Ethical Sports (Cycling)


“Lady Cumberbatch, don’t you know that in-competition use of snuff is prohibited?!”

Much has been said in the last few months about doping and the institution ethical short comings of cycling, and rightly so. I have waded in as well, though to date, I have reserved my statements on the web to snarky remarks and bombastic accusations (connect with me on twitter for healthy servings of both). Most recently Graham Watson (cycling photographer and reported friend of Lance Armstrong) waded in to the discussion with a blog post and to summarize, “he did it because everyone else did” This is an argument that I accept as valid, but absolutely non-redeeming (though it seems, Lance used the statement to confess to his role in doping; at least that is what I read here: –

At this point, it seems reasonable to come to the following conclusions:

  1. Doping has been rampant in the professional peloton for years and continues to be.
  2. Many of today’s cyclists & management have a history strongly connected with doping.
  3. Lance, though a ring leader and lynch pin for doping, was not the king pin.
  4. Sport comes with many ethical challenges and we all have choices to make. Some will rise to the occasion and others will not.
  5. The UCI, pro-cycling’s oversight body, is embroiled in the controversy and may not survive it (in its current form).
  6. Ethical challenges are as present at the amateur as the professional level.

While I continue to watch and form opinions on the pro-level of the sport, as a coach I am most concerned with issue #6 the amateur level.

The question to me is what am I doing to help my athletes participate ethically? The answers lie in 4 distinct areas, (in no particular order):

  1. Events – giving guidance on what events to participate in, ethical considerations event day and how to respond to challenges that happen during the event.
  2. Training – ethical goal setting and implementing accountability structures to help manage ethical issues
  3. Racing – racing rightly and responding to ethical challenges while staying goal oriented
  4. Ethical Support – support for the athlete in the case of an ethical dilemma


More on my thoughts and recommendations in the weeks to come.


coaching for road racers, triathletes, charity riders and mountain bikers