I still fear that we've not hit rock bottom in cycling.
Too many people with a doping history are still involved in the sport: not just the famous guys like Riis or Vinokourov but also the lesser known people involved in those teams (the physiotherapists, the mechanics, the drivers,...: many who did their part in the doping circuit).
Some years ago, Museeuw was investigated with quite a bit of evidence not only against Museeuw but also against his team manager Lefevre. Lefevre is still active as a team manager.
Plus, as long as I've been watching the sport, I remember experts saying that events like the 3 big tours (Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta) are too hard on the body to pull off with just a healthy diet. You can't win the event on just good food and water.
Despite that, the events are still tough.
Despite that and despite saying that the EPO days are behind us, cyclists are still racing up and down those hills and mountains at pretty much the same pace if not faster.
How about breaking down the sport to the core: throwing out everybody who was involved with doping, bringing the 3 big tours back to 2 weeks (for example) instead of 3 weeks,...?
I also feel sad for guys like Pantani who did what so many others did but once caught, he was standing alone to face the accusations with everybody around him (just as guilty as him) holding up their hands saying "I knew nothing".
I now also think of Eddy Merckx who stood behind Lance from the start and who is still standing behind Lance Armstrong despite the growing evidence. What to think of him now?
I am literally shocked every single time I hear this argumentation. It's logic is so profoundly, so conspicuously flawed I find it hard to believe people fail to see it.
Grand Tours have been raced since the early days of the 1900s (a bit later in the case of the Vuelta). And, lest we forget, riders did
finish those races and one of them did
win. That in spite of the fact that bicycles, roads and healthcare were much worse back then than they are now, and stages generally longer and harder.
How on earth would making the races easier make riders stop doping? The routes are the same for everyone. Riders don't dope so that they can complete the race, but because they want to complete the race faster than the rest.