Saving the Tour De France

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Aug 17, 2006, 1:15:12 AM8/17/06
Food for thought, can we save the sport?

I think in order for cycling to survive, it has to viewed more the way the
big sports in America is viewed, like Baseball, Football and Basketball.
There is so much money on the line, and there is no way the big owners of
teams and stadium are going to let drug use kill the sport in America. Also
the fans tend to overlook drug use more, in support of the big stars like
Barry Bonds, and the rest of the super stars who carry rock star or movie
star status. A lot of movie stars are given a lot of breaks time and again,
just look at number of stars who rebounded to make more movies, but in the
sports world of cycling, three strikes or even less, you are out, banned for
life. They didn't murder anyone, and with all the lynch talk mentality of
the America cycling groups like rbr, you would think they were mass
murderers or something.

It's just a entertainment sport where riders can achieve success and fans
can support their favorite riders while eating hot dogs, and drinking
Pepsi's, and all the colorful characters roadside like the Devil are part of
the tradition. I guess the problem is there are no big owners like in
baseball who can protect their riders and make sure these drug scandals are
not all consuming in the press as to wreck the sport. And it seems baseball
fans just want to go to ball games, eat popcorn, hot dogs and enjoy the
ballgame as well! I don't think they care much about who is doing drugs, but
in cycling, drug use is all consuming and riders have no protection, and are
eaten alive by the press. If you read rbr, you would think Floyd Landis was
a mass murderer! He's not, and so far, he hasn't had his day in court
either. All his tests have been normal on Discovery until this year with
Phonak and the 11:1 fluke. It might be a fluke, but even if he is guilty, my
God, are we going to send him to the gas chamber?

It's just a entertainment sport, and I don't think fans want to see the
sport wrecked by a bunch of doping agencies which can at the drop of a hat,
ruin the career of riders, and of course gives the TDF another black eye
year after year. If sponsors feel that the tour is a bad risk, and won't
support teams, then what is the future of the tour? Do we actually want the
doping agencies to wreck the TDF and classics for good? (Clearly) something
has to change, otherwise the doping agencies will wreck the TDF in time, if
not sooner. If we blame the riders for wrecking the tour, then we have lost
already, because the rich tradition of the tour had these problems that date
all the way back with their own hidden code, and it was the business of the
riders, not the press or the fans. It was the job of the press and the fans
to support the riders without pretense, and the riders did trust the press.

Used to be riders had more power and exercised more control until the doping
agencies came along, and now over time has been the slowly but sure
alienation and standoffs between riders, teams on one side, and the doping
agencies on the other, with sponsors suspended in purgatory until the doping
agencies drop the guillotine down and chop off the heads of the riders. I
thought the riders meant more to us then the doping agencies?

They did in the old days when Hinault was riding, and the code of the road,
which all the riders gave him their blessings to win a race, and hidden
loyalties and silent codes of the riders was something that was decided by
the riders, and the press wrote stories to always support the riders and
teams, which in turn made great stories for the fans. Today what we have, is
the constant never ending anticipation and domination of the doping
scandals, as if these are the stories we want to read, as they say, nothing
like a good scandal, then what is the future of the tour?

While that kind of stuff should only be for the tabloid readers, it should
never be so all consuming as to totally dominate cycling, its stars and the
sport itself. If we don't change the mob mentality, then surely the doping
agencies will continue to be front page news, pushing out all the inspiring
stories that make the tour what it should be with all the elements of the
great years from the past like when Lemond won by 8 seconds. I don't know
how many riders cheated that year by using drugs but it didn't matter. We
were all biting our nails on the cliff hanger between Lemond and Fignon.
Gert was well, back page news then.

This is what the tour should be about, and not the never ending drug
scandals. I have a friend who made a good point. He said if the tour becomes
so overwhelmed with drug scandals, not only will teams have a harder time
finding sponsors but they might have a harder time getting permission to use
the roads. After all, what government wants to allow the use of their
resources for a sport that is not only riddled with corruption and drug
scandals, but also no big businesses or companies want to be sponsors since
they don't want bad publicity, and bad press for their products. Since drug
police get paid much less then riders who get many thousands of dollars to
race, not only will they have the incentive to cheat by using drugs, but
they can afford to stay well ahead of the drug police. But since so many
riders are cheating, the doping agencies can still pick off riders must like
shooting blind in a flock of geese. Always the game of hide and seek.

