Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fatum Iustum Stultorum

Holy Groin-Stomp, Batman!

Alexandre Vinokourov has been bounced from the Tour de France, for injecting himself with extra red blood cells to boost his sagging performance. More coverage can be found here, if you care to look.

You know, this just proves the old adage: Some men can learn by reading about others' mistakes, and some can learn by hearing about them, but there are a few who just have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

Team Astana is probably toast after this, and for their epitaph I nominate this post's title: Righteous is the destiny of fools. Because the guy who told Vinokourov that this stunt was a good idea is a true paragon of drooling idiocy, and anyone taking his advice isn't far behind.

It boggles the mind. But Vino, after suffering two crashes and falling far behind in the general classification, was a desperate, desperate man. Desperate men take desperate measures. Even when they don't make a whole lot of sense to those of us standing on the outside.

Granted, we are talking about the same lab whose clown-tastic methodology I spoke about earlier. But this test is sufficiently idiot-proof that even LNDD couldn't screw it up. You mix in a little dye with the blood sample, you run it past a laser, and if the colors change, presto! You've found evidence of blood-diddling. A trained monkey could probably run this test.

So: If this doping technique is so damn easy to spot, why does anyone bother using it? Beats me. But people do stupid things all the time. Hundreds of times daily, poor dumb bastards lose their shirts in Vegas trying to draw to inside straights, for example. And every spring some fool goes on an impromptu boating trip when he tries to drive his truck across a rain-swollen creek. And every last one of them thinks that they're the clever one who'll beat the odds.

Right. Sure they are.

Vino gambled and lost, and in the process has dug a nice smoking hole for his career. And like the leader of a flight demonstration team who augers in, he's liable to take his team with him. And you know what? I really can't say that I feel for them.

There's no way this is the result of lab incompetence. This is something that Vinokourov and Astana have brought upon themselves, and they only have themselves to blame.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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