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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DOPING

This elephant's been sitting in pro cycling's living room for a long, long time. We've avoided comments in print for as long as we can, but it's time to say something before moving back to the positive aspects of cycling.

Heather had long thought she'd been cheated by competitors using steroids back-in-the-day, only to find out later her suspicions were true. In the 1990's oxygen-vector drugs like EPO changed the sport more dramatically. Anyone who followed pro cycling closely at this time smelled a rat but, until someone was caught in the act, one couldn't do much but wonder and speculate. We both tried to concentrate on the more beautiful aspects of the sport, but the doping issue was never far away. Heather's work in the philosophy of sport kept her in contact with this issue, perhaps more than she wanted.

Now that the curtain has been pulled back on the sordid mess, plenty of folks are expressing shock that this was going on. Our response to them is either you chose to look the other way or you were not paying very close attention.

Pro cycling's had plenty of opportunities to make a fresh start and clean things up: Tom Simpson's death in 1967, young riders going to bed and never waking up, the Festina scandal and the Puerto affair, just to name a few. Perhaps this latest, largest and most disgusting scandal will be the catalyst for some real change?

We'll go to see the Giro d'Italia live, in-person with a small group in 2013, hoping that pro cycling will have finally turned the corner on this problem and we can go back to enjoying the beautiful, positive aspects of the sport we both love.

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