Friday, January 30, 2009

Doping and Australian Professional Cycling: Full Text

version en español

Submission to the Commonwealth Department of Health Anti Doping Research Program by Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law

Project Summary

Cycling has a reputation as having an entrenched doping culture existing within a closed community where some bending of the rules has been seen as historically permissible, if not required in order to cope with the exceptional nature of its events. The closed nature of the peloton is regarded as being one of the greatest challenges for any intervention initiated from the outside (see Dauncey, 2003; Schneider, 2006). The objective of this research is to examine the attitudes of Australia professional cyclists ("the Australian peloton") and those that they interact with including team managers and staff, sporting and medical advisors, sporting administrators, sponsors and government (“their cohort”). This research is critical given the current doping policy paradigm, its operation, effectiveness and limitations. This study seeks to identify factors which lead to the current anti doping regime to be less effective than desired and to propose practical measures to increase that effectiveness.

Currently the Australian peloton includes at least 30 members racing in European based professional teams and another 80 members riding in continental professional teams outside of Europe. In 2007, Australia was ranked 3rd in the world and 4th following the 2008 World Championships. Given the long history of interaction between professional cycling in Australia and the rest of the world, particularly Europe, the Australia peloton provides an experienced but manageable sized group with which to engage in order to undertake such a project. Furthermore, given the history of interaction with Europe and other parts of the cycling world, there is nothing to suggest that the Australia situation vis a vis doping and attitudes to anti-doping policy are any different within the Australian peloton than any other highly ranked cycling nation.

Over the past decade the sport has been subjected to a number of internal crises and increasing external scrutiny. Nevertheless the problem of doping and how effectively to deal with it remain an important and unresolved issue. The last ten years have seen increased scrutiny of professional cycling, in a large part due to the events of the 1998 Tour de France involving the Festina and other teams. In fact this event is in part credited with the movement towards the formation of WADA. More recently there has been the Operacion Puerto enquiry in Spain, and the successive problems associated with the last three editions of the Tour de France (2006 – Landis; 2007 – Rasmussen, Vinokourov, Mayo; 2008 - Kohl, Schumacher, Ricco & Piepoli) which have raised the issue as to the effectiveness of current anti doping policy and its attempts at changing behaviour in relation to doping practices within cycling.

The observations of Schneider (2006) concerning the closed nature of the peloton as a barrier to change are enlightening in the context of the developments of anti-doping policy over the last 10 years. During this time outside intervention has taken the form of criminal investigations, the development of a World Anti Doping Agency and Code, the changing nature and frequency of testing within cycling and the development of biological passports. As can be seen from this brief list, anti doping policy has been concerned primarily with detection, investigation, prosecution and punishment. In short, anti doping has been a policing activity, and as such it appears to have failed to engage those who are the objects of that activity, nor has it led to broad cultural change within the sport. It is arguable that these measures have in fact contributed towards the peloton becoming even more closed and as a result incapable of fully grasping the nature of the changes occurring within the sport.

Without engaging cyclists (other than as objects of surveillance and prosecution) it is arguable that it is becoming evident to sporting administrators that the current anti doping policy pursued within the sport of cycling is not as effective as it could be and has not as yet led to widespread cultural change of attitudes within the peloton. Without more education it is arguable that such a policy is unsustainable. This is compounded when it is noted that a great deal of the current policy has been formulated as a result of media and related crises within cycling. Schneider (2006) has remarked that the history of the nature of the problem of doping in cycling is constructed in large part from the extensive media coverage of it. As a result of policy being media or crisis driven it appears that little sociological or legal research has been undertaken which considers the relationship between those who are the object of this policing and those who are doing the policing.

Due to the forces of globalisation there are real processes occurring which interact with and effect the development of elite sport policy globally. The current context and changes occurring within professional cycling may well be characterised as processes of structural re-adjustment whereby the old European based cycling economy is being subjected to the pressures of the globalisation of the sport. Anti-doping policy and the fact that cycling is in the ‘eye of the storm’ has to be viewed within this context. These factors not only include the substantive policy framework in terms of an increasingly global anti doping legislative regime but also the discursive construction of those processes within subsystems, communities and the media. As both Houlihan (2005) and Schneider (2006) have noted to some extent, it is the discursive constructions that tend to shape and mediate policy production processes. Dauncey (2003) has also recognised that cycling has a particularly complicated normative framework or frameworks. He has identified at least four normative frameworks that constrain and direct participation in an event such as the Tour de France including the rules of the race, the rules of society, culture and politics, international views on sports and ethics and the internal rules of the peloton itself. Within these frameworks there exist a number of groups that form a broad policy community or communities. However, not all actors within the purview of such communities are able to openly voice their concerns within such a community, especially when one of those policy communities, the peloton, seeks to protect its interests through silence.

In undertaking this research the project will adopt and apply the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) developed by Houlihan (2005) in his work on elite sports policy development. The ACF framework will also be informed by practice, context and the notions of reflexive sociology pursued by Bourdieu (1992, 1990). The ACF focuses upon identifying the dominant policy paradigms that set the parameters for any policy change and the discursive story lines or rationales of those involved in or affected by policy development. Finally the ACF model proposes the concept of policy brokerage in order to engage those involved in and affected by policy changes in order to achieve the neatest possible marriage between the rhetoric of the policy and the reality of the practice it seeks to address.

Research Aims and Objectives


* To examine the dominant paradigm, its rationales and focus for anti doping policy affecting Australian professional cyclists ("the Australian peloton");

* To determine the policy and normative framework, its current form and the changes it has undergone in the medium long term;
* To identify the story lines which support the various positions within the sport, and in particular those of the cyclists comprising the Australian peloton;
* To propose measures by which the gap between the reality of the cyclists practice and culture and the rhetoric of the dominant anti doping paradigm may be reduced.
* To ascertain the potential for policy brokerage within the existing policy and normative framework;
* To assess the potential for practical implementation and export of the model to the international professional cycling tours.


* To examine into the attitudes of Australian professional cyclists ("the Australian peloton") and those that they interact with (team managers and staff, sporting and medical advisors, sporting administrators, sponsors and government – “their cohort”) in relation to the current doping paradigm, its operations, effectiveness and problems;
* To identify factors which lead to the current anti doping regime to be less effective than desired and to propose practical measures to increase that effectiveness;
* To clearly identify and define the international, national, public, civil, criminal and sporting norms and policies (“the normative framework”) that the Australian peloton is subject to;
* To gather evidence concerning the complexity of the current normative framework so that it can be better understood.
* To identify the rationales and specific focus of each instrument contained in the normative framework and to analyse their influence on policy formulation and their contribution to the practical effectiveness of anti doping policy.
* To identify and explain structural relationships in policy networks, communities and advocacy coalitions.
* To pursue an explanation and critical evaluation of the social phenomena, their associated practices and the material structures which they produce, which in turn helps sustain those practices.
* To apply factors identified in this study when formulating ways in which to make anti doping policy may be made more practically effective.
* To identify the range of possible policy options that may improve the effectiveness or perception of effectiveness of anti-doping policy.
* To facilitate a means by which the closed peloton may be able to engage in dialogue with those who have the ultimate responsibility for setting the policy framework without the fear of retribution.
* To consider the relationship between those who are the object of the policing and those who are doing the policing and the attitudes and practices of those that are sought to be policed to that activity.
* To understand the place of the core actors (the pro cyclists) within the policy context within which they operate and to facilitate brokerage between those actors and the administrative, sporting, policy, government and commercial actors with whom they interact.

Proposed Methodology

In undertaking this research the project will adopt and apply the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) developed by Houlihan (2005) in his work on elite sports policy development. The ACF framework will also be informed by practice, context and the notions of reflexive sociology pursued by Bourdieu (1992, 1990).

The ACF focuses upon identifying the dominant policy paradigms that set the parameters for any policy change and the discursive story lines or rationales of those involved in or affected by policy development. Finally, the ACF model proposes the concept of policy brokerage in order to engage those involved in and affected by policy changes in order to achieve the neatest possible marriage between the rhetoric of the policy and the reality of the practice it seeks to address.

Research Methods

The project will involve four primary research methods:

1. Qualitative Document Analysis;

2. Semi Structured Interviews;

3. Workshops and Feedback Loops; and

4. Policy Brokerage.

Qualitative Document Analysis (QDA)

QDA involves the analysis of policy and legal documents and the sedimentations of social and political practices that they contain.

One of the first tasks of the project will be to identify through a process of Qualitative Document Analysis the instruments forming the complete anti-doping normative framework affecting the Australian peloton. This framework consisting of multiple conventions, codes, legislation and sporting rules emanates from multiple geographical (e.g., international, regional, and national) and types (e.g., public, civil, sporting and criminal laws) of jurisdictions. Not only are members of the Australian peloton subject to the norms set out in relation to professional cycling by the international and national governing bodies, the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Cycling Australia (CA), but those instruments themselves exist within the framework of international instruments such as the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) Code and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter. Furthermore this framework interacts with public law in Australia by way of the Australian Sports Anti Doping Agency (ASADA) Act and its provisions governing for instance the conduct of appeals in relation to doping offences. However, Australian cyclists throughout the season are also subject to the national laws of other countries and of the organisations that conduct the events in which they compete. In some cases, such as in France and Italy, the homes of two of the three Grand Tours, the Australian peloton is subject to the criminal law as well.

The research will seek to identify the current dominant paradigm (or paradigms) policies, and legal framework of anti doping policy affecting the Australian peloton and the manner in which this set of values and assumptions influence policy choice and personal and administrative practice.

The process of Qualitative Document Analysis sets the ground for the second part of this project involving interviews and workshops with members of the Australian peloton and their cohort. Clearly articulating the basis and rationale for the existing anti-doping policy framework and articulating that to those subject to it will allow subsequent discussions to proceed in an informed manner. As noted above different policy justifications influence the focus of the instruments, the policy and the practice related to them and as such it is argued that an understanding of the situation from the perspective of those subject to such controls and regulation is crucial step towards increasing the practical effectiveness of any such regime.

A question to be ultimately answered by this process is whether a bringing together of the rhetoric of and the practice is possible within the current policy framework and if so how could such a position be brokered within the sport of professional cycling? This part of the project lays the groundwork for such an assessment.

Semi Structured Interviews

Semi structured Interviews will be conducted with both members of the peloton and their cohort. Interviews will be based upon an interview guide and open ended, informal probing in order to facilitate open discussion of the issues. Interviews will be conducted in a secure and confidential manner so as not to compromise the project or the position of those who undertake such interviews. Identities of interviewees will be suitably concealed so as not to compromise their identity or the process of the project. Such steps to ensure confidentiality, security and the immunity from prosecution are crucial in guaranteeing the success of the project and it is argued, in fact, any real and effective cultural change within the peloton.

The focus on policy orientation in the QDA process is a key but its emphasis on medium term rationality needs to be tempered with an acknowledgment that policy actors do not always refer to evidence and the weight of expert opinion. Thus identifying "discursive storylines" is a key to establishing and maintaining both entrenched constraints and facilitating factors within the policy process. These storylines are as much a part of the rules of structure formation that set the limits to policy action, both by defining activities that are acceptable and those that are not, as are the actual policy documents such as the anti-doping codes and other legislative instruments.

The rationale for semi structured interviews is to:

· provide an agent informed understanding of practices and processes;

· allow for distinctions to be made between the policy and legal framework, the rhetoric and the reality of practices;

· attempt to discern the normative values and belief systems underlying the peloton and their cohorts perspectives and understandings of the constraining and/or facilitating factors within the structural context.


