Slipstream: hope for cycling?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by shikimo, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. shikimo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    #1
    Bonnie Ford spent the Tour of California with Slipstream, the American cycling team that has pledged 100% dope-free riding and 100% transparency to prove it:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/slipstreamcali

    Is there hope? After last year's Tour de France I thought cycling had finally imploded for good. It's a long way from being healthy, but is this the beginning of the recovery or just another mirage on the horizon of a ruined sport?
     
  2. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #2
    I do like what Slipstream is doing with regards to doping but an equal threat to road cycling at the moment is the continuing battle between the UCI and the major race organisers. The UCI are also at war with WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    With all this turmoil surrounding the sport, I really fear for it's future :(
     
  3. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #3
    I don't think it's just cycling that has problems. All major professional sports are facing the same drug problems. Cycling, like soccer is too big to fail.

    There's also too much money involved to ever hope that drugs will disappear. As long as corporate sponsorship and the sports organizations themselves put more emphasis on the "spectacle" of events as opposed to the sport itself, drugs will always be present.
     
  4. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    having a drink at Milliways
    #4
    let's hope for the best.

    i am not holding my breath though.

    so how do they show they are 'clean'?
    it seems they just do the same testing that all other teams do, and every team/rider claims they are cleaner than soap (even when they are caught with the proverbial hands in the jar...)
     
  5. shikimo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
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    Lyon, France
    #5
    True, but the loss of corporate sponsors has been one of the things making cycling fans and administrators push the panic button. As the article notes, Slipstream and High Road are both draining the pockets of their soon-to-not-be millionaire team owners because they can't get sponsorship. They're hoping that a season or two of clean riding through total transperancy will bring back big corporate players like T-Mobile and Phonak who left after major dope scandals rocked their teams. It's a big gamble, and if it fails cycling is in real trouble. While it's true that the feuding OllyW brings up, which is only vaguely mentioned in the article, is a big part of the problem, but you can trace most of these feuds back to doping-related conflicts (for example: Astana is, after all, the living example of how not to start a team in terms of doping transparency, and they're at the center of the current conflict).

    I think what these teams are doing really IS different: no team has ever done what Slipstream and now High Road and CSC (and hopefully others I don't know about yet) are doing. They have contracted with independent testing companies in addition to the WADA testing, and opened all of their riders up to complete transparency, 100% of the time. Witness the story in the article about the riders being forced to let reporters sleep in their hotel rooms; they are almost never alone! It's too bad it's come to this, but if some young riders, not associated with Puerto and other scandals and abiding by this system, start to win...well, things could change.

    On the other hand, if one of these teams gets busted that could really be the end of pro cycling, and that would be too damn bad.
     
  6. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Location:
    having a drink at Milliways
    #6
    i certainly hope you are right.
    it used to be one of my favourite sports, but in the last few years i became less and less interested, mainly because of the doping issues and the quasi-certainty that ALL the top riders of the last ten years are/were big-time dopers and hypocrites.

    hopefully the independent doping program is serious and covers also the training periods away from the races.

    i think the only real way out is that, to have a pro-license to race, riders should be routinely tested all-year around.
    for example, they should 'deposit' a weekly urine sample and a bi-weekly blood sample all-year around in biological archives (this would be in addition to the regular testing). A fraction of these are randomly tested and if anything comes up, the entire series is scrutinized. or something along these lines.

    If were a high-profile "clean" rider (if there is such a thing) I would do it already myself, with a reputable doctor/lab, and highly publicize it. It would be an expensive program, but i'm sure it would quickly pay itself in publicity and endorsements
     

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