Velogal's Blog

Monday, November 07, 2005

I spent the weekend in a Nikon Photography workshop - it was so well presented and full of information. I highly recommend these workshops if they come to your area. There is always something new to learn in digital photography. Photography and cycling are my passions.

Hope you have looked at the 2006 Discovery Team schedule by now. We’ll have four chances to see the team in the US: Tour of California (insert subliminal message here: volunteer, volunteer, volunteer...), Tour of Georgia, the USPRO series in Philly, and the Barclay’s SF Grand Prix. So all you DC team fans, put this on your calendar and start scrounging around for ways to travel to the races.

Segueing into another race topic, it looks like I may be one of three state-wide coordinators of the course marshal volunteers for the Tour of California. The organizers gave me a call, and we’re doing some talking... It’s gonna be a huge event, a huge boost for cycling and a huge job to pull off in short amount of time. So we need all cycling clubs to pitch in and give support to the sport of cycling by volunteering in your local areas where the race comes through. We’ll need road marshals and local coordinators - we’ll need hundreds and hundreds of volunteers... Go to the website and sign up... I’ll put it on the Link again....

With cycling races struggling to survive in the US, and sponsor dollars disappearing like food at the end of a Century ride, I was disgusted to see that some people in the sport couldn’t wait to jump on the “ain’t it awful” bandwagon about Amgen sponsoring the Tour of California. Yes, they do make EPO, and there are thousands of cancer, leukemia and kidney patients who are alive today because of it. They are surviving and thriving with a legitimate medical product. So some cyclists and athletes abuse it - yeah, that sucks.

My long-departed grandmother had sayings like, “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”, and “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. I think, if she were a cycling fan and still alive, she’d be saying that about folks like this pitiful representative from the UCI: Elizabeth Hunter of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Amgen's involvement sends mixed signals to the athletes. "We were pretty shocked when we heard about the title sponsor for the Tour of California," Hunter said. "Why does the largest manufacturer of EPO sponsor an event in a sport known for abuse of banned substances? That raises questions for us."

A sport known for abuse of banned substances? That’s what UCI thinks about the sport that they govern? Hunter’s statement raises questions for me - what the Hell is she doing and saying? This is an insult to every cyclist - pro, amateur or recreational. This is the philosophy of the World Anti-Doping Agency - guilty until proven innocent. A blanket statement about the sport of cycling and all cyclists.... WADA - You suck, too....

If Amgen wants to step up to the plate and sink $35 million into sponsoring cycling, it is also going to help the sport survive and thrive. It will give a boost to the economy of every town and city it goes through. Every cyclist is going to make their own decision about whether or not they put shit into their body and whether they will win fair and square. Personally, I think the vast majority of cyclists ride and win clean. And I know cycling races are falling by the wayside and being cancelled because of no sponsor dollars to cover the costs of putting on a race.... Let’s support cycling instead of tearing it down... Let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face, OK?

Photo is the men's start at the Morgan Hill Grand Prix 2005... Morgan Hill, CA.


  • My 4 year old nephew is on EPO for a blood disorder. His hematocrit is about 7, and his parents are happy when it's 14. And he's MUCH happier and comfortable with his EPO. So the Amgen company makes a great product--and now they're supporting cycling. Good for them!

    By Anonymous Amy, At 11:45 AM  

  • Let's just hope that those folks who are so quick with their comments, including the "mixed signals" person, and their loved-ones are never in a position where they have to take epo. I sincerely hope they never find out the hard way what epo is needed for. I'm thankful for companies like Amgen. Ann.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 2:17 PM  

  • Here's a logical breakdown of EPO usage world-wide: Let's say there's 600 cyclists in the Pro Tour (20 teams of 30 riders), and 600 riders in each continental tour. That makes 3,600 male pro cyclists. In the name of fairness, let's double that to add women. Now let's assume that each of the other major sports affected by EPO (Nordic skiing, mountain biking, cyclocross, triathalon, distance running) have equally large numbers of participants (which they don't). That's 43,200 people.

    According to the American Cancer Society, there were 1,372,910 cancer cases in the United States alone. Even if every single endurance athlete on earth were doping, it still wouldn't amount to a drop in the bucket against the number of people who use EPO to get through their cancer treatments.


    By Blogger Cosmo, At 2:37 PM  

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