Alexandre VinokourovSigh, so yet another dope scandal for the much beleaguered sport of professional cycling, more precisely the prestigious Tour de France cycle race.

Alexandre Vinokourov was a pre-race favourite who excited Tour fans by rebounding from a bad crash in the fifth stage to stay in contention until last Sunday’s 14th stage. Then he won Monday’s stage as consolation but on Tuesday – a rest day – came news he tested positive for a blood transfusion after winning last Saturday’s time trial.

He has since been ejected from the competition and his team has completely withdrawn. More information here and here

This is beginning to get a little more than ridiculous. Its a pity really because this completely detracts from the wonderfully gruelling sport and makes you question every single rider and every single win. For example, one cant help but be left thinking that there is no way that Lance Armstrong pulled off his magnificent feat of seven straight wins without a little help of some friends.

Year on year there is some or other new scandal to deal with and to be honest, surely it must be reaching a point where something needs to be done? Life time bans perhaps? Enforced dope tests before every official race? Enforced random annual checks on all riders? Huge fines on national cycling bodies for riders found guilty of trangressions?

Heavy handed tactics to be sure, but I’m beginning to feel them more and more necessary to stamp out this mentality of I wont get caught that seems to permeate through all these superb top flight athletes.

Its getting annoying guys. Clean up the sport and let us enjoy cycling for what it is meant to be the spirit of human racing competition.

For more information on the doping scandals plaguing the Tour, look no further than our ever useful Wikipedia