Editor's Note: FasterSkier.com is primarily a cross-country ski news source. However, we are providing coverage of the current doping issues at the Tour de France. As our readers know all to well, the use of banned substances is a significant issue in international cross-country ski racing. The events at the Tour provide insight into the current state of cheating in sport, and serve to remind us that this issue remains one of the largest challenges facing the international cross-country community.
Dozens of Tour de France riders delayed starting the 16th stage in a protest that came the day after Team Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for homologous blood doping. The athletes expressed their frustration, claiming that doping is ruining the sport. The protest was symbolic, as the late starters quickly caught the rest of the field.
Race leader Michael Rasmussen of Denmark did not participate in the protest. Rasmussen himself is caught up in doping rumors after it was reported that he missed several tests prior to the Tour and he was not named to the Danish National Team for the upcoming World Championships. He was booed at that start of the stage, and some have called for his withdrawal from the Tour.
VeloNews has an excellent article detailing homologous blood doping and the test that identifies it here.
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Vinokourov tests positive for blood doping. Astana Team withdraws