On the horns of a dilemma

News & Results

11/13/2012| 1 comment
by Neil Browne
How soon before checkmate? Fotoreporter Sirotti

On the horns of a dilemma

How soon before checkmate?

which saw coach Bobby Julich quit followed by the retirement of team director Sean Yates, which he claims had nothing to do with this culling of former dopers.

Anyway, you get the point. There’s hardly a team that hasn’t been touched by or been a part of doping. This leaves riders in a bit of a quandary. Do you sign a contract with a team that’s offering the best money regardless of their history because they all have the stink of doping, or one that looks to be taking the right path to correct the situation? For some riders that might be a tough decision.

It’s easy to take the money and hope for the best when it comes to selecting a team. Sure, Team XYZ might offer you more money and that’s great for the short term, but what about a couple of years down the road? Are there any skeletons in the closet that might come out to bite you in the buttock and thereby ruin your reputation?

Or do you go with what’s behind “door number 2”? It’s a contract that doesn’t have as many zeros on the cheque, but the team has a good reputation. This can be a serious dilemma. But what exactly is a dilemma?

There are several types of dilemmas. The classic “ethical dilemma” is one type of dilemma that many of us have faced – do we do what’s morally correct? As these past months have shown us, many of our “heroes” make poor ethical decisions.

Some riders don’t have the luxury of choosing between two scenarios. Instead they are faced with Hobson’s Choice – take it or leave it. After reading David Zabriskie’s affidavit it seems like he had to make Hobson’s Choice. Either take the miserly fifteen-thousand dollar a year salary or be fired from the Postal Service team.

Reading other riders’ reports it seems like they were almost doomed from the start – a case of Morton’s Fork – there was no correct team to pick as both choices offered were bad. Most or all the teams ran a “program.”

A couple of weeks ago I read an interesting column by Bruce Schneier on Wired.com who opined that Armstrong faced a Prisoner’s Dilemma. Armstrong could either choose to take drugs to have an advantage over the competition that wasn’t taking drugs or Armstrong could take drugs to make sure the competing riders didn’t have an advantage over him. So regardless of what the competition does (takes or doesn’t take drugs), the outcome is Armstrong takes drugs.

Technically a dilemma means having to make a decision between two usually undesirable or unpleasant choices, that’s what the prefix of “di” means: two. Because I’m not a fan of a zero tolerance policy, as it just drives people to be silent rather than addressing the problem so it can be solved, now I’m seeing riders faced with a third option of not doping at all – something that was made clear by Team Sky’s new American signing, Joseph “Joe” Dombrowski.

He was on my

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As in all other walks of life, if only one person is doing it, you can blame it on that person, but if many people are doing it, its because of management, the people are being forced into it. So, I believe the cycling teams and their higher powers created this mess that the riders are now having to endure.

The best way out for the riders may just be to band together and create a professional cyclists union. The individual can't win against management, but a coalition can.

I believe its time for the WPCU "World Professional Cyclists Union".