Trade unions started as a way to protect workers from abuse by employers, and have evolved into some of the most powerful organizations and lobby groups in existence. Why is that pro cycling, which is a showcase for leading edge technological and sporting accomplishments, still has no effective riders union? The need for a body to protect cyclists has never been greater, as evidenced by Tyler’s doping case and the Pro Tour…
Tyler released a statement on his website (TylerHamilton.com) giving us his side of the investigation that found him negative & negative, and then by committee positive after reviewing the negatives… So I guess if you are a sport governing body, as long as you agree with yourself, two wrongs do make a right…
Tyler goes on to qualify exactly why the notorious frozen B sample was frozen… It was because they found his A sample negative and B samples are supposed to be frozen when that’s the case. I guess that’s part of that “we reserve the right to try and screw you in a few years by analyzing this stuff again” program. Interesting that one of the chief complaints in the war on doping is a lack of funding, but they pay for a protocol used to store a blood sample that ruins it, at least in the case of red cells (the critical ones…).
Tyler finishes with saying that the tests from Spain and the tests from the Olympics had inconsistencies. That is the basis for his argument that the test itself may need some looking over. Tough part is that no hard data on his tests is being released to him or anyone else we know of.
Maybe worst of all is that the folks in charge won’t allow a DNA test to be done on all samples. Maybe freezing destroys a red cell but given that you can damn near get enough DNA from a fart to trace it back the butt it came from, you might be able to decide weather two people’s blood was in a sample?… Maybe it’s insanely expensive, but it’s Tyler and Phonak’s dime and they deserve to spend it in any testing they can considering they are being kept from participating over this (among other things).
And speaking of the Pro Tour…
Next on the hit parade is the Pro Tour and the way it was produced and is being implemented.
I remember doing an article a while ago entitled “Is the Pro Tour a Con Job” where I asked if the Pro Tour wasn’t simply a play by the UCI to take power away from ASO (Organizers of the Tour and other key races), and if it were not simply a way for the UCI to get more money for doing what amounts to less work (fewer races, fewer pro’s etc). I also asked if the UCI shouldn’t take care of existing problems (unpaid riders etc…) and to get a firm drug penalty system in place before announcing a “go live” date.
With the Grand Tour organizers telling the Pro Tour to piss off and with the UCI allowing teams like Domina to find a spot in the Pro Tour for next year (who still owe riders wages from this season), I guess we can see where their heart is.
The UCI imply that the Pro Tour is better for riders because the teams will be more financially stable.
Proper thought really, but it has amounted to Bullshit.
If the UCI are concerned about more than a power grab, why haven’t they:
1. Made sure riders past due wages were paid before taking the money for themselves to review Domina’s attempt to secure a spot.
2. Required that teams renegotiate all riders contracts, because they are going to be working quite a bit more.
3. Come out with a tougher Doping penalty system that would hurt riders AND TEAMS so that teams work to keep riders clean instead of testable (one of many options).
Both Tyler’s problem and The Athlete’s getting screwed again (and more) mean one thing to me…
PROFESIONAL RIDERS NEED A UNION.
It’s time for the riders to be able to stand together and say, “ Get real Dick Pound! Stop the stump speeches and self promotion that seem to imply that every cyclist is dirty, and give Tyler a chance to have your tests tested”. If the test is proven valid beyond question (by someone other than the test creator) then too bad Tyler (sorry bro). The system simply can’t work if it is above proper review, and WADA and the UCI spewing crap to the public, while not allowing a proper review is simply riding Tyler for the sake of publicity.
Riders should have a strong enough voice to stand behind statements like;
“We will not do more work for less money. We will not allow you to remove the point system that lets us climb the pay scale based on our performance instead of letting team management have more influence over our value and image. We will not stand by while you take money to review an entry form that should have gone to paying our wages. We will not let you call us all cheats while being paid through our efforts. We will not allow you to let crap managers hire back repeat drug users and perpetuate the cycle that is pushing some of us to kill ourselves.”
Multinational Politics, team management and the like will all be against it. That is all the more reason to have proper athletes representation. Pro Cyclists are getting screwed at every turn. It’s time they put their backs together and formed a circle to protect their own.
I would bet that’s one wheel that wouldn’t exactly be UCI approved…
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