That's bad all the way around, and that breeds a lot of mistrust and hard
feelings between the riders, doping agencies, not to mention the uneasiness
of the sponsors. A vicious circle every year until soon cycling will have
such a black eye, it becomes the leper of the sports world. Clearly at least
in the old days, what worked before pleased everyone including the fans, the
riders, the press, and even the sponsors. Riders used drugs, but it wasn't
all consuming like it is in cycling today. Riders would basically sort out
each other sometimes over drug use, but it was strictly up to the riders if
they wanted to use drugs, and the press never made mention of it hardly, and
the fans didn't care so much either. Today however, drug testing have become
the business for the doping agencies for cycling and other sports and it's
here to stay. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but just the way the
whole thing is perceived by the press, and then how it plays out with the

If we save the sport, we need to support the riders and the tour above
everything else first and foremost, or otherwise we will be willing to allow
the doping agencies to destroy the sport. We shouldn't be so rabid and
inflexible, and support the riders and forgive them on occasion giving them
the benefit of the doubt, and they shouldn't be taken out of the tour on
pretense. Also riders should have more protection and more say, and the
sport itself should be protected to some degree from being ravaged year
after year from these scandals. I don't know if some carrots or drugs will
ever be legal to give riders an edge, that is for the medical experts and
the best minds to decide about these substances, as you know already,
magazines and commercials are always bombarding society with a myriad of
performance enhancement products, so its no surprise the riders use them,
should we expect any different?

To the contrary we live in a world of cutting edge pharmaceuticals and
sports enhancements products, and I always enjoyed Cytomax, Accelerade,
powerbars and whatever else I felt was safe, I used all those things without
giving them much thought. Riders will continue to do the same on the advice
of their doctors and much more that their underground doctors can hide. So
as fans, can't we just have fun, enjoy our favorite riders, enjoy the races,
eat hot dogs, drink Pepsi, eat popcorn and just have a lot of fun? Let's
support the sport and the riders, and not be so quick to give all our
blessings to the doping agencies and encourage the press to write nasty
stories about cycling.

We should find a way to save cycling in the truest since, and let the
medical experts decide what would be best for the sport, in line with what
can be safe and sensibly legal, allowing a fair playing field, and push the
doping agencies into the background as back page news where it belongs, and
return to the former days with all the rich stories and traditions of
cycling which made the sport great, providing great entertainment for the
fans, and limit the amount of damage that the doping agenices can do to the
sport, because if we don't I am afraid, between them and the press, the
sport may be lost.

That's is well, beyond my two cents again, to be taken with a grain of salt,
and I am always open minded of course, because the sport is in transition,
being tested to the limits right now, and I hope cycling survives,
considering also the sheer number of vehicles on the road today in the
world, it's a hard and sometimes dangerous life, to be a cyclist, and to
expect cyclists to be so totally squeeky clean, is just too much in my
opinion, considering that it is the hardest sport on the face of the earth.



Aug 17, 2006, 4:19:23 AM8/17/06
Cycling is not a business-spectacle like NFL, NBA or MLB. Is a Sport. Is
history. Is culture.
With an overdose of enhancing performance (like epo) drugs, more sport
like NBA basketball are practically dead. (Today only the Ncaa is a real
basket tournament and not a circus....).
Where are the real champions like Magic, Bird, Kareem, DoctorJ (in basket)
or McEnroe, Connors, Borg (in tennis) in this Drugged Robots Circus???

PS: Mi scuso per il pesssimo inglese!!!!!!


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Aug 17, 2006, 5:11:44 AM8/17/06
L'onorevole "n@po" ha scritto:

> Cycling is not a business-spectacle like NFL, NBA or MLB. Is a Sport.
> Is history. Is culture.

Piscia meno lungo...

Consigli e insulti mandateli a


Aug 17, 2006, 11:47:18 AM8/17/06

"n@po" <> wrote in message

> Cycling is not a business-spectacle like NFL, NBA or MLB. Is a Sport. Is
> history. Is culture.