Questions will relate, but not be limited to perceptions, attitudes and views concerning:

* policy rationale;
* the effects of the changes to policy on practices during the last ten years;
* the effectiveness of current policy;
* the multiplicity and/or inconsistency of different regimes;
* privacy, confidentiality, human rights and free trade;
* concepts such as fair play and cheating;
* the different expectations of sport, of work and business, including the extent to which the structure of the sport as business contributes to an environment which leads to riders being susceptible to illicit performance-enhancing activity;
* the availability of doping and other products and interactions with legal and illegal networks;
* problems related to recovery, stress, medical attention as opposed to doping;
* the normalisation of risk and policy attempts to avoid risk in what amounts to a spectacle of risk;
* the transparency of anti doping procedures and appeal procedures;
* the maintenance of public confidence in the sport; and
* options for future policy and policy brokerage.


Workshops and Feedback Loops

As each stage of the project is undertaken it is planned to engage in workshop style meetings with the peloton and cohorts to discuss the progress of the project, its interim findings, and the available options facing the actors at any given time throughout or following the project. Small group and break-out sessions and focus type groups shall be used when necessary.

These mechanisms will also be used as a part of the process of policy brokerage.

Policy Brokerage

Once the QDA and the peloton’s own normative structure has been examined the final element in the ACF framework is that of policy brokerage. In congested policy making systems there is greater scope for individual policy entrepreneurship. The project is premised upon the fact that cycling suffers from a form of policy congestion and a high degree of disassociation between rhetoric and practice and as such offers a high degree of scope for policy brokerage.

One of the objects of the project is to identify what options and potential are available for the formation of a policy that is consistent with both the position of the peloton, of those who administer and make policy in respect of the sport and the actually existing policy framework.

The question which we seek to answer in the end is whether there is a new and/or complementary approach to anti doping available as a result of incorporating the peloton into the process of policy formulation?

Longitudinal Analysis

The project will undertake longitudinal analysis by way of its analysis of the policy framework including the Qualitative Document Analysis and an analysis of key events in the evolution of the policy framework (e.g., the 1998 Tour de France, the instigation of the 50% haematocrit health checks).

Another longitudinal aspect of the project will be by through the interview and workshop timetable which will allow for a feedback loop to be established during the process of the project with the relevant actors and stakeholders so that attitudes, policies and possibilities may be discussed and considered by relevant actors throughout the process.

Measures and Action

The ACF method is highly suited to a project which seeks to propose measures that would lead to practical ways to combat doping in professionals cycling.

By identifying the policy framework and the discursive storylines that support and/or undermine that framework the ACF allows for the identification of means by which actors may engage in policy brokerage. The aim of such brokerage would be to propose possible forms of preventative action that might be taken. The success of the project in the context of the Australian peloton will provide a model which may be adopted and exported by other cycling federations and the UCI as well as other sporting sports.

Given that the project covers the fields of sport sociology, sport law and sport management it has the potential to lead not only to practical measures but also the formulation of new and/or revised policies, legislation, rules and procedures. Nevertheless the core worth of the project may be in the manner in which it can create a space for dialogue and the mediation and brokerage of identified issues.

It's not about the blood - what is Operacion Puerto?

I wrote this a few months ago, no on wants to publish it, but it has made some waves, positive ones .....

The background.

In May 2006 a cd of police documents, what we now know as Operacion Puerto, was leaked to Spain's number one cycling journalist, Carlos Arribas of the daily paper El Pais. The leak subsequently sent the cycling world into turmoil as the extent of the Liberty Seguros program of rider preparation was revealed. Liberty Seguros quickly pulled its sponsorship of Saiz's team as they raced in Italy mid Giro Then other names began to emerge, such as Ullrich and Basso and in the wake of those revelations that year's Tour de France favourite list was cut to shreds. At the centre of the storm was the Spanish doctor (hormone specialist) Dr Eufemiano Fuentes.

The revelation that police had been engaged in surveillance of Fuentes, Saiz and others seems to have emerged because of the intersection of two seemingly unrelated concerns for Spain. One was an ongoing investigation by the Spanish Guardia Civil into the importation of counterfeit or prohibited medicines from sources such as factories in China selling EPO and a wide array of hormone based substances. There have even been hints that there has been an Australian connection to this investigation as investigators sought to trace back the trail of IGH1 which had been entering Spain. It was this illegal importation and subsequent supply that The Guardia Civil were interested in cracking.

In late 2005 this investigation intersected by chance with the disaster that arose for Spanish cycling after Roberto Heras's 2005 Vuelta a España, positive for EPO. The repercussions for Unipublic, the race's organisers, other sponsors and the Spanish state were enormous. Spanish cycling was in real crisis following the Heras positive. He was their one real option of a rider who could conquer the Grand Tours and he was in disgrace.

The evidence of Manolo Saiz given to the Guardia Civil provides some insight into both how the Vuelta disaster came to be and why the Liberty team became entangled in the ongoing investigation into importation.

When detained by the Guardia Civil Manolo Saiz said that he had known the Fuentes since his stint with ONCE in the early 90's. Saiz said that after Fuentes left the team they had occasional personal contact but that it was, in 2004, with his signing of Roberto Heras that the relationship recommenced on more than a friendly level. Saiz said that on his arrival at Liberty from US Postal Service, Heras asked that he be able to have Fuentes as his personal doctor. Heras wanted to deal directly with Fuentes and at first Saiz said no as it didn't seem the best way to manage the team. After much insistence on the part of Heras, Saiz gave in but it seems he decided to try and manage the relationship as best he could. Saiz was insistent in his evidence that it was Heras and other riders in his team who had also previously been in Kelme that pushed for the Fuentes connection. There of course was no love lost between Saiz and Kelme's Vicente Belda during the previous years as Siaz had been instrumental for pushing through the Pro Tour and Kelme's exclusion from it.

With the 2005 Vuelta positive of Heras the Guardia Civil decided to follow the leads and see if their was any link between the EPO being used by cyclists and their investigation. This of course was not the only lead that led them to the trail to the consulting rooms of Fuentes. The year before the Vuelta had been hit by two positives for blood transfusion. The first to break was that of Hamilton, who tested positive following his close September 11 time trial victory over his soon to be teammate again Floyd Landis in Valencia.

The second, the post race revelations concerning Hamilton's teammate Santi Perez. Phonak of course was directed by Kelme's ex Alvaro Pino. Other than the Kelme connection what is interesting is that two out of the three incidents that led the Guardia Civil to stake out Fuentes involved ex US Postal riders – Heras and Hamilton. The files also suggest another link from Hamilton to his friend "Nick" and "Nick's friend". This little mystery has not received the attention that the reference to "Valv Piti" has received by the cycling world. And of course, seemingly outside of the Fuentes affair, the next doping incident to really rock cycling was that of another ex USPS rider, Floyd Landis.

These events involving Heras, Hamilton and Perez drew the Guardia Civil closer and closer to their stakeout of Fuentes.

Puertos Abiertos

In May 2006 Operacion Puerto broke when El Pais published details from the leaked Guardia Civil files. Not only were Liberty Seguros embroiled, but so was Hamilton, Perez, a host of Kelme riders and two of the main challengers for that years Tour de France – Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso. All of this is old news. We are all now too familiar of the stories of blood bags and nicknames and the speculation that still continues over them. Bags of the evidence have come to light regarding Fuentes and the methods he practiced. The riders both implicated and suspected and the subsequent disciplinary proceedings against many of them have all been in the news.

But the point that is often forgotten in the fog is as far as the Guardia Civil investigation was concerned the cyclists were never suspects. Sure there were bags of evidence implicating various riders in the Fuentes scheme, bringing to light for the first time the details of planning and administration that went on to help produce some 'great' rides. But never was any cyclist charged or likely to be charged with a criminal offence in Spain as a result of Operacion Puerto.

The interest of the Guardia Civil was and has always remained the importation of products from predominantly China and their distribution and administration throughout Spain. The Guardia Civil believed that Fuentes was probably in collaboration with other sports doctors implicated in doping practices and that these doctors and groups that they formed constituted independent but interrelated criminal groups – acting independently but related by their object of providing medical assistance to cyclists.

The conclusion reached by the Guardia Civil was that Fuentes and his gang developed and were involved in the practice of doping which they described as the integral preparation of the riders based on illicit methods using medicines in a manner contrary to Spanish health laws. Put simply the illicit preparation methods of Fuentes used products which were imported into Spain without passing the normal controls applied to the importation of medicines, they were using the medicines for purposes other than those that they were designed, and that many of the products used were beyond their use by date. As the story of Pantani's relationship with Fuentes suggests the practices themselves also raise public health concerns. It is on this basis that the Guardia Civil sought to pursue the charge of endangering public health.

The evidence and the riders.

The cyclists were never themselves under investigation in Operacion Puerto. There was never any plan or suggestion that the cyclists mixed up in the Fuentes practice would be prosecuted in Spain. In part this comes about as a a result of Spanish Governmental policy which seeks to address the doping question by attacking it at its source – the manufacture, importation and distribution of doping products. It is the endangerment of the cyclists health through the administration of dangerous, misused, illegal or out of date medicines that Spanish law seeks to prevent.

But having said that what the cycling world was faced with as a result of the leaking of the investigation was that thousands of pages of evidence and the blood in "siberia" (the Fuentes code for frozen blood) came to light. This material was such that national cycling federations and the international governing body, the UCI, could only ignore it at their peril. In accordance with the WADA Code obligation law enforcement authorities and sporting bodies are under an obligation to share information on doping with other relevant national and international bodies. But even if Spain refused to share the information – which it has not; the Operacion Puerto documents are now so widely available that any federation could have access to them even without the cooperation of the Spanish authorities.

The problem for the federations has been essentially that although much of the evidence concerning the cyclists is prima facie damning the question remained whether or not there was sufficient evidence to obtain a finding of doping. This has been the outcome of many of the disciplinary cases, such as that of Allan Davis – no case to answer or charge not proved. However these legal processes which have been pursued are the only available relevant legal avenues available to the riders in respect of the evidence arising from Operacion Puerto.

The case of Allan Davis illustrates the difficulties of dealing with the evidence, of maintaining confidence in the system, and more importantly how in reality Operacion Puerto has escaped the bounds of law and take on a life of its own within the current 'race wars' being waged by the UCI and race organisers. Whatever has become of Operacion Puerto it is important to always recall that the cyclists were not really cleared of their involvement in the Spanish criminal investigation as they were never suspects in that investigation. This is the importance of the letters from the Spanish judicial system that many carry to prove their 'innocence'. As far as Spanish law is concerned the riders have never needed to prove their innocence.

The Appeal

In 2007 the Investigating Judge Serrano shelved the inquiry. His finding was that he did not have enough evidence to obtain a prosecution against anyone involved as doping was not then a crime in Spain. The endangering public health charge had somehow lost its legs and as a result Puerto for all intents and purposes in Spain was over.

Nevertheless the damage rolled on as riders implicated, who had been cleared by their federations or national anti doping agencies, found it difficult to obtain a ride in a top tier team. Some of course were sanctioned – Ullrich and Basso the highest profile. Others, particularly those from Spain ended up either retiring or racing as refugees in Portugal.

