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The Cycle Sport Manifesto

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"What do we want?"

"Drug-free competition in the Pro Tour, including effective testing and fair treatment of riders!"

"When do we want it?"


Sorry if it seems like I'm picking on these guys, but I think it's worth chewing over their collection of theses they've recently nailed to the UCI's door. I think they reinforce my point that CS is trying to insert itself and doesn't have anything helpful to add, but let's give them a fair chance. On the flip:

What they're seeking through the power of the wristband...

1) clear testing policy, uniformly applied.

comment: Sounds palatable enough, if not original.

2) Database of rider records, including DNA.

comment: I suppose I'm for it, at first blush. And the riders' comments about being treated like criminals sounds more like union gamesmanship to me (although if they're saying that to keep the bargaining chip, fine, whatever).

3) Publicize the therapeutic use exemptions (i.e. I can take X substance for my Y condition)

comment: huh? I'd rather have enough adults in charge so that nobody needs me to go looking up people's TUE.

4) teams should publicize their anti-doping policies, and they should bar use of outside doctors

comment: Hm... I guess this is meant to push the T-Mob model, which I like very much. This isn't worded exactly right though -- again, publicizing stuff means I have to look it up. A better idea is just to require teams to swallow the T-Mob program... except that it's unproven and undigested so far.

5) Get riders to speak up about the wristband campaign

comment: the program veers sharply toward irrelevance. Let's see if we can correct the course...

6) No finger-pointing or whistle-blowing

comment: I'd ridicule this, but I think CS is just saying they're not advocating this, not that it should be forbidden.

7) Don't imply guilt by excluding guys from races

comment: hm... this is where the Bill of Rights clashes with the sensibilities of the peloton, I think. Tough sell here, but I don't object.

8) Attitudes must change; doping is not acceptable.

comment: CS proving my original point from last week. To be kind, this is pointless grandstanding, as if riders dope because it's fun.

9) Recognize the true clean riders and portray them as champions

comment: what happened to not implying guilt? If someone wins Paris-Roubaix but the UCI thinks someone else is cleaner, do they give the other guy the trophy? Also, I'm clean (as far as you know), and though I'll never win or even compete for five minutes, does this mean I still get a trophy? Seriously off course now...

10) Slowly drive out the cheats, and raise a new clean generation

comments: This is pretty vapid. I'd like a pony too. Also, is doping being grandfathered in for the current generation? Whatever.

11) Don't cover up bad news; report the positive tests

comment: Stupid. Testing is an inexact science, to say the least, so riders deserve a heads-up before telling the press. In fact, even if a guy is caught red-handed, there's no precedent for law enforcement running first to the press and then to the suspect.

12) Fully support testing, blady blah

comment: more of the same...

13) we don't want to be taken for fools anymore

comment: Exhibit A in my case that CS is making it about themselves. If the peloton is reading this, my message is: fix the problem; don't worry about me.

14) "if you're clean, come out and say so."

comment: Fortunately, they're done. Possibly three or four items too late, because this last one removes any doubt that the author of this manifesto is in middle school. I've paraphrased most of the items, but this one is verbatim, because its silliness speaks for itself.

Overall: My original mocking assessment wasn't all that far off. Far too much of this manifesto is completely content-free bullshit, and in the rare case where CS wades into actual solutions to the problem, they don't make any real argument; it's just "do DNA tests" and "no external coaches" with no evidence that CS has given a moment's thought to how these things would play out in reality.

Like I said before, if the people on the sidelines have innovative ideas that have a chance of reducing doping in the real world, then their ideas should be given consideration. Not one single thesis from CS contains an original, useful thought. It's just a fan's rant, easily boiled down to "In case you didn't notice, we don't like doping."

They've certainly earned their "I support the Chinese wristband manufacturing industry" gift they'll be receiving soon.