A recent article in The NY Times discusses the hard times cycling has fallen on in the wake of recent doping scandals and the retirement of Lance Armstrong. In particular the sport is finding it increasingly difficult to attract sponsorship money -- the lifeblood of events like the Tour de France.
The article is worth a read. But I think it's naive to suggest that companies are weighing the doping scandal and Armstrong's departure equally when deciding to pull their money out of cycling events.
Let's be honest ... if [rather, when] another Lance came around, the money would soon follow. It's not like Floyd Landis was the first guy to test positive. In fact rumors have dogged Armstrong for years. The 'doping defense' is a very clean [and unquestionable] way to back out of the sport until it's renewed. I don't blame them ... if I was a cycling supporter I would probably feel the same way.
But one last thought ... is this an opportunity for a new sponsor to come in and 'own' cycling? Could be a good opportunity for a brand to get in on the cheap and eventually take responsibility for 'rebuilding' the sport.