Monday, April 21, 2008

Media vs. Cycling

Sabine takes on the media and doping. Photo: Ralf Scheuble
The relationship between cycling and the media is a delicate one, cycling lives fromthe visibility generated for sponsors and events, and the media enjoys dramatic story lines to fill their pages and broadcasts. Unfortunately the latter has become all too common, a constant tale of drugs, lies and story that has all but villainized the entire sport.

Here in Germany the damage done by the press is catastrophic. Team and events have all packed up and left a vacuum void of competitive opportunities. "It (the media's attack on radsport) is just another reason for sponsors to pull their money out," German pro roadrider Frank Dressler Lehnof (Mitsubishi-Jartazi-Protech) says about the current climate in German cycling.
Frank went on to say, "Nobody wants to do anything, team wise or race organization. A lot of events have just gone away because of these conditions."

The latest in media's spotlight on doping was a Rheinpfalz article on Sunday about the new stricter controls from UCI and how riders are dealing. The article featured former World MTB Champion Sabine Spitz, where she commented on her own experiences with the new doping mandates, along with an extensive line of questioning on other riders.

The author specifically asked Spitz her take on the pending suspension of the Lado and Manuel Fumic for missing a couple of out of competition tests. Most riders I have spoken to won't even candidly take on position on such a line of questioning, but Spitz took it head on saying, "We all know the rules and have to live by them. Obviously if the Fumic brothers are having trouble with this, they have something to hide."

The article went on to elude to the speculations that the Chinese women are doping, once again Spitz in her reply acknowledged these suspicions, "All of the sudden the Chinese women were there (on the front of the World Cup), Ren Chengyuan won Houffalize last year out of no where."

Spitz went on, "We will have to see what kind of controls the UCI will have in place leading up to the Olympic Games, and how the Chinese women will fare in competition. But it surely has raised more than a few eyebrows."

Photo ©: Luke Webber

Spitz has long been a critic of the BDR (Bundes Deutscher Radfahrer) and it "lack" of sufficient doping controls. During the World Cup this past Sunday in Houffalize, Ren Chengyuan repeated her victory from last year, by coming from far behind to win, while Spitz finished five and a half minutes back in 10th. On the men's side, both of the Fumic brothers raced despite a doping charge from the UCI and a possible 1 month suspension from the BDR, with Lado finishing 35th and Manuel 67th.

Photo ©: Fumic Brothers Int.


phaty said...

Here in Germany the damage done by the press is catastrophic.

I think the damage done by the stupid doping assholes in Magenta and FBI-Black is way more catastrophic ...

Ken Bloomer said...

Agreed, riders that were/are doping set this all in motion, feeding the media machine. However, the media has been playing a witch hunt over here. Creating to a tabloid-esque atmosphere around cycling and its scandals. Remember the alleged doping blood bank in Wein and all of the quick finger pointing? Nothing valid ever came out of that. The media should present the facts, rather putting spin on things to sell more advertising.


First, doping is dumb any way that you look at it. Sadly, it seems to be driven by the cyclical (pun intended) relationship that cycling does have with the media and the push to constantly win or find a new job in a gas station.

It doesn't make it right and I can't see myself ever doing it but I wasn't ever in that position either.

Oddly, the U.S. seems to be largely ignoring the situation but the European boys and girls are getting more than their share of abuse.

I just want my bike racing back (minus doping).

Oh.. hadn't heard about the Fumic boys. Funny that they finished so far back. Did they forget some 'special' juice in the morning?