warning: Rant follows
I've been fed up with all of it for a long time. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world accuses any rider of cheating, it's suddenly up to the rider to prove their innocence, rather than the accuser to prove guilt.
I have never raced and I never will. I have no desire to be "stripped" of my "title" because I took an antihistamine that morning, or a tylenol, or coffee, or whatever other idiotic concoction is next labeled "performance enhancing".
The only way anthistamine ever "enhanced my performance" was that I didn't have to blow my nose every 5 seconds. I've ridden my bike while toking a joint, even in a group, and I don't think it enhanced my performance one bit. Back when I was younger and dumb enough to smoke cigarettes I don't think they helped any either. Yet any one of those things, in this day and age, would most likely get me kicked out of a race.
I watch the tour, even though every year, halfway into it someone yells "cheater!" and suddenly half the field is gone, and I swear never to get sucked into it again. Will I watch it again in 2008? Probably. Will I get angry halfway into it because of some fool and vow to never watch it again? Probably. Will I be hopelessly hopefull and tune in yet again in 2009? Probably. Will history repeat itself once again? I'll put money on it.
</end of rant>
Now that I'm done ranting I will propose my new system.
For those who like to use drugs:
Take away the support.
Make them race like back in the day.
Spare tires wrapped around their shoulders, no team mechanics, no spare bikes, parts, tools, clothes, etc. in the car. You want to bring it? You figure out how. For the sake of distributing water, we will let them keep the car itself. Those riders who choose to be self-supporting will be allowed to take any and all the drugs they want. Want to show up drunk? Have at it! EPO, testosterone, steroids? Go for it! Pocket full of cocaine, amphetamines, and joints? How big are your pockets?
And for those who like it the way it is:
They get to keep it that way. All their spare parts in the car, no need to have any idea how to fix their own bike in case of mechanical problems, etc, etc, etc.
They will also be expected to submit to random drug testing, perhaps even testing after every single stage, regardless of their placing.
And if they fail their drug test- they will have the choice of quitting, or joining the other group for the rest of the race. Maybe we'll even put them in the other group for the rest of the season. Maybe we'll kick them out of that particular race, but allow them to join the other group for what's left of that season.
The only way any of the "drug racers" can ever be ejected from a race is if they are caught (and I mean CAUGHT, like on film, not accused) accepting (or soliciting) outside help, other than water bottles, which they can have as many of as they want.
So that's my system that I propose with a wild gleam in my eye.