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Anti Doping With Spirit

I'm encouraged by the way the anti-doping measures in the Tour are working out. Cheaters are caught, and expelled mid-race, and whole teams are being expelled on the spot. And now, Rasmussen has been ejected by his team once the whispering suspicions became a sustained scream.

This approach is long overdue. I hope features of it are incorporated into the future ProTour. The spirit of the doping law does not have much of a role in the process: note that Rasmussen was booted by his sponsor and journalists, not the anti-doping system.

My take on the doping system is that it's a byzantine tangle of rules and judicial processes. Floyd Landis' case is the latest showcase of its flaws. Guilty or innocent, it just shouldn't be possible to spend several man years and $2M to argue about what stuff is in a man's pee so he can go ride a bike. Also, it seems that the quasi-judicial framework encourages doping. It creates a system that the dope docs can game. Remember Rasmussen didn't fail a doping test! He just avoided them.

If calls for a new cycling league actually come to fruition, I hope it includes some improvements to the anti-doping system. The anti-doping system can be simplified and streamlined, because the outcome of it is not that important in the cosmic sense. Riders who are busted  don't go to jail, they just can't race as a pro for some period of time.

I hope an executive power is incorporated into the system. The actions of the sponsors and the teams in the Tour this year show how effective it can be, although these actions came too late to avoid mussing the results of the race.

Really, "executive" is just a fancy way of saying that cycling needs a president that actually has power. So if a rider trains with Dr Evil, for example, and Dr. Evil is under suspicion; investigate, warn the rider, then suspend the rider. If the rider persists. Fire him and ban him. Again, it's not like you're throwing the dude in jail. You're forcing him into another line of work. If a rider wants to train with Dr. Evil for fun and personal gratification, go for it! He just can't race in the ProTour of the future. No big deal. The executive power needs some check and balance system so it can't be corrupted by bribes or nationalism, sex, candy, crack or whatever.

In exchange for making the system more arbitrary, reduce the penalties that riders face for first time, minor offenses, but stiffen the penalties for habitual offenders, or those who engage in egregious practices--such as a medical program.

If dopers want to race, they can form their own "top fuel" cage match league.

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