MONTEREY, Calif. (April 4, 2010) - Professional cyclists are not the only ones marred by doping scandals. Sponsors get hurt too.
Leaders of those companies who pay top dollar to sponsor athletes will receive some stern instructions from a blue-ribbon panel assembled at next week's Bicycle Leadership Conference in Monterey.
"The governing bodies of bike racing appear to be committed to eliminating doping. And our sport’s testing is as demanding as any professional sport. But how doping in cycling is being reported by the non-endemic media is depicting us in a negative light,” said John Nedeau, president of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, which presents the BLC. “How should we be responding as an industry?”
The panel will include Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, which promotes the Amgen Tour of California; Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling; and Jeremiah Bishop, a professional mountain bike racer with Cannondale and athlete ambassador to the World Anti-Doping Agency. The panel will be moderated by Peter Flax, editor-in-chief of Bicycling Magazine.
"We expect this panel to make a strong recommendation to those sponsors on how to truly make a difference in this sport that so many people love," said Frank Yohannan, president and CEO of the Sea Otter Classic, which hosts the BLC. "We know this problem can be eliminated in our sport. It only takes leadership, and we've got it."
"Few sports fans realize how tight the testing is in cycling, especially when compared to non-Olympic sports. But there remains too many incentives for cheaters," said Richard Fries, the director of the conference. "A baseball writer would be well served to cover this panel before reporting on doping in that sport. This will be like a graduate course on the subject.
The media will be welcome to attend this panel discussion. Online registration is currently open for the 2011 Bicycle Leadership Conference. Visit www.bicycleconference.com for information on registration, evening activities, and lodging.
Presented by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, the Bicycle Leadership Conference will be held April 12 – 14, 2011. The event includes the BRAINy Awards, recognizing top achievements within the bicycle industry. The BLC will be held at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa, located on historic Cannery Row. The region offers fantastic scenery, golf, hiking, wineries, marine adventures, and, of course, cycling. The conference concludes with a reception and dinner at the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.
For more information, visit www.bicycleconference.com.