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Different angle on solving doping

Old 04-25-07, 05:26 PM
  #1  
pinky
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Different angle on solving doping

So everyone keeping talking about throwing cash at more thorough testing, for bigger and better tests. The issue is there also appears to be the impression that riders are only doping to win. Let's for a moment screw all that.

Riders and athletes in general (and the "doctors") are always going to looking for, and finding new drugs and new ways to beat tests. Look at our very own "War on Drugs" increased arrests succeed at nothing more that straining the very system thats making the arrests.
The other part of the problem is that (I think) most dopers are expecting to win. Look at Puerto, you have 50-60 riders, with the big names like Basso and Ulrich,which eliminates 2, how many of the remaining regularly win races? Or have ever won a single Pro Tour race? These riders are doping for a different reason - to keep racing. These are no name Pro Tour riders who know nothing except racing. To get realeased from a team means a massive pay cut to what is already a pathetic salary. Especially when pensions are at their largest 36% and at minimum 12% (which means given the minimum salary for a non-neo pro E10,800).

Instead why not approach all of this from a different angle. Let's jack the rider minimum salary (on all levels so Continental and what not also raises) to something that's sustainable as a pension once they leave the sport and make sure the pension is dependant upon staying clean (amongst other things). Take all that cash they're throwing at testing and pay the rest of the riders with it. It won't make current dopers stop (though we haven't figured out anything that has worked yet) but it should lay a basis for creating a sport where athletes aren't doping for fear of losing their jobs and only meaningful source of income.

Basically the idea is to move the doping battle from one of punishment to one of reward.

Have fun...play nice...
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Old 04-25-07, 07:49 PM
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Punishment to be an effective deterrant has to be swift, severe,and certain. The penalties are already severe. Your proposal at best raises the severity of punishment, which already quite severe. It does nothing to address certainty or swiftness.

Until there is a high likelyhood of getting caught, the rewards of cheating will still induce many to cheat.
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Old 04-25-07, 08:02 PM
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How does it raise the severity? Dopers still lose pension and job in the current plan (right?), the plan merely makes it so riders don't feel as desperate. Riders who are winning will always have the incentive to dope to win, that can only be address by what you explain, but for the others if just making a Continental team means enough money to sustain a family on a pension I think you'd see a lot of the riders who are doping to merely keep their job whom I suspect are a much larger portion of doping riders.
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Old 04-25-07, 10:25 PM
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Unfortunately, the only way to reliably "solve" the doping problem is to stop defining it as a problem. End the rules, let athletes ingest/inject/infuse whatever they want.
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Old 04-25-07, 10:37 PM
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^ Wrong. So, so wrong.
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Old 04-25-07, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin
^ Wrong. So, so wrong.
Why? There will always be gray areas.... altitude tents... legal supplements, technology, etc.
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Old 04-25-07, 11:01 PM
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There's a big difference between using an altitude tent and outright doping. Gatorade does not equal HGH. 7 cups of coffee does not equal EPO. Aerodynamic frames and wheels are not analagous with steroid abuse. Wind tunnel testing isn't at all similar to taking amphetamines.
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Old 04-25-07, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin
There's a big difference between using an altitude tent and outright doping. Gatorade does not equal HGH. 7 cups of coffee does not equal EPO. Aerodynamic frames and wheels are not analagous with steroid abuse. Wind tunnel testing isn't at all similar to taking amphetamines.

+1

Again - the technology is there currently to reduce and at least significantly mitigate the number of athletes doping (i.e. - DNA testing, frequent testing to monitor base levels). The problem has been that the standards for testing have not been utilizing the technology at hand.

Again - all Basso has to do to clear his name is submit to a DNA test to provide once and for all of those OP bags are his. But he will not. Here technology, if used, could definitively identify a rider's guilt or innocence. So to throw in the towel because current testing standards leave open excuses and doubt when accusations are thrown about is rediculous.
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Old 04-26-07, 01:18 AM
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I think the idea of raising the average salary to professionalize the sport is a noble one -- and necessary. I am not certain, however, that this would ameliorate the current doping situation. In fact, I imagine it might even heighten competitiveness, which would, in turn, lead to more doping. Just look at professional football. This is probably America's most successful sports model (in terms of wealth) and it is undoubtedly riddled with dope of all kinds. I would suggest that European soccer is similarly 'corrupt' in terms of doping, despite its incredible popularity and material success.

