Zero tolerance or rehab – how to deal with doping
The news of Lance Armstrong and US Postal team’s involvement in doping has sparked debate about what to do with the dopers.
Many teams have their own anti-doping policies but the two teams that have been focused on by the media due to their anti-doping stance are Team Sky and Garmin Sharp.
The two teams are seen to be the leaders in the fight against doping in the sport, but they both have very different ideologies on the issue.
Team Sky has a strict zero tolerance policy, enforcing that no one with a history of doping is allowed on the team.
On the other hand, Jonathan Vaughters’ Garmin Sharp team has a ‘rehab’ method, giving former dopers a second chance.
Both teams have the same goal of eliminating doping in cycling, but which of the two teams has the best outlook on the problem?
Let’s start with Team Sky. Since their inception in, 2010 Sky have implemented their ruthless zero tolerance policy in a bid to stamp out doping from their team.
The first victim of the policy came before the team had even started their first race. Strong anti-doping advocate David Millar was not allowed to join the team due to his admission of using EPO in 2004.
This angers me, because Millar is outspoken in his opposition of doping and is now a role model and a leader to young riders teaching them not to become dopers.
Millar could have been a great asset to Team Sky, as he is the peloton’s leader against doping, as well as an impressive cyclist.
This is the downfall of the Team Sky model, as it undermines the system of suspension. The idea of having only a two-year ban is to allow riders to learn from their mistakes and trying to return them to the sport as clean cyclists.
The Sky model and the idea of lifetime bans are equivalent to capital punishment, which we don’t have in modern society so why have it in cycling?
This is where Jonathan Vaughters’ system is superior. Vaughters, who recently confessed to doping during his cycling career, uses more of a rehabilitation style at his Garmin Sharp team.
At Garmin, Vaughters has built a hugely successful team that includes many past dopers, including David Millar. Under this system, past dopers are able to come back to the sport as clean riders with the support of their team and continue to be clean.
This also allows riders to be honest to their team, unlike at Sky where past dopers who are desperate for a job will have to lie about their past to get on the team.
To me, Team Sky look like they are just trying to prevent their team from getting bad publicity by a positive test, while Garmin are actually trying to combat the problem of doping.
And in the end, that is why I think the Garmin model works better!
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