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  1. #1
    Senior Member collegeskier's Avatar
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    Dope Testing Conundrum

    Reading through the comments makes me wonder about testing in professional sports and cycling especially.

    If you assume people will cheat, pretty good assumption, in my opinion. Given 400+/- elite cyclist is the world and probably another few thousand who think they have a chance, some of them will be willing to cheat to get ahead.

    So if you assume there are cheaters, finding people cheating means your doing something right, yet people say how dirty your sport is.

    Seems like your option is to have joke testing (US based professional sports) or have people say how bad your sport is and how they are all cheaters. MLB has 5% to 7% of players test positive for steroids in 2003, do you think all those guys have stopped or just switched to HGH, not tested for in MLB still. What is the solution?
    Last edited by collegeskier; 10-01-10 at 08:06 AM. Reason: Proof reading is good

  2. #2
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Dear college,
    School is a good thing. You can't have it both ways. Tough tiddies. Cycling is a dirty sport. They catch a couple guys here or there, sometimes they don't. Don't jump to conclusions all the time. Think.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  3. #3
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    People will continue to dope as long as the potential rewards outweigh the risks. Apparently the combined potentially-lucrative rewards of prize money, team salaries, sponsorship and endorsement contracts, and appearance fees outweighs the risk of a 2 year ban for a first time offender and/or possible health risks up to and including death.
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member collegeskier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    Dear college,
    School is a good thing. You can't have it both ways. Tough tiddies. Cycling is a dirty sport. They catch a couple guys here or there, sometimes they don't. Don't jump to conclusions all the time. Think.
    I don't know what conclusion I jumped to that there is always going to be someone doping/cheating in professional sports, that seems like a very good conclusion and one you would agree with.

    I don't know what two ways I want it. Maybe I was not clear. I guess I should say that people should point out every time someone is caught and say how dirty the sport is, instead say, great we caught another one lets figure out how he did it and make the testing better and the peloton cleaner. I am not convinced cycling is dirtier then any other business let alone sport. I think they are trying to do the right thing (could use more of doing the right thing) but they get punished for it. Meanwhile sports that don't care, no one seems to care about the fact that their cheating.

  5. #5
    Senior Member hopsing08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by collegeskier View Post
    I don't know what conclusion I jumped to that there is always going to be someone doping/cheating in professional sports, that seems like a very good conclusion and one you would agree with.

    I don't know what two ways I want it. Maybe I was not clear. I guess I should say that people should point out every time someone is caught and say how dirty the sport is, instead say, great we caught another one lets figure out how he did it and make the testing better and the peloton cleaner. I am not convinced cycling is dirtier then any other business let alone sport. I think they are trying to do the right thing (could use more of doing the right thing) but they get punished for it.
    The people doing the testing DO think like that. It is the media and people in general who point out how dirty the sport is. Honestly it is all about media, they can paint it in whatever light they want.
    But the point is that they are cheating. I think it makes it look a lot dirtier too that people don't just admit it and say "i messed up...got caught, and now i will serve my suspension and try to be clean...er."
    A long life may not be good enough but a good life is long enough.
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  6. #6
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I have to somewhat cynically ask - where is all the increased testing leading us to? I think that so far, it has accomplished two things. It has weeded out the blatant and careless cheaters, and it has made those who are determined to get an edge more and more sophisticated. I do not think they will ever be able to make the sport completely clean, and frankly, short of using implanted sensors and round the clock monitors for each athlete, there's no way the sport could ever be 100% clean. Even today, if I were a young and promising pro cyclist who was committed to riding clean, I would have two concerns - outside of "what are others doing".

    1. The current controls are very near the limits of what I would consider to be "too invasive". Having to let my boss know where I am going to be 24/7? That's quite a sacrifice of personal privacy.

    2. The prospect of having my career effectively destroyed by environmental exposure or unwitting consumption of something forbidden.

    I think it is possible for testing to go "too far", and I think pro cycling is approaching that limit.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  7. #7
    Road Nazi Hunter Donegal's Avatar
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    Easy for the armchair quarterbacks and self-proclaimed gurus. Don't forget the haters. Look at the level of testing, highest in sports, period. UCI was professional for a change, tried to figure it out themselves, not convict the cyclist in the paper. I am so tired of newspaper reporters creating their own stories with little to no data that I could puke.

    L'Equipe has condemned every major rider not French, oops looks like a consipiracy. I, for one am tired of the snide, backstabbing yellow journalism where rider's characters are assassinated before the facts are in.

    Looks like AC may have doped....Let the pros find real evidence, and then prosecute. If not, it will die a natural death and everyone will have to just get over it.

    When was the last B.S. headliner forced to apologize and/or pay damages for a totally false accusation? I know that I would be leaving a trail of bodies of these mudsuckers.
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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    It's funny when you hear the loudmouths of the forum talk about other armchair QBs as if they are the definitive expert on all things cycling. It's an opinion. And everybody's got one, just like their own a--.

