as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Team withdraws after 3rd Tour rider tests positive.
The Tour de France was thrown into chaos again Thursday after Italian rider Riccardo Ricco became the third rider to test positive for the performance enhancer EPO. Ricco's Saunier-Duval team withdrew from the Tour and suspended all of its activities after news of the rider's test for the banned blood booster. For the third year in a row, the showcase race has been marred by doping. Last year, Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for a blood transfusion, Cristian Moreni was caught using testosterone and Iban Mayo - also with Saunier-Duval - tested positive for EPO before being cleared by the Spanish cycling federation.
Two years ago, American rider Floyd Landis was stripped of his title after using synthetic testosterone. "I'm glad they got caught. The Tour needs to continue and get to the finish in Paris," International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid told The Associated Press. "It's another blow to the sport but I have to see it in light of the fact that they're getting caught and going to be thrown out."
Ricco, a 24-year-old Italian who won two Tour stages this year, tested positive after the fourth stage, a time trial in the western town of Cholet. Pierre Bordry, the head of the French anti-doping agency, announced the result, leading to the team's withdrawal shortly before the start of the 12th stage - a 104.7-mile run from Lavelanet to Narbonne. "It's a team decision not to start the race," Saunier-Duval sporting director Matxin Fernandez said. "He's our leader, we can't act as if nothing happened." Saunier-Duval is the first team to drop out of this year's Tour. Last year, two teams withdrew and race leader Michael Rasmussen was kicked out just days before the end for lying about his whereabouts to avoid pre-Tour testing.
-excerpt from AP