Doping in pro-cycling - evil riders, institutionalised corruption, both or neither?
The New Cycling pathways research project will release it's first report; “I Wish I was Twenty One Today – Beyond Doing in the Australian Peloton”. The report's focus is on the perspectives and experiences of Australian professional cyclists and their cohort as they relate to new directions for their sport. This study engaged with, and ultimately represented the views of those directly affected by anti-doping policy.
Who would have thought that things would have thought things could move so fast.
In my last editorial (May 2010) I raised the issue of corruption within professional cycling – a problem that transcends and fuels the doping issue. I did so through the use of lawyerly hypotheticals.
Not that long after I wrote those words we had the amazing declarations of Floyd Landis concerning allegations that Lance Armstrong and his partner, Johan Bruyneel paid bribes to the Union Cycliste International (the UCI) in order to avoid the ramifications of positive test results.
A few days later other allegations concerning Bruyneel, the UCI and the Russian rider Vladimir Gusev were published.
The response from the institutions of cycling and its ‘media’ has been to focus once again on the video nasty of evil cyclists doping and the un-trustworthiness of the whistleblower. The focus has not been on the allegations of institutional corruption. However there are players out there who wield more power than the UCI that are very interested in these and other such allegations.
It’s focus is on the perspectives and experiences of Australian professional cyclists and their cohort as they relate to new directions for their sport. As a grounded research project, the aims were more than purely academic.
This study engaged with, and ultimately represented the views of those directly affected by anti-doping policy. From there, the aim was to identify pragmatic starting points to developing effective, sustainable policies that enhance the positive impact of sport both as a social force and as a career for those who operate within the field of professional cycling.
One issue that is raised in the report is the legal basis of the Biological Passport. At the conference a panel involving Mike Ashenden, Klaas Faber, Australian lawyer Paul J. Hayes, Verner Moller and myself will discuss the law and science of the passport – whether it is legally defendable and whether it can be improved.
Another issue will be ways by which we can build a sustainable basis for cycling in the future – it is clear that the sport cannot continue on in the way it has this year.
A panel discussion will take place and along with the ‘experts’ the discussion shall be enhanced by the presence of Floyd Landis who will talk about his ideas for the future and the solution – as he said back in May he wants to be part of the solution and we are happy to give him a space to put that case.
In the end the only way for cycling to regain its credibility come out of its crisis by dealing with the issues it faces in an open, transparent and impartial manner.
Part of that process is giving voice to the cyclists – our report seeks to do that and we hope that Floyd’s presence will also enhance that process.
We will video stream the conference at: http://www.newcyclingpathway.com.
For more information go to the New Cycling Pathways Conference web site at: http://newcyclingpathway.auskadi.mjzhosting.org/