This should be the positive story of the day. The UCI and AFLD working together, the sport’s governing body and the French anti-doping authorities have a deal to help ensure doping controls in the upcoming Tour de France are effective and thorough. Just what we needed to hear.
Only a little bit of careless talk by the UCI’s chief doctor Michele Zorzoli has undone this and this morning’s headlines scream “More doping scandals to come“. It’s pretty unfair according to Reuters’s Julien Pretot as Zorzoli was making some general comment about the bio passport. Indeed with the CAS upholding the ruling against Italian cheat Francesco de Bonis there’s further evidence that the bio passport scheme is working. On one side suspect riders are “forced” to dope within the limits, no longer can they manipulate their blood outrageously and on the other, the principle of the passport and its statistical methodology is being upheld. It’s all good.
So it’s a shame to see the story reported as something negative. But all the same, cycling officials need to know that you can’t be a little bit pregnant, that clumsy talk can turn awkward. Enough damage has already been done this year when the suspicion index got leaked.
Once again, with the sport struggling for credibility, you really want the UCI’s top people to make announcements that don’t spark controversy. But this isn’t Zorzoli’s fault, it’s the cumulative result of years of bungling, the media just don’t seem ready to look on the bright side or recognise a positive story. Don’t get me wrong, nothing’s rosy in the sport but the bio-passport is miles ahead and if not wholly perfect, still a genuine good news story.