Thursday, May 10, 2007

Teach Your Children Well

Cyclingnews reports that the 30 or so Spanish riders named in Puerto are trying to cut a deal by which they would be able to confess their involvement in return for a reduced sentence that would let them ride the 2008 Vuelta.

Why should you get a reduced sentence without giving up all the details? The national federations etc. cannot cut a deal with Basso or any other Clinton-esque, I-never-inhaled doper. To do so would only confirm that they are not serious about curing the disease and are just treating the symptoms. It's kind of like the don't ask/don't tell policy regarding gays in the military. Either their in or their out.

It's as if the cycling powers that be want to show their "we're tough on doping" faces, but at the same time they don't really want to clean up the sport.

Maybe this is just a system of control over the riders. The cycling powers hold all of the cards. For European riders, pro cycling is a ticket to a better life. A ticket that is dangled in front of any aspiring pro. But, super-human results are demanded and as a consequence, the temptation to dope is there. Riders are faced with a choice and many come down on the wrong side of that choice. You cannot tell me that team management is unaware given the amount of time these guys spend together.

Riders are not blind, they see what's going on. Former champions like Musseuw are able to say "in the last year of my career I made a mistake" with basically no repercussions. The lesson taught and ultimately learned is: it's only bad if I get caught.

That's not a lesson any parent wants their child to learn.

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