As the riders begin the 13th stage of the Tour de France, the inevitable "doping scandal" is plaguing the sport again thanks to Saunier-Duval team rider Riccardo Ricco testing positive for the banned blood-booster EPO. Ricco won two Tour stages this year and tested positive during the 4th stage of the event. As a result his team shamefully withdrew itself from the rest of the competition.
This is the third rider, from a third different team to test positive this year. East Coast Bias, a blog providing excellent coverage of the Tour throughout, assesses the damage:
Unfortunately, I think this casts doubt over most of the Tour field. Cyclists from three different teams have now tested positive during the first half of the Tour, and one whole team has been withdrawn. Tour officials did indicate that about 20 riders were under suspicion at the start of the Tour after testing near the limit for a blood component commonly associated with EPO use. While I'm happy that the cheaters are being caught, I'm unspeakably disappointed that professional cyclists continue to feel it necessary to use performance-enhancers. It's also quite dumb for them to use EPO, for which there is a reliable test. Regrettably, one is left to wonder if the other teams are clean, or if they're just better at hiding their usage.
Unfortunately, the latter seems more plausible.
Tour de France Doping Scandal #3 [East Coast Bias]