Is cycling on something?

26Oct05

An interesting article in the Guardian caught my eye today regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of professional cycling, with UCI doctor Mario Zorzoli and WADA chief Dick Pound both giving their opinions on whether the sport is doing enough to combat doping.

Yes, says Dr Mario Zorzoli, Union Cycliste Internationale, doctor and health manager.

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, does indeed take this issue seriously; seriously enough to tackle banned drug use on three fronts, which are interconnected: prevention, control and repression, and anticipation.

No, says Dick Pound, Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency

Imagine waking up one morning to learn of a poll that said almost 80% of the population believed that the sport they most identified with doping was cycling.

Guardian Unlimited Sport | Cycling | Cycling: Does cycling take its drug problem seriously enough?

Are either of these views particularly helpful? Can the sport of pro cycling take any more of this, a sport which is entirely sponsor-funded? The sport has gone through some fairly major ‘issues’ in the past since the infamous ‘Festina Affair’, the death of Marco Pantani and the recent allegations levelled at seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong by French sports paper l’Equipe.

Lance Armstrong

Every sport has it’s doping problems – football, baseball, athletics, I could go on and on.

But cycling is different. Those involved in the sport seem to have a complete inability to deal with the problem – it is recognised that there is a problem, they have ‘reasonable’ methods to deal with the problem, but time and time again we have so many unanswered questions surrounding doping.

Point(s) in case:-

Tyler Hamilton has now been out of action for over 12 months

Lance Armstrong really has no way to defend himself againt recent allegations

Pantani’s depression and subsequent death accelerated by doping accusations

It is not fair on the athletes, not fair on the sponsors and certainly not fair on those people who spend time and money following the sport as fans. So, we look to the governing body the UCI to do exaclty that, govern. Perhaps the recent election of a new president might be the opportunity the sport has needed to answer these and many of the questions constantly overshadowing it?

Technorati Tags: cycling, doping, armstrong, hamilton, pantani, wada

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