Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The "doping summit"

How can you talk about doping and cycling and not have the riders, who ultimately pay the penalty, present?

WADA, UCI, ASO and others began their "doping summit" without the riders. The UCI is proposing the creation of a "biological passport" for each rider by which "the rider becomes his own reference point."

This "passport" would establish a test history that would be used to find any abnormalities including haemoglobin and haematocrit levels. I suppose if any abnormalities were observed WADA etc. could then target those riders for increased out of competition tests. Teams like Team CSC and Slipstream have already been using such a method.

I think this is great. However, the riders need to be represented in any discussion as to how the sport is going to combat doping. Part of the problem with cycling now is that the powers that be seem to only be listening to themselves and not even each other. Look at the Pro Tour fiasco. We face a potential season with half of the races in and the other half out.

There's no question that doping is a serious problem, but all parties need to be represented and all points of view considered. The UCI, WADA and race organizers have legitmate concerns, but so do the riders.

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