Monitor: Reaction to Italian cyclist Marco Panini's abnormal bloodtest results during the `Giro'

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The Independent Culture
THERE IS still no proof that Pantani took drugs, merely presumption. But because it touches the best cyclist of a generation, this scandal is disastrous. The Tour is four weeks away and cycling is taking a battering. Cyclists are ready to save their sport from the doping inertia evident in other sports. Their sport, such as it is under the guidance of the UCI and other all-powerful sporting organisations, is no longer tolerable. The time for radical measures has arrived. We await with impatience the announcement by the organisers of the Tour. But let us not despair yet. Although in the minority, retaliation against the "inevitability" of drug taking exists. Cyclists and cycling organisations take this to heart and engage in the struggle for a cultural revolution. Cycling is too noble, too authentic and too popular a sport for us to let a few idiots ruin it.

L'Equipe, France

SOMETHING HAS broken in the Pantani machine. Pantani finds himself faced with the decision of whether to continue cycle racing, a matter of conscience, but also requires consideration beyond his immediate situation: his decision will affect colleagues, directors, sponsors, rules regarding blood and urine tests which he has championed, and the vast number of fans who adore him. He must also think about the inquiries, both the judicial and sporting bodies.

La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy

CAN THE Tour really still take place? If so, according to which principles? The dilemma is as simple as it is cruel: how to pin-point a rupture, how to put into check the logic that leads to drug taking? The masks have fallen since the 1998 tour - leaders have been discredited, 67 French competitors showed "serious biological anomalies" following the results of the continuous tests. And now Pantani, last winner of the Tour, icon of a people and anti-drug symbol of an international federation, has fallen. Cycling will need some time to climb back up this slope. You can't change a culture by decree, rulings or poignant acts of voluntarism. You can't change thinking without cleaning structures.

Liberation, France

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