Should we blanket all pre-2007 cycling as dirty?
Lance Armstrong has both energised and tarnished US Cycling - can it continue to grow? (AP Photo/Franck Prevel, File)
What does it really mean to ‘blanket’ pre-2007 cycling from further drug scandals, and should it be done?
One side of me says they should just draw a line before the introduction of the biological passport, no more positives, done, dusted, ‘nuff said.
My other side says wait a minute, so those cheating bastards pre-2007 get off scott free? We have a crisis of conscience to consider here, and it affects cyclists from around the world.
Blanketing an entire era from further drug related scandals is an admittance of monumental proportion, one that could wreck former professional cyclists’ personal lives, destroying their families and friendships.
Such an admission, declaring the period as ‘The Days of Drugs’, gambles with not only the past but also the future credibility of cycling as a sport and lifestyle.
Credibility that, on one hand will be hard pressed to be won back, but on the other hand, may be reaped and gained in huge quantities as a final recognition of The Days of Drugs and a signalling of moving forward.
Another problem in throwing the blanket is wrongly accusing the people before 2007 who actually won their professional cycling events without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Surely those members of the sport who haven’t the guilt of their colleagues would have something to say about such a sheath of admittance.
One of the positives about tossing the blanket over the period is the possibility of finally ‘moving on’. It needs to happen one way or another, and with the Lance Armstrong scandal finally imploding with dark-matter force, the process seems to be starting.
Out with the old and in with the new? Actually, no. There is an obvious problem here. Worldwide cycling hasn’t been, let’s say, purified.
It’s not been the type of cleansing Mexican President Felipe Calderón enforced in 2007, where all local police officers in certain cities were forced to surrender their weapons due to their assumed ties with drug cartels. I suppose sometimes a little collateral damage can be necessary for the greater good?
The fact of the matter is managers and directors of a lot of on-going professional teams have histories about as clean as a brothel’s bed sheets and so their existence deep within the fabric of a sport scurrying to rediscover its integrity is potentially detrimental.
So we have a situation where it appears wholly probable the upper echelon of the post-2007 professional cycling peloton have bathed in some (hopefully) righteous holy waters and cleaned up well and good.
The sport appears less inconsistent with ‘normal homosapien expectations’, race speeds are down and general symptoms of human regularity (like bonking and sickness) are more common.
Yet the professional racers from the past generations, who have or may not have been – officially or unofficially – tied up in bygone doping complications, are still omnipresent. Rightfully so I believe, these people built our sport and, whether it was using PEDs or not, they are still the ambassadors of our sport and they still, somehow, have the right to help the sport grow and prosper.
The issue is with the exponential growth in pre-2007 doping scandals, the food is there for the people to feast on. It’s not as if the media are ever going to run out of ex-pros lavishing us with their lifetime confessions, and the associated team-based scandals arising out of the associated mud. Nor will there be a shortage of people interested in the stories.
Where is the end then? Do we have to simply face the media pessimistically shunning our sport for decades to come, or can we oust the junk now and press forward with renewed impetus and passion? Must we throw out the babies with the bath water or not?
I am not sure we can justify the covering of such a huge period of time with a neutral zone, especially because so many people have lost so much testing positive in the pre-2007 era already.
Imagine all riders from back then who have tested positive and lost everything, and how they will feel if they find out that now, finally, their performance enhanced results are essentially swept under the table as acceptable? Out of sight out of mind.
It can’t happen, it’s too unfair to too many people. What a romantic idea to consider – fresh slate – but sorry, it just doesn’t seem morally fair.
The sport of cycling will have to face its demons, and the faster these mass-admissions of guilt occur, the better.
Follow Adam on twitter @adamsemple
Passionate about your cycling? Then sign up to The Roar's brand new daily cycling email, delivering Roaring articles directly to you day-in, day-out. You'll love it!
Click here to join now!
Looking to join The Roar team? We're searching for an experienced Group Sales Manager to lead our team in Sydney. Yes, this does mean you get to work with the site all day long! If you're a digital media sales star, we want to hear from you. Apply now.