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LA and doping(36 posts)

LA and dopingallervite
Dec 11, 2001 7:07 PM
Do you think Lance is using unethical performance enhancing drugs.
re: LA and dopingVance in Montana
Dec 11, 2001 8:32 PM
What do you think, Doug, Peleton?Daniel H.
Dec 11, 2001 9:03 PM
I do not believe that LA uses any illegal performance enhancing drugs.
However I do think that he will use any and all legal performance enhancing means that are available. I believe that in the 2000 tour that the usps team dumped their trash away from the race start/or finish?
There was a substance in that trash that was totaly legal at the time but was outlawed within a year. I think that it was called actovagen, or something like that.
I think that he is on the front of performance enhancement, and would make sense that he will use any legal means at his disposal, as most of us would. I believe that if it is legal then it is ethical.
Legal = Ethicalallervite
Dec 12, 2001 10:07 AM
Don't ever say that in a university ethics course. They will come after you with pitchforks!
I have been suspicious, but afte reading his book, I do not think he would use anything that might threaten his health.
Legal = EthicalDaniel H.
Dec 13, 2001 7:30 AM
Just provoking some contravercy, My friend.
Legal = EthicalJesse Smith
Dec 13, 2001 10:52 PM
Lance has said, time and time again, that the performance differences between himself and his competitors comes down to hard work, attention to detail (pre-riding Tour courses)and focus (training specifically for the Tour).
He said this work ethic, not drugs, is the difference. Based on this, if substances are really making the difference, their use is against his spoken ethics, regardless of whether they are legal or illegal.
I recently noticed that nobody brings up the "What's he on?" question to the forefront in early season races where he finishes relatively low in the standings. If his performances are directly related to drugs, apparently he's saving their use for the most heavily tested and highly scrutinized event in all of cycling or any sport.
Good Point (nm)allervite
Dec 15, 2001 11:42 PM
Legal <> Ethicalmclements
Dec 21, 2001 12:46 PM
Everyting legal is ethical ?! Surely you are mistaken!

Every person has his own standard of what is ethical, which should be a higher standard than what is legal. Even if sports organizations made all drugs legal, any athlete with integrity would refuse to use them.

Of course not all "performance enhancing" substances are drugs. Healthy food is a performance enhancing substance. The rules do not define what is right or wrong; they merely draw a more or less arbitrary line that everybody agrees to follow. Whether it's right or wrong is a totally different question, up to every individual and his conscience.
re: LA and dopingbrider
Dec 12, 2001 6:39 AM
I think you're blurring the line between legal and unethical. Legal is spelled out very clearly. Unethical is a personal judgement. I do believe LA is using SOMETHING, but it's legal. Whether that's unethical is your call. Personally, I'd do the same.
re: LA and dopingallervite
Dec 12, 2001 10:13 AM
I have read many of your posts and I respect your opinion. However, I do not think I blurred the line between legal and ethical. I think it is inherently blurred. I used a legal unethical substance once during an unsanctioned training race just to see how it worked. For various reasons including my health I never used it again. For the record, it made a difference; but not a very significant one.
Dec 12, 2001 7:05 AM
With LA's previous cancer, it would seem that he would know better than to put something into his body that might have a detrimental effect. It's so hard to say who is on what though. Legal and illegal drugs are a pretty fine line. I can tell you that there is stuff out there right now that may not be illegal yet, but that's only because the testers don't know about it or don't have testing methods to fight them. There is a lot going on with peptites and hormones right now in doping. Broad bans do effect a lot of these drugs though. Even actovegin, while not banned specifically at the time, could be deemed illegal under a broad anti blood boosting rule. Does actovegin boost blood or performance though? Hasn't really been proven to my knowledge.

On the other side though, Lance does have the cutting edge of sport science on his side. He readily admits to using an alititude tent to boost his hemocrit. This is just putting your body in a situation that causes it to adapt, but it does have the same effect as EPO (Although it would never raise your hemocrit so high that your blood would thicken enough to stop your heart- so no potentially deadly side effects). Is that ethical? Is it doping? You could argue either way I guess.

