20 July 2008

OPINION: Cycling dopes could learn from the beautiful game

So, another July, another set of drug scandals at the Tour de France. Every year we hear the same old news about a rider implausibly accelerating away on a Category 1 climb and winning the stage, only to find out a week later that it was driven by a little more than grit and determination. Tour de France? Tour de Farce, more like!

Thank God for football. While the upcoming Olympics will no doubt flounder in a sea of positive tests, football continues to prove itself to be the true Beautiful Game, as Pele once called it. The great thing about football is that there is no pill you can take that will make you play like Maradona. There is no injection that will give you the ability to do seventeen consecutive stepovers, or get confused by your team's zonal marking at set pieces.

Cycling has been riddled with doping for generations. To be a professional cyclist is to automatically be indoctrinated in the pernicious ways of the covert laboratories that corrupt sport with their evil substances.

Football has no such culture. When was the last time you heard of a footballer failing a drugs test? Granted, they are not tested anyway near as regularly or thoroughly as cyclists, but that is because there is no need to - there are no drugs in our game. How do we know? Well answer me this - when was the last time you heard of a footballer failing a drugs test?

No, footballers don't need illicit chemicals to help them through a season of 50-plus high-intensity matches, plus major internationals every other summer. They get by on guts, heart, pancreas, appendix and other internal organs. They get by on pride and devotion to their fans, as seen every time they kiss the badge on scoring. The strongest thing these lads ingest is Lucozade Sport, which replenishes lost fluids and electrolytes 33% more effectively than water.

I for one will not be watching this glorified contest between the clients of criminal pharmacologists. Roll on the new footie season, where the participants will run 12km per game on nothing but spirit and passion.

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