Essay on Tour de France Drug Abuse

4904 Words Jun 18th, 2002 20 Pages
The question of drug use among athletes in what was previously considered by the unknowing public to be a rather pristine sport, cycling, is important in that it will affect all future Tours and will place them and the athletes under scrutiny. To begin with, in Europe until the 1998 scandal occurred, despite a few exceptions, cycling was considered a drug free sport. The 1998 drug scandal tarnished the Tour de France and the reputation and image of other sports. The media response to the scandal took differing positions on what should be done next to clean up cycling. The scandal also affected advertisements, sales, and without question the 1999 Tour and Lance Armstrong. Since even the most naïve fan no longer trusts the cyclists, …show more content…
The subtext of this was, naturally: we know all (or even most) professional riders take dope; we can't put our men at a disadvantage; it's our concern, our professional, responsible concern, to make sure they take safe dope in safe quantities. The can of worms was open. (Fife 201-202)
Each day of the tour, new incidents occurred: police rough handling, fresh revelations, dismissals and strikes. After two days of questioning, most of the nine riders had admitted to some level of involvement with the Festina drug program. Some, like Meier and Alex Zulle, confessed to knowingly using EPO.
From that time on, the "Tour de France" became a very divisive and a very controversial topic in the French media. It was in the headlines of newspapers and a major subject on TV, similar to the Clinton-Lewinski scandal in the US, all the more so because the Festina team was famous in French society for its victories and its strength.
The media, government and sports officials, race organizers, and private individuals have taken widely differing positions on what should be done next to clean up cycling. Nonetheless, the need to clean up the sport is imperative:
Although Tour organizers claim their major sponsors are tied up on long-term deals, nobody doubts the heavy

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