I certainly thought so too, so it's sad that the doping agencies are being
allowed to destroy this culture. We would never condemn or strip Coppi,
Bartali, Gaul or Anquitil of their titles because of drug use. They are our
legends and their records stand and we respect them. Today titles are
stripped based on breaking the drug rules, fair enough, but then if it is a
culture with a rich tradition, it seems the only way to save it, is to get
the big protection afforded the major sports stars. Consider the fact that
Pantani would still be alive today if afforded more protection and better
status in the cycling culture instead the relentless hounding by the doping
agencies and relentless inquiries that drove him to the grave. That's my
point, he didn't murder anyone, in fact they never even proved he used EPO.

But then as you suggest, we open things up to the Running Man, or the
gladiator mentatility. The 90's were good until Festina affair and Pantani
was lots of fun, he brought us lots of great rides in the tour, and in the
fog, until all the trouble started. We need balanced protection for the
riders rights, fair drug policy, and to give the tour a new image, something
grand, something wonderful for the future and stop impact that drug scandals
have on the image of the tour and its riders.

Remember when Greg won, that was a great story, and Gert's Teste use was
more or less a side note compared to the epic battle between Greg and
Fignon. That's the way it should be. Everytime there is a drug scandal, they
beat the drums, and it becomes this all consuming thing that pushes
everything else into the background. Since cycling is so extremely hard,
they should revise their lists of banned substances, and throw a few carrots
to the riders, but as I say, I will leave that to the medical experts. They
can try something new for the riders, and see if it might work.

All the characters you mentioned sure were interesting, although I must
admit, I only went to a handful of games. Mostly I watched them on TV. Your
point is understandable, but thanks to the drug scandals, it doesn't look
cycling will achieve the popularity and support the big owners and sponsors
that Postal and Discovery brought to the sport. The way it is going, I even
wonder if Discovery will be around much longer. EPO and certainly steroid
use is not good for the sport, but perhaps much smaller carrots might have
the right effect. Time will tell, if the doping agencies make or break the

You might also know these previous stars which you admire were also afforded
protection by the big owners before the drug circus of today as you say,
they just weren't using as many drugs back then. I know Willie Mays used to
chew something wicked, I forget what, but there wasn't the rampant use of
EPO and steroids back then, or the other myriad of performance enhancement

Aug 18, 2006, 12:33:18 AM8/18/06
I agree that cyclists should be given the benefit of the doubt until
trial. However if they are in the middle of a tour I'm not sure if
they should be able to continue or not.

You said that

"Clearly at least in the old days, what worked before pleased everyone
including the fans, the riders, the press, and even the sponsors."

When it comes to the riders this statement is only true for the ones
doping. For those of us that are clean and trying to make it in the
sport without the use of drugs we are not okay with just ignoring those
who are doping. We are being cheated out of what we deserve. I think
a 1 strike your out for life rule should be implemented. The only
problem with this rule is that a lot of these drug tests are hard to
trust and can be wrong.



Aug 18, 2006, 3:24:33 PM8/18/06

<> wrote in message

I don't think banning all the worlds best riders will help, to the contrary,
that will kill the sport. Look at all the great riders that have gone the
drain, just in the last few years? I agree that colossal arrogance and
colossal incompetence of the doping agencies is not only hurting the sport,
but will kill it completely soon (maybe IMHO), when sponsors won't commit to
teams, and governments start taking a dim view of continuing the use of
their roads for a sport that is rampant with drug use.

That's why, the doping agencies should be limited in how much influence they
have on the tour, and some products should be made legal to create a fair
playing field. Remember to in the old days, cheating also had to do with
equipment, but today there are other ways to cheat that become legal, like
where enormous massive billionaire companies like Postal, the federal
government for crying out loud or Discovery can go around the world buying
up the best riders, and hiring the worlds best wind tunnel experts, plus
hiring companies like Trek and Nike to create the best equipment and clothes
, which can shave minutes off, enough to win a major tour. Add to that
enough money to buy any perk that helps except drug use, and possible hiring
the best medical experts to hide products in the human body. You see, big
money is one way of cheating, but drug use is the poor mans way to win, if
not caught, so how can playing field be made legal? Its not just drug
products that should reviewed for use to allow a fair playing field in which
is the hardest sport in the world, forcing riders to go underground to get
products just to survive, but also maybe some limits should placed on how
much money owners or sponsors can throw into the pot for a team. After all
the richest politicians usually win, don't they? So do the richest teams,
they simply use the best riders money can buy to nurse their leader to the
finish line.

