Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Chorus Continues

I love cycling season, if for no other reason than I get to hear an almost constant chorus of some version of the phrase “dirty sport.”

Take this excerpt from an article in VeloNews for example:
The future of [Team] T-Mobile and [Team] Gerolsteiner are both on the brink thanks to the failed doping test of German rider Patrik Sinkewitz in an out-of-competition control June 8.

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF took the unprecedented step Wednesday to cancel coverage of the 2007 Tour, turning the heat up on a sport already under the microscope.

“Without television, our team has no currency,” Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer told VeloNews before Thursday’s start. “The hard reaction from German TV is speeding up the death of cycling.”
Or how about this one, also from an article in VeloNews:
Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen has been axed from the Danish national team following a disagreement over drug testing, it was announced on Thursday.

The director of the Danish Cycling Union (DCU) Jesper Worre told DRI television station that Rasmussen had received a number of warnings over failing to inform doping authorities over his training whereabouts. …“The DCU is not saying that Michael tested positive,” [Worre] said. “But there are a number of question marks over his behaviour and attitude…”
Or maybe this information, quoting extensively from a TDF Blog article:
Team Milram’s Alessandro Petacchi, one of the sport’s outstanding sprinters, faced a hearing to explain his high reading for salbutamol during the Giro d’Italia last month. The UCI notified Italian officials yesterday that Petacchi is officially “non-negative” after registering a salbutamol level of 1320 nanograms/milliliter after his Stage 11 Giro win in Pinerolo.

Salbutamol is a common asthma medication that can have stimulant and anabolic effects at high doses. Many endurance athletes, including Petacchi, have therapeutic use exemptions allowing them to use inhaled salbutamol to address exercise-induced asthma. The World Anti-Doping Agency tries to control salbutamol levels by setting a limit of 1000 nanograms/milliliter in rider urine samples. A higher level is an “adverse analytical finding,” which shifts the burden of proof onto the athlete, who must prove the finding resulted from use of a salbutamol inhaler.
Obviously, the concept of innocent until proven guilty is lost on these WADA folks.

Frankly, I agree with Jens Voigt in reference to the cessation of television coverage:
“It’s not democratic, it’s just like the old East Germany,” said Voigt, who rides for the CSC team of yellow jersey contender Carlos Sastre. … “But there are only a few people in control of making that decision, and it’s not right. Let people watch the Tour. If they don’t want to they can turn off their televisions, or change the channel.”
and with Phil Liggett:
I wonder why German television did not do the same in the days when the former East Germany won all of the medals in every sport? There is no doubt that in those black days the majority of those athletes from all sports were on drugs and nobody seemed to care.
I wonder the same thing, Mr. Liggett.

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