Saturday, January 27, 2007

Primal Scream

UAURRGGHH! That's my primal scream and my reaction to the stories at velonews and about the Lefevere allegations in Belgium. As I've said before, I am so over this crap.

Doping is not just limited to road cycling, see Filip Meirhaeghe. And it's not limited to just cycling. See B. Bonds etc. Cycling just tests more and has more stringent penalties. Recently the NFL and its players' union just agreed to change their anti-doping rules by adding EPO to the list of tested for substances and increasing the number of players on each team that can be tested at each game from 7 to 10. Only 10. The UCI and WADA can test a whole cycling team at any race basically anytime they wish. This problem is not just limited to cycling- it is a problem for all sports.

The question now though is where do we go from here? By "we" I mean the sport itself: the riders, managers and fans, everyone.

For some fans it might be easy to walk (or ride) away and not pay attention, but I cannot do that. I live for cycling. The bike has always meant freedom to me. When I was a kid the bike was my means of getting away- even if it was on a heavy Schwinn Varsity. Now at 40, the bike is my means of seeking peace. It is as much my sport as it is the PROS.

Here's some ideas- not all of these are new or my own-

The PROS, i.e. the riders, managers, doctors etc.- those that make money from the sport need to wise up quick. Races are dying (Vuelta a Murcia), sponsors are pulling out (Phonak, Liberty Seguros). They need to be reminded that they are LUCKY! They make their living from riding a bicycle. If they do not realize how fortunate they are, then they don't deserve it.

Maybe the only solution is to do DNA testing and blood profiling of the riders, despite the privacy concerns. Make no mistake, privacy rights matter. It is what keeps us from living in a totalitarian society. But, now with the current state of affairs, a rider's privacy rights need to give way to the right of the rest of us to know that there is a level, clean playing field.

That said, with those tests must come real accountability for the testers- that means air tight testing procedures and no more leaks to the press see Landis and Perreiro. It also means speedy resolution of hearings- why has Landis' case not been arbitrated yet. I haven't seen anything that would suggest that Landis has asked for continuances. So what's the problem? Maybe USADA and WADA don't want the crappy testing procedures to be aired publicly.

The team management should also suffer. If Basso doped, and there is only circumstantial evidence at best, to suggest that he did, you can't tell me that Riis didn't know about it. Especially, given both of their statements regarding how much time they spent together last season preparing for the Giro/Tour combo. And if he didn't know, he should have.

No more outside doctors or coaches and team doctors and coaches should be listed and certified by the UCI. One of your riders tests positive, you're gone.

Riders- you test positive and this assumes the tests are valid- gone for life- unless you give up the who, when, where and how you did it, then a 2 year ban. Why is it o.k. for a rider to admit they took something and not have to tell us how they got the drugs and how they evaded the tests etc.

Like the NFL, the UCI should have a list of approved supplements i.e. you can't use one that's not on the list.

We cannot ignore the current state of affairs. IF all cycling fans start talking and demanding change maybe there will be change. There is an old saying:

If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

Please, start talking. See fellow bloggers radio freddy and cstrout's own recent primal screams.

1 comment:

Chris said...

You're right, there is no way it's just road cycling. We're not that stupid to believe it. Unfortunately, for every Meirhaeghe, there is a Heras, Landis, and a Museeuw. In the MTB ranks, there seems to be a lot less of an acceptance that "this is just the way it has to be" to be successful. Witness Meirhaeghe's return: guys went out last year *just* to kick his ass into 6th or 7th place, not to win.