But, what you said, applied to (today) this era, of course is true, but let
me say a thing about the past first. In the past many riders were taking a
myriad of things and all the riders knew about it, well mostly they did.
Some riders took a more healthy approach being into a health kick, even
while also taking drugs. For instance Bartali ate what he wanted, drank,
smoked, but he was religious and against drug use. Once while in the locker
room he saw a rider with a fistful of pills in his hands and he yelled so
loud that the rider dropped all the pills on the floor, but it was up to the
riders if they felt they could benefit from drugs. Some think that drug use
actually hurt Gaul's climbing ability on some occasions, so not everyone
thought using drugs were cheating. Tommy Simpson died from drugs on Ventoux,
so not all riders wanted to use drugs. Some drank a lot of coffee, or drank
hard liquor to get an edge, so called, hard to believe.

Back then the romance of the tour, like a religion and its colorful
characters was a hierarchy where new riders were allowed to climb the ladder
only after the permission of the current champions and the blessings of the
peloton. This was true when Hinault was climbing the ladder and only allowed
to win with the blessings of Anquitil. Others like Joop and Poulidor were
always liked and worshipped by the fans not for winning, but they won the
hearts of the fans. So the idea of cheating or who is winning, who is taking
drugs wasn't viewed, perceived, or applied like it is today.

The French has their heroes like Vietto who no matter if he won, he was
greatly admired by the fans because of basically I think from that one
episode, that famous picture of him by the side of the road, heartbroken his
bike in tatters. So the tour unlike today, was a love affair all the way
around with riders and fans, the press to build the rich stories to sell
papers, and the owners were trying to make it as great as possible, and
drugs was not news at all. It was part of the hidden code of the peleton,
but not really even so hidden, unlike today where the code still applies,
but it's the dirty little secret of the peleton, because since the early
90's riders lost protection more or less just to the rise of the doping
agencies which has become a business and a sport all of its own.

Now all the trust that integrated the riders, teams, fans and the press was
cut asunder by the newly formed doping agencies who became the enemies of
riders, and now they have all taken sides by default, the riders and teams,
team doctors on one side, and the doping agencies and press on the other.
Pretty much friend or foe, like binary ones and zeros. Who are your friends
and who are your enemies. This was bad because it alienated riders against
the press, which were whipping up soap for their boxes with the drug
scandals, which these stories have almost because a business in itself, at
the cost of the careers of some great riders, like Pantani who was hounded
to death by the press.

Of course its just entertainment for the fans, and something to achieve for
the riders, and riders should never be so completely devoured by the press
over time with these relentless witch hunts that riders feel they have to
kill themselves. This business of the doping agencies has become so
overwhelming that it's not only hogging the headlines and killing the sport,
but it's alway at times is driving some riders to feel so bad about
themselves that they feel they must take their own lives to pay for these

It's just entertainment, and no one was murdered, no major crimes were
committed, often these are just rules that are broken, many times they are
not even criminal crimes since they are not state illegal narcotics. The
fact that these violations are so whipped up by the press, and we are always
focused on the drug scandals had not just given the tour a black eye and
tarnished the riders, but it has affected out moral compass in such a way,
that the sport is no longer fun, its no longer healthy, what is going on now
in the tour. We shouldn't be obsessed with doping stories, Festina,
Operation Porto Rica, ect. It seems like we have become so cynical that, we
are not only waiting for the doping agencies to spew out the next round of
tabloid trash, but we are pre-armed to quickly slander the rider charged,
and treat him like he was Charles Mansion or some mass murderer. THAT OUGHT

We should like in the early era, remember out roots and what made the tour
great. We should support our heroes, and never abandon them so quickly
because of the tabloid journalism. We should remember the rich history of
the tour, and remember to enjoy the sport in general as in the past, and
support the riders, and not become over obsessed with their stories, because
that is exactly what the press wants, because its in business to sell
papers. No longer do read all the rich stories of the tour and all the
little side stories and interviews like the late 80's and early 90's. It
seems that the performance enhancement products, pharmaceuticals industries,
and the doping agencies have become a steamroller to either use or destroy
anything in its way, becoming a major slice of the pie, in the cycling

