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Will ‘Roda’ Replace WADA in 2021?

Criminal legislation against sports cheating is currently in the limelight, given the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) effective rollback of sanctions against Russia for the Sochi doping scandal, and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision not to pursue harsher sanctions. Some nations already have laws on the books and haven’t hesitated to prosecute offenses within their borders. And two defendants caught in Operation Aderlass – physician Mark Schmidt and cyclist Stefan Denifl – were recently sentenced to prison terms for their roles as blood doping facilitator (Schmidt) and participant (Denifl). And as of December 4, 2020, the first comprehensive and internationally-reaching national doping and sporting fraud criminal legislation was signed into United States’ law: Bill HR.835, otherwise known as the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act – ironically named after the mastermind...

Discussing Activism in Cycling With Kathryn Bertine

Kathryn Bertine first became widely known in the cycling world following her 2014 film Half the Road – an analysis and critique of gender equity issues in the sport. She got her start in cycling as a journalist working for ESPN, when she was assigned a challenge in 2006: to attempt qualification for the 2008 Olympics, and chronicle the journey in a column and book. A former professional figure skater and triathlete, Bertine began road cycling at age 31. When the ESPN assignment ended, her cycling career had just begun. She made the Women’s World Tour pro ranks, competed in eight UCI world road championships, and won three Caribbean championship titles before retiring in 2017 at age 41. While she didn’t qualify for the Olympics, that experience took Bertine deep into the sport, and educated her on the gross gender inequities which characterized cycling – and she gradually began to turn...

A Discussion With Dick Pound, the First President of WADA

Montreal-based lawyer Richard Pound has been one of the most influential leaders in the world of Olympic and international sports since the 1970s, as well as an occasional and outspoken critic of professional cycling. Now the longest-serving active member of the International Olympic Committee and the original president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Pound has always been a frank and outspoken critic of doping in sports. He recently announced his retirement from the WADA board of directors, though he remains a powerful force in the IOC. Trained as a tax attorney and accountant, Pound rose rapidly through the ranks of the Olympic movement and is a widely-decorated leader within the broader international sports community.  Among dozens of other accolades, he has been awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and honorary doctorate degrees from more than a dozen universities. Time...

Israel Start-up Nation Fields One of the Oldest Teams in Recent Memory

In a year where most pro cycling teams have been financially hard hit by the fallout from the COVID pandemic, Israel Start-Up Nation has emerged as the exception to the rule. Backed by Canadian-Israeli billionaire patron Sylvan Adams, Team ISN is now one of the sport’s biggest spenders – likely second only to Ineos. The eagerness of the team to throw money at building a more visible team became apparent during the latter half of 2020, when they outbid Ineos for the aging four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome – with a reported massive five-year, €25 million contract. That blockbuster signing was complemented by the acquisition of several other veterans, including Daryl Impey, Mike Woods, and Sepp Vanmarcke. They will line up with the team’s existing stars, including Dan Martin, Andre Greipel, and Alex Dowsett. There is no doubt that this a formidable lineup, particularly for a...

NASCAR and Pro Cycling – Different, but Similar

The Outer Line reached out to former pro bike racer Kristin Labonte – one of the few people around with a foot in both camps – to discuss those similarities, and to ask what pro cycling might be able to learn from NASCAR. One would be hard-pressed to find two sports that appear to be more different than NASCAR motor racing and professional cycling. One is gasoline-powered, fast, noisy, and played out on a track with hundreds of thousands of spectators watching; the other is human-powered, quieter, slower, and played out on sinuous mountain-top switchbacks with a few fans standing on the roadside. Cycling sees NASCAR fans as backward, unsophisticated, pickup truck-driving simpletons, while NASCAR sees cycling fans as wimpy trust-fund babies sporting Greenpeace bumper stickers. NASCAR is a favorite of the conservative deep south of America, while cycling is more popular in the liberal...

Episode 4 of the “Retrospectives” Podcast — Catching up With Phil Liggett, Part One

The name Phil Liggett is one of the best recognized in all of professional cycling. First introduced to American audiences in the 1980s through CBS’s Emmy Award-winning Tour de France coverage, Liggett is the person responsible for first introducing many of us to pro cycling.  From the first wave of coverage, with Greg LeMond’s three wins, and on to the domestic popularity of top American races like the Tour DuPont, Amgen Tour of California, and the USA Pro Challenge in the 1990s and 2000s, Liggett has left an indelible mark on America. He is on the same pantheon as LeMond and Lance Armstrong when it comes to celebrity. His animated commentating style and Liverpudlian accent coupled with his unique fan accessibility over the decades has endeared him to all generations. In this two-part episode of The Outer Line’s “Retrospective” podcast, Phil sits down from lockdown in London and talks...