At the start of the day, with Rabobank's decision about the team still unknown, a section of the French press is calling for the stopping of the Tour. Three excerpts. First up, overnight, was a signed opinion piece on Eurosport:
Stop the massacre!
by Laurent Vergne
Having lost all credibility and interest, the 2007 Tour de France should stop. It's just common sense. This 94th edition, undermined by scandal, has absolutely no need of a winner. However, it will go all the way to Paris, if only for purely economic reasons. . . .
Why do certain riders, a majority even, continue to violate the ethical rules? Because force of habit, and stupidity are so deeply rooted that it will take years more to remove them. With all that, one almost forgets about the race, dominated by Michael Rasmussen . . . whose success has been greeted with boos. Rabobank decided to withdraw Rasmussen from the race Wednesday evening. The Tour does not have a Yellow Jersey any longer, and nor any more credit.
Rasmussen is gone, then, and no one regrets it. Good riddance. But does it matter that Alberto Contador or anyone else wins on the Champs-Elysees Sunday? Any way you look at it, the Yellow Jersey will be one belonging to a Tour that was rotten to the core. The winner will wear it like a ball and chain, more to be pitied than anything else. Why continue in these conditions? Because of the financial stakes. Because the Tour organizers, focussed on their sterile war of attrition against the ICU don't want to drop their guard—or their pants. You can understand them. The ASO feels it has been taken hostage in this story. . . .
Like its predecessor, the 2007 Tour is already dead before having ended. Let's move on to something else. There's no need for a winner. No one wants one any more.
A signed editorial in the newsaper, Libération, then appeared this morning with the same theme:
By Renaud Dely
Dopers will do anything. It's one of the ways to recognize them. The alleged cheater Rasmusssen therefore flew over the Pyrenees yesterday as he had over the Alps. Punch is in yellow, and P.T. Barnum is right behind him. The Tour has to stop. This procession of cyclists has transformed itself into a caravan of ridicule. If the organizers were serious about saving cycling, they would stop the race. And decree a pause of several years: the time it will take to rehabilitate the former racers who have become addicts. . . .
It would be hypocritical to come down only on the riders. If, one by one, they fall into drug use, it's because television, their sponsors, and multiple commercial interests encourage them to turn themselves into sideshow acts. For anyone professing to be a journalist, it has become completely absurd to continue to publish standings that are lack any meaning and to recount an adventure that has an interest only for a few scientists looking for new drugs. Only the police news--searches, interrogations, and investigations--is worth reporting any more.
And, from Libération's news story of yesterday's stage, entitled "The Death of the Tour":
The Death of the Tour
By Michel Henry
Zombie. Four days from its conclusion, the Tour has only one more obsession: sucking it up and reaching Paris. There's no longer any sense to the race. Whoever wins will be suspect. No human activity can function under the presumption of guilt. The Tour is a zombie. It moves along dragging catheters behind it. In its wake, drops of blood. Even if we're not sure that's its own blood. The Tour is a masterpiece in peril, about which even the government is worried: it declared yesterday its "clear support." Only Super-Sarko can save it. After the Bulgarian nurses, these riders at the end of their ropes.