Doping – The Long Game

No longer can we turn our backs on doping and pretend it’s not happening.  We owe it to the sport and ourselves to be alert to the pitfalls and rather than hide them like a dirty secret, be open and honest.  Fans of cycling have known for years that there is a strong chance the riders they follow are on the juice purely as a result of the sport being so doped in the past.  But that hasn’t stopped some riders.  When fans follow their every move, Tweet and buy every product they endorse regardless of erroneous medical practices or pathetic excuses why should they change?  Only when an athlete’s livelihood and their endorsement deals are put on the line do they even begin to suggest they have done wrong and try to persuade us they can change.  We need the masses to understand doping, deplore it and then the sponsors of riders who cast a shadow across our sport will eventually take note.

The recent departure of Rabobank from the sponsor line-up of professional road racing was described in their press statement as if it was a step in the right direction and that they could no longer tolerate the fear of doping in the team.  Although their continued support of developments teams on the road and in CX highlights their love of the sport and a desire to keep the Rabobank name clean their departure was not seen to be for such noble reasons by some, most notably David Millar.

Rabobank are not the first and they surely wont be the last sponsor to leave the sport due to concerns about doping.  Whether it is a damage limitation exercise or an altruistic movement, I’ll let you decide.  I believe the louder we shout about doping and the ‘omerta’, the more likely we are to improve our sport and banish professional doping to the history books.

Make a difference today, tell someone about professional cycling’s doping history and be part of a proactive renaissance.

Stevie

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  • http://twitter.com/trimon29 Eric Hutchins

    Really enjoyed this post. REALLY well written, thought provoking, and makes me question how I feel about the whole thing. I like and agree with Joel’s comment below about Lance being left to twist in the wind, but as with the post itself I dont agree with all of the it. Cheating, with PED’s is not just about the money, I am CERTAIN that there are MANY age group triathletes and Cyclists with NO hope of a professional career that are using banned/illegal performance enhancing drugs right now.

    I think about myself (at a much younger age), and I am not certain that I would not have used them if they would have extended a college football “career”, with ZERO hope of actual income related to it.
    With regards to Lance, I have always reconciled it in my head that I believe he was not doing anything significantly different than any of the other riders of his caliber at that time, therefor I dont believe it had a differentiating effect. Who knows?

    Sadly, there is just so much at stake that I do not believe that the technology available for testing will ever truly be able to keep up with the technology available for “cheating”. Not really sure where that leaves things.

    I guess to me the sport of pro cycling will always be entertaining, but the pedestal that the athletes are on, just might not be as high.

  • egggman

    I am glad that I tend not to pick professional athletes as my heroes. It does not seem to matter which sport you are a part of, eventually the coach/trainer/etc… will say if you want to keep making the money and supporting your family you are going to have to try this… This making professional sports a bit of a wash. I have found forever that elite level amateurs are more fun to watch and look up to. I actually found it saddening the year that Olympic officials allowed pro’s to compete in the Olympics.

  • http://www.reasons2ride.com/ Joel Phillips

    The problem is greed. No one cheats for a participation ribbon…unless it’s accompanied by a 5, 6 or even 7 figure check, in some cases. It was not athletes that developed PED. Lance was left to twist in the wind by the very same people that demanded he give everything to the sport. I am sorry, but when you receive MILLIONS of dollars as compensation for ANYTHING morals have been compromised. That old adage, “Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people won’t”. The problem is, what’s it take to be a successful rider, or any athlete for that matter, at that level? Face it, today professional athletes are expected to perform at an almost un-human level and they go to great lengths to do just that. In their corner is a team of coaches, doctors & trainers all with one job, help X be the best X can be. I’m afraid that as long as athletes are competing for big money, then there will always be some for of cheating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marjie-N-Michael/1103981423 Marjie N Michael

    The taking down of Lance Armstrong makes it look as though the powers that be in professional cycling are cleaning up their act, in one fell swoop. Inversely, with no positive drug tests for Lance, with all the years of 24/7/365 random testing leaves questions about who or what is still “left lurking in the background”! Too many questions remain for my taste! -Michael

    • http://twitter.com/StevieDexter Stevie Dexter

      Oh I’m sure there is lots of skeletons left in the closet Michael. But admitting they are there to be found is the first step!