    Cycling is rife with drug use. So are other sports. Is cycling any more drug-laden than any other sport? Probably. Maybe not much more than other endurance sports, but certainly more than the skilled sports. There are different sets of drugs used in each sport. Yeah, catching cheats is always a good thing, unless you happen to think that is bad for the sport.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  9. #9
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    ... but certainly more than the skilled sports. ...
    I curious what you're considering "skilled sports". If you mean tennis and golf - ok, perhaps you're correct. If you mean football and baseball... I disagree.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  10. #10
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    I curious what you're considering "skilled sports". If you mean tennis and golf - ok, perhaps you're correct. If you mean football and baseball... I disagree.


    I know that some people consider golf a game, but it is a true sport. Tennis too. Both are skilled sports, so are basketball, baseball, football. Skilled sports, in general, have less doping involved. Of course, baseball and football are different than the other skilled sports in that a great amount of strength and power are necessary. And the point is that those types of sports lead to a different subset of drug usage (i.e., anabolics over blood doping). Does the use of anabolics mean that those sports are more drug-laden than cycling? I don't think so. It's just a different subset of drugs, so cycling fans can't say unequivocally that football is more drug-laden than cycling.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    I have to somewhat cynically ask - where is all the increased testing leading us to? I think that so far, it has accomplished two things. It has weeded out the blatant and careless cheaters, and it has made those who are determined to get an edge more and more sophisticated. I do not think they will ever be able to make the sport completely clean, and frankly, short of using implanted sensors and round the clock monitors for each athlete, there's no way the sport could ever be 100% clean. Even today, if I were a young and promising pro cyclist who was committed to riding clean, I would have two concerns - outside of "what are others doing".

    1. The current controls are very near the limits of what I would consider to be "too invasive". Having to let my boss know where I am going to be 24/7? That's quite a sacrifice of personal privacy.

    2. The prospect of having my career effectively destroyed by environmental exposure or unwitting consumption of something forbidden.

    I think it is possible for testing to go "too far", and I think pro cycling is approaching that limit.
    You are pretty much correct. The issue is the penalty. The two year ban is not enough of a deterent. The riders need to be facing a consequence of such magnitude that it will effectively end their career in the pro tour for a significant period of time.

  12. #12
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    Get caught, banned for life and all winnings for the season are forfeit and must be returned to the event organizers. Entire career Pro level resume for is wiped and all riders that placed under are moved up a peg. Salary for the season is forfeit and must be returned. Addition 50,000 Euro fine. Contract is canceled. UCI/WADA will work with appropriate legal authorities to pursue prosecution for illegal use of medication.

    Get caught and it should HURT.

    That said, I think there should be a minimum amount in the system before this kicks in. There is the possibility of background contamination and that can't be dismissed.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  13. #13
    Senior Member trustnoone's Avatar
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    Would a lifetime ban deter? I'm not sure it would. Getting caught at the continental, junior and amateur levels where a two year ban may very well end someone's bid at making it to the protour ever, there is still doping.

    I'm not sure what the average protour rider makes but the minimum salary is $47,000. Pro continental is $39,000. In western Europe I think that would have been less than entry level labour twenty years ago. Continental has no minimum, so riding for virtually free is probably pretty common.

    The distance from sponsor(bank roll) to rider is pretty short in cycling. A bad season or even a poor last half of a season might end a career or at least drastically shrink a pay cheque for the next year.

    Aside from the protected riders who have strong teams around them and thick palmares I think the question isn't 'who's doping?' it's 'why wouldn't they?'

  14. #14
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    I know that some people consider golf a game, but it is a true sport. Tennis too. Both are skilled sports, so are basketball, baseball, football. Skilled sports, in general, have less doping involved.
    Skill sports suffer from a problem that doesn't get covered in threads in BF, namely, performance dis-enhancing bribes.

    Recent instances in cricket and snooker highlight the problem of betting syndicates offering large bribes to professional players to bowl 'no-balls' and miss 'pots'. Who is to say similar things don't happen in golf tournaments.

    No test has yet been developed to detect conspiracy to under-achieve.
    History is the future

  15. #15
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    1. The current controls are very near the limits of what I would consider to be "too invasive". Having to let my boss know where I am going to be 24/7? That's quite a sacrifice of personal privacy.

    2. The prospect of having my career effectively destroyed by environmental exposure or unwitting consumption of something forbidden.

    I think it is possible for testing to go "too far", and I think pro cycling is approaching that limit.
    I'm with you on this.

    Also, the uneven application of the rules concerns me. When Contador got popped for 400x below the minimum detection required for WADA lab certification, it shows that at many other WADA-certified labs worldwide, he would have gotten a pass. Something about that doesn't sit right with me.