I would, in fact, suggest that cycling, of all professional sports, is most likely to become clean simply because of its lack of wealth. It is an easy target. It has become the scapegoat for professional sports in general, and certainly the straw man for Dick Pound. The scrutiny on cycling right now is incredibly intense.

The only thing that will help clean up doping in this ethos of heightened scrutiny is very severe, and also very fair punishment. I think we are working toward the former, but sadly deficient in the latter. Look at Basso. He has become a symbolic whipping-boy just as Ullrich before him. This is totally unacceptable. All those bags of blood should be opened and analyzed and everyone should be made accountable, not only riders but team staff.

Ah well, I could go on. I do think, though, that the issue of proper remuneration (and pension, etc.) of cyclists is separate from the doping issue. I do think that desperation would only increase if the financial stakes were raised. Which is why I think it's necessary to institute doping policies now that are (as mentioned) severe, yet fair.
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Old 04-26-07, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by pinky
How does it raise the severity?
Well if I understand your plan it raises the severity of the punishment because by raising salaries, and pensions, you increase the consequence of losing that. Hence the ban is more severe, and theoretically more of a deterrent.

However, as Stallionforce points out, by increasing the payout for making the team, you increase the incentive to cheat to get on, stay on, the team.

I don't think people are cheating because of the pressure to make a living wage. If that were the prime motivation, you wouldn't have all the cases at the top, a la Uhlrich, Hamilton, etc. I think people cheat because they want to win, want money and want fame. Adding more money would only be fuel to the flame.
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Old 04-26-07, 07:54 AM
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Riders get pensions?
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Old 04-26-07, 08:16 AM
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giving riders more money wont stop anyone from doping. those cyclists that only know cycling are going to be just as effed if they have to leave the sport regardless how much money they are making. Even if they did raise the minimum salary to some huge level it would just cause more people to need to stay in the sport and make more people do anything just to get there.
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Old 04-26-07, 09:55 AM
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Alright but increasing punishment hasn't seemed to work, and athletes seem to be doing a better job at beating tests than the establishment has at stopping said athletes. I don't think this is a trend likely to change.
Also, I apologize if this was unclear, but but when I was saying all wages were to be increased thats for all Pro riders, continentals and the like as well. The idea being more to get a contract in their hands early enough that doping is still out of the question (or at least less likely), then pay the m enough that they can survive at the bottom. Yes, there's still incentive to dope for winners, but there arent that many winners in this sport. Again I dont think cases like Ulrich, Basso, Hamilton are the majority of the cases, they're the majority of what makes the news but thats becauses the news doesn't care about a joe no-one pro tour rider doping and doesn't rant and rave for day after day.
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Old 04-26-07, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
Riders get pensions?
You realize that the UCI is the cyclist's union, right? I know, it's hard to believe sometimes that they are supposed to be rider advocates.

The OP's plan has been well-dismissed above. Seriously, it's not going to work. There will always be cheaters, and they will always be a step ahead of the cheat-finders. The new problem we have now in addition to the cheating is that the cheat-finders are themselves cheating, using unreliable tests, ridiculous excuses for protocol, lack of transparency and oversight, etc. Both sides are a joke right now.
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Old 04-26-07, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Stallionforce
I think the idea of raising the average salary to professionalize the sport is a noble one -- and necessary. I am not certain, however, that this would ameliorate the current doping situation. In fact, I imagine it might even heighten competitiveness, which would, in turn, lead to more doping. Just look at professional football. This is probably America's most successful sports model (in terms of wealth) and it is undoubtedly riddled with dope of all kinds. I would suggest that European soccer is similarly 'corrupt' in terms of doping, despite its incredible popularity and material success.
Why noble to pay athletes more? Is this a useful task? Do they save lives or feed the hungry?

I agree that raising salaries will worsen the problem if anything. If the testers had much more money than those who were trying to cheat that might help. But that will never happen. And at this point even that might not be nearly enough. If there are too many drugs out there it becomes difficult to test for them all, even if you have tests for them all.

The solution? One that migth work is for the athletes to think that a win with drugs is a tainted win. Will that happen? Not easily. I've seen too many in too many sports at a lower level who tool the rules to get into a 'class' where they do not belong to improve chances of a (plastic) medal. There are just far too many out there who want an award at any cost.
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Old 04-26-07, 08:44 PM
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In a really old Tim Allen standup routine he suggested that sports be like Drag Racing. You would have stock, where everybody was clean; Super Stock, where you might take a few uppers, a pain killer or two; and Unlimited, where anything goes!
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Old 04-26-07, 09:22 PM
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^^^^
Cue the Sturday Night Live clip.
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