Personally, I would like to think that Lance isn't using drugs and hormones to boost his performance. I am sure he is using every technique to make his body adapt by it's own power though. People are always going to accuse him though, as long as he wins.
I agreeallervite
Dec 12, 2001 10:24 AM
I don't hink Lance is going to use anything that may threaten his health --especially after reading his book. I can guarantee that every team out there uses some form of supplements. I talked to one team trainer at a big race who told me the secret is to use things (i.e. altitude tent, amino acids) that cause your body to create more of the performance enhancing substances; and not use the things that simply supplement those enhancing substances (Steroids, EPO). His reason for this was that supplements cause your body to stop producing those substances. It is a well known fact that your body lowers it's own testosterone production when you are on a cycle of steroids for example.
Ethics are individual...TJeanloz
Dec 12, 2001 9:01 AM
I'm sure that Mr. Armstrong is using some kind of performance enhancing drugs, even if it's just a One-A-Day vitamin. I'm also quite sure that he's able to live with his decision- which makes it ethical from his perspective.

There will be French journalists who believe the One-A-Day regimin is unethical, and there are also Vegans who believe that eating meat is unethical- but Mr. Armstrong does that too.
Ethics are individual...Jon
Dec 12, 2001 9:04 AM
Good point, which is why we have to rely on rules rather than ethics. Which
gives rise to the "rule of law"...and lawyers.
Ethics are individual...allervite
Dec 12, 2001 10:50 AM
So you guys are relativists. "Everything is relative, so let someone else worry about my actions and create laws to guide my behavior." Who was it that said "If you don't get caught, it's not cheating."
I agree that a lot of ethics are personal, but I think there are some archetypal absolutes; and I think most of us know (or at least suspect) when we cross the line. I know modern philosophy would say I'm being ethnocentrc. But I think the pendulum of popular opinion has swung way too far in the relativists direction.
the quoteDuane Gran
Dec 13, 2001 8:32 AM
The quote you offer, "If you don't get caught, it's not cheating" was said by Richard Virenque in his trial over the doping scandal of the 1998 TdF. It is a most unfortunate statement, but it reveals the mindset of some of the athletes. It ires me in particular because I really like Virenque in spite of this.
the quoteallervite
Dec 13, 2001 8:53 AM
Me too! He was always one of my favorite racers. Kind of an underdog who knew his limits and worked them to his advantage. He is also well known for donating prize money to charity. I was thrilled to see him win Paris Nice. Hopefully, he has learned something.
Any person who says that has no honor (nm)mclements
Dec 21, 2001 12:48 PM
doping in generalDuane Gran
Dec 12, 2001 11:12 AM
I may be naive, but I don't think Armstrong is doping. I'm sure some people in the peloton are using illegal/unethical substances, I just don't know who. I read some exerpts from Willy Voet's book, "breaking the chain" and one thing he said really stuck with me. To paraphrase, he said that some athletes really didn't benefit physically from drugs or need them to perform well, it was more psychological for them.

I suspect there are some very good drugs out there, and I for one would like them to be researched. Some of them may turn out to be safe. This is progress in my opinion, just like improvements in nutrition and training science. What I don't like is the current system where nearly everything is banned and we find out what works and doesn't work in the shadows of the system. That is unreliable and promotes unnecessary risk taking.

For the most part I'm pleased with how the UCI is handling doping. No other governing body of sport exhibits such consistency. For good or bad, just consider the case of Jonathan Vaughters and that bee sting this year at TdF. A little bit of cortizone would have done the trick, but they officials declined. Can you imagine someone in the NFL being denied *anything* to treat an ailment?

[Note: I'm actually not happy about the Vaughters incident and I think it illustrates where the UCI goes overboard.]
doping in other sports and performancepeloton
Dec 12, 2001 6:20 PM
Doping is a strange subject when it comes to ethics. Some people rationalize taking performance enhancing substances, and sometimes people confuse that with ethics. Just because someone has rationalized something, they don't always believe what they are doing is ethical. And sometimes they have also rationalized it so much that they do believe it to be the ethical solution. How about a hypobaric chamber? Ethical? Creatine? Choline? How about EPO? Why is it okay to take creatine, which has an ergogenic effect but not steroids? Legality? Stigma? Aren't they both to improve performance? What's the difference? And do you believe your answer to be ethical, or just a rationalization? Now you are performing in this sport for a job. You have people to support. Now what is ethical? Everyone else is doing it. Don't you deserve to level the playing field? Hard to say, isn't it?

