Three riders and two teams have pulled out or been thrown out of the famous Tour de France cycle race in the past two days alone amid calls for the event to be cancelled.
Michael Rasmussen was leading the race when he was thrown out
With allegations of blood-doping, drug-taking and lying swirling around the race, the French press bemoan the "death" of an event that still retains an endless fascination.
Death notice: the Tour de France died on 25 July 2007, at the age of 104, after a long illness...
The Tour is clinically dead. It is a broken toy, a burst soap bubble popped by careless kids, unaware that they are damaging themselves, their health and their childhood dreams as well.
It's all the more painful as we had almost begun to believe in the Tour again... in these soap-and-water cyclists who we were so ready to love. But instead of dreams, the last 48 hours have been a living nightmare.
It really doesn't matter who wins the Tour. The 2007 edition died on 24 July on the heights of Loudenvielle.
Killed by Alexandre Vinokourov, idolised by the media and cycling fans, but revealed to have the blood of another running in his veins on the finishing line. Damn Vinokourov! He sullied the infinite beauty of the Pyrenees, dirtied cycling a little more and further discredited the Tour de France.
The Tour is seriously ill... four days from the final leg, the Tour has just one goal: to hold tight and make it to Paris.
It won't be easy though. The race is rapidly losing its meaning. Whoever wins is instantly under suspicion and no human activity can move forward under assumed guilt.
The Tour is on its last legs, dragging its drips behind it. And in its wake are drops of blood, which might not even be its own.
Despite everything, 52% of the public say they continue to "love the Tour". Year in, year out, the television audience remains stable since 1998 and the Festina affair.
Even robbed of its purely sporting value, the Tour continues to fascinate, according to television analyst Professor Francois Jost.
"TV viewers watch the Tour as they might watch a soap opera," he says.
"There is even the pursued and the pursuer. In one way, the drug scandal just adds a bit of spice to the whole story."