    To your second point, someone in the Contador thread pointed out that a spectator, competitor, klutz, or general bad buy could destroy someone's tour and get them suspended for a couple of years by spraying an inhaler in his general direction. It's nuts.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by trustnoone View Post
    Would a lifetime ban deter? I'm not sure it would. Getting caught at the continental, junior and amateur levels where a two year ban may very well end someone's bid at making it to the protour ever, there is still doping.

    I'm not sure what the average protour rider makes but the minimum salary is $47,000. Pro continental is $39,000. In western Europe I think that would have been less than entry level labour twenty years ago. Continental has no minimum, so riding for virtually free is probably pretty common.

    The distance from sponsor(bank roll) to rider is pretty short in cycling. A bad season or even a poor last half of a season might end a career or at least drastically shrink a pay cheque for the next year.

    Aside from the protected riders who have strong teams around them and thick palmares I think the question isn't 'who's doping?' it's 'why wouldn't they?'
    If you think about it. Even though bike racers are paid less than other pro athletes. Even if they could get to the point where they could pull down half a million dollars income for two or three years and then get banned. They have made enough money to buy and pay for an average house, a couple of cars and have some money saved for college if they haven't already been. To score it big for even a couple of years must be a big incentive to dope.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Cateye's Avatar
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    Is testing going to get to the point where the test labs can detect such small values that they are not performance enhancing? If Contador is right, and it was food, is the wrong because it was his body and he should have known or was the levels so small that while detectable they are not large enough to improve performance?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    If you think about it. Even though bike racers are paid less than other pro athletes. Even if they could get to the point where they could pull down half a million dollars income for two or three years and then get banned. They have made enough money to buy and pay for an average house, a couple of cars and have some money saved for college if they haven't already been. To score it big for even a couple of years must be a big incentive to dope.
    They wouldn't be set in this case - keep in mind that they'd have 2-3 years of training costs and management fees eating into that $1-1.5M, and if you're going to be a top rider, those costs have to be significant.

    I think that a lot of people make the mistake of comparing the winnings of athletes like cyclists, golfers, fighters, etc. to their own employment income - when it would be a better analogy to compare those #'s to their employer's revenue.

  19. #19
    Velo Club La Grange Cat4Lifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    It's funny when you hear the loudmouths of the forum talk about other armchair QBs as if they are the definitive expert on all things cycling. It's an opinion. And everybody's got one, just like their own a--.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Pffft. The iron gif. Wow! Way to ignore the content of the topic and deflect once again. How's THAT for irony?
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  21. #21
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Does anyone else feel like we're just asking/demanding too much of our athletic heroes?

    I mean, we expect records to fall year after year. We expect superhuman performances but the athletes aren't allowed to take medications that any of us schmoes can get if we have a therapeutic need. They're supposed to focus all of their energy, time, and focus on beating their competitors, but we don't want them to be cocky before or after winning. We want them to have a singleminded sense of purpose to do these things, but don't want them to be sore losers if things don't go their way.

    They live their lives under incredible stress and scrutiny, but they're not supposed to have temper tantrums or do the other things that many of us do to relieve stress - take recreational drugs, have sexual (mis)adventures, etc.

    What's the athletic ideal we're holding these guys to?

    1) They have to be better at their sport than everyone else.

    2) They have to be GENUINELY modest - the only thing worse than being arrogant is false modesty. So they have to act like they're not actually better than everyone else.

    3) They have to have freakish VO2 Max.

    4) They can't use EPO or other PEDs that help with VO2 Max. Freak genetics, altitude training, and hyperbaric chambers are all OK, though.

    5) They have to maintain an insane volume of training year-round, regardless of weather, motivation, injury, etc.

    6) They can't use steroids or stimulants to help with recovery in order to maintain that insane volume of training.

    7) They have to live with constant scrutiny and stress.

    8) They must never, ever take recreational drugs like weed, or E, coke, or heroin. Oh, alcohol is just fine, though. Nicotine's not a banned substance, but Christ help you in dealing with public opinion if you have a ciggy now and then to relax/focus.

    9) If they're straight men and single, they're expected to maintain a certain level of promiscuity to prove virility.

    11) Single gay men are expected to keep their personal lives private.

    12) Single women (straight or lesbian) are expected to date someone deemed appropriate in long-term stable relationships.

    13) If they're married, they're expected to never, ever stray. And their spouse or partner is expected to always be supportive but never upstaging. An athelete's wife should always be present, but not appear in too many photos for fear of being called a photo***** or worse.

    14) They should earn a lot of money.

    15) They should spend that money how the fans see fit.


    It goes on and on and on.

  22. #22
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syscrush View Post
    Does anyone else feel like we're just asking/demanding too much of our athletic heroes?
    Yes. The first problem is treating athletes like heroes. To be considered a hero, one usually has to perform a selfless act, and usually one that comes at personal risk. An athletic performance almost never meets these basic requirements.

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