guilty. According to the ToC organizers, they are dictators and decide who should be able to race and who shouldn't. Not the governing bodies of sport, but them. That is just WRONG! Can I make that any more clear? Yes, ok, disclaimer again, I consider Tyler a friend. However, I can make the same argument here for Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla who were also banned from this "event" without ever having met them.
This Operation Puerto "investigation" has reared its ugly head conveniently before a major tour more times than I care to count. After the tour is over, it goes away. They have some "evidence", but nothing they have been able to prove for YEARS now people. If it's there, then go after those riders. Please. Do. If it isn't, let's get this gone and move on. YEARS have gone by with this now. When does this one "investigation" end? Or will it loom for Tours for YEARS more to come?
So, they might open the investigation again...and they MIGHT find someone guilty of doping. MAYBE. But, it has been YEARS and the folks they are talking about in Cali haven't been charged with anything. Now, a lot of you say "yet" at the end of that sentance. And, you may very well be right, but the fact of the matter is that WE DO NOT KNOW. So...why shouldn't they race? Seriously.
Yea, ok, go ahead and tell me that Tyler has been banned before and that it "proves" he "probably" had something to do with Operation Puerto. Again, United States here people. Don't forget that. Tyler did his time, just like David Millar. Tyler is cleared to race by the governing body. Tyler is still cleared to race by the governing body. So are Oscar and Santiago. Who is the ToC to say differently? Because they "MIGHT" have "something" to do with a years old investigation? Really? Well, any one of those guys in that field "might" have an infraction at some point in their career - even this year. But nobody knows....just like we don't know if any of those guys kicked out of the ToC, before it even started, will. Their name is on a list. There might be some evidence that is years old, maybe, but not proven. Yet, they can't race. That is WRONG.
And then there is the whole Astana mess with the Tour de France. Yea, that works for me, too...
I'm done. Done. Give me family cycling. Give me riding with my friends. Give me kids cycling. Give me rides for charities. Do not expect me to get behind pro cycling until this ridiculousness ends. Skull and Crossbones for the Rock Racing team? Good deal - get me some of that gear!