Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big boys are leaving

Off the topic of mountain biking and towards the topic of doping in our brethren roadies. well bit harsh pointing the sole finger at them as I'm sure this is not practiced only in cycling ala Marion Jones. But now with yet another Big Player leaving the arena of cycling, Discovery decided to call it quits at the end of the season, the effects of all the scandals surrounding our sport are taking hold. Turning the blind eye will no longer hold sway as will trying to get all the old skeletons out of the closet. From my reading I have realized that in the past doping was more the norm and not really seen as a bad thing. Here we have a peleton fighting out for one of the colored jerseys over grueling terrain day after day and lets be honest there is big money involved so squeezing every drop out of the rider is required.
My only disappointment in the handling of these affairs is that the riders are targeted over and over. Why are the team managers and doctors not held responsible for actually "mis-managing" the team. If riders are not where they say they are or the riders are indeed doping behind the backs of the crew why do internal measures not catch the riders out before the official controls come around. The teams have basically left it to the last stage and then try and mop up the mess. This attitude of damage control rather than prevention is what has let the sport down. Team doctors, managers and coaches should be discouraging the riders from taking the illegal substances and rather working with their raw talent.
I think Slipstream has come up with the idea of managing their team like a football club. If you want to join the club then you should be within the area not dotted around the country training by yourself and then getting together once in a while. This is a team sport so there should be more team orientated approach taking to the formation of the team and how they train and work together. By keeping everybody within range it would be much easier to control and also you would know exactly where the riders are so any disappearance or unusual behavior could be picked up on immediately.
More and more people are calling for a fresh start to the sport but like so many things in life I think it will take a massive disaster and near collapse of the system before the decision makers will react. They after all still get the comfy pay check at the end of the month so until it actually starts to really hurt them they will not act with any great gusto. We are really near that tipping point where things are simply spiraling out of control. A suggestion would be to have the start of the new year as a clean slate. Whats really hurting the sport is the old dogs coming airing out their bad consciences and in the process bringing down the sport more and more with every confession. It would be silly to say that there wasn't doping, we realize there was but lets get over what happened and concentrate on how we're going to fix this problem.
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