Tour De France 2012: Remy Di Gregorio's Arrest Adds to Cycling's Doping Issues

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2012

BESANCON, FRANCE - JULY 09:  Remy Di Gregorio of France riding for Cofidis competes in the individual time trial on stage nine of the 2012 Tour de France from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon on July 9, 2012 in Besancon, France. Police officers and gendarmes of the French Central Office against Environmental Damage and Public Health raided the Cofidis team hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse and have taken Di Gregorio into custody on a doping-related case.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Cycling is surpassing Major League Baseball with its "blimp"-sized doping reputation. Remy Di Gregorio's arrest on Thursday didn't help matters.

The Guardian provided further insight:

The French Tour de France rider Rémy Di Gregorio has been charged with "possession of banned substances or illegal devices", judicial sources said on Thursday.

Di Gregorio was arrested with two others on Monday night while on the Tour and was transferred to his home town of Marseille, where he was heard by the investigating magistrate Annaick Le Goff.

This isn't terribly surprising. Bradley Wiggins is facing the same slew of questions about the substances he puts into his body, but he's denying any allegations according to The report also refers to Alberto Contador's past denials and Lance Armstrong's ongoing battle against the powers that be.

All of these individual riders add to the murky glow surrounding today's cycling world. Whether they are "juicing" or not, they are drawing an inordinate amount of negative publicity. That can be deadly to a sport with marginal popularity.

Baseball is a far more popular sport, but its image still took a hit in 2002 when Ken Caminiti stepped forth as the sport's first star-caliber steroid user.

Cycling doesn't face the same situation because they lack facts. New rumors seem to pop up about Armstrong every day, but they have yet to find anything concrete. The same goes for Wiggins and Contador, but Di Gregorio is different.

He adds to cycling's "juice"-laden reputation by getting charged with something concrete. This puts everything out in the open, and that isn't going to turn out well for anyone.

It's impossible to judge Di Gregorio's specific situation because we don't know all the facts, but one thing is certain. Cycling seems to be in the news for a lot of the wrong reasons at least once every 10 days.

The doping issue is at the forefront of those reasons.