Guest Post on Accepting Drugs in Sport: the Case of Pro-Cycling

October 30th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

A guest post by , a former Ironman tri-athlete and a keen Tour de France follower:

The downfall of in the of professional now seems complete.  Yet, as the dust settles, many are left wondering what’s next for pro-: can it recover its credibility?  Or will it once more be tarnished by the brush of ?  There seems little cause for hope, unless the Armstrong scandal helps the public reach a new acceptance of drugs in particular sports like pro-.

Much has been written about Lance Armstrong. including allegations that he’s brought the sport into disrepute.  Although I’ll say that we can hardly expect successful pro-cyclists to behave like Mother Teresa, I have little to add about the man’s career.  I think, however, that there’s one important thing to keep in mind: the significant role of drugs in professional cycling goes well beyond just Lance Armstrong.

Before Armstrong, so many of cycling’s big names have tested positive for drugs.  They include Armstrong’s former rival, Jan Ullrich, five times Tour winner, Miguel Indurain and even the man who’s arguably the greatest road cyclist of all time, Eddy Merckx.  

Drugging does not seem confined to just individual athletes, either.  In 1998, the year before Armstrong won his first Tour de France, pro-cycling went through the Festina Affair.  It started when a team car that was stopped by the authorities at a border crossing and was found to be packed to the gunwales with EPO and other performance-enhancing drugs.  The case sent shockwaves throughout the sport and resulted in the trial of 10 people, including cyclists, team doctors and team managers   There were plenty of calls for pro-cycling to clean up its act following that fiasco, too.

But why is doping so rife in pro-cycling?  For my part, I think people need to appreciate just what the sport involves.  In the Tour de France, for example, competitors ride approximately 3500 kilometres.  Over that distance, the winner sets a phenomenal average speed of around 40kmh. And even with that pace, riders get just two rest days through the 23 days of the race  

I don’t doubt how hard it is to be a professional sports person in any code, but surely there are few sports where competitors operate so near the upper bounds of human endurance.  Cyclists must face a massive temptation to seek performance from wherever they can find it.

Some are calling for some sort of amnesty in which riders can come clean.  Whether or not that happens, you have to wonder just how long it will take for riders will start doping or not.  When someone in a race performs well, everyone else is going to think that person’s doping and they should, too.

Do others share my scepticism that the sport can clean itself up?  Yes, including some pretty important people.  One big name sponsor Dutch bank, Rabobank, has been involved in cycling for 17 years.  Yet, after the Armstrong scandal, it announced it was ending its sponsorship of both men’s and women’s professional cycling, saying that it was “no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport.”

What does it mean for something to be a fair sport?  Surely, it’s that players know the rules and abide by them.  What if the rules were changed so that a level of doping was acceptable?  If everyone was able to take drugs, wouldn’t the sport still be fair?

While cyclists might by themselves reach this point, it’s doubtful that the general public would accept any sort of doping.  This is my reason for writing this post for Kiwiblog and not for some cycling forum.  Isn’t it time that we woke up and ask whether, for some particular sports, a level of doping might be ok?

For my 2c I think it is desirable that top titles are won by those who are the best athletes, not have the best chemists. However it would be great to have a “main” Olympics and a “freak” Olympics where anything goes from drugs to biotechnology – and have the winners from both compete against each other :-)

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49 Responses to “Guest Post on Accepting Drugs in Sport: the Case of Pro-Cycling”

  1. kowtow (8,449 comments) says:

    yes let’s accept it .

    Next problem; he cheated at cheating.

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  2. annie (539 comments) says:

    What if the rules were changed so that a level of doping was acceptable?

    An excellent idea, but only if all cyclists involved in sport at the affected level contracted out of accepting public funding for their health. No snivelling to the state for drugs, transplants or dialysis when their kidneys fail, for instance; let natural selection take its course.

