Before we leave the country, I thought I should post a few summary observations about the state of performance-enhancing substances in cycling -- or rather, now that cycling has crossed its Rubicon, how the Inquisition is going to go about saving every other professional sport that once scoffed at skinny Europeans in spandex.
Murray Chass at the NYT wrote this piece last week on how the new, 'vegetarian' (ie. Meat-free) WADA is going to save Major League Baseball. Jim at the Unholy Rouleur has a very nice rant of his own -- about why the WADA should get its behaviour around professional cycling in order before it invades another sport, why it survives by manufacturing catastrophe, and why these two strange bed-fellows are as arguably financially disinterested as the AKC is about puppy mills.
Jim is a very pragmatic cynic. And I like that.
(Oddly, in mid-December, Meat was proclaiming that the Mitchell Report's recommendations are "based largely on the model developed by the WADA and universally approved and implemented by Sport and Governments around the world." As blogserved by the Ontario Emperor, Dan Patrick at ESPN promptly came up with his Holy Trinity of Acronyms: CSI MLB WADA. And yet, as of mid-January, WADA had published a statement proclaiming that MLB had a "blatant disregard for the truth.")
As ever, all the news of drugs in cycling and other performance-related sports can be found at Trust But Verify.
In fantasy cycling land (where either everyone or no-one uses performance-enhancing drugs), Team Chinggis had a good season opening at the Tour Down Under. The next major race on the Cobblestone Fantasy League schedule is the Tour of California. If all the Aussies came out for the TDU, all the Yanks will be coming out for Cali: Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner are now both riding for the-team-mostly-known-as-Discovery-but-now-funded-by-Kazakhstan; George Hincapie is now riding for the-team-formerly-known-as-a-German-cellphone-provider but is now much cooler as Team High Road; Tom Danielson is riding for the new Team Slipstream (but it doesn't look he's riding the Tour after all... ed.)
Have fun in Solvang!