In the end the sanction imposed on most of them has not been that meeted out by the courts, nor their federations, but it has been that dealt to them by the management and sponsors of the Pro Tour teams and the race organisers.. As the case of Allan Davis shows retribution for involvement in Puerto is not legal in the way we used to think about such things. Whatever the legal outcome retribution takes the form of an inability to obtain a contract with a decent team notwithstanding the ASADA finding him as having no case to answer. Some like Davis held out hopes that the Spanish Court of Appeal may give them some hope. But its reopening of the case has only confirmed the position that it is not the riders that the law is interested in.

In February 2008 the Spanish Court of Appeal reopened the case. The Court found that there was sufficient evidence for the endangering public health charge to be pursued and they directed judge Serrano to reopen his investigation into that charge. However, it may be that the most important finding of the Court of Appeal was that the cyclists had never engaged in fraud in respect of their employers or sponsors. This decision is important for riders such as Davis in so far as they continue to suffer at the hands of sponsors who fear the sullying of their good corporate names. The Court of Appeal finding suggests in fact that these very same sponsors have been all to well aware of the practices within their respective teams for too long – and thus are not in a position to have either their name sullied or to be defrauded.

The implication of this finding is clearly that the Court of Appeal felt that it was not only the sponsors that had knowledge of the fact that there had been a number of doping cases in cycling in recent years and that doping existed within cycling. This finding of the Court of Appeals undermines somewhat the rhetoric of cheating and fair play that pervades the discussion around doping in cycling in contemporary times and the situation whereby it is only cyclists who are taking the blame for the problem. For all the talk of cultural change in cycling, there is still little acknowledgment from the various levels of the sport's administration that they too were a part of cycling's old ways.

The Puerto files refers to various media reports, that of Roux, Manzano, Heras, Hamilton and Perez in particular. All of this suggests that widespread use of performance enhancing substances in cycling was common knowledge. Drugs in cycling have a long history. As we know it was Simpson's death that brought the health and safety of the cyclists into focus as anti doping controls developed during the 1960's. Even at the time of the Festina affair the ethos behind anti doping measures was health and safety. Only recently as that focus shifted to the rhetoric of fair play and cheating to be monitored by a bio-political passport regime.

Puerto also reveals a new post Festina 'post-modern' approach to the organisation of doping. Festina became criminalised because of the seizure of various illegal substances in poor old Willy Voet's team car. The riders, including Neil Stephens were held in police detention for days, almost blind Eric Zulle even being deprived of his glasses. The Festina affair exposed the old team based practices of preparation where team doctors themselves were responsible for the team's doping program. In the aftermath of Festina that system began to break down and it seems that is was replaced by a more networked and outsourced preparation system. Operacion Puerto exposes the outsourced network model that has existed in cycling in great detail. It also suggest that Liberty returned to a more team based approach as Saiz was aware of the dangers to his rider's health, not to say the team's reputation, if they were allowed to do their own thing.

Fuentes, Pantani and Chaba

The effect of Fuentes' practices on the health of the riders is one of the issues raised by the continuing post-appeal Guardia Civil investigation. Although there have been suggestions that the Guardia Civil may have investigated the links between Fuentes and Marco Pantani and Jose Maria Jimenez the references to these two riders in the Puerto files have not been widely speculated about in the media. The files call into question the assumption by Matt Rendell in his book, "The Death of Marco Pantani", that in his final year il Pirata was not doping.

Rendell documents Pantani's life during his last year in some detail. The plastic surgery, the outcome of the criminal and disciplinary trials and appeals, the visits to the psychiatrist and his doctors in Italy, the hospitalisations, the crack and cocaine binges, his retirement and final death on 14 February 2004. During this time it was thought that Pantani was, although using crack and cocaine after his retirement, for racing purposes, clean. Rendell recounts how doctors in Italy had warned him that racing itself might not be the best thing for his mental or physical health bu that racing doped was far more dangerous.

Nevertheless, it was in this same period, painstakingly documented by Rendell, that Puerto tells us that Pantani was also visiting Madrid and visiting Dr Fuentes. During Pantani's last season on the bike, the one immediately before his death, commencing late January 2004, Fuentes records set out an intense calendar of preparation including EPO (almost daily for over a month), IGF 1, T3 Levothroid, a hormone used in the treatment of menopause, and Insulin. The program lasted from late January until Pantani's retirement in June.

The coincidence between this program and Pantani's documented incidents of mental instability during his final year raise significant causes for concern as to the health implications of doping. In the context of the investigation into the charge that Fuentes endangered public health, it will be interesting to see if this coincidence or mis-incidence of events in Pantani's last year of life comes to light. And it should not be forgotten that another Fuentes patient who also suffered from depression and instability, Jose Maria Jimenez, died a little over 2 months before Pantani.

Why us?

In any conversation about Operacion Puerto there is always one point that comes up – Why cycling? Why us and not all those other sports that dope? Or that cyclists are the most tested athletes etc etc etc .... Whether details of other athletes were ever found by the Guardia Civil we may never know. If they did and why they have never come to light we can only speculate. But what we can say is that those other sports are far more established on a global scale than cycling is. And they have a different institutional sporting tradition to that of cycling. Unlike the others cycling now finds itself in the midst of a crisis of its globalisation. The change from a relatively small European based business into a global international media spectacle.

Cycling was always professional. The Tour grew out of the media's need to sell newspapers and doping quickly became the way that the "convicts of the route" managed to perform the impossible task set for them. Doping became a part of cycling culture as it operated outside the ethos of the amateur sporting world. Drugs became as one old Aussie pro put it to me the "tools of the trade". Like truckies on speed it was a way of getting the job done.

Cycling has always been run at a grass roots level, small groups, riders, managers, directors, like bands of gypsies. It was never big business – only recently did that occur. Only recently did cycling explode onto the world stage. The Armstrong years saw cycling develop into a global media product and with it a new level of scrutiny grew as the struggle to control the emerging global product intensified..

Cultural change in cycling is being driven by the fight over global cycling tv rights. This is what is at the heart5 of the battle between the Grand Tours and the UCI – a potential multi million dollar tv product in which the Tours which to retain their control over their race and the UCI wish to 'nationalise' or integrate into one grand package. In this situation rumour and suspicion serve as the cipher by which the battle is played out and points are scored against the other side.

In this context of cultural change it is ony the riders being subjected to scrutiny and not those who have managed the sport for many years and who it seem have kown what was happening the whole time. But it is only he cyclists who are risking losing their livelihood. There are exceptions such as with Fuentes or the odd director, but even they come back in one way or another.

True cultural change within cycling depends upon it being accepted that it was not just the cyclists involved in doping. It involves a recognition that the practice was widely known about and accepted by those in the know – administrators, sponsors and the media. But at the moment with the riders being criminalised and those others involved in the sport mouthing the mantras of 'zero tolerance' and 'cultural change' real change is impossible. What is needed is some process of truth and reconciliation within cycling. A moratorium on the old ways on the part of the riders and in turn a moratorium on the persecution of old events. Only with this recognition and by biting the bullet and accepting that we were all a part of the problem can we really have true cultural change in cycling. But none of this can happen when riders are turned into criminals and the organisers of the loggerheads continue to applaud this as they battle it out to be the top dog in a global cycling market. Operacion Puerto and cycling require tough political decisions to be made – by administrators, race organisers and cyclists; the solution will not come about through the law.

Prohibitions on the use of genetic information in employment

This is an extract from the Australian Law Reform Commission Report "Essentially Yours"

on the Protection of Genetic Information in Australia. The extract seems to raise some issues concerning things such as biological passports and DNA testing.

more to come no doubt ....

Options for reform

30.34 A number of overseas jurisdictions have moved to regulate the use of genetic information in employment. Some jurisdictions have imposed complete prohibitions on the use of genetic test information in that context; others have implemented partial prohibitions, allowing specified exceptions for the protection of employee or third party safety. These developments are discussed below.

Prohibition on the use of genetic information

30.35 Austria, France and Norway have imposed prohibitions on the use of certain types of genetic information in employment.[21] These prohibitions focus on the use of genetic test results rather than family medical history. In Norway, for example, employers are prohibited from requesting, receiving, possessing or using information resulting from a genetic test. It is also prohibited to ask whether a test has been carried out previously.[22]

30.36 A number of United States jurisdictions have also prohibited the use of genetic information in employment. By April 2002, 31 States had enacted legislation on genetic information in employment, although the provisions in each State vary considerably and not all States impose an absolute ban.[23] Some jurisdictions prohibit employers’ collection and use of genetic information as well as discrimination on the basis of that information. Other jurisdictions prohibit discrimination only. In addition, a number of federal bills on the subject have been introduced into Congress.[24]

30.37 Jurisdictions also vary as to the scope of the information protected. Some older legislation focuses on particular genetic traits (for example, the sickle cell trait), while more recent legislation focuses on genetic test results, or test results and family medical history.

Prohibition subject to exceptions

30.38 Some jurisdictions have prohibited the use of genetic information in employment, subject to specified exceptions. The Netherlands, Denmark, Israel and several United States jurisdictions have adopted this approach.[25] The models adopted by different jurisdictions vary in a number of respects, including the scope of the genetic information covered and the scope of the permitted exceptions. Exceptions generally involve use for occupational health and safety reasons, including screening for workplace related susceptibilities or for conditions involving risk to the safety of third parties.

30.39 The United Kingdom is yet to implement legislation in this area but several advisory bodies have supported this approach.[26] The 2002 Report of the Human Genetics Commission recommended that employers should not require individuals to undertake genetic testing as a condition of employment but that the situation should be kept under review, particularly in relation to occupational health and safety issues.[27]

Permission subject to exceptions

30.40 The existing Australian regulatory framework, described above, allows employers to collect and use job applicants’ and employees’ genetic information subject to the limits imposed by anti-discrimination legislation, occupational health and safety legislation, and privacy legislation. Employers are permitted to collect and use genetic information unless, for example, the information is used to discriminate unlawfully against a job applicant or employee. This is also the case in a number of other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom.

30.41 In DP 66 the Inquiry proposed that the status quo be maintained, subject to a number of proposals aimed at improving the protection offered by the anti-discrimination, occupational health and safety, and privacy regimes.[28]

Big stick not the answer to drugs in sport

By Martin Hardie

From ABC Online:

No matter how many tests occur, the much-vaunted cultural change in relation to doping doesn't seem to have taken place. (AFP Photo: Joel Saget, file photo)

Over the last decade money for drug testing in sport has increased. Some countries such as France and Italy have even criminalised doping offences. The sticks keep getting bigger and the costs keep getting more prohibitive, but the problem just doesn't seem to go away.

Although some might argue for a level playing field were enhancement techniques are available to all, that is not the way forward. But neither is the road we are on today. We need more than more tests, more police and greater sanctions. To respond appropriately, we need to understand what is driving doping. For that we must engage the athletes in a meaningful way.

Federal Sports Minister Kate Ellis has announced that Australia will now get even tougher on drugs in sport. The aim, we are told, is to get rid of the 'cheats' and to send a message about clean sport and that in itself sport is healthy. But one of the problems of anti-doping policy is on what basis are we intervening? This is a question currently being put to the European Parliament; however it is not a question being asked here. Were this question asked we may get an anti-doping policy that goes beyond well-worn mantras and a big stick. For example there is ample material concerning the problem of anti-doping policy and elite sport which points to the fact that elite sport is, in fact, not very good for your body at all. The years of stress on the body and the constant objective of pushing that body to the limits take their toll, as many a retired sportsperson will tell you. But we still hold up these excesses as being good for you and, as such, not in need of any outside assistance.

