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Old 07-17-12, 03:46 PM   #1
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Are we (cycling fans) naive and expecting the impossible?

Now that Frank Schleck has been busted for doping, it's time to pose the question that has been on my mind for quite a while.

Is it reasonable to expect these cyclists in the pro peloton to do what they do without doping of some kind? I mean, it's tough stuff riding those mountains day after day.

Are we expecting the impossible here?

And when you look back at pro cycling history, it looks like doping of one kind or the other has been going on for a long time.

Discuss.
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Old 07-17-12, 04:08 PM   #2
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Sure it's possible. No one can argue that modern drugs are necessary, since races were raced and won long before they were invented.

The earlier drugs had little real effect on performance apparently, and mostly served as pain killers. Are pain killers necessary? When I'm in pain and tired, I just go slower.
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Old 07-17-12, 04:11 PM   #3
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Sure it's possible. No one can argue that modern drugs are necessary, since races were raced and won long before they were invented.

The earlier drugs had little real effect on performance apparently, and mostly served as pain killers. Are pain killers necessary? When I'm in pain and tired, I just go slower.
There were also amphetamines and other stimulants in the old days.
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Old 07-17-12, 04:27 PM   #4
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Frank Schleck is the impetus for a conversation that's been going heavy since the Festina scandal?

Who cares about Frank Schleck? When Armstrong goes down virtually every podium finisher for something like a decade will be tainted.

I'm watching the tour this year because I'm hurt, but honestly you guys are better off heading to a local crit a watching the juniors race. They'll appreciate it more also.
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Old 07-17-12, 04:58 PM   #5
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Who cares about Frank Schleck? When Armstrong goes down virtually every podium finisher for something like a decade will be tainted.
This. Cant pick & choose who gets busted & who doesn't, if they did, they should ALL be banned, regardless of what year it was.
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Old 07-17-12, 04:59 PM   #6
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At this point, let them all dope and do it openly. It will at least be safer for the riders (openly overseen by doctors), everyone will be on the same footing, and everyone will know the doping is going on instead of guessing.
Next up....Sky
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Old 07-17-12, 05:07 PM   #7
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Athletes have cheated since the first moments of sport. The ancient Olympics was a religious event, and one of the most important cultural events of its era, yet its participants still cheated. (Their punishment was a fine that paid for a bronze statue of Zeus, which immortalized their crimes.)

You also see people cheating when the stakes are incredibly low, as in negligible -- e.g. cheating in non-competitive online games.

There's little doubt that doping is rampant in all sports; cyclists are just getting caught more frequently. This in turn makes cycling (and track & field) seem so much worse than other sports.

Cyclists also don't have a strong player's union which spent years refusing to allow tests, and water down those tests when instituted. E.g. MLB does no random tests during the season; they only test if there is a "reasonable suspicion." Players are notified they will be tested and are given an hour to "prepare." It's ridiculous -- and the naivete is for those who imagine such a system would actually catch any but the most idiotic of dopers.

I don't think there is any way to ever completely eliminate cheating.

That said, and at the small chance of being a sucker I genuinely don't believe the Slipstream/Garmin guys are cheating. Sky probably aren't cheating either. I.e. yes, it can be done, and I don't think it really changes the tactics or the nature of the race that much -- especially since a lot of the doping is by domestiques.
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Old 07-17-12, 05:11 PM   #8
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I agree with this post for the most part. I think there are some clean riders, but who are they??

Sky should not have hired that team doctor. For what reason? Lots of doctors out there without ties to doping

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Athletes have cheated since the first moments of sport. The ancient Olympics was a religious event, and one of the most important cultural events of its era, yet its participants still cheated. (Their punishment was a fine that paid for a bronze statue of Zeus, which immortalized their crimes.)

You also see people cheating when the stakes are incredibly low, as in negligible -- e.g. cheating in non-competitive online games.

There's little doubt that doping is rampant in all sports; cyclists are just getting caught more frequently. This in turn makes cycling (and track & field) seem so much worse than other sports.

Cyclists also don't have a strong player's union which spent years refusing to allow tests, and water down those tests when instituted. E.g. MLB does no random tests during the season; they only test if there is a "reasonable suspicion." Players are notified they will be tested and are given an hour to "prepare." It's ridiculous -- and the naivete is for those who imagine such a system would actually catch any but the most idiotic of dopers.