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  3. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    I doubt that the Tour can clean itself up let alone Cycling. Drugs have been part of the tour for decades – 1967 – Tom Simpson died of heart attack probably induced by amphetamines, even the great Jacques Anquetil never hid the fact that in the 50s they were taking amphetamines.
    I think the “authorities” / UCI could level the playing field by allowing / controlling the use of EPO or blood doping, that possibly could have the effect of eliminating the use more the dangerous concoctions. Who knows ? perhaps even the most reccent furore casued by the English speaking media is irrelevant in France ? I can well imagine French shrugging their shoulders and muttering “Tant pis – le Tour est Le Tour, c’est la vie”

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  4. Roflcopter (463 comments) says:

    Eddie Izzard would agree…

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  5. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    Personally I believe anyone showing any inclination at all to use a pushbike should be taken out back and shot immediately but I’m all for drugs in sport.

    I’ll be first in line to watch the doped olympics which I hope coincides with the chopped-and-channelled olympics where all runners run on those spring/blades things, throwers have artificial arms, swimmers webbed feet etc.

    Should be fantastic viewing.

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  6. wreck1080 (3,906 comments) says:

    Isn’t cycling one of those sports well known for drug abuse?

    You don’t do drugs, you can’t win.

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  7. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    I don’t doubt how hard it is to be a professional sports person in any code, but surely there are few sports where competitors operate so near the upper bounds of human endurance. Cyclists must face a massive temptation to seek performance from wherever they can find it.

    So athletes are at the upper bound of endurance, so seek drugs to push past that. What they are seeking then, is to move their upper bound past the other athletes. If doping were regulated, or tolerated or somehow managed, you would still end up with everyone at the new upper boundary, and someone would seek an advantage again.

    So no matter what you do, someone will not be satisfied, and will seek to gain an advantage others don’t have or know about yet.

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  8. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    I’ll be first in line to watch the doped olympics…

    We used to have them. All events were won by East Germany. And the athletes had names such as Bruno and Ralf. And the females could grow a better beard than I could ever muster.

    Then the Chinese decided to enter the fray. Not hard to remember their swimmers.. they were the ones who had to turn sideways to get through a door. :D

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  9. marcw (247 comments) says:

    Get rid of the control that the Teams have over the competitors in the race. All cyclists should be under the control of the event organisers for the duration of the event, and stay in mixed group accommodation with assistants who have no team affiliations. There can still be teams as well as individual competitors, but they will have to get rid of the secretive culture that has been allowed to develop, and let the cyclists themselves be in control instead of the millionaire owners on their radios (especially during the races). When the cyclists disappear at the end of each day to their private enclaves, it’s no wonder all sorts of illegalities occur as they are shrouded from view. I would say the quality of the racing would improve out of sight if they followed this plan or something similar, and also the kudos to the winners would be greater as they would be true athletic champions not some sort of manufactured product.

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  10. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Rouppe, I agree that no matter what’s allowed, people are always going to try and push the rules. However, doesn’t the widespread nature of doping in cycling suggest that it’s time those rules are changed? When the rules are being broken systematically, surely it’s time to review the rules as the problem, not the people breaking them.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  11. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    I cannot believe we are even talking about this. People are breaking the rules and taking drugs, so obviously the rules are at fault? Seriously?

    You quote the example of the Tour de France, involving huge distances and speeds. Is the distance causing the problem? Then lower the distance. Change the events so they’re not pushing athletes to achieve at 100% for 23 days. Push athletes to achieve at 100% for 17 days. Or 99.9% for 23 days.

    Maybe it’s too late for cycling to clean itself up. Then let the fallout happen. If sponsors such as Rabobank are going to pull out, good. Maybe these jerks will realise that their habitual cheating has killed the golden goose.

    But don’t sanction taking drugs. Stupid, stupid, stupid. In an age where we are mounting concerted efforts to outlaw tobacco, you would have drugged-up sports legalised? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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  12. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Graham,

    If you say stupid three times, rather than once or twice, does that make me ever more so? ;-)

    Sometimes, we make the wrong sorts of rules. Look at what was, intentationally, the very odd give way rule that NZ recently dropped. At times, it can help to change ineffective rules. An example of one set of rules that it might help to change are ones that people ignore all the time.

