When Operación Puerto hit the Tour, it hit both the presumed guilty and the innocent bystander. The biggest examples of the presumed guilty are Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, both top contenders who were not allowed to start the Tour because they were under suspicion of doping. It also had collateral damage effects, best illustrated through the Astana team. Astana had five riders implicated in Operación Puerto. And while Alexandre Vinokourov was not named, he was also not allowed to start because his team did not have enough riders. Collateral damage in the war on drugs, or something to that effect.
In many conversations about Operación Puerto, the theme I noticed most often was that people were surprised that the riders were suspended. Here in the land of the free, raised under the idea that we're all innocent until proven guilty (unless you're a suspected terrorist, of course), the idea of suspending suspected riders didn't seem to sit well with most folks. And it didn't sit well with me either.
Today, the five Astana riders were formally cleared of any involvement in Operación Puerto. The Spanish court issued a statement confirming that "there are not any type of charges against them nor have there been adopted any type of legal action against them." Too bad, so sad, sorry Vino you missed your Tour for nothing. In more ways than one. But hey, this is a war. And if a few people get screwed it's worth it to have a clean race, right?
Maybe not. Also on the news wire this morning is a story that a "high profile rider" is said to have tested positive for testosterone after Stage 17. You remember Stage 17 as the stage where Floyd Landis went crazy and took back nearly all of the 8 minutes he'd lost the previous day. And while the UCI won't reveal the rider's identity until the B sample comes back and the accused rider is given the opportunity to have a counter-analysis done, The Times has made sure that Floyd is the #1 suspect until proven innocent. Landis' name is mentioned seven times in the article. Total of other riders who participated in the Tour that received a mention? None. It should be interesting to see where this goes.
Date: July 25
Ride type/bike: Commute/Trike
July mileage: 269
Year to date mileage: 2091