Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Formula One 2014: Complete schedule, standings, driver info
Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, centre, flanked by Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish, left, and Tony Martin wait for the start of yesterday's fifth stage of the Tour de France.
Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, centre, flanked by Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish, left, and Tony Martin wait for the start of yesterday's fifth stage of the Tour de France.

No doping scandals ... yet

This year's Tour de France has yet to be rocked by any doping scandals.

PERPIGNAN // This year's Tour de France has yet to be rocked by any doping scandals. But the Team Columbia boss, Bob Stapleton, says he is under no illusions that race will be completely clean. Cycling officials have cracked down massively on doping in the sport with the introduction of biological passports for all riders but there are still those who slip through the net.

"I'm a huge fan of the biological passport - it's the best way for pushing doping out of this sport," Stapleton said. "But sadly doping still goes on and will still be going on in this race. "Unfortunately we'll get some reminders of that in the remaining days of this race and when it happens - perhaps stupidly - I'm always disappointed. You never really get over that fact. Every time a drug cheat gets caught, it's like a slap in the face for the rest of us."

Stapleton, however, insisted that the situation was much improved from the past and that increasingly the testers were winning the battle with the drug cheats. And he said that cycling was no worse than other sports or other sectors of society. "Sport always shows the good and bad quarters of society," he said. "It has all the problems of society but they are simply magnified - it's an exaggerated view of life, and you see the very best and very worst of life in sport."

Stapleton will be hoping that the very best he has to offer, the sprinter Mark Cavendish, will once again come to the fore on today's 181.5-kilometre sixth stage from Girona to Barcelona. But with a stage littered with small climbs, and a slight incline into the finish in Barcelona, Cavendish is likely to be upstaged by a breakaway rider or one of the better climbing sprinters, such as Spain's Oscar Freire, the winner of last year's green jersey.

Cavendish has been one of the stars of this year's race to date and Stapleton said that the Briton never ceased to amaze him throughout the season. "He's the sort of guy that needs no introduction," said Stapleton. "He's really become a big, big name in cycling and he's only 24. Every time there's a sprint he just seems to get better and better, and there's few things better to watch as a team boss."

The obvious highlight for Stapleton so far has been the entire team leading a 27-man breakaway on stage three as they built up to giving Cavendish his second stage win of the race. And the American entrepreneur, who made his name in the telecommunications industry before moving into cycling, said he expected even greater things to come. "This team is not just about one rider, as good as Cav is. We've got a phenomenal roster of riders and we'll be going all out to win every day of this Tour."

@Email:mmajendie@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Seiichi Shimomura, centre, is part of a Japan squad that is the gold standard for sides such as the UAE, here in a Asian Five Nations rugby match at Dubai on May 10, 2013 and Singapore aspire to reach. Marwan Naamani / AFP

UAE and Singapore are rugby teams with a similar tale to tell

The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely? Well, maybe not for much longer.

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 Sharjah Cricket Stadium's colorful past was never like this – the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils was loud, raucous and commerical. Pawan Singh / The National

No need for rose-coloured glasses when Sharjah Cricket Stadium host IPL

Sharjah still plays well as India's home away from home when it comes to big-time cricket, but the commercial overtones were in overdrive.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

 Mickael Barzalona riding Sudden Wonder, left, to victory in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket racecourse on April 17, 2014 in Newmarket, England. Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images

Godolphin boosted by performances of two fresh horses at Newmarket

Be Ready underwhelms in Craven Stakes during otherwise successful day for stables

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National