Mood swings: How to hang out with friends? Speaking of doping in the Tour de France

Questioning the ease of the outgoing double winner Tadej Pogacar at just 23, worrying about his dazzling climbing record at the Planche des belles filles is no good.

To say that we are bothered by the ease of “our” Van Aert Road , who looks on the Tour as an adult supervising children, is also very ill. He is even unpatriotic.

On the subject of the super-Wout, it should be noted, however, that this week, even the former Flanders champion Tom Boonen (twice tested positive for cocaine, but outside working hours) says ” not being able to understand how an energy outpouring is possible, every day, “.

Nor do you doubt the Dane Jonas Vingegaard, who finally offers us a disputed Tour, although it seems as easy as his Slovenian rival, framed by a team that, before the flight of Roglic and the fall of Kruiswijk, seemed like a navy invincible.

An ultra polluting procession and a dough making machine

Attention doping is not the only topic for which the Tour can be criticized.

First, under his guise as a benevolent guide to the land and beautiful places of France, he is an expansive money machine. As in Formula 1, everyone pays to be there, the cities, the regions, the sponsors. The astronomical revenue from television broadcasts sold around the world, unlike what is practiced in football (in national championships or in the Champions League), is not reduced in part to teams, which live only thanks to their own sponsors.

Tour bonuses are also quite low, even shabby, compared to the sums received by tennis players, footballers or golfers for efforts that obviously do not have the same magnitude.

The Tour is also an ultra-polluting company, making no effort to take care of its carbon footprint. Yes, cycling is green, but the Tour is for 150 cyclists accompanied by a procession of more than 5,000 cars and coaches. Team vehicles, advertising caravan, fans, journalists, organizers, cars carrying VIP (for the Tour and for each team). A long rally that spreads its diesel through the most beautiful corners of France.

A stubborn taboo despite the Festina years, the Armstrong years or the Froome moped

And doping? Oh yes. It’s very simple, we don’t talk about it anymore. We avoid the issue. Most television consultants, former professionals, are reluctant to mention it. Laurent Jalabert , winner of the EPO years with the Spanish team ONCE, will never mention it on France Télévisions. the same for me Thomas Voeckler on the motorcycle. Jacky Durand sometimes he lets go a bit on Eurosport, nothing more. Among RTBF consultants, the omerta is in order with pseudo-debates that always end with ” we have good races, that is the most important thing “It’s taboo, we tell you.

While this sport was crushed by the corks of the EPO (Indurain, Riis, Virenque, Pantani, Ullrich …), discredited by the decade of leadership when the American Lance Armstrong (removed from the list for his 7 consecutive victories) imposed his law and bribed the ICU (politely funding the fight against doping, while charging like a mule), then anesthetized by the Sky years with Chris Froome rolling like a motorcycle and seemingly effortlessly through the last bends of Ventoux (” Spear comes out of this body! called Rodrigo Beenkens live), humiliating super climbers like Quintana and Contador.

Despite a bookshelf full of books detailing the deception (read Tyler Hamilton, Jerome Chiotti, Willy Voet, Antoine Vayer, Christophe Bassons, interviewed below or the late Philippe Gaumont ), a modus vivendi reigns again in 2022 that unites runners, followers, consultants and even journalists, not to mention the subject, if not word of mouth and with convoluted formulas such as ” without wanting to get into controversy “,” without wanting to return with facts from an era that we hope is over … “

Don’t ruin the business by evacuating doped cars

Has doping magically disappeared in recent years? Those who lived through the years of the EPO say that now it is only practiced by a minority, but it continues to skew the results.

Anyway, it comes back implicitly with some amazing facts about racing. The aforementioned ascent record of a Pogacar not even tested. The decline of Bahrain in great form until the police searches at the start of the Tour reduced them to the condition of second razors. The collective strength of Jumbo Visma which each new recruit seems to move immediately to another dimension of performance and makes the platoon tremble. The stage averages are still crazy, the ascent speeds comparable to the era of adulterated acting. And all this in plain water?

So yes, the controls are negative for both medical doping and mechanical doping. But that was already the case in the Festina and Armstrong years.

We see it, however, in other sports, a sports federation always resists sinking its own business by evacuating doped cars from its most popular events (this year we have only evacuated the “positives” to the covid).

And there are always ways to improve your performance using medications that are impossible to detect. And in amateur cycling, that of fairs or veteran races, doping is denounced as ubiquitous. Like what, it seems inseparable from the rage to win, regardless of level.

In 2008, the only year in which the French Anti-Doping Agency had free rein (according to the book of its former head, Jean-Pierre Verdy), we were stuck in the same edition. Rich, Kohl, Schumacher i Piepoli which seemed weightless and multiplied the feats.

The direction of Ricco at that time (was the team Saunier Duval ) is still active today in the Tour … in the Pogacar team. In the following video, the head of the Tour, Christian Prudhomme (still in his place) considers that the management in question is not “a model of virtue” (but still tolerates his presence).

The denial of doping comparable to that of global warming

In fact, doping is like climate change. We do ” As if nothing had happened “, we want to enjoy life until one day, what we did not want to admit or fight explodes in our face, in the form of this summer of forest fires in regions never before or little affected by the phenomenon (Britain), in the form of terrifying floods that take away houses and factories like last year in the Vesdre valley but also in many other places in Wallonia.

There is, therefore, a denial of doping that is systematically reformed, as is another of global warming.

It’s not the same level of seriousness for the planet, of course, but it’s the same process of intellectual laziness, for fear of being excluded from the big party and the dictatorship of spectator sport (the same that will be worth a World Cup football in Qatar this winter, in air-conditioned stadiums).

As for qualified ass pain ” obsessed with doping “, of boys who “see evil everywhere “Well, we will avoid inviting him to the next barbecue, or to the next drink on the terrace …

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