EPO sponsorship for cycling
One of the world’s largest biotech companies, Amgen, has recently announced its foray into the sports sponsorship world with the sponsorship of a professional cycling race. Amgen are an interesting company for the cycling world as they develop EPO, one of the performance-enhancing drugs the sport struggles to keep under control.
On the surface it would seem strange for such a company to sponsor the event, the Tour of California, but dig a little deeper and the company tries to explain it’s reasoning behind the deal.
“We worked long and hard to develop these medicines to help patients fighting serious illness,” said Amgen scientific director Steve Elliott. Elliott is the inventor of Aranesp and has worked closely with the IOC to develop tests to detect improper use of Amgen’s medicines. “Doping is dangerous and unhealthy. This sponsorship provides us with an opportunity to combat the inappropriate use of our vital medicines and to educate athletes, both amateurs and professionals, of the potential dangers of misusing drugs of any kind.”
The reported value behind the deal is $35m over five years, an amount not to be sniffed at in pro cycling, and will go some way to establishing the race in the States.
The morals behind the deal? You may argue that they are using a sport, which is fighting a constant battle against the use of EPO, to rasie their profile in a not so ethical way but I do think they genuinely have the interest of rider safety in the sport as part of their overall thinking behind the partnership. We should wait and see how they execute this sponsorship before making any quick assumptions.
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