“If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere”  Marylin Monroe

Is this the mantra of professional cycling these days?  I love to ride my bike first and foremost.  That said I am a fan of professional cycling and follow it far more than any of the “ball” sports.  Many of my friends are racers and the pros I know are all pretty darn nice people.  Sure there are A-holes but that is a cross section of life. 

How is it that in a time of no tolerance that a government or national agency can intervene to get an athlete out of suspension.  “No Tolerance” does not have exceptions.  I cant think of a solid example but weren’t there examples of athletes testing positive, directly showing a link to a supplement that wasn’t supposed to contain a certain ingredient, and being sanctioned anyway?  These athletes have been told it’s your responsibility to monitor what is in your body. 

How about Tom Zirbel?  He tested positive for a substance that is not proven to be overly beneficial for athletes.  He wholeheartedly denies he took any substance, but was penalized.  Instead of turning things into a 3 ring circus he accepted his penalty.  It seemed at the time to be a clearer case for review then Alberto’s but he still lost his livelihood.  Is it no tolerance or is there a grey area?  How come this varies depending on the case?

Why is this any different for Alberto Contador?  I know the money, politics, profile, answers but I am talking about the basic core answer.  Strip the money, politics and high profile away and the answer should be the same.  Hell keep the money, politics, and profile in the equation and it makes even more sense. 

And then there is Ricco.  That kid needs serious help.  First medically and then psychologically.  It would be a shame to see him take a Pantani-like spiral.  Nobody deserves to go out like that.  But he also never deserves to race again.  With some help maybe he could do what so many of us do…..enjoy riding our bicycles.  Use it to gather our thoughts and clear our minds. 

I had a steak for dinner last night.  I’m not getting tested for clenbuterol and I doubt it would help me anyway.  What will help is the healthy dose of Vitamin D that is scheduled and a long session with my shrink/bike. 

Until next time…Rubber side down and nose into the wind