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One of the biggest questions facing professional cycling has been: How do you protect and enhance the credibility of the sport in the face of a long line of doping scandals? Over the past few years it's become clear that words are not enough. With the first rider removed from the 2008 Tour de France yesterday for failing a test for the red blood cell boosting drug EPO, the integrity of every rider in the race is again being questioned. This year, though, the peloton has an answer. The battle is far from over, but teams like Garmin Chipotle (formerly Slipstream Chipotle) and Columbia (formerly High Road) are leading the way to a cleaner sport. from the riders up, instead of from the governing body down. And that's the key: start with clean riders and build supportive organizations around them that are staffed with honest, ethical professionals who are committed to Nike Dri Fit Sweatshirt Womens racing clean.
Even with yesterday's expulsion of Manuel Beltran for a positive dope test, I stick by my previous statements, and they are being echoed by the riders, team managers, team owners, and officials within cycling's governing bodies. The sport is headed in the right direction. There will be positive tests and there will always be athletes who choose to cheat, but there's a difference between a culture of doping which was the state of affairs for a long time and isolated incidents of cheating.
Similarly, we've seen great performances from two other teams with very public, independent, and entirely transparent anti doping programs. The Garmin Chipotle team uses the same program as Team Columbia, and they have Christian Vande Velde and David Millar inside the top ten in the overall standings. Team CSC Saxo Bank had their own independent anti doping program before any of the other teams, and they rode with such power yesterday that they ripped the race to pieces. They are also the number one ranked team in the world, meaning they have consistently won more races than any other team.
As it is often said that actions speak louder than words, and words are certainly not working anymore when it comes to defending the credibility of professional cycling. Mark Cavendish crossing the finish line today, arms raised high in victory, is the best response of all to questions about the integrity of professional cyclists at the Tour de France. Yes, there are still people cheating, and there always will be. The same is true within any sport and within any profession. But the sport of cycling and the riders themselves are not looking the other way or sweeping the problem under the rug. They are actively searching out the people who are damaging the sport and getting rid Nike Tracksuit Red And White
Athletes are asking to be tested more frequently, for their samples to be saved so they can be retested again at later dates when new testing procedures are developed, and for their clean test results to be openly displayed. And it's not just cyclists. The column describes how she met last fall with the CEO of the US Anti Doping Agency, Travis Tygert, to request even more frequent and comprehensive testing.
"While the programs designed by Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin Chipotle) and Bob Stapleton (Columbia) can't totally eliminate the temptation for individual riders to use performance enhancing drugs, they provide positive environments where clean riders can thrive without the pressure to dope. There have been clean riders and positive Nike Hoodies On Sale
The peloton's best response to this year's doping scandal is the outstanding string of performances by Team Columbia riders. They are a team that has the documentation to prove their riders are clean not just an absence of positive tests, but a massive collection of physiological data that shows their riders have had consistent blood and urine profiles over a long period of time and Nike Windrunner Jackets
they are dominating the Tour de France. Right now they have Kim Kirchen in the yellow jersey as overall race leader, and up until today he was also the leader in the green jersey points competition. They have Thomas Lovkist in the white jersey as the Best Young Rider in the race. And their best sprinter, Mark Cavendish, has won two stages, including today's.
of them. Clean riders are winning the biggest and hardest races.
"Will there be a rider kicked out of the 2008 Tour for doping or suspicion of doping? Maybe, but like so many people who are deeply involved with cycling, I really hope not. And even if there is an isolated rider dumb enough and selfish enough to give the Tour de France its third black eye in as many years, I think the sport as a whole is moving in the right direction."
team environments all along; the part that's a huge step forward for the sport is that their commitment to training and racing clean is being shouted from the rooftops and displayed with complete transparency. As a result, I think we're seeing a shift in the peloton's collective attitude about doping, from one of resignation (the system's not going to change, so I might as well get with the system) to one of indignation (cheaters are hurting my sport, so I'm going to help get rid of them).
The best defense is a great offense, and in the fight against doping, it's the clean athletes who are fighting the hardest. Exposing the cheaters and removing them from competition is still the primary goal, but clearly demonstrating that clean athletes can and are winning the top competitions in the world is also crucial.
2008 Tour de France Doping Scandal
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