On what basis do we intervene? Is it to ensure fair play, to ensure a level, free and open sporting marketplace; are we seeking to protect public health, or are we really when it comes to the crunch, more concerned with protecting the reputation and investment of government and business?

The inconsistency between sports also calls out for some analysis - Ponting and Smith can shoot up all the cortisone they like it seems, but the whiff of it in the blood of a cyclist results in a moral panic of Tour de France proportions. Another problem that we face is that current big stick policing approach, as both the Australian Sports Anti Doping Agency (ASADA) and the European Union have recognised, is not financially viable in the long term. The prohibitive cost of drug, blood and DNA analysis is why professional cyclists are now contributing 3 per cent of their income each year to fund the 'vampires', as they are known in the sport.

What the last few years of anti-doping policy in cycling has shown us is that no matter how many tests occur, despite things like DNA testing and biological passports, despite the real and actual threat of police detention and criminal prosecution, the much-vaunted cultural change in relation to doping doesn't seem to have taken place. The positive tests and expulsions from the last three editions of the Tour de France are, we are told quietly, just the tip of the iceberg. The sport's administrators themselves are now slowly coming to grips with this problem - the policing and prosecution model just doesn't seem to be achieving the results.

In the face of this situation we can note that there are options that have not yet been pursued by those who wish to stamp out doping in sport. Business and government (the main backers of elite sport) do not seem interested in the social, economic and historical conditions that have given rise to doping. Even if that question is too tough there is no interest in the implication of sporting administrators in the process, or just the broader question as to why? What factors make an athlete susceptible? What things could we do to change the career and working structure of an athlete to avoid such choices? Should we be reconsidering the meaning of success in elite sport?

In short, the conditions as to 'why' are ignored in favour of a crackdown, an emergency, yet another contemporary moral panic complete with its mantras of 'zero tolerance' and 'tough on cheats'. We have been increasing the penalties for years and nothing has changed. It's time for a new approach which engages athletes (other than as objects of surveillance and prosecution) and asks the big question as to why? The way forward is not a big stick but providing athletes with real career options so that going for gold is not the be all and end all of their career.

Martin Hardie is a law lecturer, with the school of law, at Deakin University. He is currently working on a project which will involve cyclists in the process of formulating and implementing a sustainable anti-doping policy

No sólo resucitó Armstrong

Davis, un damnificado por la Operación Puerto, y Pereiro, tras su caída en el Tour, destacan también en la Vuelta a las Antípodas

MARTIN HARDIE - Adelaida - 26/01/2009

El año pasado, terminada la Vuelta a las Antípodas (Tour Down Under), Allan Davis se convirtió en un alma solitaria y abatida. Durante la carrera, cuando parecía que podía ganar, la prensa local y los organizadores se deshacían en halagos hacia el ex corredor del Liberty Seguros. Pero, cuando fue derrotado por Andre Greipel, la gente se olvidó de él, le dio la espalda y solo afrontó lo que quedaba de su carrera tras la Operación Puerto. En Australia comentaron en voz baja que no se podía hacer nada por él y que ya no tenía futuro en el ciclismo.

"El millón pagado al tejano ha sido la mejor inversión", dicen las autoridades

Pero en un año pueden cambiar mucho las cosas. Tras haber logrado firmar un contrato decente con el apoyo total del Quick Step y contar con unos cuantos amigos en el pelotón, Davis vuelve en forma y victorioso, lo que demuestra que tiene potencial para conseguir eso de lo que muchos creen que es capaz.

"Me gustaría ver a Davis como campeón mundial", dijo Pablo Lastras después de que ganara el duro sprint en subida de la segunda etapa, final de un circuito de 20 kilómetros en los bosques germanos de las colinas de Adelaida. Un recorrido que otro ciclista de vuelta a la escena deportiva, Lance Armstrong, calificó de tan duro como cualquiera que haya acogido un Mundial.

Al final, Davis ganó todas las etapas, salvo dos, y la clasificación general. El momento más peligroso se vivió en la caótica etapa azotada por el viento hasta Victor Harbour, en la que resultó vencedor Graeme Brown, del Rabobank, otro australiano que parece haber madurado. Davis se cayó al principio, cuando Greipel colisionó con la moto mal aparcada de un fotógrafo. Todo apuntaba entonces a que la carrera había terminado para el australiano afincado en Oiartzun, pero su equipo le devolvió rápido al pelotón. Luego, declaró que había sido el día más difícil de su vida deportiva.

Si Davis mantiene la forma de Adelaida, puede ser peligroso esta temporada. Sus ojos están en la Milán-San Remo. Reconoce que el Mundial de este año es demasiado montañoso, pero su objetivo es prepararse para el de 2010, que tendrá lugar en Geelong, la capital del ciclismo de Australia. Si el pelotón no se equivoca, tiene grandes posibilidades de hacer realidad su sueño infantil de ganar un Mundial en su país. Davis estaba eufórico al acabar: "Me siento fenomenal. No quiero volver a pasar por lo que he vivido estos últimos años".

Otro corredor que resucitó en las antípodas es Óscar Pereiro, quien se dedicó a recuperar el golpe de pedal y disfrutar del sol cinco meses después de su pavorosa caída en la etapa 15ª del último Tour.

Para quienes sólo buscan en el Down Under hacer kilómetros al sol australiano, la carrera ha sido impactante. Las etapas y las condiciones han ido endureciéndose gradualmente año tras año y en éste han superado la media de 40 kilómetros por hora. Uno de los corredores ha expresado su preocupación porque la prueba pueda ser demasiado dura como inicio de la temporada. Verdaderamente, el impulso de la UCI por globalizar este deporte va a aumentar la presión sobre los equipos, que tendrán que ser competitivos de enero a octubre. Con temporadas tan largas, la UCI también deberá ocuparse del estrés al que se somete a los ciclistas. Será necesario ir más allá de las declaraciones simplistas de una nueva cultura del ciclismo.

El pasado año, el primer ministro del estado de Australia del Sur, Mike Rann, comparó el efecto de organizar una carrera Pro Tour con la expansión de la mayor mina local de uranio del mundo; éste, tampoco ha huido de la hipérbole y ha dicho que el millón de euros pagado a Armstrong es "la mejor inversión que hemos realizado nunca".

Se ha criticado mucho la cantidad pagada para que el tejano fuera a Adelaida, sobre todo en la situación de crisis económica y medioambiental en la que se encuentra Australia del Sur. Pero la política de pan y circo siempre ha funcionado allí y, por momentos, la adulación mostrada de la prensa y los politicos locales hacia Armstrong fue un poco vergonzosa. Pero hay que admitir que ello ha motivado que las administraciones australianas destinen más fondos a la investigación contra el cáncer. A estas alturas, el Armstrong modelo actual gusta más que las versiones anteriores.

Al final, la carrera se transformó en una fiesta australo-española, con Davis y Brown por un lado y José Joaquín Rojas repitiendo su actuación pasada al terminar tercero en la general y el premio al mejor joven. Y la montaña fue cosa del Euskaltel, con reinado final para Markel Irizar, otro ciclista que, muy apropiadamente, también ha superado un cáncer de testículos.

La nueva resurrección de Armstrong

El ciclista tejano cree que con Obama de presidente habría sido más querido en Europa

MARTIN HARDIE - Adelaida - 18/01/2009

La sala, repleta de cámaras de televisión; periodistas de todos los países, un contingente de norteamericanos en la primera fila... Esto es Australia, la víspera del Tour Don Ander, la primera carrera de Lance Armstrong desde el Tour de Francia de 2005. Zumban los susurros, la expectación. Traen una bicicleta, su bici. Unas cuantas veces se oye de repente: "¿Ya viene?... Falsa alarma... ¿Hay que levantarse cuando aparezca?". Es como estar en la iglesia. Un silencio sepulcral acompaña su llegada junto a Johan Bruyneel, su director en el Astana. Un periodista le comenta que el recibimiento que se le dispensa es como el que uno esperaría para Jesucristo tras su resurrección y el estadounidense responde rápido: "No creo que Jesucristo montase en bicicleta".

El ganador de siete Tours vuelve en Australia a la competición

A pesar de la exageración de los medios y de las medidas de seguridad, Armstrong pretende "participar en esta carrera con una expectativas modestas, una mezcla de nervios y emoción, sin grandes objetivos, excepto los de volver a coger el ritmo de la competición. Emociones encontradas, mezcladas con nervios...". Quizás, como él mismo dice, el deseo de triunfar sea diferente ahora. Si hay que creerle, no habla sólo de la bicicleta. Dice que la razón principal de su regreso es promover la fundación Livestrong. Una noble causa, por supuesto. Todos piensan que es algo bueno luchar contra el cáncer. Pero los sentimientos son confusos, como los suyos al volver a competir. "He regresado para llevar el mensaje de Livestrong por todo el mundo, para hablar sobre la carga de esta enfermedad". Su bici tiene dos cifras grabadas: la del tubo vertical representa la suma de los días transcurridos desde su última carrera, 1.274. La otra, 27,5, los millones de personas que han muerto de cáncer en ese tiempo. "Una cantidad asombrosa", matiza; "más que toda la población australiana".

Desde su punto de vista, lo primero que hay que hacer es prevenir el cáncer; lo segundo, cogerlo a tiempo, y lo tercero, asegurarse de que toda la humanidad tenga acceso a la mejor atención médica, sin distinción de país o raza. Su objetivo tiene tanto que ver con la salud pública como con la bicicleta. Si el tiempo que va a dedicar a ésta cambia tal afirmación está por ver, pero, en todo caso, parece declararse firmemente a favor de la reforma de la sanidad en Estados Unidos.

Cuando se le pregunta si su legado se habría visto de manera diferente en la vieja Europa si hubiera ganado sus siete Tours durante el mandato de Obama en vez de durante el de Bush, Armstrong admite: "Desde luego, ocurrieron muchas cosas... Irak, Afganistán, la personalidad ruda de Bush... A ello se añade el hecho de que pasé un tiempo con él en la bici... La gente pensó que yo era su mejor amigo, pero fui a pedirle 1.000 millones de dólares para luchar contra el cáncer. Nunca los conseguimos, pero, como defensor de la lucha contra el cáncer, tuve que ir y pedírselos, igual que espero reunirme esta semana con Kevin Rudd, el primer ministro australiano". "Pero, sí", agrega, "probablemente la imagen habría sido distinta si el presidente entonces hubiera sido Obama, no Bush".

El tejano no planea salir en bici con Obama, ya que el próximo presidente prefiere el baloncesto: "Él puede saltar. Yo, no". Pero se siente "optimista" respecto al nuevo Gobierno de su país: "Obama es cercano y sensible al cáncer, pues perdió a su madre y su abuela por su causa. Lo mejor que puede hacer es cambiar el sistema de sanidad nacional".

En relación a su segunda resurrección -la primera fue en 1998, cuando regresó al ciclismo tras superar un cáncer-, Armstrong afirma: "Estoy tranquilo porque disfruto al máximo. Hago esto gratis [no va a cobrar por correr, pero recibirá 775.000 euros por hablar del cáncer]. Lo hago porque me encanta. En 2004 y 2005 era un trabajo, pero ahora he recobrado la pasión y eso ayudará al ciclismo y a la fundación Livestrong".