In my opinion, the only way to save the tour, is for fans to change the way
they view the sport and its stars, and don't feed into the doping frenzies,
but focus on the sport and riders, and the positive stories from the old
days, and leave the doping scandals to back page news, sides notes on the
back page like when Gert got caught in 89, which the big story was Greg
winning by 8 seconds. The other thing is to limit just how much press and
coverage these doping agencies get which grow like weeds choking out the
stories that need to be printed.

And three, we need to legalize some products that can give the riders a
fighting chance to finish the season with going underground to the horror
chambers. I am not saying to make legal EPO or steroids, but a few safer
products that would give an incentive and encourage riders not to results to
the hard line products to survive. They should create a level playing field
this way, thus hopefully reducing the number of drug cheats. If we can do
this, and do it safely, we can get back to racing as it was in the old days,
and minimize the doping agencies role in the tour, and give the riders a
chance to breath.

Also the riders should have some say in these decisions as a whole, since
they are the ones racing and they have to please the fans. It's worth a try,
and remember drugs have been the hidden code and tradition of the riders
since the early days, and with all the massive advertisements and constant
bombardment of performance enhancement commercials, riders are always going
to try and hide these substances from the doping agencies. Surely we
wouldn't want to go back and strip so many of the great champions of their
titles because they used drugs, yet we expect today's riders to be squeaky
clean, and if they are not, we crucify them, and make it front page all
consuming news until we vomit these stories out time and again.

When will we ever get tired of regurgitated these stories over and over
again, until we decide we just want the riders to be left alone, to do the
best they can without being hounded until they drop dead by the doping
agencies. We can't do that until we change the rules, get rid of the doping
agencies, at least limit their influence only to the really hard drugs, and
legalize some of the safer products they are being bombarded with anyway in
pharmacutial commericals, driving them to the horror chambers. If we can do
that, create a fair playing field, at least to a reasonable point, we can
put the sport back into perspective, and get back to the rich tradition of
the tour. If you knew how many tour winners used drugs to this very day, it
might make you think about this whole issue in a difference context, I am
not saying I know which ones cheated, but I have my ideas, and have been
told by others who they think cheated, and it's not a pretty picture. It
just makes me even more frustrated about how the current system will only
continue to kill the sport. I don't believe in destroying the sport to save

Back to the roots, the tour was created to sell papers, riders were like
gods, and fans flocked and worshipped their heroes, regardless of drugs, and
the press whipped up the tour and its riders, and what we have today is
exactly the (OPPOSITE)! While I don't want the Running Man or Gladiators,
drug bloated super stars hitting 100 home runs a year in baseball, what I do
expect is for everyone to get a grip here, to bring the tour back into
perspective, for things to be done decently and order, create a fair playing
field by allowing some products, or maybe shortening the season, so riders
can survive, by not taking so many drugs. Speeds have increased, and since
it's no longer possible to finish three major tours, they needs to allow
some products or shorten the season. I think the stigma of drugs is partly
to blame since in America, the hippie generation, Vietnam war and all the
drug addicted soldiers, add to that the war on drugs, Reagan and his just
say no, the whole thing has become the stigma of how drug use is viewed
today as opposed to the early era. It seems ironic with all these stigmas in
a world of constant bombardment of performance enhancement products, that
making a few drugs legal for cycling would be so hard, but this generation
carries the stigma of drug abuse, so it's won't be easy to make any drugs
legal for the tour, even the weakest ones, but considering prohibition
didn't work, the current drug policy won't work either in this dizzying
never ending world craze of cutting edge pharmaceutical products.

Sponsors want their riders to win, riders want to win and please their
sponsors while making a name for themselves, and big money can always buy
the best medical experts to circumvent the drug police, doping agencies, and
pharmaceutical labs will always be working to create the next generation of
performance enhancement products, and those on the bleeding edge will use
the dangling hidden carrots to gain an edge.


