Thursday, June 28, 2007

The men in black

It's almost tour time so we can expect a few things to happen. These may include...
  • Confident assertions of innocence: "This result is for me inexplicable and I will immediately require a second assessment," said Kessler according to his team (from Cyclingnews)
  • Bizarre accusations: "Gripper said that "We have information that they train in strange places." The controllers refer to the riders as the "Men in Black", because they wear neutral clothing on their training rides, rather than their team kit, which helps them avoid attention by the UCI controllers", again from a CN report
  • More confident assertions: "More importantly, Team CSC is making genuine efforts to change its team culture so that riders no longer feel the need or pressure to dope. The combination of CSC's strong antidoping programme with their equally strong culture of hard, clean riding is certainly an example for other pro teams to follow," said McQuaid. And "The Astana Cycling Team does not wish to enter this game and wants to clarify the following: If during the present season, it was tolerated very occasionally that certain riders train in an anonymous way, this is so that the professionals of Astana are not continuously disturbed by the many cyclotourists - in particular on the Côte d'Azur – and not in wishing to hide something." Both here.
Hopefully that's the end of it, that Kessler's B-sample is negative, that Astana are not the MIB and that we can all enjoy the racing. Alternatively a few riders, maybe even a complete team, could be excluded from the start of Le Tour and we can play the 2006 sudden exclusion game again. Let's hope not, and better still let's hope we don't see major players (or anyone, really) cop mid-race positives, either. Unless they deserve it, of course.