As the 100th Tour de France begins, the Guardian newspaper reports Lance Armstrong saying it is impossible to win without doping.
The Tour de France has been plagued by suggestions of cheating in the past. And we’re not just talking about taking performance enhancing substances.
Riders and spectators were involved in cheating during the 1904 Tour de France. There were protests, road blocks caused by trees, broken glass and nails on the road, spiked water bottles and itching powder in peoples riding shorts. Cheating was so rampant that the French Cycling Union disqualified the first four riders [Maurice Garin, Lucien Pothier, Cesar Garin, and Hyppolite Aucouturier] finishing the Tour giving the title to the fifth placed rider, Henri Cornet. Nine others were also disqualified and removed from the results.
During the 1978 Tour de France Michel Pollentier was disqualified for submitting a urine sample for drugs testing that wasn’t his own. Using an elaborate plumbing system he was able to run urine to the test tube from a rubber bulb under his arm. Pollentier served a two-month suspension before he started racing again.
And as for Lance Armstrong, he has argued that it would have been impossible for him to win had he competed against others without using the same performance enhancers they had.
So is cheating inevitable or a disgrace?