"En la Operación Puerto también había tenistas y futbolistas"

CARLOS ARRIBAS / M. H. - Quinta da Ria / Adelaida - 18/01/2009

Cuando Lance Armstrong se retiró por primera vez, el último domingo de julio de 2005 desde el podio de su séptimo Tour, la Operación Puerto aún no ocupaba los titulares de los periódicos y el 23 de mayo de 2006, cuando se desencadenó la redada de la Guardia Civil, Armstrong estaba en Nueva York, junto a los presidentes de Nike y Apple, presentando un chip que conectaba las zapatillas con el iPod. "Esto va a ser más gordo que el caso Festina", dijo entonces, ajeno a las vicisitudes de su deporte.

Ayer, de nuevo ciclista profesional, su discurso sobre la Operación Puerto varió. Se hizo uno más, indistinguible, de la corriente general del ciclismo, que se considera cabeza de turco. Inicialmente, no quiso hacer comentarios y luego sentenció de modo contundente: "Los medios de comunicación tenéis la obligación de contar al mundo que la Operación Puerto no fue un escándalo del ciclismo, sino deportivo; no sólo de ciclistas, sino también de tenistas y futbolistas".

La teoría de Armstrong y del ciclismo en general, y también extendida entre la prensa no españoles desde el estallido del caso -no hay periódico o revista que, al hablar de los éxitos del deporte español, no hable de Eufemiano Fuentes-, ni pudo ser demostrada entonces por falta de pruebas -Le Monde, que publicó que Fuentes era el médico de algunos clubes de fútbol, fue condenado por difamación- ni probablemente pueda ser demostrada en el juicio oral en el que posiblemente se siente en el banquillo el ginecólogo canario. Según fuentes judiciales, para probar si hubo delito contra la salud por la forma en que se practicaron las autotransfusiones y se conservó la sangre no será necesario identificar los potenciales usuarios de las bolsas. Y, a menos que Fuentes, quien ahora trabaja en un ambulatorio del Servicio Canario de Salud, se decida por fin a contar con detalle todas sus actividades, no habrá forma de avanzar más en el conocimiento de la extensión de la trama. La oportunidad se perdió durante la instrucción del sumario y durante la Operación propiamente dicha: el juez Serrano nunca permitió que se analizara el contenido de los ordenadores requisados y la Guardia Civil no pudo registrar a tiempo el despacho de Fuentes, en el que posiblemente conservaba más documentos.

En la Vuelta a San Luis (Argentina) participa estos días el italiano Ivan Basso, quien reconoció haberse dopado en la trama de Fuentes. Cumplió una sanción de dos años. A él no le afectará lo que suceda a partir de ahora en los tribunales y los despachos federativos.

Por el hotel del Algarve donde se concentra el equipo de Carlos Sastre se pasa a tomar un café Francisco Mancebo, que vive en Huelva y se entrena por esas carreteras. Nunca ha reconocido su implicación en la Operación Puerto, aunque figura en todas las listas. El año pasado corrió en un equipo portugués por 12.000 euros. En 2009 ha firmado por un equipo norteamericano al que la UCI no admite por falta de garantías económicas. Y aún pende sobre su cabeza la posibilidad de una sanción deportiva.

A conversation with Pedro Delgado - Part II

By Martin Hardie

Posted Nov. 22, 2006

You may not agree with him, but you can't accuse 1988 Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado of being shy about stating his opinions regarding the sport in which he made his living. Now a cycling commentator for Spanish national television, Delgado still works in and around cycling and he often doesn’t like what he sees.

In this the second of a two-part interview with VeloNews contributor Martin Hardie, Delgado discusses the dynamics of a sport long dominated by a pair of dominant riders – Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong – and of the doping scandals now enveloping the upper reaches of the peloton.(See Part One of a conversation with Pedro Delgado

VN: On the subject of giving advice, what did you say to Oscar Pereiro before stage 16 of the 2006 Tour de France?

PD: I told Oscar that he had to attack going downhill and win going downhill, not just going uphill! In the era of Armstrong or Indurain, in a time when you have a great dominator, their rivals often think that because he was always a better climber or a better time trialist, the race was over from the start. That’s a fallacy.

In cycling there are the downhills as well. The race is in the feed zones, on the downhills, these are the places to attack. In my time, we lived under a constant tension; the race was always on the edge. Laurent Fignon would attack in the feed zones, he would always try to fan the race out in the wind by making echelons, and he would attack on any day. Stephan Roche was another. He was one that would often attack going downhill. Everyone and anyone would attack at any time and at any place.

Now this is not the case. It is like a rule that has been established – you make your time in the time trials or in climbing the mountains, and the rest of the race is simply of no interest to the greats, to those who are in contention.

So I said to Oscar “Hey, no one is attacking!”

Most people who know cycling well think that in recent times that it was Ullrich who was the strongest, that he was a better racer than Lance Armstrong. But why did Armstrong always win over Ullrich? Because of the head – he had a better head.

“You might beat me here or there,” he would say, but he always had the better head. Ullrich is very linear. He thought that Armstrong was better in the time trials and in the mountains. That’s why Ullrich always thought of himself as the runner up. If he attacked it was going uphill, but why not going down? Why not 80 kilometers from the finish? A rider as strong as Ullrich can do that. Why didn't he do it?

So, I spoke to Oscar and I said “the mountains are very long going up, but they are also very long going down. I don't think anyone is going to attack going up the mountains, so take the advantage on the descents. Get yourself a teammate on the front and go strong and very hard downhill, and you sit behind him and eat and drink, just worry about that, eating and drinking.”

Often, this is the key and for this reason it makes people angry as well. For example in the time of Indurain, Claudio Chiappucci was the rider that liked to attack on the descents, and it was always without warning. On the other hand, his great rival, Gianni Bugno, always gave up, such that if after the first time trial Indurain had a one-minute advantage, Bugno essentially conceded the race. That’s why the Tour de France was as predictable as it was in the time of Indurain and Armstrong. Riders often surrendered after the first time trial. There was no reason to allow that to happen.

Oscar is a rider who loves to attack, who thrives on this style of cycling. That’s why I told him what I did.

“Oscar take advantage of the descents on the mountains because tomorrow (Stage 16) they are much more important and crucial than the climbs,” I told him.

This was the day that Landis cracked.

VN: So we now know the story, or we saw the initial results, with Oscar and his team driving so hard on the descents, Landis didn't have time to eat and then cracked on the final climb. Is the start of a change in cycling? Are we going to see more of that in the future?

PD: In cycling, the champion — the patron — sets the style of racing. We are at a point where the peloton has no real patron, and so we don't know what the style of racing will be. There is no patron to place his mark on the peloton through his style. In the time of Pantani, or in my time, we tried to make time, to increase the gaps, on the climbs. Now the likes of Vinokourov and Valverde have to try and make their gaps attacking, and to do this successfully you have to have a certain profile, to attack at this level you have to have a certain capacity, both physically and mentally.

VN: The 2006 Tour, unfortunately, is marked by scandal; Operación Puerto at the start and the Landis positive at the end. On one side I see an increasing denial by those in the sport that there is a problem of any sort. The so-called code of silence plays into that. On the other hand, forces outside of cycling — the IOC, WADA and governments, for example — seem hell bent on bringing it “under control.” How do you regard the issue?

PD: Firstly, I think there is a problem with doping in cycling simply because the cyclists don't know how to deal with it or how to confront the issues. That is to say, doping is there, as it is throughout society. It is alcohol, it is new medicines, and it is in all sports.

Many say cycling is very tough and it is for this reason cyclists dope. That is simply false, it’s a lie. If this was the case then why does a sports person who runs 100 meters also dope? Why do people dope? It is not a question of physical force or exertion, of how tough the sport is. It is a matter tied to the fact that everyone wants to improve. They want a short-cut. People get tired, they get worn out: “I'm tired, I'm sleepy – I'll have a coffee.” It’s a short-cut. And the desire for that is something normal in people.

In Spain we say the problem is in the hombre blanco, — in general — in the making of rules for a general situation. We make rules and laws and at times those rules are not adequate to serve their purpose in an everyday actual situation. We have doping rules in cycling, but are they realistic? To start with, the list of prohibited substances is too big. It is far too big in fact.

There is a problem, but it is one that that no one wants to tackle. The cyclist, the high level sports person of whatever sport, is a person like any other. Why can't they get sick? We all get sick sometime. But for example the problem does not take this into account, the list is so big, and the powers of intervention now so great, that the moment the police enter your house and look in your fridge you become a criminal. It doesn't really seem to matter whether what they found is for a child, your family or for the athlete. And it doesn't seem to matter if the sports person needs it for their health.

The problem is also with the cyclists. The problem of doping has grown so large because cyclists have allowed it to grow. They have permitted so many things to be done in the cause of dignifying their names. In an effort to comply with some artificial standard of “cleanliness” in the eyes of society, they have allowed so much to happen, that it has come back on top of them, it has come back to haunt them.

Doping will always exist, but why does nothing happen in other sports, in football for example? Because if something like that happened in football, the athletes would stop playing, the players would go on strike and La Liga would stop. In tennis, the situation would never get to the point it has in cycling because the top thirty players would just refuse to play tournaments. If the top 30 don't play there would be no tournaments. They would just go on strike. In these sports they accept controls, but reasonable ones. Nobody enters into the homes of tennis players, or football players, nobody wakes them up at 6 a.m. to take their blood before a 200 kilometer race, as happens in cycling.

So on one hand, with all the controls the cyclists have permitted, they have allowed this situation to come about. They have allowed the creation of a problem that has just kept getting bigger and bigger. Many people are currently talking about Operación Puerto and this is partly to blame for the current situation, but isn't it also reasonable that the cyclists seek to place the management of their health and its maintenance and the improvement of their performance in the hands of a professional?

Surely this is a better situation than that which existed in the past. Isn’t it better than self-medication by sports people? In the past there were a few gurus around and they gave out assistance to people, and they put lives in danger. The problem is that now cyclists and others are placing there trust in medical professionals and if they can't do that who can they trust in? But as we know we find good and bad doctors, even in a hospital.

The great change in cycling or in doping between my time and now is that then there were as I have said, a few gurus, who didn't really have any knowledge of the cause and effect of what they dealt out. Now you have professional medical people who give some advice on these things. Professional advice as to what happens when you take something. Before, if you took amphetamines, for example, you knew that one tablet had an effect. If you took two, you presumed the effect would double, and if you took three, triple.... it was barbarous.

Now the medico can advise you that you only need a certain level and beyond that you are not gaining any advantage, and possibly a disadvantage. Like if I drink, I don't feel better, the effect is not better, the more I drink – it doesn't help me to drink too much. Now that the dosages are under medical supervision only the minimum is provided, whatever it is, vitamins or whatever.

VN: I agree that we have always had doping, from the earliest times, Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome have their stories of how sports people prepared for competition, what they took, the ethics that attached to it and from whom they gained advice.

PD: Yes, and the problem is that cyclists have not stood up and said enough is enough. The problem is that the cyclists are not united enough to stand up and demand a more reasonable and realistic situation. So everything just goes from bad to worse, all of the time.

For example some people try to justify their position by saying that a blood transfusion is dangerous. But in hospitals they do blood transfusions every day and nobody dies of that. So why can't a medical professional do a blood transfusion? Because it is prohibited! But this is a different thing! If done properly, a blood transfusion is not going to put your life in danger. But now these finer areas are covered over with too many rules.

Doping should be regarded as a problem at the point in which a rider’s health and life is put in danger. Doping should commence at this point, with the question – is the sports person's life being placed in danger? But at the moment this is not the case – all we have is just rules, rules and more rules. With rules, for example with the speed limit on the roads, these things are set by laws and they change, if you get into trouble it is because you have broken a rule – not because you have put someone at risk. It is because of this hombre blanco that we have made all these rules and it is this same hombre blanco that now comes back and threatens us.

