Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- The only thing guaranteed to be more boring than a Tour de France with Lance Armstrong racing in it is the Tour rest day. But in what has become a Tour that defies categorization, the rest day proved to be full of theatrics as well. Today, all 17 ProTour teams participating in the TdF announced that they would not renew their ProTour licenses. This sets up an interesting set of scenarios with regards to the current anti-doping crusade within cycling.
Firstly, a rider like Floyd Landis who serves his two-year suspension (ending in Jan. 2009) now finds himself capable of returning to the top end of professional cycling since the Pro Tour Code of Ethics banning riders from riding for Pro Tour teams is no longer applicable if there is no Pro Tour. Could Landis be spared banishment to the doper's purgatory of Rock Racing?
Second, in an effort to appear completely, 100% squeaky clean, above reproach, "this isn't about money, it's about integrity", anti=doping the teams shut out riders like Landis, who legitimately serve their two year suspensions and want to return to the sport. This would be incredibly bad and, one could argue, short-sighted given the extreme anti-doping stance of David Millar, a convicted doper who served his suspension and returned to the forefront of pro cycling.
Third, the whole sport comes crashing down and next July I'll have to content myself with play by play of Extreme Cage Fighting on Vs. Good god, I hope somebody does something to make everybody come to their senses before that happens...