Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Only Cycling-related Prediction for 2010

My only cycling-related prediction for 2010 that I think is worth noticing by the pundits and punters alike is that young pro/elite riders will realize the value of making their own independently articulated anti-doping stances, and @bikepure (BikePure/ will be the vehicle of choice by which they release these statements and give meaning to them through ongoing action and commitment. They will eschew traditional cycling media and hired-gun PR flaks, and will use "established" blogs and outlets as secondary or tertiary distribution vehicles. Likewise, non-elite riders will make the same kinds of declarations through @BikePure because there is finally a critical mass or fans who are frustrated enough with the rot that has festered inside cycling for so long - a cancer with which I, too, was infected and that I even - to my most profound shame - helped to spread for a time - until the insanity stopped.

While I support @BikePure, the prediction I refer to in this post is based on my own analysis and soundings taken at various points throughout our sport. I'm not paid to promote Bike Pure, or otherwise lobby on their behalf. I'd do that anyway - for free!

But if you believe in clean cycling, and you are bored with endless forum discussions about the doping problem and feel powerless to effect change - rejoice! In Bike Pure, you may have a means to turn individual frustration into collective, game-changing action. I know that I'm wearing MY blue wristband and have a blue headset space on the bike I can't ride! I don't agree with every aspect of the proposals BP would like to put forward to fight doping in sport - but, in the sign of a truly "open" and inclusive organization, Andy and Myles don't require orthodoxy from their supporters. Dialogue leading to action rids cycling of dope. Bike Pure has a role to play in that process, and I'll let the organization speak for itself below:

Bike Pure is an independent, global organization for fans, riders and the cycle trade to join together in a united stance for a new era of positive cycling.

Bike Pure will spearhead constructive, structured reform, to restore the integrity of cycle sport and create a nurturing environment for future champions to succeed.

Bike Pure is committed to redirecting trust to Professional cycle sport. Bike Pure is an umbrella group for all concerned parties in cyclesport. A medium to let the fans, riders, teams and cycle trade join together in a united stance for an new era of clean cycling

For decades cycling has had a problem with endemic drug use. The cheats have destroyed the public image of cycling. Although the sport is cleaning up, there were over 60 riders caught cheating in 2009 using artificial, performance enhancing methods. Cycling fans worldwide deserve heroes they can believe in: Clean up or clear out. We desire a truly clean sport, with real riders that the fans, sponsors and media can have faith in.

With the aid of our global, talented membership we are proposing structural reform to the system that is failing the next generation of champions. Each member has a forum to let his voice be heard through Bike Pure.

Bike Pure encourage the athletes and teams to sign an 'Honour Code’, declaring that they race clean, without performance enhancing drugs and with a pledge that will encourage our sport to flourish. If any rider should be deemed positive, Bike Pure are lobbying for stiffer penalties for offenders - 4 year ban minimum and life bans for repeat offenders [Editor's Note: Here is an instance where Joe Papp does not blindly follow Bike Pure - he does not support a four-year minimum ban for a first-time offender.]. It is through the actions and support of our members that we can apply pressure on authorities for these measures to be implicated.

Riders responsible for their own behaviour, their sponsors can have faith that their investment is safe, and the public can have confidence in the results if they are clean.

We are not naive to think this is a complete solution, but it is an important first element getting the clean riders to joining forces with the supporters and laying a foundation to protect the mental and physical health of future champions and the integrity of our wonderful sport."

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