VN: Some say what sport – and society in general - need are ethics.

PD: More responsibility. The problem is that nobody is prepared to take responsibility for the situation. I could say many things, wild things and the truth, but it is not going to fix anything because there is no middle ground that gives anyone a way out in relation to the issue of doping.

I don't see anyone out there in the world of cycling who wants to resolve the “problem.” There is nobody who has a position that is capable of coming together with the any other position. I don't see any coordinated or common position being developed to confront the problem. The cyclists – and their teams – continue to be the biggest losers.

VN: Do you see a post-Festina model in relation to this? It seems now that teams tacitly encourage riders to dope, but if it is revealed it is only the cyclists that are fault. This way, team managers can seek to protect the investment of sponsors. For the cyclists the risk is such that if they don’t dope, they risk sub-par performances, yet if they are caught and dirty the clean name of team and sponsor they are out on the street.

PD: Yes, that is true, you see now it has got to the point where it no longer even has anything to do with testing or being positive. At this point, everything is based solely on suspicion! It’s now to the point where the cyclists don’t even react. I don't understand. I think there was a point, after Festina, which was a really tough moment for cycling, but at least I saw some unity then. This year, at the start of the Tour, with the expulsion of Basso and Ullrich and others, I thought that the teams could have been - should have been – standing together, at the frontline, but nobody wanted to know anything. The teams, they just kicked the riders out.

VN: It was strange to see directors react as if they had no idea what the riders had been doing. Think of Bjarne Riis, who just stood there and said it wasn't his fault; that he had no knowledge.

PD: It is not just that. There is a real double standard at work. It is better to say that this is an issue that affects everyone in cycling. This is not a problem confined to only a few “bad” people. The issue affects everyone, especially the riders. Look at Phonak. Here was a team that was set to continue with E-Shares, but the problem blows up and the team disappears within a week.

So Riis as a director knew that eventually the problem could land on his doorstep, too. He was worried about keeping a sponsor insulated from the problem. But rather than collaborating with others, collaborating to draw a line, with which it would be possible to work together to find a solution, he did what he did. Instead of working to solve the problem, he and T-Mobile just kicked the riders out.

In my view, some directors are just millionaire chauffeurs. Others, like Manolo Saiz, argue that the problem is the small teams, which is a lie. As I said it is a problem of responsibility.

VN:Given the outcome of the Tour this year, do you regard Oscar Pereiro as the winner of the Tour? In a sense, one asks where is the law or lore of cycling made? On or off the road?

PD: It is always on the road. The fastest today is number one. You are the fastest or you are nothing. But there are sports and there are times in which the best doesn't necessarily win.

A conversation with Pedro Delgado

Part 1 of a two-part interview

By Martin Hardie

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been 18 years since Pedro Delgado took a hard-fought victory at the 1988 Tour de France. These days, Delgado — “Perico” as he’s known in Spain — spends much of his time serving as a regular commentator for Spanish national television’s coverage of cycling. Working with colleague Carlos De Andres, Delgado offers viewers insightful and articulate commentary, often able to add that little extra to make viewers feel like they know what it’s like to be right there in the peloton.

VeloNews contributor Martin Hardie recently spent an afternoon with the former cycling great to discuss how the sport has changed since he competed and where cycling may be headed in coming years.

Given the length of the interview, we present the first of two parts, the second of which will be posted Wednesday here on

VeloNews: Can we talk about how cycling has changed during recent times? Some suggest that you can trace the beginning of these changes to the era of Miguel Indurain, but that they have consolidated themselves during the time Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France? I am not saying these changes are because of Armstrong but that they have become visible and more the norm, during his time.

Pedro Delgado: Yes, I think there has been a change, a very profound change, since Miguel Indurain. It’s been an important and fundamental change. Primarily, now cyclists compete much less than in the years before. In my time I raced on average 120 days a year. Armstrong was nearly the opposite. Now many a cyclist's racing calendar is designed principally with only preparing for the Tour de France in mind. When Armstrong raced after his cancer, he did only about 40 days of competition a year, at the most. In my view, that affects everything that has to do with professional cycling.

For cycling, it is very important to have a star. It is what draws people's interest to the sport. Furthermore it is very important for the sport to have a star who races, since it is the stars that give a race its prestige. No matter where the race is, Spain, Switzerland, Italy or Germany, it is important for the prestige of any race that the big stars compete. It is important for all of those smaller races and it is important for everyone involved in cycling.

Now, what has happened is that the big stars ride very little but the still the interest in the sport remains high. For example, if Lance raced in Spain it would be great. If he didn't, well, it is not really a great problem – but the point is that if he had raced here it would have been better for the overall interests of the sport.

In my time, it was easy for the big stars to race all year long, throughout Europe, in Spain, France, Italy, wherever. But now things are not like that and it is a very important change for cycling in general. For the individual cyclist it can mean a better more comfortable life, he can spend more time at home, but for cycling it is not as good.

VN: How do you believe this approach affects a rider when it comes to the time for competition? Does it, perhaps, mean that some are not able to cope with the change of pace within a stage or between stages in a race? For example we often see riders who should be in contention not being able to follow those that they should be able to follow when faced with the first day in the mountains after a number of flatter stages? I'm thinking of for example the Pyrenees in the Tour this year, or during the Vuelta at La Covatilla for example, where people who should be up there are simply not able to follow.

PD: The problem is that because the riders who race less - or little - don't really know what their true state of physical form is. For many riders now any race, other than the Grand Tours, is just training. If, for example, they race the Tour, between then and the Vuelta they don't race, or possibly one or two events and that's all. In my career, we raced at least 10 days of competition over that month. So now, because they have raced so little, they come to the Vuelta not really knowing what sort of form they have and the changes of pace and terrain play a certain amount of havoc with their plans. VN: In your day, or earlier in the days of Merckx, or of Simpson, you had to ride all year just to make a living – it was almost a form of labor – physical labor. Salaries now come from both racing and marketing, so we see a rider that can race 40 days a year and fill his other time with race preparation, public appearances, photo shoots, television commercials, all of which fit very neatly into the packaged world of globalized markets and lifestyles.

PD: Yes, for sure and I lived through this change. In my time, team budgets were very small and a rider's salary was much smaller. So you had to ride criteriums and other invitational races just to make a living. You could make a lot of money doing these races. Now days, this has clearly changed. Big businesses sponsor teams and pay them a lot of money and as a result the cyclist is not compelled to ride these sorts of races to make a living.

This all started to change during my career. In 1985, 1986, cycling started at a world level started to grow. Before that, for example, we always traveled by car. I would travel from Madrid to Paris by car, always, and we came home by car, everyone. But not now, I lived through this time of change in cycling. Now, everyone travels by plane, stays in very good hotels, everything has changed. But I see this aspect of it as a good change.

VN: Like most changes, there is some good and bad there, no?

PD: Yes, for example, the criteriums and the invitation races are now in a state of great crisis, even though they still pay very good money, in the main the stars tell them that will not ride them. Why? Because now they earn a lot more money from their team salaries. And you arrive at a situation where some teams, like some in Spain, have actually prohibited their riders from participating in criteriums. They say “well if you fall, get injured, we lose money….”

VN: Riders represent something of an investment these days. Those races have a certain quality about them. They’re not so much as races but as events. The post-Tour criteriums in Holland give you a chance to see the Tour winner take on a 100km criterium while you down beers all afternoon. I even saw Armstrong compete in one of these after his first victory in the Tour, winning a criterium in Holland in 1999.

PD: It was the same for me. Here I was a climber winning criteriums in Holland after my Tour victory… but it’s not like the others could really attack in those races.

VN: One thing that I have noticed in relation to Lance Armstrong, is that wherever you go, South Africa, Latin America, Australia, of course the U.S., everyone spoke of “Lance, Lance, Lance,” as if they all owned a piece of him, or they all knew him personally, because they were all so familiar with the story surrounding him. This era of Lance coincided with an increased speed of globalization and the rapid growth of cycling outside of Europe. in that sense, we have a new cycling world – in Asia, Latin America, Australia and even in Africa; and this new cycling world is one that owes as much to the USA and to Lance for its inspiration ... and maybe a little less to Europe.

PD: Yes, it is more open, that is true, but cycling will always be European – la Europa vieja - the old Europe.

VN: You may have noticed a few post-Tour conspiracy theories floating around the USA as a result of the Landis situation. Do you think that there is a feeling in Europe that this is “our sport” and that somehow Europe needed to recover something from the seven - now eight - years of American domination?

PD: No, I believe that cycling always has been - and will be - from Europe. The sport has its roots in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Holland. Cycling was born a hundred years ago and its points of reference are still Old Europe. For cycling to have started in other countries or now for other countries to overtake Europe is difficult. Prestige in cycling will always be European and will always be given to any rider or created by the Tour de France, the Giro, the Vuelta or the Belgium Classics. You might be able to find a route anywhere in the world that is as difficult as these, but no matter what you do, no matter what you call the race, it will never be Paris-Roubaix, it will never be Fleche Wallone and it will never be the Tour de France.

There is a prestige that has grown up and been earned over 100 years and the interest is in these races and not in the Tour of California, the Tour of Georgia or the Tour Down Under. There are many races in the world, but none have the prestige or the character of the races of Old Europe. The point of reference for cycling for one hundred years has always been these races. Cycling is not like the Olympic Games which you can move from place to place every four years and still remain the Olympic Games. You simply cannot hold the Tour de France in Australia, the USA or in Japan.

So I don't think Europe fears America in this respect. Lance Armstrong’s greatest victories came in Old Europe – at the Tour. If you can win the Tour, you are set, you have no problem. What other races in the world can set you up for life like that? For the purpose of international, global prestige and investment there is only the Tour de France. Thus if you have an American business that is going to sponsor a team, that team must win the Tour, this is where the prestige is and not in the USA, Japan or Australia.

VN: Euskaltel-Euskadi director Julian Gorospe said in 2004 that he hoped that Lance Armstrong would not win that year because cycling had to reinforce or regain its European identity – he said cycling was “from here.”

PD: This is the problem that the North Americans, the South Americans, the Australians face. The problem for them is they have to come and live in Europe and in the end it is the only thing that matters. In my time I went and rode in the USA with Greg LeMond, but in the end the best cycling only exists in Europe.

But you have to give credit to those that come and live here. A great example is the work of Neil Stephens. He came and rode and he made his life here and now he continues to work bringing young Australian cyclists to Europe, to develop them, to learn and to compete.

VN: Are we seeing a change to or the re-emergence of a more attacking style of rider? Someone who can go in a breakaway can attack in the mountains, can not lose too much time in a time trial. Are we at a point in time when we are seeing the emergence of this type of all rounder? For example Vinokourov, Valverde or Bettini even? It is much more exciting, but why is it happening now after so many years of victory by time trial?

PD: This is a problem that exists in the space between the great dominators. When you have a great time trialist like Miguel Indurain or Lance Armstrong, the race is less exciting, interest wanes on one hand. The spectacle in cycling is made by riders that attack — riders like Vinokourov — who enliven a race.

At the moment, there is a big problem with attacking cycling: those radios. With radios now, it’s the team director who gives orders most of the time. Many a rider will speak to their director and say for example “Manolo, Manolo I want to attack,” and the director replies, “No, wait, wait, wait....”

