Sun, 29 Jul 2007
Anyone that reads the news can't fail to have noticed that there's something of an image problem for pro cycling at the moment. Anyone who's a cyclist must by now be familiar with the "you're all on drugs" gags from your friends and workmates. It's a fairly depressing time to be a cyclist and a follower of pro cycling.
You'd have to be mad to deny that doping happens in cycling. It seems to be deeply ingrained in the ranks of the peleton despite the signs this is changing among the younger riders. So, part of the problem for cycling is cultural. But it's a two sided cultural problem. The second side of that is that cycling want to be clean in a way that other sports seem less bothered about -- c.f. Barry Bonds -- and at the moment these two side of the culture are clashing.
Money is partly the root. There is enough money in cycling that there is an incentive to cheat to win but there isn't enough money to be made from cycling by the surrounding circus that a blind eye is turned.
And yes, I am sad and annoyed that this is happening to my sport. I'm not altogether surprised as I recall the bad days of Festina. What I still don't understand is not so much why cycling, but why no other sport? Is it really that there is something about cyclists and cycling that makes then so much more prone to this sort of cheating? I like to think it's partly that cycling has more and better testing than other sports but it's a thin cloth to hide behind.
posted at: 11:45 #