Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Could A Patrik Sinkewitz Suspension Have Saved A Spectator?

This year's Tour de France has been significantly hampered by doping scandals involving a number of riders. It was so bad that even the race leader, Michael Rasmussen, was removed amid doping allegations. However, one rider, whose removal from the race might have helped a spectator, was ultimately allowed to participate even after initially being suspended.

T-Mobile rider, Patrik Sinkewitz, was suspended in June after testing positive for elevated testosterone levels. Today, his team fired him for refusing to allow any tests on his backup sample. Now if his team had been more strict following the first positive test in June and not allowed him to participate in the Tour, then maybe this wouldn't have happened:

An elderly man was in serious condition at a hospital Sunday after being hit by T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz after the eighth stage of the Tour de France.

The German was riding to his hotel after finishing the stage from Le Grand-Bornand to Tignes when he hit the 78-year-old man.

"While he was returning to his hotel, the T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz hit a spectator," Tour organizers said in a statement. "The spectator, who is in a very serious condition, has been taken by helicopter to a hospital near Grenoble."

Sinkewitz received facial injuries from the accident and was also taken to the hospital.

Is it a stretch? Probably. Is it a freak accident? Yes. But could Sinkewitz's exclusion from the race have saved the spectator from his serious injuries? Maybe.

As it stands now, the spectator and his family probably wish that Sinkewitz had been suspended, and the rest of us will likely just remember him as another doping cyclist.

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