For mainstream media in the U.S., the Tour de France strated on Friday with the doping bust of Spanish rider Manuel Beltran. For those not paying attention, the Tour de France officially started on July 5th.
Beltran was suspended from the Liquigas cycling team and kicked out of the Tour de France after testing positive for EPO on July 5th after the first stage. If Beltran was using EPO on the first stage, his chances of winning the Tour were never that good to begin with. Beltran was a teammate of Lance Armstrong helping him win the Tour in '03, '04 & '05. Beltran is the fourth former Lance Armstrong teammate to test positive for doping after Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton and Roberto Heras .
Pierre Bordry, leader of the French anti-doping agency, said Beltran had been targeted after his "parameters were abnormal" during pre-Tour blood testing July 3-4.
Let's give the Tour some credit. Race organizers know their sport is in dire straits and have constantly raised the bar for combating doping. This year the Tour employs 8 specially trained chaperones who shadow riders after each stage, going as far as climbing onto team buses, to ensure cyclists go to post-stage anti-doping checks. Tour officials are realistic enough to know they won't eliminate the problem, but at least they are being out in front of the issue.