I am completely heartbroken this morning. I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach. This is not a way to start a Friday, nor is it a way to start a Tour de France.
There's been an ongoing investigation in Spain into a doping scandal which has now reached its ugly tentacles into the peloton - so high up in the peloton, in fact, that the race will start tomorrow 30 riders short (there are a couple of news links over here). This alone would be deeply saddening to any cycling fan, but the news gets worse for this cycling fan - among the riders either suspended by his team or just not allowed by race organizers to start is my favorite rider, Ivan Basso.
I am gutted.
Also among those not starting tomorrow is Jan Ullrich, the other Tour favorite, who has been suspended by his team. The team statement sounded ominous - they say that with the evidence they've been shown, they suspended him immediately. I nearly started to cry when I read that this morning. I haven't seen a similar comment from Basso's team, but I'm sure it's coming. And then I probably will cry.
I said a couple of years ago, when I first became a Basso fan, that if he - a man I considered to be a decent human being above all else - ever turned out to be a doper, I'd lose faith in the sport entirely. I'm trying to hold out hope (these are only allegations, after all, and no one's been tried yet), but I'm preparing to be crushed. And after that, I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about this sport.