    If we’re supposedly outlawing tabacco because it’s bad for us, surely you’re also all for us outlawing alcohol and caffine because they’re also bad. You’d better outlaw eating too much or not excersising enough because those are bad too.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  13. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    Elaycee (2,870) Says:
    October 30th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
    I’ll be first in line to watch the doped olympics…

    We used to have them. All events were won by East Germany. And the athletes had names such as Bruno and Ralf. And the females could grow a better beard than I could ever muster.

    Then the Chinese decided to enter the fray. Not hard to remember their swimmers.. they were the ones who had to turn sideways to get through a door.

    Nope, we half had them. Only some (mainly the Eastern Europeans and the Seppos) cheated, others (called “losers” generally) didn’t.

    Imagine the shot put where every athlete looks like the Press sisters, the track and field where every sheila looks like Flo-Jo or the Jaapie fella-sheila, every “male” like Ben Johnston, the swimming where every competitor looks like the Chinese swim team and alongside them the constructs with replacement legs, arms etc.

    Fantastic stuff!

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  14. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman, stop being so unnecessarily hysterical.

    I most certainly wasn’t calling for drug taking in every sport, I was just arguing that it should be better accepted in sports in which it often occurs, such as pro-cycling. There is a big difference.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  15. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    I’m sorry, but no. We don’t just go ahead and change rules because people are ignoring them.

    As I suggested, change the structure of the competition if it’s too tough for athletes to achieve results without resorting to drugs. Or let it all out into the open and watch the sport die away when people realise and understand that it’s all a lie. For me – and I’m a cyclist – if cycling dies as a sport because of this, good. We don’t need drugged up competitors in any sport.

    I’m not trying to imply that you are stupid, as such – merely the suggestion that we make any level of doping acceptable, and allow everyone competing in a sport to take drugs.

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  16. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    Your suggestion for some sort of amnesty in which riders can come clean is a good idea, in my opinion.

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  17. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Graham,

    First of all, there’s already a level of doping that’s acceptable in all sports, not just cycling. It is the amount that isn’t sufficient to produce a positive drug test in the labs. Is that stupid? No, it’s not: recording a positive drugs test for any amount of drugs in someone’s system would result in so many false positives, every sport would become a farce!

    Secondly, however much you think it’s a bad thing, we already have drugged up competitors in the sport of pro-cycling. That’s the whole point of my guest post. Even though drugging is against the rules, it still happens. The question is, what if anything should we do about it?

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  18. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Graham, would you think an amnesty was still be a good thing, if many pro-cyclists started drugging again, once it had taken place?

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  19. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    I would disagree with your assertion that “there’s already a level of doping that’s acceptable in all sports …”. I would say, rather, that there is a level of doping that occurs in all sports. Is it acceptable? Not in my books, and in fact the last paragraph of your original post states this:

    While cyclists might by themselves reach this point, it’s doubtful that the general public would accept any sort of doping.

    Yes, I realise doping in sports happens. Your question – what if anything should we do about it – has essentially just two answers. Either we accept it, or we don’t. Everything else evolves from these standpoints. My standpoint is fairly obvious – we don’t accept it. Your standpoint would appear to be that we should accept it. Well I’m sorry, but I refer back to the very last question you posed:

    Isn’t it time that we woke up and ask whether, for some particular sports, a level of doping might be ok?

    My answer to your question, is No. Doping in sports is not ok, and never should be.

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  20. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    Would I consider an amnesty to be a good thing, if many pro-cyclists started drugging again, once it had taken place? Yes, I think so. I think it would be worth taking a chance that cyclists will wake up and realise that they’ve been given a chance to save their sport.

