Ideas to combat doping – Cedric Vasseur guest blog

June 15, 2010

Cedric Vasseur, former professional cyclist and president of the CPA (the professional cyclist union) from 2007-2009, contacted me about the anti-doping blog posts I have been writing. I asked him to put his thoughts in a guest blog, which he graciously did. I corrected a few typo/grammar issues, but the content below is his. Please let Cedric know your thoughts via the comments section below. I thank Cedric for coming forward with his thoughts.

Dear Gerard,

I read carefully your blog and your ideas for helping cycling to find back his real place in the society. I must admit that all of them are really interesting and could be part of a new anti doping program.

Before going further I first would like to tell you that Cycling is already on the right way. Since a while we are having wonderful races, a real battle between the riders who are showing more than ever their limits. In that way I think that all the work that has been done since the terrible 1998 Festina affair really is starting to pay off.

Still we are listening that this or that rider is coming with some revelations but most of the time it refers to the old past. Cycling does not have to make the mistake to believe that one day not a single rider will be tempted by doping because it is one of the most difficult sports existing and this is why education is really essential. We also need more professionalism inside some the teams because there are still some people who have no business being in our sport. Your ideas about salaries and pensions as well as big sanctions for cheaters are also legitimate.

We also should not forget that Cycling is a sport and for me Sport = Spectacle = Dream. I have the feeling that those last years our sport government forgot that. We must promote the sport, the efforts and the most important the RIDERS…. I came to Cycling because I wanted to imitate Bernard Hinault who was my hero. Today my little boy is having a lot of heroes in Football but he is watching cycling without a special feeling for a rider and that’s a big problem. Lots of sports have more money than cycling and I guess the athletes from those sports are also tempted to grow faster but the last positive test in the Football World Cup for instance was in 1994….. I think those sports are a lot more organized than ours and we have to follow their example. I mean with all the doping problems there were in cycling it can’t only come from the riders, the system must be responsible.

So first of all, let’s try to organize a more federative system than the individualist one we are having still right now. 70% of the budget of a football club is coming from TV rights, 18 % from sponsors and around 12% from spectators.
In cycling more than 80% comes from sponsors.. When we will be able to go into such a communal system it will change a lot the mentalities. Let’s work on it. Money generated by cycling must be redistribute to all the stakeholders otherwise it is a jungle. Then, we also need an evaluation commission. That commission will check all the races and the performances. There for sure are some inhuman victories like Landis in Morzine (I finished 52min13s after him) or others cannot least for a long time. But for that you need people who know cycling and can appreciate it……

The cleaner cycling is, the fewer riders are tempted by doping. That we must put in our mind! A career is short and most of the riders are signing 1 or 2 year contracts. Again, in football those contracts are done for 3 to 5 years….Conclusion…

Finally I want to congratulate you for the new Tour de France jersey. Really nice. Cervelo TestTeam is definitely bringing cycling a new breath…. Sad that I am almost 40….–)))

Kind Regards,

Cédric.

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