Aug 24, 2006, 11:07:39 AM8/24/06
I dont think legalizing a couple of safer drugs will help level the
playing field because that will just make the guys who were already
taking the safer drugs step up to the EPO type stuff. There will never
be a level playing field because there will always be people going for
the EPO stuff. The only way to make it level this way is to legalize
everything(not safe). My question to you is do you think any of the
guys in the tour are clean and have always been clean?


Aug 24, 2006, 8:28:14 PM8/24/06

<> wrote in message

That's a good question. Some Americans in the tour in some interviews off
the record I believe were posted on Stolen Underground in which a rider who
wished not to be ID's was asked how many pro riders in Europe were taking

His reponse was (Every single one of them!)

Of course you would think surely some riders would be clean, and you would
think at least some riders finished their whole careers without using drugs.
However I know someone who would have a pretty good idea, and I will ask
him. I think another poster here said that all the riders were using drugs,
at least they used to, but I take that with a grain of salt.. It's hard to
believe that 100 percent of the riders are using drugs. I mean that just
totally blows my mind. You talk about the (hidden code) I mean its really
hidden, isn't it?

Would you be in favor of a test run for one year where riders are asked to
try a new system, with some legal substances and ask the riders to turn over
a new leaf, and ask for good behavior? Shouldn't the riders be given a
chance to try something new if they agree and are willing to try a one year
trial run? The idea would be to allow a few of the cleanest safest weakest
substances like for instance more coffee at least or some of these things.
Make legal a few things which would allow riders to finish the season
without driving off at night to the underground horror chambers?

How about a trial run of a totally new system? Remember its only bad because
of the stigma, but if we say it is clean, then it is clean, the stigma is in
the image, or vice versa, I guess. I mean once something is legal, then the
stigma should disappear because it is no longer cheating. At least otherwise
it is up to the medical experts to come with some very sane rational safe
solutions for doping products. As stated in another post, they need to take
a real long hard look at this and come up with safe rational solutions. I
mean if some products are legal and safe, then the stigma can be lifted, and
its no longer considered cheating. It might be a step in the right
direction, no one knows for sure until it is tried. Remember that steroids
and the really dangerous drugs have always been out of the question. I am
talking about a much more rational approach to the problem, then the current



Aug 25, 2006, 11:53:07 AM8/25/06

"GoneBeforeMyTime" <> wrote in message

> <> wrote in message
> > I dont think legalizing a couple of safer drugs will help level the
> > playing field because that will just make the guys who were already
> > taking the safer drugs step up to the EPO type stuff. There will never
> > be a level playing field because there will always be people going for
> > the EPO stuff. The only way to make it level this way is to legalize
> > everything(not safe). My question to you is do you think any of the
> > guys in the tour are clean and have always been clean?

Here is another thought. No one wants to see riders riding the tour at a
snails pace, the speed of RAM. Fans wants action, teams, sponsors, owners
want results, and often look the other way, ignorance is bliss kind of
attitude. What you have is a great gulf with drug crusaders on one side, and
riders on the other really knowing that it's not just winning, but success
is all important knowing that they will be set for life, getting a good
career and job in other fields after even a short popular run in the
peleton. Think of it this way? In school many cheat on tests and their
studies to succeed. Forget about the old parochial school of honor, nowadays
students study hard enough to get by and learn to get the job by cheating on
the tests in the short run. Once they get their foot in the door, they gain
the experience they need to continue to learn on the job what they cheated
on in the first place to open that door.

Cheating was a stop gap measure, a means to an end. Hardly anyone wants to
be a professor or master a subject. They just want to learn enough to get
their foot in the door, start making money, get the family started, and
fulfill the American dream. In Italy, I guess it's the Italian dream, what
ever that is, same thing I guess. But taking drugs and cheating to most
riders is thought of as a short term affair during their short cycling
career which is a springboard to a real career. I mean cycling is honorable,
and a career for some like Longo, a total lifetime career and commitment,
but for most its a means to an end, and since the (hidden code) has the long
tradition of drug use, its a given that many will use drugs or they will
quickly be history and back to working at Starbucks. But the problem is
approached more like a war between good and evil, like Bush's wanted dead or
alive mentality.

