Finally, a step towards a solution

November 20, 2006

A baby step maybe but a step nonetheless. The Italian association of cycling medics (AIMEC) decided over the weekend to initiate two key steps in it’s fight against doping.

  1. Riders will be escorted from the finish line until their doping test is completed.
  2. Riders are now subjected to testing up to 30 minutes prior to the start of a stage or race.

I don’t know how much a cheating rider can attenuate the possibility of a positive test between the finish and the doping control when randomly chosen but if it is possible, I like the rule.

The rule I really like is the pre race test. Knowing the half-lives of newer drugs are extremely short, adding testing prior to a stage is a good practical addition to the regime. Sometimes the answers lie in the practical as well as the technological.

I’m reminded of a story I read about 15 years ago. Engineers were trying to eliminate the possibility of children being run over by school buses. Bus drivers were unable to see children standing in front of their buses when pulling away. The first solution was an onboard radar device that would alert the driver to the presence of something in front of the bus. This solution was almost implemented at a huge cost even though it could not cover all instances such as a child bending over to pick up a dropped book. That was until someone suggested an arm that would swing out from the bus when the door opened thus eliminating the problem before it began.

Guess which one was implemented.

A small step just in Italy but a step nonetheless


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