I don't think there is any way to ever completely eliminate cheating.

That said, and at the small chance of being a sucker I genuinely don't believe the Slipstream/Garmin guys are cheating. Sky probably aren't cheating either. I.e. yes, it can be done, and I don't think it really changes the tactics or the nature of the race that much -- especially since a lot of the doping is by domestiques.
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Old 07-17-12, 05:18 PM   #9
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Do they expect us to climb these mountains on nothing but mineral water?
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Old 07-17-12, 05:26 PM   #10
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Do they expect us to climb these mountains on nothing but mineral water?
Coppi?

Anquetil?
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Old 07-17-12, 05:45 PM   #11
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Coppi?

Anquetil?
Anquetil. Mineral water is big in France.

Though Coppi would likely have said something similar.
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Old 07-17-12, 05:48 PM   #12
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Its a losing battle. Doping will keep up with and surpass our ability to test for illegal substances. Designer drugs are only going to become more sophisticated and difficullt to detect. And don't forget the not so far off reality of genetically modified athletes.

Let them do what they will and just figure they are all doing it.
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Old 07-17-12, 06:05 PM   #13
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I think it has been fairly well established that it's possible to ride these mountains day after day without doping. You would likely lose to the people who are doping, but it can be done. So if one person can do it, they can all do it.

The question really comes down to human nature. Can we expect a group of highly motivated individuals to follow a set of rules that limit their ability to achieve their goals? I wish the answer were an unqualified 'yes'. Unfortunately the answer seems to be that we can only expect it if the net rewards for following the rules outweigh the net rewards for breaking the rules. The UCI, USADA, etc. are unlikely to be able to tip the balance, but I think the sponsors could if they wanted to.
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Old 07-17-12, 06:10 PM   #14
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Yeah, I was trying to be snarky and show that it's a very old problem in the same post. I believe it was Anquetil, but I'm not positive. Sounds like something he'd say.
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Old 07-17-12, 06:33 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=Laggard;14494501]Its a losing battle. Doping will keep up with and surpass our ability to test for illegal substances. Designer drugs are only going to become more sophisticated and difficullt to detect. And don't forget the not so far off reality of genetically modified athletes./QUOTE]

This is what I think also. I mean, it seems the anti-doping authorities are forever condemned to be playing catch-up. It is really getting ridiculous. Whenever I want to believe in the pro peloton again, wham, they slap you on your face with another positive test result (sigh).

And what is really shameful is that it looks as if these two-year bans for testing positive is not serving as a deterrent. What could be the solution? I sure don't like the idea of letting them all dope. I mean, that is gonna be a race to the bottom, and the whole thing becomes a big pharmological/pharmaceutical farce, instead of a cycling race/competition (sigh again).
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Old 07-17-12, 09:22 PM   #16
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There were also amphetamines and other stimulants in the old days.
Of course. Hence the second line of the post you quoted.
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Old 07-17-12, 09:29 PM   #17
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Its a losing battle. Doping will keep up with and surpass our ability to test for illegal substances. Designer drugs are only going to become more sophisticated and difficullt to detect. And don't forget the not so far off reality of genetically modified athletes.

Let them do what they will and just figure they are all doing it.
You ever hear Carmelita Jeter speak? The Incredible Hulk lady with the roid voice. Never tested positive!
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Old 07-17-12, 09:56 PM   #18
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At this point, let them all dope and do it openly. It will at least be safer for the riders (openly overseen by doctors)
Tom Simpson is all the reasons you need why doping can't be allowed.
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Old 07-17-12, 09:59 PM   #19
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The issue isn't really about doping, it's about cheating. Yes, Coppi did a lot of amphetamines, Anquetil made the famous mineral water remark, lots of the early guys were boozed up to the eyeballs to anaesthetise themselves through prodigiously long stages on fixed gear bikes. But it wasn't against the rules. And the rules change. Drugs (including caffeine) move on and off the banned list.

