Mike Tomalaris has made some big calls in the past when it comes to the Tour de France. But this could be the biggest one yet, as he contemplates the wreckage from another round of pre-race drug outings.
By
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

The 2008 Tour de France will probably be the cleanest sporting event on record.

It's a big call, but I say that unreservedly.

I'd be suprised if any rider was kicked out for returning a positive dope test in July.

Why I am so confident?

These days the risks are too high and riders would be shamed for life - just as Alexandre Vinokourov was last year.

His career is over - so too his reputation. It's just not worth it.

Such are the doping controls that are in place, many riders are afraid to take an aspirin to clear a headache, for fear of traces of illegal substances which may unknowingly be in their system.

It's a sad indictment, but a necessary evil, if cycling is to keep the faith and restore respect.

There'll be no Tom Boonen at the Tour de France - that's a shame in itself.

Does that mean the race will be devoid of the world's best sprinter?

Probably.

"Big Tom's" suspension emphasises cycling's hardline to seriously clean up the sport once and for all.

There's no indication Boonen is a cheat who has resorted to using performance-enhancing substances.

He's obviously hooked on cocaine, not a banned substance, but certainly illegal.

Had he been allowed to start the Tour, it would have sent out a wrong message to the millions who adore the popular Belgian.

Boonen was very, very stupid to be caught when he did.

Sure, it was out of competition, but here is a multi-millionaire whose fans and sponsors live by his every move in every race in which he appears.

Remember how imoprtant his victory in this year's Paris-Roubaix was for him?

One got the impression the sky would have fallen in had he failed to raise his arms in triumph at the Roubaix Velodrome.

He carried the hopes of an entire nation and thank God he won, otherwise he would've been under more scrutiny and pressure to perform in the lead-up to the Tour had he failed.

The Tour needs Boonen as much as Boonen needs the Tour.