By Susan Westemeyer
Team Slipstream is determined to ride the Tour de France in 2008, and to do as a clean team. To this end, the US Professional Continental Team has introduced a rigorous new anti-doping program under which its riders will have their blood and urine tested 50 times a year.
"It's an absolute pain for us to do, but I'll do anything to keep from being lumped wih the guys accused of cheating," said the team's top rider, Danny Pate, in the New York Times.
The team is owned by private investor Doug Ellis, who is looking for a primary sponsor to carry the team to the Tour de France. The testing program is "an insurance policy" for potential sponsors, he noted. "I'm really committed to reaching our end point, and that's having a clean team compete in the Tour de France."
The team's director is former pro Jonathan Vaughters, who rode for the US Postal team. "I don't have a halo over my head; I made some mistakes when I was a rider," said Vaughters, who didn't give any specifics. "I don't want to have any of the riders under my direction to have to face the decisions I did."