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.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tour de France Rider Commitment

Last year, on opening day of the 2006 Tour de France, it became known that several of the “big name” cyclists competing in the race were suspected in a large-scale doping scheme involving two Spanish physicians. As a result of what has come to be known as the “Puerto affair,” many of those cyclists were suspended from competition or have retired from the sport. Litigation and investigation into the matter continue, and in an effort to make certain that the 2007 Tour de France is not affected by any fallout from the scandal, Tour organizers asked each competitor to sign this “Riders Commitment.” No signature, no participation.
I do solemnly declare, to my team, my colleagues, the UCI*, the cycling movement and the public that I am not involved in the Puerto affair nor in any other doping case and that I will not commit any infringement to the UCI anti-doping rules. As proof of my commitment, I accept, if it should happen that I violate the rules and am granted a standard sanction of a two-year suspension or more, in the Puerto affair or in any other anti-doping proceedings, to pay the UCI, in addition to the standard sanctions, an amount equal to my annual salary for 2007 as a contribution to the fight against doping.

At the same time, I declare to the Spanish law, that my DNA is at its disposal, so that it can be compared with the blood samples seized in the Puerto affair. I appeal to the Spanish law to organize this test as soon as possible or allow the UCI to organize it.

Finally, I accept the UCI’s wish to make my statement public.
I find it interesting (and admirable) that a sport accused of being so dirty because of its past history of drug use and abuse now has such a stiff penalty for even the slightest infraction. Would an NFL, NBA, or MLB player be willing to pledge his entire annual salary as a penalty if he was caught (and, mind you, not necessarily convicted) for using drugs in competition? I doubt it. Kudos to the cycling community for a step in the right direction.

*UCI is an acronym for the Union Cicliste Internationale, or International Cycling Union. As their name implies, they serve as a regulatory body for international cycling competition.

Excerpt/quote from Riders Commitment obtained from the Versus channel website.

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