The Tour de France rolled on to its final destination at the Champs Élysées in Paris on Sunday, to wind up what for this weblog has frankly been a most disappointing spectacle. Why? Because we have something against Alberto Contador and would rather have seen Lance Armstrong win the thing for the eighth time? Hardly; anyone who has been following coverage of the Tour de France on this weblog knows perfectly well that I do so through one prism only: doping. And – glory be! – it does seem that there was not one kerfluffle involving doping on this year’s Tour. What can that mean?
Fortunately, this is a question that the Dutch Christian newspaper Nederlands Dagblad ((Motto: Don’t try to access us on the Sabbath, we shut the site down”) now addresses: Who knows whether the Tour was clean in 2009. And indeed, we can’t know yet whether that absence of doping incidents this year actually meant that no one was cheating. (“No one was cheating”: that’s a concept rather difficult to wrap your mind around in any case, no?) We can’t know now, but we can get a better idea with the passage of time, because that is what in fact has been the big recent advance in anti-doping techniques according to this article: after-the-fact (or retrospective) analysis. Since 1 January of this year the procedures for conducting that have been set down in an iron-clad legal and procedural framework. (more…)