When Alberto Contador stood on the winner's dais at the 2007 Tour de France, his victory was shrouded with rumour and suspicion because of his alleged links to doping. If the Spaniard hangs on to the pink jersey in Milan tomorrow should he brushed with the same innuendos?
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

The Giro comes to a grinding halt tomorrow morning, but after three weeks of hard racing I fear something big has been missing from the season's first Grand Tour.


At first I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but then it suddenly hit me.

It's a part of the sport we've come to live with for the last of 10 years.

Many newspapers, journals and hard-covered books have been sold worldwide on the subject as a result of it.

It's brought shame to many events, at the same time marked the end of many distinguished careers.


And it's a culture which has soiled cycling's name, despite the sport's attempts to eradicate the problem.

What is it?

I'm talking about the proverbial drugs bust or doping scandal which has hounded pro-cycling since 1998.

At this year's Giro there were no police raids, no dumping of syringes found in the boot of cars attempting to cross neighbouring border checkpoints, or being thrown out of hotel windows at 3am.

There were no reports of positive blood or urine tests whatsoever and therefore no rider has been banned or forced to leave for cheating after using doping-related products.

Some cynics might say a Grand Tour without a drugs scandal of any description just wouldn't be the same.

I must admit I was kind of getting used to the controversies myself, and we hear more in coming weeks - not that I'm hoping for the worst.

So why is 2008 any different to any other year?

I'd like to think world cycling has finally got its act together and the message is filtering through once-and-for-all.

Perhaps the biological passport programme introduced by the UCI in January has also played a role.

Maybe riders have accepted the risks involved with doping are simply not worth it anymore, and the chances of getting caught have greatly increased.

I can't answer the reasons why, but what I have noticed is that no media outlet has picked up on the Giro's "clean" image in 2008.

As always only the ugly gets reported and that's fair enough.

But while cycling's drugs-infested past has hurt the sport, shouldn't the efforts to turn the problems around also be promoted?

I should be naive to think so!

When Alberto Contador stood on the winners dais at last year's Tour de France, his victory was shrouded with rumour and suspicion because of his alleged links to doping - not that he's ever been tested positive.

If the Spaniard hangs on to the pink jersey in Milan tomorrow should he brushed with the same innuendos?

I'll leave that question for you to ponder over.