Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Union Makes Us Stronger

Maybe it is time for the pro roadies to start a union. Unions form when management (in pro racing that is the owners, race organizers etc.) abuse and/or misuse their labor. Labor in this matter is the riders themselves.

Consider the following:

  • Floyd Landis seems doomed. The evidence is stacked against him as are the procedures for determining guilt or innocence. Data being erased, Landis' experts denied access to the testing of the B sample- hell, just the testing of the B samples in the absence of an "A" positive smacks of impropriety. Due process is denied when an accused person cannot even get access to the data and/or evidence being used to determine his guilt. I don't know if Landis is guilty or innocent, but the whole way his case has been handled stinks.

  • Yesterday Spanish authorities released 6,000 pages of additional evidence about Puerto. This is in addition to the 500 pages previously released. The list of implicated riders has grown to over 100. That's 1200% more evidence than presented last year. So, where was all this stuff before? Conveniently it appears a week or so before the Giro. Then everyone runs around screaming "kick 'em out!" Tinkoff for his part basically said "go to hell" until you have more than just speculation. Hamilton has said test my DNA and in fact pulled a piece of hair out to give to a reporter. None of this new evidence is conclusive, it is all circumstantial.

Tyler Hamilton suggested forming a pro racer union during his fight to clear his name. What would a union do for the riders? First and foremost, it would ensure a fair process for all discipline. While a players union ala the NFL or MLB has at times been a drag on doping reform, all of those issues e.g. banned substancecs etc. are part of the collective bargaining process. Given that the UCI and WADA already have an extensive list of banned products and methods, it is unlikely that a riders union would change any of that.

A union would ensure that a rider could not be suspended or banned until there was proof, not rumor, not innuendo or speculation, but proof that they had committed an infraction.

Basso and Hamilton have said test my DNA, so do it. Let's get to the bottom of it.


TRI Vortex said...

So does that mean these Union riders will get paid no matter how fast or slow they go. So they can just coast for the whole "race" and still get paid no matter what? Sounds kinda boring. But it would help with the doping regulations.

fasterjim said...


Riders basically get paid no matter how well they do. Some probably have incnetives for winning e.g. bonuses for winning the Tour or stages etc.