CIRC report: Can triathlon do better in the fight against doping?
Following the release last week by the UCI of its latest Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report, we wanted to get a read on the implications for triathlon and triathletes. So we asked Clean Protocol founder Teague Czislowski, together with his head of science Dr Mike Puchowicz M.D, for their thoughts…
The recent UCI CIRC report is a reminder of the choice that athletes face; accept the current state of anti-doping which has enabled the culture of doping in countless sports or recognise the need for change and action.
The report confirms to us again that with each new sports doping scandal inquiries are held and reports are written with recommendations hoping to bolster the anti-doping system such as the formation of WADA, a 50% haematocrit test the bio-passport, blood testing, a whereabouts system, out of competition testing, in sleep testing and so on. Each revision is accompanied by an easy and compelling public relations narrative championed by those with an interest to get back to business as soon as possible.
Unfortunately the response from some athletes and their sports entourage is to simply adopt ever more evasive doping practices. This pattern continues until the next doping scandal emerges. The cycle repeats because the imbalance between the incentives to cheat versus any resistance or reason not to cheat is never disrupted.
Like most previous reports or inquiries into doping practices, the report is ultimately another study of failure. While important, the isolated study of past failure creates expertise only in further failure. It is not surprising then that there were few new revelations or insights in the report. It was already well known that the doping culture is deeply entrenched in cycling. What is surprising though is that hope continues to be put on each new torch bearer that emerges in the procession of scandal: 1984 Olympics, PDM, Festina, Human Plasma, Freiburg Clinic, Operation Puerto, Oil for Drugs, USADA, Mantova, Padova, Astana, CIRC.