It’s my blog, so sometimes I get to mention things that interest me.

Readers of this blog have likely detected that I enjoy watching Hockey over any major sport.  And I will reveal here that I enjoy a good Soccer game much more than either American Football or Basketball.  The latter two sports really rather bore me, despite their general popularity in the United States.

But when July rolls around, I am following the world’s most famous bicycle race from beginning to end.The Tour de France offers a viewer a myriad of stimulating moments.  The teamwork of bike racing teams working together to get their team leader home the fastest.  The exhilaration of individual efforts that defy the imagination, and dwarf the abilities of a recreational cyclist like myself.  The strength of the athletes as they climb some of the highest mountains in Europe, combined with the speed they go down the other side of the hills (speeds in excess of 50 MPH are not uncommon).  In other words, I am mesmerized by the skill, strength, strategy, and teamwork of these athletes.

That being said, it is comparatively difficult to find news stories on this event, other than small articles reiterating the results.  While i am interested in the stories behind these athletes, most of what we see in the North American press is limited to recounting the results.  Still, I follow the proceedings as closely as possible.

So it is alarming when the biggest stories we see in North America revolve around drug use by a few of these athletes.  I do not have my head in the sand: This group of athletes, like those in a myriad of other sports, have taken a variety of performance enhancing drugs over the years.  In bicycling, as well as in football and baseball, in track and field, and in most other sports, it is a relatively recent phenomenon that drug-taking rules have been enforced consistently.

During the last couple of years, many of the long-time offenders were caught and removed from the sport.  There were some difficult times, but much has been done to clean up the competitors.  This is why I am so confused by some of the stories I have seen this year.

To date, three competitors in the Tour de France have been caught using illegal drugs and were removed from competition.  Sanctions are still to be made, since the competition is still taking place.  But the sanctions will be swift and severe.  In at least two of these cases, the individual athletes were targeted since there was some suspicion they were cheating.  That does not explain some of the commentary from the American press.

To date, all of the articles I have seen in the general sports press on this matter have leaned toward the sensational.  While reforms are clearly being made, the articles act as if the problem is still as bad as before.  One article that bothers me suggests that, since a few of the athletes have been caught cheating, that the event should be canceled for a few years.  What?  I defy the same person suggest that we should give baseball a rest for a few years since a few of it’s athletes were caught using illegal drugs. Clearly some people try to be an authority on subjects they know little about.

For myself, I plan to sit back and enjoy the competition, and wonder which of these men will come out the winner.