How did Lance Armstrong get away with it?
It is a question for the ages, and one that is a key to a lot of doors that have sat quietly locked for years, but which are now being thrown wide open.
It is a matter of little White lies, and great big black ones more than it is about the blood, or the science of drug testing and evading that testing.
Above all, the stench of a hidden hand, or maybe a not so hidden hand, remains.
It is clear to all except maybe Blind Freddy that Lance Armstrong ran the most managed and professional doping system ever seen in professional sport.
The Armstrong Effect and above all the Armstrong Stench … surely The Sergeant Schultzes of Cycling Australia must have smelt it?
In the current climate of economic uncertainty and fiscal restraint, governments are quick to reassure us that they are making every effort to “do more with less”. Providing mobility for citizens in Australia’s rapidly growing cities is a key public policy goal. When faced with alternative transport options, sensible governments will invest in measures that achieve maximum benefits for the least cost, right? Well, um, maybe.
In fact, governments of all persuasions in Australia have been slow to align transport policies with comprehensive assessments of the benefits and costs of alternative transport modes. A recent example of this mismatch is the Victorian Government’s decision to stop funding the VicRoads Bicycle Program. Funding for the program (which averaged $15 million a year over the last three years) has effectively been abolished.
On Monday, after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI), to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS,) Contador was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title and banned from competing until August.
The three panellists from the Court of Arbitration found that the most likely source of the banned substance clenbuterol was a contaminated supplement that Contador took. However, this is despite the fact that there was no evidence before the tribunal that the source of the clenbuterol was from a supplement.
But Contador never offered that as a reason, he argued against the food supplement contamination and stuck by this story that it was from contaminated meat. Because of this CAS didn’t take the supplement story into account as a mitigating factor - even though they found it was the most likely source.
This week the cycling world again has been plunged into controversy after doping statements made by Floyd Landis. This is a further chapter in a saga that started with doping allegations in the Festina Tour of 1998. The allegations made by Floyd Landis this week raise issues that many people believe go to the heart of world cycling – its ability to deal with doping that appears to be embedded in the sport.
It is submitted that cycling can only come out of its crisis by dealing with the issues it faces in an open, transparent and impartial manner. Nothing less will work.
Landis’ allegations have yet to be fully investigated. However they are not the only such allegations of doping and abuse of power within the administration of the anti-doping system by the International Cycling Union (UCI). These allegations evidence a growing concern that the rules are not administered in a fair and transparent manner.