The world of sports is stressful on participants. Hopes and demands for optimal performance are high. These expectations propel athletes to engage in rigorous hours of training and preparation. Unfortunately, due to pressure or unethical temptations, some athletes choose to prepare in other ways.
Dumbing down the sport
The act of doping is present, but not tolerated in the sports world. “Doping” refers to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Specifically, blood doping involves blood transfusion or the use of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO). The cycling world has dealt with blood doping in the past; but, recent demands by the International Cycling Union (UCI) has supported the level of intolerance in the cycling world.
As of June 19, 2007, the UCI has instated an anti-doping charter. All 600 of the ProTour riders are to sign a statement before the start of the Tour de France. The statement will pledge their forbearance from the act of blood doping. The riders are not obligated to sign the statement, but those who do not will forego participation in the three-week race.
The statement also involves violators paying one year’s salary (that will be used in the fight against blood doping) in addition to regulatory suspension. Riders who sign the pledge and found guilty of blood doping will face a minimum two-year suspension.
The UCI will publish the names of those who choose not to sign the pledge on their Web site
. UCI president, Pat McQuaid stated, “The UCI cannot accept that an individual or organization damages our sport.”
The 94th Tour de France
will start on July 7th and run until July 29th. The race consists of 20 stages and is 3,550 kilometers long.