That often means that they wait until it is too late to attack. Before this system of managing the race came into being, the question was whether you had good legs or not. If you felt you had good legs, you attacked. Now the situation is that the directors control the riders too much. But you still have some riders that don't want to listen to anyone, who put their earpiece into a back pocket and attack. It’s very difficult, though, as the director has a lot of power and he manages and administers the riders a lot more during the race than was the case 20 years ago.

VN: Is it because the teams are bigger and there is more money at stake?

PD: No it is because when a director gets in the car he wants to have everything under his control. He prefers that if someone attacks, it is near the end of the race, later when maybe it is better because the opposition is weaker. It is better, however, to attack with fifty kilometers remaining because from that far out you can always create a bigger advantage. But directors are always the same and it’s for this reason that I say that the spectacle of cycling has been lessened because the directors give too many orders.

In the old days, they gave orders at the start and at the end they might throw a tantrum, but now they just give orders all the time. It is useful, for example, for the director to tell you the gap you might have, or to organize to get water and food. Radios, though, have taken away a lot of the soul of cycling.

Dopaje y ciclismo profesional australiano: Aspectos, actitudes y una vía para un nuevo enfoque.

Dopaje y ciclismo profesional australiano: Aspectos, actitudes y una vía para un nuevo enfoque.

Propuesta presentada por la Facultad de Derecho y Empresariales de la Universidad Deakin al Ministerio de Sanidad australiano,

Programa de investigación Anti Dopaje

Resumen del proyecto

El ciclismo posee una reputación de prácticas de dopaje arraigadas en una comunidad cerrada, donde el romper algunas reglas siempre ha sido aceptado, como un mal necesario, si se quería soportar las condiciones extremas de las pruebas. El carácter cerrado del pelotón se considera uno de los mayores desafíos en cualquier intervención iniciada desde el exterior (ver Dauncey, 2003; Schneider, 2006).
El objetivo de esta investigación es observar las actitudes de los ciclistas profesionales australianos (“el pelotón australiano”)y aquellos con los que interactúan, incluyendo los directores de equipos, personal, asesores médicos y deportivos, administradores, patrocinadores e instituciones (“su cohorte”). Este proyecto es crucial dado el actual paradigma de la política anti-dopaje, su funcionamiento, efectividad y limitaciones. Este estudio busca señalar los factores que hacen que el sistema anti-dopaje actual sea menos eficaz de lo deseado y proponer medidas prácticas para aumentar esa efectividad .

En la actualidad, el pelotón australiano incluye al menos 30 miembros que corren en equipos profesionales europeos y otros 80 en equipos profesionales fuera de Europa. En el 2007, Australia ocupaba el 3er puesto en la clasificación mundial y tras los campeonatos del mundo del 2008, el 4º. Dada la larga tradición de interacción entre el ciclismo profesional australiano y el del resto del mundo, particularmente Europa, el pelotón australiano representa un grupo experimentado ,a la vez que manejable en cuanto a tamaño, para llevar a cabo este proyecto. Además, este contacto con el ciclismo europeo y con el de otras partes del mundo sugiere que la situación y posturas frente a la política anti dopaje en Australia son similares a las encontradas en cualquier otro país con ciclismo de alto nivel.

Durante la década pasada, este deporte ha sufrido un buen número de crisis internas y un incremento de la supervisión desde el exterior. Sin embargo, el problema del dopaje y cómo actuar sobre él de manera efectiva sigue siendo un importante asunto por resolver. En estos últimos diez años la vigilancia externa sobre el ciclismo profesional ha aumentado debido en gran parte a los hechos ocurridos en el Tour de Francia de 1998, donde se vieron involucrados el Festina y otros equipos . De hecho, en parte se atribuye a este suceso ser la causa de la creación de WADA. Mas tarde, tuvo lugar la Operación Puerto en España y una serie de asuntos relacionados en las tres últimas ediciones del Tour de Francia (2006 Landis; 2007-Rasmussen, Vinokourov, Mayo; 2008- Kohl, Schumacher, Ricco & Piepoli) todo lo cual ha cuestionado la eficacia de la actual política anti dopaje y los intentos de cambiar el comportamiento en cuanto a prácticas de dopaje en el ciclismo.

Las observaciones de Schneider (2006) sobre el carácter cerrado del pelotón como barrera para el cambio son reveladoras desde el punto de vista del desarrollo de las políticas anti dopaje de los últimos 10 años. En este tiempo, la intervención externa ha tomado forma de investigaciones criminales, la creación del Código y Agencia Mundial Anti Dopaje, los cambios y la frecuencia de los controles a los ciclistas, y la creación de los pasaportes biológicos. Como se puede apreciar por la lista, la política anti dopaje se ha centrado exclusivamente en la detección , investigación, procesamiento judicial y castigo. En resumen, la política anti dopaje ha sido una acción policial y como tal, no parece haber alcanzado sus objetivos ni tampoco ha contribuído a conseguir un cambio de mentalidad extendido dentro de ese deporte . Es discutible si esas medidas en realidad han fomentado que el pelotón se haya cerrado aún mas, y por consiguiente, sea incapaz de entender realmente el tipo de cambios ocurridos dentro del deporte.

Sin hacer partícipes a los ciclistas (además de como objeto de vigilancia y juicio) cada vez es mas evidente para los gestores deportivos que la actual política anti dopaje aplicada al ciclismo no es tan efectiva como podría y que no ha logrado generalizar cambios de comportamiento dentro del pelotón. Sin una mayor educación es improbable que tal política se sostenga. Ésto se agrava cuando sabemos que una gran parte de la política actual se ha formulado como resultado de las crisis mediáticas dentro del ciclismo. Schneider (2006) señala que la historia del problema de dopaje en el ciclismo se ha nutrido principalmente de la gran cobertura mediática que ha tenido. Como consecuencia de una política que obedece a los escándalos mediáticos o las crisis internas sufridas, apenas se ha podido hacer una investigación de carácter sociológico o legal que tenga en cuenta la relación entre quienes son el objeto de las pesquisas policiales y quienes las realizan.

Debido a los efectos de la globalización, existen procesos reales que influyen y afectan en el desarrollo de las políticas de los deportes de élite a nivel global. La situación actual y los cambios experimentados en el ciclismo profesional podrían muy bien ser características de un reajuste estructural de los procesos en donde la antigua economía del ciclismo europeo se ve condicionada por las presiones de la globalizacion del deporte. Dentro de este contexto tienen que ser considerados la política anti dopaje y el hecho de que el ciclismo esté “en el ojo del huracán”. Estos factores no sólo implican un marco político co-sustancial en forma del paulatino aumento de legislación global anti dopaje, si no también la construcción discursiva de esos procesos en subsistemas, comunidades y los medios de comunicación. Como Houlihan (2005) y Scheneider (2006) hasta cierto punto han señalado, son estas construcciones discursivas las que moldean y median en los procesos de elaboración de políticas. Dauncey (2003) también ha reconocido que el ciclismo posee un marco o marcos normativos especialmente complejos. Él ha identificado al menos 4 marcos normativos que restringen y dirigen la participación en una prueba como el Tour de Francia, y que incluyen, las reglas de la carrera, las reglas de la sociedad, de la cultura y política, los puntos de vista internacionales sobre deporte y ética, y las reglas internas del pelotón. Bajo esos marcos existe un número de grupos que conforman una amplia comunidad o comunidades políticas. Sin embargo, no todos los agentes en el ámbito de tales comunidades son capaces de manifestar abiertamente sus preocupaciones dentro de ellas, sobre todo cuando una de las comunidades políticas, como es el pelotón, busca proteger sus intereses a través del silencio.

Para llevar a cabo esta investigación, el proyecto adoptará y aplicará el Marco de la Coalición para la Abogacía (MCA) creado por Houlihan (2005) en su trabajo sobre el desarrollo de políticas para deportes de élite. El marco MCA tambien se manifestará a través de la práctica, el contexto y las ideas de la sociología reflexiva seguidas por Bourdieu (1992, 1990). El MCA se centra en identificar los paradigmas de las políticas dominantes que establecen los parámetros para cualquier cambio de política y los argumentos discursivos o razones de los afectados por el desarrollo de la política en cuestión. Finalmente, el modelo MCA propone el concepto de mediación política para comprometer a aquellos inmersos o afectados por los cambios de políticas y alcanzar la fusión mas clara posible entre la retórica de la política y la realidad de la práctica a la que busca dirigirse.

Objetivos y Fines de la Investigación
• Examinar el paradigma dominante, sus razonamientos, y centrarse en la poliíica anti dopaje aplicada a los ciclistas profesionales australianos (el pelotón australiano)
• Definir el marco normativo y la política, su condición presente y los cambios sufridos a medio-largo plazo.
• Identificar las líneas argumentales que apoyan las diferentes posturas dentro del deporte, especialmente las de los ciclistas pertenecientes al pelotón australiano.
• Proponer medidas con las que reducir la brecha entre la realidad de la cultura y práctica ciclista y la retórica del paradigma anti dopaje dominante.

• Medir el potencial de incumplimiento dentro de la política existente y el marco normativo

• Valorar el potencial para su funcionamiento práctico y exportación del modelo a las vueltas ciclistas internacionales.


• Estudiar las actitudes de los ciclistas profesionales australianos (el pelotón) y de aquellos con los que interactúan (directores de equipos, personal, consejeros deportivos y médicos, gestores deportivos, patrocinadores y administración – la cohorte) en relación con el actual paradigma de dopaje, sus operaciones, efectividad y problemas.

• Identificar los factores que impiden que el actual sistema anti dopaje sea menos eficaz de lo deseado y proponer medidas prácticas para aumentar su efectividad.

• Definir y diferenciar las políticas y normativas internacionales, nacionales, públicas, civiles, penales y deportivas (marco normativo) a las que el pelotón australiano está sujeto.

• Recoger pruebas de la complejidad del marco normativo actual para su mejor comprensión.

• Señalar las razones y objetivos de cada instrumento del marco normativo, y analizar su influencia en la formulación de políticas y su contribución a la efectividad práctica de la política anti dopaje.

• Identificar y explicar las relaciones estructurales de las redes políticas, en las comunidades y coaliciones de abogacía.

• Buscar una explicación y hacer una evaluación crítica del fenómeno social, las prácticas asociadas y las estructuras materiales que crean, las cuales, a su vez, ayudan a mantener dichas prácticas.

• Utilizar los factores identificados en el estudio para formular las vías mas efectivas de elaborar políticas prácticas anti dopaje.

• Señalar la variedad de opciones para las políticas posibles que puedan mejorar la efectividad o la sensación de efectividad de la política anti dopaje.

• Facilitar los medios o herramientas por los cuales el pelotón cerrado sea capaz de entablar un diálogo sin miedo a represalias con quienes tienen la responsabilidad final de establecer el marco político.

• Considerar la relación de quienes son el objeto de control con aquellos que ejercen el control, y los comportamientos y acciones de quienes se ven sojuzgados por esta actividad.

• Entender la posición de los actores principales (los ciclistas profesionales) en el contexto en el que operan y promover el entendimiento entre ellos y los agentes comerciales, de la administración, deporte, política, y gobierno.

