Tomorrow the 100th Tour de France begins but the real question all observers are secretly asking is "What has really changed since Tom Simpson died on Mount Ventoux ?" during the 13th stage of the Tour de France on the 13th of July 1967.
After his death everyone involved in sport and the public, wanted more strenious and strict controls in all Sports, not only in Cycling ! Has Cycling since then really changed ? Not really !
It is history that Jacques Anquetil, five times winner of the Tour de France always refused to submit himself to anti-doping controls. He died in 1987 from cancer at the age of 53.
Recently the record of Lance Armstrong, as a seven-time winner of the Tour de France was erased from records. He said to win the Tour de France without doping is impossible ! Other cyclists have concurred with him.
The real question therefore becomes, "What has the Tour de France organisation changed since the death of Tom Simpson ?" Has he died in vain ? Just recently newspapers in France headlined the fact that Jalabert was controled "positive" 15 years ago, but this fact was only made public recently !
Rigorous doping tests are not made in Cycling. Selective tests are made, but cheats can avoid them. The crux of the matter is that sponsors of publicity would withdraw if key riders are disqualified.
A really rigorous system of controls would mean disqualifying doped athletes for life from all sports as well as their trainers and managers. To do this Cycling rules must be very clear about what "doping" covers. Such precise rules do not exist yet, even 46 years after the death of Tom Simpson !