I do have to commend the UCI for at least trying to clean their image up. They won't ever catch everyone who is on something, and it's unrealistic to think so. I surely hope and think the peloton is cleaner today than 5 years ago. Look at other sports though if you want to see real doping. Turn on ESPN. MLB's players association has a contract with the league that there will be absolutely no testing for ergogenic aids. Think of basketball. How about the NFL (National felony league)? Never hear about doping there. If you think it is because it isn't a problem then you are naive or misinformed. It's a big problem.

Read Willy Voet's book, Breaking the Chain. It's an interesting look at what happens in the sport. Get the French version and you will be shocked at some of the names you read. The English version edited names for fear of lawsuits.

I hope and think Lance is clean today because of his illness. I hope a lot of the gruppo is clean too. I don't ever think that doping will go away though. Look at even here in the racing forum. We talked about a way to make the type IIb muscle fiber gene active in humans.... It will always be there as long as there is big money in sport.
doping in other sports and performanceDaniel H.
Dec 13, 2001 7:44 AM
What do you think should be considered as "doping" and why,
It is getting into symantics, but isn't anything that acts as a performance enhancer a drug and then should it not be banned. If so then how far can we logically go? When does it become futile.
For example "no you can't have that banana, they boost performance" How can we decide what is a level playing field?
Relativism and the Slippery SlopeJon
Dec 13, 2001 9:15 AM
Peloton's and Daniel's posts are the perfect illustration why the regulation of sport (and other
areas of life) has to be rule based. Even Aristotle noted that precision in the area of ethics
is unworkable. No Kantian principle from which to generalize is going to work, regardless of the
yearnings and sense of righteousness of the moral absolutists. As a society we engage in an
ongoing concensual process, and unfortunately, that's going to have to be good enough, warts and
all. For the athlete, the real ethical question has to be how one can knowingly violate the rules
and still consider oneself to be a moral, ethical person. As we saw in the Festina affair--and
even still today--the rationalization usually is that everyone else is doing it. In other words, no
attempt at ethical justification whatsoever. IMHO the UCI is doing a reasonable, sincere job
in trying to clean up the sport, in stark contrast to many other sports both at the "amateur" and
professional levels.
Relativism and the Slippery Slopeallervite
Dec 13, 2001 9:54 AM
Yea, moral absolutism is absurd, but I do not think that makes everything relative. I believe there are absolutes. There are many more things that are relative, but there are absolutes. You could argue that a persons genetics are cheating on an esoteric level, but we all know Human Growth Hormone supplements are cheating. If everyone in the race is cheating, are any of them cheating? Hell yea! They may be equal, but they are still cheating. We can parse words and fool ourselves with fancy rhetoric, but 9 times out of ten we know when we cross the line. Are you going to take those Guarrana pills while lined up at the start or are we going to take them back at the car? Why?
doping in other sports and performanceallervite
Dec 13, 2001 9:44 AM
Wow! You have put a lot of thought into this subject.

First of all you are 100% correct concerning popular American pro ball sports. I went to college with several athletes who turned pro and drugs are more common there then socks. Systematic doping takes on a whole different look with those guys.

The line between what is ethical is certainly a blurry one, especialy with substances like creatine and hypobaric chambers. However, Creatine was not banned because of any performance enhancing characteristics. It was banned because questions were raised about its safety. However you are still correct. The line is blurry.

As for rationalizing. If you have to rationalize, then you know what you are doing is wrong. You are just convincing yourself that the means justify the ends. Yea you are supporting your family with the job of being a pro, but it is not the only job you can do, and chances are if you get caught you are not going to have that job anymore anyway.

As for my blurred opinion: 1. Is it legal (Don't want to get in trouble regardless of ethics;
2. Is this good for me (Amino Acids) or could it potentialy harm me (Steroids); 3. Is this a substance that everyone else who I'm racing against has availability to.

For me the above is ethical.

As for Lance, I do not think he is on something that violates my first two guidelines. As for the third, I don't know, but I hope not. If so, it puts an asterik next to all of his Tour victorys. Yea, Anquetil was on something, but so was everyone else at the time. They were unethical, but they were equal.

Also, I have seen pros that I know for a fact were as clean as a new born baby's butt beat pros that I knew were as dirty as that baby's first diaper.
Their butt's aren't cleanshirt
Dec 14, 2001 9:12 AM
Dude, you're absolutely wrong about a newborn baby butt. My wife just delivered our first, and that guy's butt was covered with all sorts of disgusting stuff. And between the table and the scale (8'13oz), he blew out all this black tarry crap.