Metodologia a seguir:

Para llevar a cabo este estudio, adoptaremos y usaremos el Marco de la Coalición para la Abogacía (MCA) diseñado por Houlihan (2005) en su trabajo sobre la creación de políticas para deportes de élite. El marco MCA también se manifestará a través de la práctica, el contexto y las ideas de la sociología reflexiva seguidas por Bourdieu (1992, 1990).
El MCA se centra en identificar los paradigmas de las políticas dominantes que establecen los parámetros para cualquier cambio de política y los argumentos discursivos o razones de los afectados para el desarrollo de tal política. Finalmente, el modelo MCA propone el concepto de mediación política para comprometer a aquellos inmersos o afectados por los cambios de políticas y alcanzar la fusión mas clara posible entre la retórica de la política y la realidad de la práctica a la que busca dirigirse.

Métodos de Investigación

El proyecto constará de 4 métodos de investigación básicos:

1. Análisis cualitativo de documentación

2. Entrevistas semi estructuradas

3. Ciclos de talleres y observaciones

4. Mediación de política.

Análisis cualitativo de documentación (ACD)

Por ACD se entiende el estudio de documentos legales y de políticas, y los posos de prácticas sociales y políticas que contienen.

Una de las primeras tareas del proyecto será la de identificar con ACD los instrumentos que conforman el marco normativo completo de anti dopaje referidos al pelotón australiano. Dicho marco, formado por una serie de convenciones, códigos, leyes y reglamentos deportivos, proviene de muchos modelos jurisdiccionales (derecho penal, público, civil, y deportivo)y ámbitos geográficos (e.j., regionales, nacionales e internacionales) . No sólo los miembros del pelotón australiano obedecen las normas de ciclismo profesional propuestas por los órganos reguladores nacionales e internacionales, como son la Unión Ciclista Internacional (UCI) y Ciclismo de Australia(CA), si no que esos mismos entes forman parte de un marco de dispositivos internacionales como el código de la Agencia Mundial Anti Dopaje (AMA) y los estatutos del Comité Olímpico Internacional (COI) .
Así mismo, en Australia este marco se relaciona con el derecho público a través del acta de la agencia de anti dopaje en el deporte (ASADA) y las disposiciones que regulan la ejecución de sentencias por delitos de dopaje. Sin embargo, durante la temporada, los ciclistas australianos están sujetos a las normas de los organizadores de las pruebas en las que compiten en otros países. En lugares como Francia e Italia, cunas de dos de las 3 carreras mas importantes, el pelotón australiano también está sujeto al derecho penal.
Este estudio busca identificar las políticas del paradigma o paradigmas dominantes y el marco legal de la política anti dopaje referida al pelotón australiano, así como la forma en que este conjunto de valores y supuestos determinan la elección de la política y la actuación personal y de la administración.

El proceso ACD preparará el terreno para la segunda parte de este proyecto, en la que se planean entrevistas y talleres con miembros del pelotón australiano y su cohorte. Al estipular claramente las bases y los razonamientos del marco de la política anti dopaje existente, y las de a quién se dirige, permitirá el consiguiente debate para avanzar de manera documentada. Como se señalaba anteriormente, las diferentes justificaciones de la política influyen en el objetivo de los mecanismos, la política y las prácticas relacionadas, y se infiere que comprender la situación desde el punto de vista de quien experimenta esos controles y reglas es un paso crucial para aumentar la eficacia real de dicho sistema.

Finalmente, otra cuestión por responder a través de este proceso es ver si es posible aunar teoría y práctica dentro del marco existente y en ese supuesto, cómo se puede lograr dentro del ciclismo profesional. Esta parte del proyecto preparará el terreno para tal valoración.

Entrevistas semi estructuradas

Éstas van dirigidas tanto a los miembros del pelotón como a su cohorte. Se basarán en unas pautas de entrevista abierta, a modo de sondeo informal, para provocar un debate libre de los temas. Las entrevistas se llevarán a cabo de forma segura y confidencial para no poner en riesgo el proyecto ni comprometer a quienes realizan las entrevistas. La identidad de los entrevistados se ocultará convenientemente por este mismo motivo. Los pasos dados para garantizar la confidencialidad, seguridad e inmunidad frente a demandas son cruciales si queremos obtener el éxito del proyecto y un verdadero cambio en la mentalidad del pelotón.

El centrarse en la orientación de la política con el proceso ACD es un factor clave, pero se necesita atenúar el énfasis de la lógica a medio plazo reconociendo que los agentes de la política no siempre atienden a la evidencia ni hacen caso al peso de la opinión experta. De esta manera, distinguir las líneas del discurso es crucial si queremos establecer y mantener limitaciones inherentes pero también factores facilitadores dentro del proceso de la política. Estas líneas argumentales conforman a la vez las reglas de creación de la estructura que impone los límites para la acción política, definiendo las actividades aceptables y las que no lo son, y los mismos documentos políticos tales como los códigos anti dopaje y otros instrumentos legislativos.

Las razones para realizar entrevistas semi estructuradas son:

• proporcionar un conocimiento fundado de las prácticas y procesos desde el punto de vista de los ciclistas

• tener en cuenta las diferencias entre el marco legal y político, la teoría, y la realidad de las prácticas

• tratar de distinguir los valores reguladores y sistemas de creencias subyacentes en la visión y comprensión de los factores delimitadores o facilitadores que tiene el pelotón y su séquito dentro del contexto estructural.

Las preguntas se referirán, aunque no sólo, a las sensaciones, actitudes y opiniones sobre:

• fundamentos de la política;

• las consecuencias de los cambios efectuados sobre las políticas en los últimos diez años

• la efectividad de la política actual;

• la multiplicación y/o inconsistencia de los diferentes sistemas;

• privacidad, confidencialidad, derechos humanos y libre comercio;

• conceptos como juego limpio y hacer trampas;

• las distintas expectativas que se crean en función del perfil del ciclismo barajado, en sus facetas de actividad deportiva, trabajo y negocio, incluyendo el grado de participación con el que contribuye a crear un clima proclive a las actuaciones ilegales para mejorar el rendimiento de los corredores

• la disponibilidad del dopaje y otras sustancias y sus relaciones con redes de distribución legales e ilegales.

• Problemas derivados de la recuperación, stress, atención médica en contraposición a dopaje

• la banalización del peligro y los intentos de la política para evitar riesgos en lo que viene a ser un espectáculo de riesgo

• la transparencia de los procedimientos anti dopaje y de los recursos judiciales

• el sostenimiento de la confianza pública en el deporte y

• las opciones para futuras políticas y mediaciones.

Ciclos de talleres y observaciones

Una vez llevada a cabo cada etapa del proyecto, se planean reuniones con el pelotón y su cohorte en forma de talleres, a fin de tratar los avances del proyecto, sus hallazgos provisionales, y las opciones disponibles en cualquier momento del proyecto o a continuación del mismo. Se utilizarán dinámicas de grupos pequeños y corrillos, así como las de grupos de análisis cuando sea necesario.

Estos mecanismos también se usarán como parte del proceso de mediación política.

Mediación política

Una vez examinadas las estructuras reguladoras de ACD y del pelotón, nos quedaría la mediación política como elemento final del marco MCA. En los sistemas colapsados de creación de politicas hay mayores oportunidades para la capacidad emprendedora de una politica particular. El proyecto parte del supuesto de que el ciclismo padece un tipo de estancamiento y una gran separación entre teoría y práctica , por consiguiente, ofrece oportunidades para la mediación.

Uno de los objetivos del proyecto es determinar de qué opciones y potencial se disponen para la creación de una política que sea consistente con la postura del pelotón, de aquellos que administran y hacen la política en el deporte ,y el marco político real existente.

Finalmente, la pregunta que buscamos responder es la de si hay una vía nueva y/o complementaria para el anti dopaje, resultado de incluir al pelotón en el acto de formulación de la política.

Análisis longitudinal

El proyecto va a realizar análisis longitudinales a través del análisis del marco de la política, que incluye el ACD y un análisis de hechos clave en el desarrollo del marco (por ejemplo, el Tour de Francia de 1998, el impulso a los controles sanitarios de hematocritos al 50%) .

Otro aspecto longitudinal lo conformará la agenda prevista de entrevistas y talleres que da pié a un ciclo continuo de comprobación/observaciones con los actores principales y agentes implicados, con el fin de que puedan debatir los comportamientos, políticas y posibilidades.

Medidas y acciones

El metodo MCA es perfectamente adecuado para un proyecto que busca proponer medidas que conduzcan a maneras prácticas de combatir el dopaje en el ciclismo profesional.

Al determinar el marco político y las líneas argumentales del discurso que lo apoyan y/o lo socavan, el MCA podrá identificar las formas en las que todos los agentes se impliquen en la mediación. El propósito de dicha mediación sería plantear las posibles acciones preventivas. El éxito del proyecto aplicado al pelotón australiano proporcionará un modelo exportable a otras federaciones ciclistas, además de la UCI y otras deportes.

Ya que el proyecto abarca los campos de la sociología del deporte, derecho y gestión deportiva, también nos puede conducir, además de a medidas prácticas, a la formulación de nuevas o politicas revisadas, reglas y procedimientos. Sin embargo ,el núcleo central del proyecto sería su capacidad para crear un espacio para el diálogo y la mediación y arbitraje en los asuntos en cuestión.

Este estudio y la lucha de ADRP contra el dopaje.

Este proyecto está claramente relacionado con las áreas y objetivos de investigación prioritarias de ADRP y la lucha que sostiene el gobierno australiano contra el dopaje en el deporte. Al identificar el marco político y legislativo en toda su complejidad, así como las líneas argumentales variables del discurso que permiten e impiden el cambio, el proyecto creará un espacio para el diálogo dentro de una comunidad deportiva conocida por su carácter cerrado y encubierto. Esto mismo nos permitirá llevar a cabo tareas, como la de identificar:

• factores que fomentan la susceptibilidad de los ciclistas

• comportamientos de los ciclistas y su cohorte ante los sistemas de control existentes, con el fin de ampliar su validez y eficacia

• prevención práctica en lugar de medidas policiales para perfeccionar los sistemas en vigor y

• preparar un mapa de ruta para la mediación política y la puesta en marcha de medidas prácticas consensuadas entre todos los agentes.


El estudio se desarrollará principalmente en los campuses de Geelong y Melburne de la Universidad Deakin. Dada la larga y fuerte cultura ciclista de la zona, el campus de Geelong está convenientemente ubicado para interactuar con el pelotón australiano. El trabajo de campo tendrá lugar en Geelong (para coincidir con las series anuales de Bay Criterium y los campeonatos Mundiales de ciclismo del 2010), Ballarat (Campeonato de ciclismo australiano) y Adelaida (el Tour Downunder).

Divulgación de resultados

Los resultados del estudio se harán llegar a todos los distintos interesados y colaboradores que participan en el proyecto.

También se creará una pagina web relacionada, con un espacio wiki habilitado, que permitirá a los participantes entrar y comentar directamente sobre aspectos del desarrollo del proyecto.

Durante el proyecto y una vez acabado, nuestro equipo buscará la publicación en revistas académicas y prensa deportiva.

Sin embargo, el aspecto mas importante de la divulgación gira alrededor de la aplicación práctica del proyecto a través de la mediación política.

Ejecución práctica

Una consecuencia práctica del proyecto será la elaboración de un mapa de ruta para la puesta en marcha de las medidas halladas, pero especialmente, resultantes del proceso de mediación política.

Como conclusión de nuestras charlas con algunos de los interesados hasta la fecha, es evidente que el ciclismo necesita desesperadamente un estudio de este tipo que pueda ayudar en el proceso de elaborar políticas anti dopaje mas efectivas. También es previsible que cualquier ejecución práctica con respecto al pelotón australiano conducirá a un modelo exportable a otros lugares.