So the question is, what do we decide is cheating? What is the difference between doping and medication, for example? If an athlete is treated with pharmaceuticals to speed their recovery from injury, is that doping? Most people would probably say no, if what we are doing is restoring them to fitness rather than enhancing their level of performance. But where is the line drawn between injury and the wear and tear that is to be expected in a stage race? Is it OK to help people recover, as long as we aren't helping them do things they couldn't do before? If yes, then some of the chemicals now banned would be OK. If no, then the line between legitimate and illegitimate won't be clear.

These are murky waters. If I discovered that a naturally-occurring, widely-availanble foodstuff boosted my ability to tolerate training, would it be unethical to eat it? I think not. Would it be unethical to avoid telling my competitors? Again, I'd say no. I'm under no obligation to reveal the details of my training regime to them, it is perfectly reasonable that I should seek an advantage. And is there any moral difference between a chemical that grows in the ground as opposed to being synthesised in a lab? No, the vitamin C in a multivitamin is no more evil than the vitamin C in an orange.

So the question of doping is far from cut and dried, ethically speaking. What turns it into an ethical issue is the rules. We decide, pretty much arbitrarily, what is permissible and what isn't. and if you are going to make a rule, you'd better be confident that you can enforce it consistently, or the unfairness increases rather than decreases.
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Old 07-17-12, 10:03 PM   #20
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Tom Simpson is all the reasons you need why doping can't be allowed.
I disagree. Had he been better supervised, he'd probably be alive. He did famously say, after all, "if it takes ten to kill you, I'll take nine".
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Old 07-18-12, 12:45 AM   #21
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This is why Messenger Alleycats are better.
If the drugs don't kill you, the cars will.
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Old 07-18-12, 01:24 AM   #22
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Tom Simpson is all the reasons you need why doping can't be allowed.
Had you had any knowledge about the circumstances Simpson's death, you would have known that cycling and its cyclists were incredibly stupid in those days. As in: they didn't drink during hot days -- because they were only allowed to take two bidons along, and get another two bidons during the race. More was not allowed -- and yes there were raids by the domestiques into cafés to get anything drinkable.

Now, try racing several hundred kilometres on a hot summer day on just two liters of water.

That they healed their self inflicted pain with amphetamines just added stupid to stupid.
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Old 07-18-12, 01:55 AM   #23
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put 'em all, "back on their bikes". (joking)

I've got to agree with Chasm.

Arbitrary rules, lines drawn in the sand that determine if naturally occuring chemistry is deemed permissible or not, substances on the banned list not because they have any chance of increasing performance, but, because they might obscure what is being examined for or simply dilute it.

It's a shame that Frank has tested positive. However, I'm not surprised. Nor would I be if any other pro peleton member tested positive.

The larger shame is the retro active approach to some of what is taking place. Not just LA, but, also what they did to Contador. The shame is not that athletes have been or may be stripped of a title. The real shame is for those that were deprived of it in the first place and will spend the rest of their life asking, 'what if". What would their career have looked like? How would it have changed their next contract? What sort of team mates and support might they have been able to attract? How would their lives have changed?

To confuse it further, once they've retroactively stripped a title, what do they do when the runner up and even third place have been indicted for similiar offenses and/or already been penalized? And, when the first eligible rider wasn't sampled immediately following competition because they were so far down the list?

What was the definition of "farce" again?
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Old 07-18-12, 04:34 AM   #24
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of course athletes are usually one step ahead of the tests available.

epo test gives rise to the use of cera.

I'm not sure how Contador fits in here. Why was it a shame he got stripped of a title? Was it a shame they stripped Floyd? Circumstances were the same. Both were caught and fought it. That battle took quite a bit of time.

The fear of getting caught not now, but two years from now, is about the only thing that could keep a guy taking the newest thing.

It's apparently part of what the Fed was investigating Armstrong for...an alleged ability to get drug trials due to his pharmaceutical connections. I suspect the Fed case got dropped because they couldn't get any of these more serious charges to stick on him.

I think Dick Pound discusses the issue of always playing catch up with drug testing

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor....html?page=all

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Old 07-18-12, 04:37 AM   #25
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This may smack of semantics but I think they should call it "cheating" or "cheating by doping". Maybe it's just me but I believe you need to have the label cheat applied to someone who dopes to get ahead. In a sport that prides itself on manners, it woud be good to point out just how unmannerly a participant has been by doping.
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