Cyclists need to be educated about doping at a young age to ensure that drug use does not become an engrained philosophy in the sport, according to the director of the Cycling Anti-Doping Federation (CADF).
Francesca Rossi told sports politics website insidethegames that riders generally arrive in the CADF environment when they are already in their 20s, an age when they may already have been exposed to doping.
But Rossi believes that organisations such as CADF need to be seen as more than just enforcers in the battle against doping.
She said: “Being in anti-doping is perceived as police, it is something negative but in order to be efficient people have to be educated to understand what we’re doing and also to avoid and to prevent the doping phenomenon, this could be interesting.
“And we are working on the young people, this is something that has to be done for the future. We need to take care of them.”
Rossi believes educating riders can help eradicate drug use in the sport, insisting that doping is “inscribed in the rider” not in the sport.
And she says that National Governing Bodies should be at the forefront of this education, so that when a rider progresses to the UCI level of racing they understand the consequences of doping.
“They should be educated in the beginning in their attitude to dedication, this is important,” she continued.
“It has to be taught in the schools or in the National Federations, so all the sport world has to work in this sense, starting from the beginning.
“Because when they arrive on our level they should already be educated from some parts.
“We can continue the education and we can help them in creating a clean environment but in the end this is important to be done at all levels.”
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