Just read an interesting piece in the Sunday Independent that the popularity of the Tour de France among French people has fallen dramatically, according to a survey. The survey claims that only 44% of French people said they like the Tour, which is down eight percentage pints from 2007 and five points from 2008.
It says that public has grown increasingly disillusioned with the event since the slew of doping –related scandals of recent years. After the Floyd Landis incident some even started calling it the Tour de Farce.
Now this might just be a survey, but in the light of other scandals such as Tiger Woods and the French team not performing according to expectations at the World Cup Soccer tournament in South Africa, this results makes sense.
Parents want sportspeople to be role models for their children, and even in the quest of winning at all costs, sportspeople and especially cyclists have a huge role of responsibility to show that they are balanced individuals. Not, just obsessed with winning at all costs.
In other words, they have to factor the aspect of reputation into their success drive. Simply you can win , and lose your reputation. And, then you are nothing, because the blemish will obscure your efforts and hard work.
Cycling is also an example of how long it can take to weed out malpractices. It also illustrates the importance of the role of governance, ethics and compliance in ensuring that reputation risk does not emerge.
Next to soccer, cycling is in fact the second most popular sport in Europe. Hopefully, there will be few doping scandals in this year’s tour and public sentiment will rise again in this wonderful sport.