It's much to complicated a problem to have just hard core drug crusaders on
one side, and the riders on the other in a stand off playing tunnel warfare
like Vietnam. The enemy is not underground! The enemy is the way the whole
problem is being approached, dealt with, and played out in the press. We
don't need drug crusaders and cheerleaders making the problem worse with the
old, off with their heads approach. This isn't the just say no, war on
drugs. This is a very professional sport the likes of no other, the hardest
in the world with a longer season then any other sport in which (if)
performance enhancements are not used, riders can't last the season, and
worse they feel they will become pack fodder very quickly. They take drugs
just to try to stay on an even Kiel with the rest of the riders, never mind
about winning, that is yet a whole nother matter.

The fans, sponsors, owners, even the government are becoming cynical. The
government own the roads remember, and they don't have to allow the use of
roads. When the women tour went an extra hour overtime because of hot temps
on one stage, the police were not happy at all about keeping the roads
closed for yet another hour! Do you think that local and state governments
will continue to allow the use of roads for a sport that is increasingly
becoming the biggest joke, ripe with corruption and drug cheaters?
Especially when sponsors and big money put out, and it gets harder and
harder to get permission for the roads based on the ever increasing amount
of cars on the roads? Remember that bikes are not just under a dome in a
velodrome going in circles. Using public roads will become an increasingly
bigger problem every year.

As long as we have drug crusaders on one side taking a heavy hand via the
doping agencies, and riders hiding like rats underground on the other, the
stigma will only get worse until it kills the sport. If taken in the proper
context, things could change for the better. Remember, it's only sports
entertainment for the fans, and a springboard to success for the riders, and
in the over all scheme of things, drugs shouldn't be an all consuming issue,
but relegated to a more sane and manageable problem that allows a fair
playing field by meeting the riders half way, and giving them a way out of
this mess. I don't see anyway out to save the sport other then for medical
experts to take an extremely serious look at all the doping products and
come up with a list of products that can be allowed in the tour. If the
riders are content with this, the stigma can be removed, and the tour can
regain honor.

This is precisely like prohibition and abortion. We can't go back, only
forward in a world where riders are constantly being bombarded with
commercials for performance enhancement images, and the hypocrisy and double
standard is off the scale, and the doping agencies off course are using the
stick instead of the carrots. It's not about the philosophy of drug use in a
moral society applied with a broad brush to a very complicated sport. It's
about the survival of a sport that is on the brink of disaster, and the
removal of drug crusaders from the equation, and remove the stigma attached
to doping in the tour, and the only way to do that is to do a case study, a
one year test or longer, and see how it goes. As I said, I firmly believe
all this needs to be brought out into the open, done on the up and up and
remove the stigma, and start putting some honor and dignity back into the
sport. This can be done. Remember too that after prohibition, alcohol became
legal but some powerful types like Absinthe I think are still illegal in the
United States. You see the problem has a (rational) solution, otherwise we
will continue to allow narrow minded drug crusaders to beat their drums,
akin to burning so called witches in the dark ages.

I think we can do better then that, surely we can solve this problem! I do
know drug use among pro riders has increased greatly in the last 5 years.
That's not good either, so the United States has a stake in removing the
stigma, especially since Lance did so much to make cycling very popular in
the states, no matter if you think he cheated or not. The future of the
sport is at stake. Drugs regulations for he olympics will probably always
remain very tight, it is a specialy 4 year event, but cycling should be
considered unique and have its own rules, since as we know already that
doping seem to be very relaxed in the big major sports, like Baseball, so
all the more important that the hardest of all sports, cycling shouldn't be
recieving a heavy hand in this, to the contrary, the should recieve a very
sane and rational approach to the problem. The image can be repaired, the
stigma removed!



Aug 25, 2006, 1:02:31 PM8/25/06

"GoneBeforeMyTime" <> wrote in message
Furthermore a bit...

I don't think riders are like rats in a cage, where you allow them to eat
all the food they want until they kill themselves, and besides these rats
are constantly being hounded by the doping agencies. Riders are better
informed then they were in the old days, like the steroid use with the
Germans in the olympics. Today's riders know not to use the really dangerous
drugs, and only true fools would do that for short term gain. But the
majority of riders are rational and I don't think they want to keep taking
not only more powerful dangerous drugs, but deadly cocktails as well, just
for some short term gains. Its just not worth it, they know it, and I think
most would abstain. However most are looking for an edge, just like so many
drink coffee all day long to function.

