Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Open Letter to Triathlon Sponsors: Set up a Garmin/Chipotle or Columbia Team

Doping has ravaged cycling to the point of near extinction.

As you likely know, two teams have taken proactive steps to prove they are clean all year long. Team Garmin/Chipotle and Team Columbia/High Road. Blood and urine testing every two weeks; testing for changes in the blood make up earns you a positive. This would indicate that you are taking something - something which may be currently undetectable but effects your blood make up. This is really the only way to slow those on so called "designer" performance enhancers.

Looking at a lot of the triathlon results...I am asking for transparency in our sport.

I would like a sponsor to drug test it's athletes - top athletes in our sport. How about a team like Timex? Timex is basically a pro team. They have pros who race for them. They also have the top age group athletes too. The folks I know on that team are of the highest integrity. Why not take it to another level given the trend in cycling? Oh, yeah...cost. How about a double sponsor like Timex/Baxter? How about Tri-Dubai when it used to exist? Can you imagine if those athletes were tested and all came out clean?

Currently, there isn't a whole lot of talk about doping in triathlon. Now, I'm not here to through around names or suspicions, however, I'd like to see a team step up and test its athletes. I'm not fit enough right now to earn a sponsorship from anyone, but if I get my act together for 2009 - which is my plan - test me all you want.

Triathlon has too much money in it and is seeing really fast times by older men and women for me to say this sport is clean. There, I said it. Look at the numbers on the USAT website regarding the "average" triathlete. They boast about how much money people who do this sport have and their education level. When a mid 50 something woman rides a 2:10 1/2 Ironman time (even with drafting) and the top male pro rides a 1:59...it makes me ask a lot of questions. It also makes me ask if I am racing a fair race. Probably not. Does it sound like the late 1990s in cycling? Yes, scarily so.

Triathlon sponsors and race directors need to take note of what is happening in cycling and follow with similar programs.

Triathlon's top competitions have gotten to be a bit insane and have started driving people away from the sport. Without testing programs in World Championship and qualifying races, I will leave this sport sooner or later too.

Is a world championship that nobody cares about a championship? This is exactly why the cycling community had to start testing as furiously as they did. Think about it. IF YOU KNEW, you were racing against people who were doping - a) would you train as hard as you do? b) would you still go to races?


  1. I'm a back-of-the-pack age-grouper who's only form of doping can be found behind Zinfandel labels. My younger brother, though, has lusted after (and trained for) a Kona slot for years. He sees that goal receding as his top age-group competitors have gotten way faster, way quicker (in his opinion) than training techniques and gear alone would seem to allow. He's convinced doping has already come to triathlon at least among those desperate for a Championship qualifying slot.

  2. I agree with your brother.

    Just because triathlon media isn't talking about doping openly doesn't mean it isn't happening.

    If there are folks who can afford $10,800 for a full carbon racing bike, race wheels at another $3,000, coaching at $300 to 500/month...what is another whatever it costs to drive to Mexico or to order EPO or hGH over the internet?

    "Winning" at all costs including probable death from drug side effects isn't winning or what triathlon is about.

    Maybe we should start a "drug free" race series?