The French Professional Cyclists' Association is in turmoil this week over a series of allegations that some cyclists are not taking drugs.
"It is incredible", says Benoit de la Rue, president of the association. "We have been testing the cyclists using the most stringent methods for quite some time now, and we have never had such a spate of clean passes. It is almost as if the cyclists want to be caught out."
The scandal is not only affecting the sport in France. Several cyclists are under suspicion of not indulging in frenzied spates of drug abuse throughout the entire profession.
Karl Heinzburger, of the American Association of Cyclists, concurs. "This is an unprecedented situation and one that casts a long shadow over the sport. It will be unclear now as to who wins legitimately, stuffed to the eyeballs with amphetamines, and who cheats by having no more than a strong espresso in the morning.", he says while skinning up.
Meanwhile Knud Svensson, representative of the Swedish professional body, is skeptical. "I just don't see how it's possible for so many individuals to flout the law so blatantly", he says. "Just one look at me and you know I'm monged." And, true to his word, his eyeballs are deep red and he tends to giggle a lot.
The sport itself has been through a chequered history recently. As recently as 2003 Elian Zarzuela, the champion Basque contender, was caught not injecting his calves with viagra, and throughout the early 90s several cyclists had to be disciplined into taking regular snorts of coke to satisfy minimum FPCA regulations.
However, this is nothing new. One of the first winners of the Tour de France, Brigadier Jeremy Furlingdrome-Pulitzer, was exposed as a tee-totaller via an intricate mechanism of tubes that ran down his gullet and out through the groin to evacuate any noxious substances from the trouser leg. He was only discovered when people became suspicious of the pungent odour he left in his wake.
That was in the age of cycling in tweed plus-fours. Today's cyclists would have much more trouble with such Heath Robinson approaches.
"It's not so much a problem of culture as of individuals", says Heinzburger. "A few self-righteous saints have to ruin it for the entire sport by staying clean. Bastards."
Possible measures to oust this abstinence are ranging from the perjorative - forced public anal intake of barbs - to the persuasive, with an information campaign to be launched recently with an accompanying song by Plastic Bertrand entitled "Uppers, downers, twisters, benders, mandies, bennies from heaven, pour moi".