Drugs in cycling is clearly a problem begging for a solution. If the pro race scene is ever going to hope to regain the trust and respect of everybody who takes part in cycling at all levels, and particularly the population at large, it needs a fresh approach.
One such solution could be UK Sport and British Cycling launching an Under-23 Olympic Academy team, riding under the name ‘100% ME’. We first learned of this when we spoke to British Cycling’s Performance Director, Dave Brailsford recently: “We’ll soon be launching an academy team, and these academy riders, when they ride domestically or track, will ride for ‘100% Me’. So we’re going to have the very first anti-doping cycling team in the world.”
Kick starting it will be eight promising prospects, who’ll compete as 100% ME. They’ll make their debut on the track at the next Revolution on 9 December, in Manchester. The riders will be Ben Swift; Steve Burke; Jon Bellis; Russell Hampton; Ross Sander; Ian Stannard; Andy Tennant; and Alex Dowsett, already riding fast and surely hot potential for future medals. By taking on the 100% ME name, the team has committed to not only compete drug-free, but to help promote the positive values of ethically fair sport.
John Scott, Director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport, the National Anti-Doping Organisation for the UK, said: “Signing up as the 100% ME team is a real statement of intent from British Cycling that doping in the sport will not be tolerated. The programme focuses on the attributes required to succeed in sport, such as belief, resilience and commitment. These mirror what the likes of Chris Hoy and Nicole Cooke – both 100% ME ambassadors – have displayed throughout their careers so it is appropriate that our first ever 100% ME team is in cycling. “
Dave Brailsford, Performance Director at British Cycling, added: “The credibility and reputation of cycling has suffered over the years as a result of high profile doping cases. This is unfortunate as it detracts from the huge amount of talent we have at our disposal in the UK, and the hard work, dedication and determination that goes into providing a world-class system for our riders to perform and win medals at the highest level.
“Prohibited substances have no place in our sport and the quicker we can spread that message, the better. Our link up with 100% ME provides a platform for this and will hopefully create some momentum within the sport to change people’s perceptions, and ensure our riders get the credit they deserve for their performances.”
100% ME was launched by UK Sport in May 2005, with the long-term aim of ‘creating a generation of sportsmen and women who know they don’t need to use Prohibited Substances or Methods to be successful’. Since its launch, almost 20,000 athletes and support personnel have benefited from the programme, receiving up-to-date information and advice allowing them to make sensible, informed decisions about competing drug-free.
In addition, 310 tutors and advisers covering 46 sports have been trained to deliver education workshops to current and future competitors, whilst 38 athlete ambassadors have been signed up to act as role models to the next generation of sporting stars, showing what can be achieved competing cleanly and fairly.
You can find out more at www.100percentme.co.uk