Clean Cycling: Enforcement & Innovation
Passport to Somewhere
49“The conditions are there for a new start in cycling. A disaster is becoming an opportunity for cycling to be an example for everybody.” Patrice Clerc, President of ASO, Tour de France organizer
Nations issue documents to ensure specific identification of its traveling citizens. Now a biological passport initiated jointly by the UCI and WADA permits entry within clean borders. A medical dossier of the composition of blood and urine unique to each rider, UCI Anti-Doping Coordinator, Anne Gripper explains 50“…the rider becomes his own reference point.”
High-profile 51teams are implementing the innovation. This scheme is the first of its kind in any sport and is meant to thwart the difficulties of detection. Team willingness to implement tracking policies independent of official procedural control marks a significant shift. It signals compliance from the top down and a moral return from win “at all costs” pressures. Some argue that this self-monitoring enables early detection to fly under the radar or that it proves nothing about a team being clean or not.
Commercialization is named for overriding the spirit of sport. Medical and ethical considerations become secondary to fame, fortune, marketing, and the making of careers. With this change of direction, the hope is that the bon vivant of sporting life will once again reflect the ancient Greek ideal 52“None so wretched as the competitor who wins victory through cheating.”
We’re getting somewhere! But there are miles to go. Concern is raised about other doping-related issues, such as privacy fairness, warnings and enforcement for missed tests…on and on. As hard as many are working to turn the tide of this war, underworld opposition races to devise ways around rules, tests, and controls. There are a lot of careers whose sustainability depends on status quo and not reform– this is the human condition.
The governing principle that participation and process are as important as prizes is a war that is first won in the heart. External accountability acts as a second check. We want clean procedures, clean testing and clean sport, we must start with internal housecleaning deep in the recesses of our souls.
Prayer for Control: Procedures & Enforcers
“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” 53Proverbs 8:12
We are thankful that ethical, smart decision-makers are devising means to stay ahead of wicked developments. We are aware that bribery, deception, and pay-offs seek to elude this system. We pray for wisdom, knowledge, and vision in reform for the enforcers of clean sport, specifically WADA, the UCI, race promoters and national affiliates. We pray that we stop cheating ourselves.
Ponder Am I at risk to be tempted to dope? To whom am I accountable, and may I ask for protection? Affirm I can provide biological information about myself to protect me. Watch your performance compliance outpace those pressured to win.
49“Anti-doping summit in Paris agrees on biological passports,” By Jean-François Quénet in Paris First Edition Cycling News for October 24, 2007. Edited by Ben Abrahams with assistance from Susan Westemeyer www.cyclingnews.com<
50“Cyclists face rise in drugs tests,” BBC Sport Cycling Monday, 22 October 2007. www.bbc.co.uk
51“Blood Passports for Plowmans,” by PCA, September 7, 2007, www.londoncyclosport.com and see website posting for 2007 for Team CSC under “forum” www.team-csc.com; and “news” Team Slipstream www.slipstreamsports.com
52Greek proverb referenced in “Novel Erythropoietic Agents: A Threat to Sportsmanship,” by Wolfgang Jelkmann, Institute of Physiology, Luebeck, Germany. Copyright @ Medicina Sportiva, Vol. II (2):32-44, 2007.
53Holy Bible, King James Version, public domain