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Euro season start should take the emphasis off doping... maybe

I think the fact I am currently reading "From Lance to Landis" is adding to my cynicism at the moment.

Having said that the 2011 version of professional road cycling is doing its best to annoy me.

Barely had the internet got to grips with the ban for Alberto Contador than he gets let off and we all sit wondering what the hell has been going on since September?

Surely if the UCI suspect he is guilty and there is evidence to substantiate it, the Spanish Prime Minister should have no say in whether the ban is overturned? 

Where is Pat McQuaid's authority? 

He looked pretty mean in the Procycling photoshoot this month.

Show some backbone man, ban the cheats...

Just as we all sat around (unless you were reading the allegations about ANC/Halfords staff in the book) thinking us Brits wouldn't get involved in any such unsporting behaviour, Dave Brailsford comes out in the mainstream press explaining how its hard to have a team in procycling without employing some ex-dopers.

Nice. Way to help the new Sponsorship exec they have employed get some new backers...

The main name mentioned was Neil Stephens. Now apart from his haircut what crimes has he committed in the cycling arena?

He rode for Festina under Soigneur Willy Voet (who whilst we are on the subject of cycling books you should not miss out on reading his biography) and under the watchful eye of Manolo Saiz and Once/Deutsche Bank.

Another team with a less than unblemished record.

In fact that team launched the career of one Alberto Contador.

Bad news allegedly comes in threes and the near death of Riccardo Ricco was the third.

I listened intently to the Real Peloton podcast and agreed with their stance on Ricco. He is clearly a very sick man, and not just from kidney failure brought on allegedly from a dodgy self transfusion of blood.

To continually try to cheat, and be so poor at it, isn't right.

Vacansoleil became a lot of peoples second favourite team for their ride in the 2010 Tour of Britain as the likes of Boat Bozuc and Jonnie Hoogerland attacked constantly.

But their signing of Ricco was ill informed. They have now sacked him but will it cost them a Tour de France spot? 

I hope not.

Where does this leave us with regards to drugs and cheats in cycling? 

I don't think much has changed. There are still a lot of clean riders and still plenty wanting to take a chance.

But if Contador can get off after his local federation turned over a UCI decision, where is the deterrent? 

I can't wait for this weekend's European season proper start in Belgium to get us away from this and back onto racing.


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