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The Outer Line

… is a path taken by cyclists who are unable to break into the lead-out train, but whose strength, resolve and tactical sense can lead them to victory.

Cycling has relied on legacy and tradition for too long – locking us to an inner line that risks the future of the sport.  It’s time to change direction and listen to new ideas.  It’s time to take the outer line.

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Click here for a Summary of A Roadmap to Repair Pro Cycling


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Perspectives on Doping in Pro Cycling – 3: Will Frischkorn

(Editors’ Note: This article is the third in a series of in-depth personal narratives about the impact of doping on the lives of people within or now outside of the sport of pro cycling.  This series presents alternative views of how the doping culture has proliferated in the sport; new revelations of how it has caused harm to the people, economics, and governance of the sport, and; why the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s charter needs to look farther back in time than 1998 to make a lasting difference.  Through these individual perspectives, we hope to stir constructive debate about how the sport can come to terms with the past in order to find a new way forward.  Look for our other articles and perspectives on the Blog page at www.theouterline.com.)   Will Frischkorn is a well-known and popular figure around Boulder, Colorado.  A former racer for the Mercury, Saturn and...

Perspectives on Doping in Pro Cycling – 2: Inga Thompson

(Editors’ Note: This article is the second in a series of in-depth personal narratives about the impact of doping on the lives of people within or now outside of the sport of pro cycling.  This series presents alternative views of how the doping culture has proliferated in the sport; new revelations of how it has caused harm to the people, economics, and governance of the sport, and; why the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s charter needs to look farther back in time than 1998 to make a lasting difference.  Through this, we hope to stir constructive debate about how the sport can come to terms with the past in order to find a new way forward.  Watch for other articles and perspectives over the next several weeks.) Mention the name Inga Thompson to a modern cycling fan, and you might get a raised eyebrow. “Inga who?”  But to fans and observers of the sport from the 1980s and...

Perspectives on Doping in Pro Cycling – 1: Theo de Rooij

Editors’ Note: This article is the first in a series of in-depth personal narratives about the impact of doping on the lives of people within or now outside of the sport of pro cycling.  This series will present alternative views of how the doping culture has proliferated in the sport; new revelations of how it has caused harm to the people, economics, and governance of the sport, and; why the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s charter needs to look farther back in time than 1998 to make a lasting difference.  Through this, we hope to stir constructive debate about how the sport can come to terms with the past in order to find a new way forward.   We start this series with the story of Theo de Rooij, a highly successful Dutch cyclist at the amateur and professional levels, later a directeur sportif for various teams, and then the general manager for the Rabobank team for...

Changing Pro Cycling: The Perspective of Travis T. Tygart

Editors’ Note:  Travis T. Tygart is the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) – a non-profit, independent entity created to administer the anti-doping program in the U.S. for the Olympic and Paralympic sports – some 50 different sports.  USADA’s stated mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire a commitment to the core principles of true sport, and protect the rights of U.S. athletes to compete healthy and clean.   USADA is equally dedicated to four main areas of service: (1) anti-doping testing and results management processes; (2) programs that deter and detect incidents of doping; (3) research that advances anti-doping science; and (4) educational initiatives aimed at preventing doping altogether – and building a culture of integrity and leadership through sport.  Tygart holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of North Carolina...

Setting A New Ethical Standard in Pro Cycling

The Problem:  Professional cycling has never adopted a formal set of ethical standards for its riders, teams or governing officials.  There has been no standard for responsible and ethical behavior – no training, guidelines or expectations that people should do the right thing, even when “no one is looking.” Cycling has instead always relied on the strength of its rules and regulations – and prescribed punishments for violating them – to guide the behavior of its participants, and to keep the sport from breaking down. But after more than a century of a continuous cheating, a thoroughly entrenched culture of doping, and too many scandals to count, one could argue that the UCI’s rules and regulations have devolved into nothing more than strongly worded suggestions.  Individuals with the right finances, advisers, and influence in cycling have allegedly been able to chart their own path....

Changing Pro Cycling: The Perspective of Hein Verbruggen

Editors’ Note:  Hein Verbruggen ran professional cycling for most of the past thirty years – first, as President of the predecessor FICP starting in the mid-1980s, then as President of the UCI from 1991 through 2005, and he has been Honorary President right up to the present.  Verbruggen ruled the sport with what many viewed as an iron fist, and he was often a lightning rod for controversy.  However, the fact is that he oversaw pro cycling during a long period of increasing visibility and international growth.  And despite the accusations of his detractors, no one has had more international executive experience in cycling. Verbruggen recently initiated a dialogue with  the Outer Line  to express his opinions regarding our 2013 “Roadmap to Repair Pro Cycling” report, and then agreed to a detailed discussion and interview.  Our interest in talking with Verbruggen was not to revisit the...

Doped Athletes as Enhancement Models for the 21st Century

  by John Hoberman   (Note:  John Hoberman is the author of   MORTAL ENGINES: The Science of Performance and the Dehumanization of Sport (1992),  TESTOSTERONE DREAMS: Rejuvenation, Aphrodisia, Doping (2005),  and many articles on the history and sociology of doping.  He is a professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.) By now even those of us who take little or no interest in sports are aware that many elite athletes have become dependent on doping drugs to perform at the world-class level. In the media, the doping scandals that have erupted in Major League Baseball, the Tour de France, and in various Olympic sports are routinely presented as resulting from transgressions committed by corrupt athletes who have betrayed their athletic communities. The incentives to dope that are built into the system by politicians, sports federations, and corporate sponsors...

Nineteen Eighty-Three

Brian Cookson, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has stated that its newly-minted Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) will look approximately fifteen years back in time, as it attempts to understand and address cycling’s modern doping dilemma.  This time frame neatly coincides with the low points of the Lance Armstrong era, but the root causes go much deeper than one man.  Fifteen years may help the UCI to pinpoint and investigate the sinister activities and possible collusion that occurred in cycling’s darkest days, but the CIRC must review about thirty years of history to truly understand and fix the corruption that has poisoned the sport, and to bring about lasting reform. The strange, totalitarian world envisioned by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four  might seem like pure fiction, but cycling embarked upon its own “Cold War” and dystopian journey in...