Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The Observer: Bungs, drugs and wholesale cheating are now the norm in all major sports, leaving true fans in despair

‘Say it ain’t so, Joe.’ When the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series in return for bookmakers’ money, ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson emerged from the courtroom to hear that plea from a heartbroken boy, words which summed up every lost illusion about sport. If only we could share that heartbreak; sports of every kind are now tainted almost beyond redemption.

All those who watched Floyd Landis on the last Thursday of the Tour de France felt that they were witnessing something quite extraordinary, heroic and redemptive.

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