As I read in the news that yesterday's first stage of the Amgen Tour of California was cancelled due to snow, I thought back to last year when I blogged about the irony in the name of America's number one stage race. That's right, this is America's "Tour de France" so to speak. I thought it might be fitting to comment again on this irony since the race has retained the name of the marketer of the most abused drug in cycling in it's title: Amgen. The rest of this short post is a flashback from last May 31, 2010:
I have always thought it was odd (perverse may be a better word) that the Tour of California is sponsored by the drug company that markets the performance enhancing drug that has been most responsible for the doping scandals in professional cycling over the past two decades: EPO. That's right, the "Amgen" in the Amgen Tour of California is the company that markets EPO.
To be perfectly clear, Amgen makes the same EPO that Floyd Landis (first winner of the Amgen Tour of California) confessed to using over several years in the Tour de France when he was at the Amgen Tour of California last week. It's also the same EPO that Floyd and others have alleged that Lance Armstrong has used. It's also the same EPO that the first winner of the Amgen Tour of California (i.e. Floyd Landis) has accused Levi Leipheimer, three-time winner (2007-2009) of the Amgen Tour of California, of using.
What would be even more amazing is if Amgen sponsored and named a major pro cycling race the "EPO Tour de ____." Then, maybe we would have some transparency in pro cycling!