Tuesday (Wednesday) Coffee Talk - Ethical Racing

A recent "incident" at a local race brings up a topic of ethical racing. When is a racer crossing the line when making deals to other competitors while in the race? For example say there are 3 in a break and all 3 are from different teams and likely all in the prize winning. What if one of the racers says "Hey I'll give you all my prize winning if you don't chase me down in my next attack." One of the rider agrees and the rider who made the offer does go on to win the race. Is that wrong and when is the line crossed in going too far? What if the rider was wealthy and basically paid them off to let him/her win? What if this was the event for State Championships?

Striking up deals in the race and sharing of prize winnings happens all the time but when is the deal too much?

OK, this is just one scenario and one could create an dozen or more like examples of offers and deals and such.

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Hopefully the USAC

Hopefully the USAC representative for Colorado looks into this and takes appropriate action regarding the 1st and 2nd place finishers who "attempted to cause the race to result in an outcome other than on its merits." Team points and individual points should be removed at least for this one race and perhaps more. USAC are you there? BRAC? Are either of you fine organizations up for actually taking action to promote ethical and clean racing?

Books like A Dog in a Hat

Books like A Dog in a Hat show there is a long history of these things happening in the pro ranks but my knee jerk reaction when I hear about payoffs is that they are lame and diminish the nature of the sport. I say this from a fan's perspective. I would like to hear the opinions from people who race Pro 1/2/Open, maybe it's not a big deal to them and an accepted part of racing bicycles. In my cat, the satisfaction of winning a race is a much more valuable thing than the $50 gift cards and merch prizes we get.

Co Cross Cup is NOT orofessional racing

Colorado cyclocross is NOT the pro tour where livelihoods are at stake. Other than 3-4 guys who also race on the road/MTB circuit (Danny, the occasional USGP guy when in town), the open race is populated by committed & talented amateurs who are not dependent on CX for rent/food. I would like to see all prize $ taken out of the local racing scene, with lower entry fees as the result. The fast guys are going to show up and race regardless of prize $, and perhaps we could avoid embarrassing situations where people lose sight of what is important. I would have a hard time justifying a mid-race bribe to my family, wouldn't you?

Rewards greater than Risk

Unfortunately this is the walk of life... regardless of the situation when the perceived reward is greater than the perceived risk humans seem to tend to take the risk. I've known people who I thought to be of good moral character do something questionable and surprising.

The only way to curb this problem is to greatly increase the risk which will maybe reduce the number of occurrences but there will always be someone out there willing to take the risk and break the rules.

As another response mentioned, what is "ethical"? At the end of the day this is (mostly) a personal decision. Just as this country debates people's beliefs vs laws, even when there are laws they will be challenged in many ways.

So was the above example "ethical" racing...? Not in my book. Was it fair? Seemed to be for the two racers involved.

How to solve the problem...? More rules? Encourage racers to report these incidents? At some point when is racing no longer fun for the masses?

I sold a Local Crit once

It's true. Was back in the "dark times" when Joe Papp was still selling EPO to guys in CO. Pretty sure a number of the guys in the break were customers. Either way, they cam to me, the amateur whose team needed a W, and stated "give us the money and you get the win you guys need". I spent the next lap or so mulling it over, being questioned a few times as to my answer. One of the guys attacked and when it came back together it was clear I was either selling the race or getting dropped from the break.

I cracked and sold it.

Having been at the sport for a LONG time now it's definitely the race day that I regret most. I never hit that same type of decision with doping but I fairly sure my teammates did. As a racer, even when racing on the rivet, you know damn well when you hit the line of what's ethical and what's not. I think until you hit that point it's tough to pass too much judgement. The "dark times" are now proving that a lot of well-intended riders didn't make the decision they thought they would when they hit that ethical line.

Diplomatic Immunity

Diplomatic immunity like in Lethal Weapon? Do they have to say it with the accent? I don't think this behavior is consistent with the rest of the BCS team. Have a hard time imagining Pete or Brandon pulling something like this, they are much more process-than-results guys.

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