Now Basso and Ullrich caught up in doping scandal, will it be the Tour de France or Tour de Farce
How will the 2006 Tour de France be remembered, the race that never was? Following investigations into systematic doping by authorities in Spain (Operation Puerto) and release of the legal documents by the Spanish judiciary there have been a number of very significant withdrawals from the 2006 Tour de France less than 24 hours before the race starts. Detailed background to Operation Puerto can be found here.
Much of the pressure has come from sponsors, particularly T-Mobile, who have suspended their star rider and Tour favourite, Jan Ullrich. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the coming hours and days, and how the major sponsors react to what would appear to be the unearthing of, and more importantly proof of, systematic doping within the peleton.
There is some sympathy for Tour de France organisers ASO as the investigation is coming to a head only 48 hours before the start of their race. Having been put in a difficult position it is unlikely that they will be dishing out many favours to those implicated in this affair.
We have to hope that this ‘great’ sport will be cleaned up once and for all, whatver the pain we have to go through in the interim period.
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