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Doping controls - are they necessary?(4 posts)

Doping controls - are they necessary?sacheson
Jul 30, 2003 12:53 PM
I was reading/posting in the topic below about Tour riders and illegal performance enhancers. The discussion made me think, are the illegal enhancers really worth spending the time, energy, and effort to try and detect? I mean, if we're spending thousands of dollars (Euros) testing dozens of men each day during the year to only be beat by masking agents (if, in fact, EVERYONE IS doping), or be out-witted by Chemists, what is the benefit of the testing?

Don't get me wrong. I've raced bikes for 13 years now and have never done anything beyond some coffee for enhancing my performance (OK, I tried Red Bull once and I threw up), and don't support those riders that do. But I also know several people who will put anything in their mouth if they think it will make them faster. I also know that I've beat several people that have popped what ever drug several times, and probably will as long as I'm competitive in cycling (note: I didn't say racing - I said competitive!).

With the abundance of "drugs" on the market, I don't know of a single one that will make me a Tour rider, or will make Robbie McEwen or the next Tour GC condender. That's genetics.

I know they offer an advantage to the user, but to what extent? I think many people have the misconception that taking drugs makes one fast. Taking them will make you faster, but (to my knowledge) nothing will perform an absolute miracle.

I read in a mental conditioning book a while back that stated any group of elite athletes are no more than a couple of percent (at most) different in conditioning and genetics - AND - people aren't taking drugs to go fast, they're taking them to get that couple of percent gain on their competitor.

So, putting societal norms and athletic ethics aside for a while, what harm would dropping all controls and letting the best physically conditioned, mentally prepared, AND chemically enhanced athletes compete against each other? I mean, if you open the doors, you're pretty much leveling the playing field, right?

-- this is intended to be a challenging debate, not a flame war, OK? If you want to flame, go to Non-Cycling Discussion! ;-)
Tour riders will hurt themselves with no controls.Spoiler
Jul 30, 2003 4:04 PM
First off, dope works. It won't turn Robbie into a GC contender, but dope helps riders recover during long stage races. Dope like Amphetamines and Cortozone help rider during one-day classics. If you could clone a rider, give him a couple yellow jackets and some Cortozone, and he'll smoke the original rider.

Some riders are willing to do just about anything to be competative. Tyler rode with a busted collar bone. This is the extent to which riders will go to stay in a race. Transfer this attitude to chemicals, and especially chemicals that aren't supervised by a doctor, and you got a dead rider on your hands.

Woet said Virenque would try anything and the doctors had to hold him back from experimenting. With an attitude like that, Richard owes his life to getting caught. It probably saved him.

Of course you could say, "To hell with them, let them take whatever they want, if they die, it's their own fault."

If this happens, the sport would die from bad press. Velonews and Cyclesport would have to cut out important cycling coverage to make room for a "Dopers Obituary" page each month.

Young riders would be further encouraged to start doping early. You'd have parents losing their young sons and daughters from bad reactions to drugs.

Remember, it's called Doping Control, not Doping Elimination. I think the purpose is to keep a leash on the riders, and keep them as healthy and safe as practically possible.
The "PC" trend, "We have clean riders now!"MerlinMan
Jul 30, 2003 6:58 PM
Notice how the tested riders all have an unnaturally high hematocrit level hovering around the 50% limit? Notice how the time trial and the hill stages in the tour are showing the same stellar performances even though many are saying we have clean riders now? It wasn't until just recently that insulin was shown to be an anabolic agent and NESP's presence was brought to the attention of the general public. There are many performance enhancing agents that tests have not been developed yet for or whose existance or usage is not yet general knowledge. Drawing the line as to what we consider doping reminds me of Bill Clintons fancy footwork over what the definition of "is" is.

I love cycling and admire the skill of the professionals. But I will say this: If I were offered the bet that more pro's than not were riding "enhanced", I would sell my home and all that I owned to take that bet! I believe these guys are rolling pharmacies. This is my opinion.
Effectiveness of controls are as suspect as the riders.Spoiler
Jul 30, 2003 10:36 PM
Last year we had Rumsas finish third. As far as the public was told, he passed all controls, never tested positive. His wife is caught with a load of dope, dope that SHOULD have him testing positive. What's up?

Did he cheat the test by using someone elses urine? Did he alter his own urine? Did he just pee, knowing the Tour organizers would ignore a podium positive to avoid bad PR?

The Tour rider who tested positive supposedly was a relatively unknown Italian rider who abandoned the Tour anyways. Was he a scapegoat? Did they just throw his positive out there to look like the urine tests can help catch cheats?

Two or three years in a row, the Giro had major drug busts. Busts that caught people with drugs. Suddenly this year, no busts and only one or two positives.
Does this mean there was little or no dope? Does this mean the organizers didn't follow up on anonymous "tips"? Did the past three years sufficiently scare the riders straight?

Man, I wish a current, well-respected pro cyclists would come out and come clean. During the Tour, we were caught up in what's important, the race itself.
But still, cycling has failed to prevent suspicion from cropping up as soon as the racing ends. Too many fishy situations and circumstances and too much silence.
I mean, I don't want to believe they dope, but I still wonder.