Once close to the top of cycling world, Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl retired from the sport, apparently eschewing the dope-for-wins philosophy in pro cycling. Kohl is currently mired in a professional,personal, and legal quagmire of doping, and doping allegations.
Reflecting on this event, one cannot but help to think about the twisted culture of pro cycling. Ostensibly based on an activity that promotes health and fitness, all too often pro cycling promotes drug-cheating, dishonesty, and death from doping drugs like EPO. Kohl apparently tired of this nonsense, calling his career kaput.
It might be easy to drawn down on Kohl and individual athletes. Much of the disdain may be merited because no one should absolve these dopers of responsibility. However the system of management, doctors, trainers, personal managers that promotes doping should also be highly implicated. The athletes (in Europe) often are punished while the doctors behind the dopers simple get rich. From the Examiner:
Bernhard Kohl of Austria, the disgraced former rider for the former Gerolsteiner team, has retired from cycling and said Monday he will not return to the sport after his doping-related suspension ends.
"I don't want to continue leading a double life which is based on lies," Kojhl said at a press conference in Vienna, Austria.
Kohl originally finished third overall in the 2008 Tour de France, 73 seconds behind race winner Carlos Sastre. But Kohl, 27, tested positive for the EPO derivative CERA during the Tour de France and later confessed to having used illegal doping products and methods for most of his career. He was given a two-year suspension.
Kohl's dismissal from the Tour improved riders below him in the overall standings one position, including American Christian Vande Velde from fifth to fourth.
"Without doping there is no equal opportunity in the top international field," Kohl said. "This is absolutely the end. I have voluntarily doped – in a system in which you can't win without doping. Talent, training and iron discipline just aren't enough at some point. Doping becomes the rule. A clean sport is unfortunately an exception."
Kohl said that he would now dedicate himself to doping prevention, by speaking on the subject and organizing cycling camps.