Before we start, I’d just like to say that any comparisons between Lance Armstrong and Mark McGwire are totally unfair. McGwire’s crap on a bike.

From DW-World.De :

The Tour de France was thrown into its biggest crisis since the 1998 drugs scandal following the suspension of three of its biggest names on Friday.

Germany’s Jan Ullrich, Spain’s Francisco Mancebo and Italy’s Ivan Basso were all dropped after being implicated in a doping investigation in Spain. Organizers suggested even more riders could also be suspended from their teams.

The 1997 winner Ullrich, and his Spanish teammate Oscar Sevilla, were suspended by T-Mobile when fresh evidence from the ongoing doping probe — which had implicated them among a reported total list of 58 riders — arrived late Thursday.

Spanish allrounder Mancebo was suspended by his French AG2R team because his name appears on the list.

Less than an hour later, the CSC team pulled yellow jersey hopeful Basso out of the race due to the suspicions aroused by his name being on the list.

Ullrich, a hero in his native country since winning the 1997 Tour, was expected to challenge strongly if not win the Tour de France this year.

In even worse news for the Tour, Lars Ullrich (above) is still fully eligible.