So, here's the deal. If you're an athlete who's subject to testing under the World Anti-Doping Code, you can file for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. What that means is that you get a doctor's note that explains that you must use a banned substance for some legitimate medical purpose. Any positive tests for that performance enhancing substance are then written off, since you have a magic TUE.

Makes sense, right? Well, what if I told you that of the 199 riders in the 2006 Tour de France, 60 of them had TUEs. Whoa. That's kind of messed up, right? Nearly a third of riders in the Tour have a pressing medical need to take a drug that has some sort of performance enhancing characteristics? What are the odds....

Thirteen riders in the Tour suffered a positive test -- only one, Floyd Landis, is facing punishment. The other 12 had TUEs. The most prominent of those riders turns out to be Oscar Pereiro, who finished second to Landis in the Tour, and who has been campaigning to be declared the winner.

Pereiro, according to Le Monde, tested positive for salbutamol, an asthma medication. Pereiro has been called before the French Anti-Doping agency to explain his use of the drug, and his TUE. Like they say, people in glass houses probably should put down the inhaler.

AuthorMark McClusky