Tour de France Drug Abuse

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The question of drug use among athletes in what was previously considered by the unknowing public to be a rather pristine sport, cycling, is important in that it will affect all future Tours and will place them and the athletes under scrutiny. To begin with, in Europe until the 1998 scandal occurred, despite a few exceptions, cycling was considered a drug free sport. The 1998 drug scandal tarnished the Tour de France and the reputation and image of other sports. The media response to the scandal took differing positions on what should be done next to clean up cycling. The scandal also affected advertisements, sales, and without question the 1999 Tour and Lance Armstrong. Since even the most naïve fan no longer trusts the cyclists,…show more content…
Without that backing, the Tour and cycling would struggle awkwardly. If the war against drugs is not waged and won, a sport which has enjoyed a quantum leap in popularity could be plunged in a dark era particularly because of its tarnished reputation in 1998. (Velo-News 197)
To avoid that dark era, Tour de France director general Jean-Marie Leblanc is taking a tough stand against the cheaters. In an interview with the Paris daily, "France-Soir," Leblanc said, "In the future I would not let a team start the Tour which had had a positive drug test in the weeks preceding the race" (Velo-News 198). He was referring to Festina rider Christophe Moreau, who started this year's Tour, despite testing positive for an anabolic steroid five weeks earlier (Velo-News 198). Nowadays, everybody is concerned and affected by performance boosting drugs.
The British newspaper, "The Daily Telegraph", interviewed ordinary cyclists who train at a 5km circuit near central Paris. One rider Jean Liguez said, "Drug taking is an open secret. There are some old cyclists of 70 or 80 years of age who take substances from time to time just to get around a bit quicker. Equally, there are young kids who are not fully formed physically, who are also taking things. That's worrying" (Velo-News 198).
The New York Times of August 3 delineated the new French law, saying it "would take drug controls out of the hands of all sports federations and put them under the
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