Tour De France 2012: Cofidis' Remy Di Gregorio Arrested in New Doping Scandal

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Tour De France 2012: Cofidis' Remy Di Gregorio Arrested in New Doping Scandal
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The dark cloud of doping has again fallen over the Tour de France.

The Washington Post is reporting that French rider Remy Di Gregorio of the Cofidis team was arrested in his team hotel for doping. Two others have been arrested in relation to the charge.

Di Gregorio was in 35th place, at a shade over 18 minutes behind Wiggins. He was immediately suspended by his team.

The investigation started last year while Di Gregorio was riding with the infamous Astana team—a team whose history of doping is long and well-established.

The Post quoted Cofidis’ new team manager Yvon Sanquer  from his press conference,

“(The police) have followed Remy’s actions for a good while. If I had ever been aware or anyone else had been aware, Remy’s time with the team would have been over the very moment when we learned of it.”

He went on to speak of the other riders’ reactions at hearing the news as a mix of “anger and devastation...when I explained the situation to them, it was painful for them.

"There were tears.”

This is also a massive blow for the race—and the sport—itself.

Already struggling with a public perception that cycling is a dirty sport, and hampered by the fact that every winner since 1996—with the exception of Carlos Sastre and Cadel Evans—has either tested positive, been banned, confessed to doping or been charged with doping offences.

It's a pretty damning list and includes some of the biggest names in modern cycling, including Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Jan Ullrich and Bjarne Riis.

It’s little wonder that cycling struggles to recover from the taint of doping.

The US Anti-Doping Agency formally charged Armstrong on the eve of the Tour in what smacks of a deliberate ploy to damage the race. When the focus finally turns back to some quality cycling, we get the news of an arrest and yet another doping controversy.

It is cold comfort to cling to the fact that so many doping cases are actually an indication of how rigorous the testing regime is.

It carries little weight in the court of public opinion that the authorities are catching more and more cheats. It’s just seen as yet another indicator of how dirty the sport is.

The Tour de France is one of the world’s truly great sporting events. It has the largest attendances of any event on the planet and is one of those rare sports where the fans can get within touching distance of the stars.

It takes place in spectacular scenery and showcases the history and charms of a beautiful country.

It is a grueling test of human ability and those who excel should be lauded as the supreme athletes that they truly are.

Instead, we assume that they’re just another doper who hasn’t been caught.

And that’s a tragedy.

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