PARIS, France (BRAIN)--The Tour de France won't be coming to a conclusion until Sunday, but already the sporting world is calling this year's race a farce worse than the last.
On the heels of failed drug tests by Alexandre Vinokourov of Team Astana and Cristian Moreni of Cofidis came Rabobank's decision two days ago to cut ties with Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen was holding the yellow jersey with four stages to go before he was sacked, but controversy had dogged him since before the Tour began after he missed two unannounced drug tests.
Astana and Cofidis have both withdrawn their entire teams as a result of the drug tests, but Rabobank announced it would finish this year's competition.
How much another marred Tour de France will affect bicycle sales remains to be seen, though Tim Ferguson, manager of Landis Cyclery in Phoenix, Arizona, believes it shouldn't have too much of an impact.
"The only thing drugs are killing is the Tour de France itself," Ferguson said.
For more on the Tour de France and its effects on the industry, read the Aug. 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. –Sean Hong