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Brit David Millar has joined Team Slipstream, the cleanest, greenest cycling team in the world. It’s also the only cycling team sponsored by a manufacturer of gourmet burritos.
Team Slipstream powered by taco-maker Chipotle is managed by former pro Jonathan Vaughters and is famously green and clean.
Its youth program is much admired and, for the future of cycle sport, probably needs to be slavishly copied.
Sir Paul Smith meets David Millar:
David Millar finished his two-year suspension for EPO use in June last year and was brought back to the pro peloton by the Spanish Saunier Duval team. Millar will hand back his Scott Addict and will now race on Team Slipstream’s Felt bikes.
Team Slipstream has also signed US pro Dave Zabriskie and an un-named former winner of Paris-Roubaix. Is it Stuart O’Grady, Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen or Magnus Backstedt? Vaughters isn’t yet ready to say.
Team members don’t just sign pledges that they’re clean, they submit to medical profiling, including blood volume tests. 30 per cent of the team’s budget is spent on its clean medical profiling.
The team will be based in Spain and, because of its highly ethical stance, is highly likely to gain a place in next year’s Tour de France. ASO is keen to reward teams with medical profiling.
In February this year, Team Slipstream signed an agreement with the recently formed Agency for Sporting Ethics (ASE) to monitor the team’s clean stance. A statement from the team said:
“[We will] test the athletes over 1200 times during 2007. This is more than 20 times the number of tests that most professional cyclists are subject to annually through its governing body, Union Cycliste International.
“The testing program will be comprised of both blood and urine sampling and will focus on ‘bio-markers’ as opposed to traditional, direct element testing. This type of testing looks for potentially illegal performance enhancing metabolic variances in the riders’ test results, as opposed trying to find specific substances. By adopting this innovative testing regimen, Slipstream Sports’ intention is to simply prevent any rider who could be doping from competing.”
Doug Ellis said: “It is our genuine hope that by setting an example of our willingness to invest into regaining the public’s trust, re-establishing cycling’s credibility, and rekindling hope of fair sport, that other professional athletes and teams will follow us and put their resources and effort into this push for renewal.”
Team Slipstream boss Vaughters said:
“I would like to make it clear that this program is in addition to the testing WADA already performs, not in place of it. We are enthusiastic and hopeful that, through collaboration, our test results, procedures, and execution can be used to further WADA’s already noble mission.”