My run with the Lad is a little longer tonight and takes us one minute over Gove time (allegedly one hour).
I reach 1999 with my Tour de France reruns which is of course the start of the Armstrong years. The main thing I forgot about 1999 was that the organisers initially banned serial doper Richard Virenque from the race but were forced to accept him after being overruled by the UCI, the Cycling authorities.
They said charges against him had not been proven because his case hadn’t gone to court yet. This is despite the fact that the rest of his previous team, Festina, had already admitted to drug use going back years.
Virenque went on to win the Polka Dot jersey again in 1999, for the 5th time, before coming 3rd the following year before his case finally came to court a few months later where confessed to years of doping. He was banned for just nine months, returning to the Tour in 2002 before winning the jersey again in 2003 and 2004.
If the world wasn’t even looking at the obviously guilty (and they weren't) then it’s perhaps not surprising that Armstrong and others got such a free pass.
(Sunday 26th April)