And the (2006) Tour Winner Is …

Only six more days at the most and we’ll know who won the 2006 Tour de France. That’s because the doping cops’ largely inscrutable process of deciding whether Floyd Landis is a doper or not has finally come to an end — there are many good blog takes on this, including ones at Rant Your Head Off and Trust But Verify — and the verdict will be announced by next Sunday. So, Landis will either pull off a win even more stunning than his famous escape in the final week of the ’06 Tour or, more likely, he’ll be found guilty of cheating and some guy named Oscar will belatedly get the now faded and much besmirched yellow jersey.

(And why do I say it’s more likely he’ll be found guilty of cheating? Just this: As shown time and time again, the anti-doping “system” in cycling is a “system” the same way a neck-tie party was a system in the Old West: It has shown itself to have no concern for due process. Landis is a cause celebre here in the States, but arguably much worse has happened to other riders at the hands of doping and cycling and team officials who feel compelled to act before all the evidence is in. The world will little note nor long remember Michael Rasmussen, but any time you yank the leader of the nearly certain winner of the Tour off the road and tell him to pack his bags, you’ve administered a cure that’s far worse than the disease.)

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