Every discussion on doping brings up cycling in the worst possible light. Our sport has a reputation for being the dirtiest sport on the planet. Full of cheats and dopers. I look at it the opposite way.
First, let me point out that I am not saying that cycling does not have a problem. It does. The reason we know it has a problem is that we are looking for those who cheat the system. We have harsh penalties for those who break the rules. The swift reaction to Operation Puerto should be a demonstration of that fact.
What I am saying is that our sport, unlike other professional sports, is actively looking to improve the fairness of competition. We find cheats because we look for cheats. When we find them, we remove them from the sport. I think the WADA as a body over all sport, not just cycling, should hold our sport up as the example, not a curse. Dick Pound should spend his energy establishing a code of ethics across all sports instead of taking cheap shots at Floyd Landis and cycling.
I have written before on the lax or non-existent testing and punishment programs in other professional sport. Still those who love watching monster NFL linemen take the field every Sunday don’t see the forest for the trees. If they looked, they would find too. You pick the sport, if you look, you will find.
Cycling, being the only sport with an active and aggressive policy on doping seems to be having the reverse effect. Instead of drawing fans who know that the sport is on the path to becoming a clean competition, it is repelling fans, sponsors, and costing riders their livelihood. And by the way, these guys are among the lowest paid athletes to begin with.
I am getting frustrated.