Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bicycle Kicks

Floyd Landis has convinced me. If the Mennonites are on drugs, then so is everyone else in cycling, a fact also made clear by any halfway honest history of the sport.

So the best move the Tour de France could make is to just give up. Tennis did.

Tennis didn't have a performance-enhacing drug scandal. Eons ago, before 1968, it had a money problem. The biggest events in the sport were for "amateurs" only. Pros toured in basketball arenas during the winter. Wimbledon was for gentlemen and ladies who didn't have to work.

Naturally, this setup was a total fraud. Amateurs took more money under the table than any Oklahoma football in history. The hypocrisy got so flagrant the stench penetrated the noses of the inbred blue bloods who ran the game. Wimbledon and the other Grand Slam events became Opens, offering honest prize money to all comers. The sport took off.

The same happens in golf. There are Open championships and Amateur championships, and the amateurs are welcome to try their luck against the pros. Indeed, low amateur at the US Open is an honor second only to the title.

The Tour should institute the same division each summer. Cyclists could enter the Open part of the field and ingest any miracle of 21st century pharmacology they wished without penalty. Or they could enter the Clean division and remain subject to rigorous testing. If the Tour wanted to discourage drug use, they could offer more prize money in the Clean division than its Open counterpart.

And then, praise God, we wouldn't have to listen to sorehead French scientists ever again.


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