Maybe the big pharmaceutical companies should be sponsoring pro cycling

Reality The news that Tour de France champ Floyd Landis failed a doping test has caused lots of fans to wonder if any top cyclists don’t use cocktails of performance-enhancing drugs. Fallout may come from sponsors, too, which after all pay the bills for the Tour. Landis’ team sponsor, Phonak, weirdly enough a Swiss manufacturer of hearing aids, was already dropping its name from the team and is due to be replaced by Barclays Global Investors’ iShares. Taking a quick glance at a list of Tour sponsors, it seems like there’s little rhyme or reason to what kind of companies get involved. There’s telecommunications (T-Mobile), IT (CSC), media (Discovery), even a maker of hot-water heaters (Saunier Duval-Prodir). Who knows how many will stick around. Maybe cycling should look to more relevant sponsors: the pharmaceutical companies themselves. Amgen, the maker of cyclists’ favorite drug, red-blood-cell booster erythropoietin, is already sponsoring a big cycling club complete with snazzy jerseys dotted with the red blood cells endurance athletes crave. It even became the title sponsor of the Tour of California last year. And if iShares gets cold feet, perhaps Oscient Pharmaceuticals would step in. Oscient makes Testim, a handy cream for getting an extra shot of T.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey