Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Cycle Race a Contradiction?

An excerpt from Wired News:

Amgen, the maker of Erythropoietin, the banned substance that's the scourge of cycling, is the unlikely sponsor of the Tour of California, the prestigious race currently underway in the Golden State.

Performance-boosting Erythropoietin, or EPO, is the No. 1 target of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the sport's big skeleton in the closet. The group has openly questioned Amgen's motives for sponsoring the Tour. In a November 2005 statement, WADA asked, "What sort of message does this send to our athletes?"

But the drugmaker doesn't see a contradiction in its sponsorship of a major cycling event.

"We think sponsoring the Tour is completely in line with our mission," said Mary Klem, spokeswoman for biotech firm Amgen. "We're using the event as a forum to warn against blood doping and (to) tell everyone how dangerous and unhealthy it can be for both professionals and amateurs."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although EPO is used as a blood-doping agent by some cyclists it has may legitimate medical uses as well. Insofar as any contradiction for Amgen to sponsor the race, it is being governed by the UCI which is conducting drug testing of riders pursuant to it's rules. Besides, if Budweiser can sponsor a car race why can't Amgen sponsor a bike race?

2/25/2006 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good catch, Sara de la Guerra!

2/25/2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

It's the few bad apples that use EPO as an enhancer and give racing (or any other competitive sport) a bad rap. The problem is that if big names or corporations don't sponsor events, then there may not be nearly as many to compete in. Sponsorship seems to be a necessary evil......

2/25/2006 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't Amgen make many other products as well? Many needed for terribly sick people?

Sounds like this kind of sponsorship is ironic, but maybe not dumb.

Whether Amgen does it again depends on how much bang they got for their marketing buck.

Sara, nice...a thinking person's post....

2/25/2006 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2/26/2006 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2/26/2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Really off topic 8:30 AM! -- you obviously spent a lot of time on this, however, so I will let it time, please choose one of the many posts on the second district or on planning for this kind of a post.

To the comments that are on topic -- yes, it might not be that different than Budweiser and NASCAR except that bicycle racing has always had a bit more of a gentleman's ethic to it, no? No offense to you NASCAR Dads out there...

And maybe, being able to train and ride is more important for athletes than what a sponsorship might represent.

2/26/2006 8:45 AM  
Anonymous "8:30 AM" said...

Sorry - intended to post it on the Supe Websites etc. where I saw the links to the candidates' web sites - don't know how it ended up on the bike topic. Feel free to move it! :)

2/26/2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks 8:30 anon -- will do.

2/26/2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger Sol Marsh said...

Amgen makes EPO which can kill ya if you abuse it. So can aspirin. We'll always have cheaters, but they will fall in the end. I saw the tour coming thru Carp and it was a natural buzz..tour photos, if Sara will allow, at

2/27/2006 10:23 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Nice pictures Sol -- don't have a problem with links that are on topic...


2/27/2006 11:20 AM  

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