l’Équipe – Tour de France to welcome doping scandals

(AF: PARIS, 01/04/2009) In a move that stunned the racing community, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), promoters of the Tour de France announced today that the 2009 Tour de France will be cancelled unless there is an immediate and large-scale doping scandal.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France stated in an interview, “As you are aware, the Tour de France is organized under the auspices of the Amaury Sport Organisation, which also owns and operates l’Équipe, the premier French sporting newspaper. Due to the current state of the global economy, advertising revenue is down at l’Équipe, meaning that ASO is faced with the choice of either canceling the Tour de France or shutting down the race’s primary media outlet. After much internal debate, the editorial staff has decided that we need scandal to sell newspapers … and what better scandal than doping!”

Prudhomme went on to say, “Face it, we all know that most professional cyclists at the ProTour level are doped to the gills anyway (except for those damned squeaky clean American riders, of course), so why fight it?”

As such any riders caught doping in any ASO races between now and the Tour de France will be given an automatic invite and allowed to race, assuming they agree to having their names and images promoted as the faces of “nouveau cyclisme du dopage”. The controversial move is sure to generate the kind of scandal that l’Équipe needs to sell more papers and generate the ad revenue required to keep the Tour de France alive.

While originally planned for 2009 only, if certain targets are met, then the ASO may contemplate continuing the policy in future years at random, just to keep things interesting.