Just thought you should know.
Their butt's aren't cleanmclements
Dec 21, 2001 2:12 PM
Congrats! Our first is coming in a few months. Can't wait to buy him his first bicycle!
a matter of definitionDuane Gran
Dec 13, 2001 10:32 AM
You bring up some good points about how we define an illegal substance. Fundamentally there are two ways of approaching the problem:

1) Make a list of banned substances and eforce it
2) Make a list of allowed substances and enforce it

The first approach is favored by every governing sport body I know of because the second approach stifles innovation, however we know that option #2 would be easier to enforce. It would probably be more fair, but we want innovation.

There is a point of diminishing returns in the innovation curve and I wonder when we will reach it. Elite athletes make their career out of the sport and devote themselves fully to it. What more can they do personally? When you have guys like Armstrong weighing their food on a gram scale, for example, what further depths of commitment will yield a performance gain? I'll probably be proven wrong by history, but I tend to think we are close to apexing.

Drugs are the easy way to garner a little more performance. The drugs are always a step or two ahead of the detection mechanism, so I doubt very much the ability of the UCI to claim a clean peloton. I think we getting close to the point where option #2 is viable without hampering innovation too much. The alternative is to continue testing for yesterday's drugs. In this way we are left to wonder and debate the definition of a drug.

Mind you, I have a few reservations about this conclusion, but I think it is workable.
Interesting (nm)allervite
Dec 13, 2001 11:21 AM
Just to clarifyRoger
Dec 14, 2001 10:21 AM
the NFL does test for certain ban steroid substances. Jim Miller of the Bears was suspended last year for steroids in his system, and another player was suspended this year. Is that system as well enforced as the UCI probably not, but they do have a system. Baseball and basketball on the other hand are pretty hilarious.
Just to clarifyallervite
Dec 15, 2001 11:47 PM
Football players are not tested until they get caught. In other words, once they OD in a seedy hotel room with $5.00 hooker and get arrested, they have to forego a durg testing regimen. Of course I am overexagerating, but if you think all players are tested regularly for drugs, you are mistaken.
Dec 24, 2001 1:29 PM
Why am I thinking Michael Irvin? ;) I didn't say they tested regularly, I just said they do have a system. I don't know it's exact use, but I think it goes beyond post conviction testing. I think they may have some random testing, I think that's how Jim Miller of the Bears got nabbed for roids last year.
Where is Guillaumeallervite
Dec 13, 2001 8:40 PM
I cannot believe we got through this discussion without Cyclorocket/cyclomoteur calling someone a fag!
I believe its geneticsgreg n
Dec 14, 2001 12:02 PM
Read his book. At an early age he was kicking everyone's butt. It's genetics. It's been proven in lab tests. His body is far superior at managing lactic acid than even most pros. Therefore he can push harder, longer.

He also has exceptional dedication to his training plan and has some of the best coaches in cycling today.

Does it matter if he uses legal substances? How bad are the things that are legal anyway? Not very.

I believe he has nothing to hide. He's just one of a few great cyclists we'll probably see in our lifetimes. (Pretty strong statement.) Espescially given his bout with cancer.
AGREED!Daniel H.
Dec 16, 2001 5:46 PM
Dec 21, 2001 1:00 PM
It's so easy for us to say it's genetics. Just like saying Heifitz was a "natural born" violin player. When you aren't around to see him practicing 8 hours a day every day for years and giving up things in life that we all take for granted, it's hard to explain how else he got that good.

I think the same applies to sports. Some people are more gifted than others but these differences are not great enough to separate the winners from the also-rans. Our bodies are capable of more than we think they can do. This year when I saw Brett Wolfe finish La Ruta ahead of some pro riders it made me realize even more that hard work, preparation, and psychological fortitude play a larger role than genetic accidents of fate.

Suggesting that it's all genetics unfairly deprecates the accomplishments that LA has made.

P.S. if you don't know how Brett Wolfe is look up his name in Google and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Genetics are HUGELY importantpeloton
Dec 21, 2001 4:51 PM
There is no doubt that top level athletes make huge sacrafices and work hard to get where they are. Genetics without hard work are like an empty cup never filled. Thing is though, that top level athletes are also freaks of nature. They are the top of the curve, capable of things that the majority of people could never do no matter how hard they work. Lance is a freak. His capacity to do aerobic work is off the charts. And that does not undermine anything Lance has done. He was given a talent and made the most of it.

Hard work will get you a long way, but getting to the top takes some very special innate talents.