Given a chance, I think the majority of riders might be satified with a new
plan to allow some products. Kind of like throwing a dog a bone, instead of
beating it with a stick. I don't think riders want to overdope, at least not
on a wide scale. I think some riders will always cheat, no matter what, but
most riders would probably conform to a new plan quite well and be happy to
just be able to complete a season or a tour without taking EPO or other
drugs. I mean if they can finish a season or even a short career with their
digitiny intact, then they can enter the public life without being a Leper,
fulfill their dreams without writing a note in a hotel room somewhere that
says (why me?).

My idea would be a test run of say two years, where medical experts allow a
(select) list of performance enhancements, and set (limits) for their usage
in the course of a race, or the season for that matter, that will be decided
by the experts, but will allow riders to complete a season, and remain
reasonably safe to do so. Also if it significantly curtailed drug use and
horror chambers, and if riders found that the products allowed were enough
to give them the edge they need, creating a fair playing field, then the
case study might be considered a success and the stigma of drug use could be
lifted in time. Coffee has caffiene and some people even take the pills but
we never consider Coffee to be a drug, to the contrary Espresso is
considered a national pastime invented by the Italians I think. No stigma
there, but the stigma is mostly applied to EPO and Steroids. In the real
world, the stigma is mainly applied to narcotics. Even Coffee is limited,
and I doubt anyone would cry about no limits on coffee!

So it's really possible to solve this problem, if people keep an open mind,
and approaching it very rationally, trial and error, divide and conquer,
until the best solutions are found. Otherwise again, it's a never-ending
battle of hide and seek, undeground cutting edge medical experts always
providing the latest way to hide drug use for the riders, and the always
ineffective day late foot dragging doping agencies stalking their riders. We
know who wins this contest, the camp with the most money and experts, as the
drug police are paid very little. But the fact of busting a rider after he
won the tour, is not just a day late and a dollar short, the sport loses
everytime, and the black eye and stigma only grows larger every year.



Aug 25, 2006, 1:55:56 PM8/25/06

"GoneBeforeMyTime" <> wrote in message

Finally the image or role model...

Simply I think the image of the role model and how the stigma of drug use is
applied to a role model's image is out of whack. Being so called drug free
is overplayed in the image of a role model and if he or she has a bad test,
then they have to blown their brains out or go live in Siberia as a Leper.
That's ridiculous, and a role model image should be about so many other
things but not so overwhelmingly tied to being so called drug free, when
some probably drink like a fish on weekends, and then devour a pot of coffee
on Monday, not all, but some. People hate Lance because he came across as
squeaky clean, and Cooke is also on the squeaky clean bandwagon. I don't
think that is a good idea at all. The stigma about drugs should not
overwhelm the image of a role model, after all, the image has nothing to do
with drugs, but everything to do with either their success, or how they got
there. Even they may have natural talent, instead of just hard work, or even
their personality, but being known to be extremely anti-drug, and squeaky
clean is not my idea of a role model, and if they are found to be not
practicing what they preach, they are in real trouble, probably heading for
Siberia! These are known as the super-hypocrites!

Just give me a good well rounded level headed role model, no problem!
Luperini is a perfect role model. Doesn't pretend to be squeaky clean, but
she is clean. She is by all accounts, an incredible role model, someone with
a hard work ethic, day in and day out, week in and out, month in and out,
year in and out, and she has lasted the test of time, with an incredibly
consistent list of palmares, someone with a lot of class that people can
look up to. Luperini being the shortest and lightest rider ever in history
also becomes the greatest, not only is that in incredibly story all of its
own, but by virtue of that, she is a quintessential role model, she breaks
the mold for role models, and it has nothing to do with the some squeaky
clean stance of being drug free. To the contrary Luperini is larger then
life, and its her years of hard work and winning against much bigger
stronger riders that gives her the David versus Goliath mythical status, and
probably if there was a role model for the ages, it would be Luperini. :-)

The stigma of a squeaky clean role model was created as a phenomena of
recent times.


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