    On the other hand, maybe there just be a period of a few years before the rot started setting back in. If it ends up becoming a farce – “Amnesty -> clean for a few years -> some riders doping -> all riders doping -> Amnesty -> clean for a few years -> some riders doping -> all riders doping -> Amnesty -> clean for a few years …” then I go back to my original statement. Let the sport of cycling fail. It deserves to.

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  21. Kea (12,812 comments) says:

    Drug use is part and parcel of most top level sports. Armstrong has demonstrated just how easy it is to beat the tests, for all those years, and that is in a sport with a sophisticated testing regime.

    I wonder if the precious AB’s would fare so well, with similiar scrutiny. I doubt it.

    No one will win on drugs alone. They still need to train hard and be gifted genetically to win at a high level. If no one did drugs, Armstrong probably would have won those races drug free. That is the crazy part of all this. Doing the drugs used to confer an advantage, but now only puts you on the ladder. It is an unfortunate situation. The drugs can not be “un-invented”.

    I am not sure what the answer is.

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  22. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Ok, I accept that, Graham. It does look remarkably like wishful thinking to me, but I had a crack at convincing you of the problems with your approach. That I was unable points as much to me as it does to you.

    I trust you’ll think of me when the next doping scandal in pro-cycling comes along. How long do you reckon it’ll take? Shall we have a bet on whether it’s more or less than five years?

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  23. Longknives (4,741 comments) says:

    Thank Christ our Saintly All Blacks are all squeaky clean eh?
    Those dirty foreign sportspeople!

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  24. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    I would disagree with your assertion that “there’s already a level of doping that’s acceptable in all sports …”.

    On what basis? There’s a legal maximum level of testosterone you can have in your body under most sporting regulations. Funnily enough a large proportion of athletes test just under this level. There’s plenty of articles written across plenty of sports with this information. Cycling has been exposed probably because it’s at the cutting edge of endurance, I doubt the olympics are any cleaner, just a lot simpler.

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  25. Kea (12,812 comments) says:

    Yeah Longknives, they have great doctors looking after them.

    I can tell you that a few decades ago Pro Body Builders looked like the AB’s do now……… but not Rugby players.

    Make what you like of that.

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  26. Longknives (4,741 comments) says:

    Kea- How long do you give it before Bereal turns up and unleashes hell?

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  27. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Is Usain Bolt on steroids?

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  28. James Stephenson (2,176 comments) says:

    I think us fans of the sport also need to have a reasonably long hard look at ourselves too. For years we’ve celebrated individual exploits in the Alps and Pyrenees, that we’ve known in our hearts, were outside the bounds of human physiology. Even if it’s only with recent data that the boffins can say exactly what those limits are in watts/kg/hr.

    The biological passport system is a great step forward, and I think is really working to beat systematic doping. In this year’s tour Wiggins team were able to let escapees go up the road, safe in the knowledge that a un-doped rider couldn’t sustain the power output to hold off a chasing team…and fans (not us Brits, obviously) complained of a “boring” tour. It’s a valid question to ask what we want to see, but I’m in the “clean, please” camp.

    It’s funny how we’ve never heard which European footballers names were clients of the doping doctors. Football and Tennis have learnt cycling’s lessons well – don’t catch anyone and you can pretend your sport is clean.

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  29. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    James,

    I’d voice caution before believing that Wiggins’ team are above suspicion. His team Team Sky have already had a number leave because they’d admitted doping (not yet any current cyclists, I believe). It’s pretty obvious that Brad would have at at least faced the temptation of drugs. We’re putting a lot of faith in the man to say he never touched the stuff.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2224895/Steven-Jongh-leaves-Team-Sky-admitting-doping-career.html

    Be an unbelievably bad look for Team GB, wouldn’t it? The man who helped open the Olympics going down for drugs.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  30. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    Mike Wilkinson (24) Says:
    October 30th, 2012 at 3:59 pm
    MT_Tinman, stop being so unnecessarily hysterical.

    I most certainly wasn’t calling for drug taking in every sport, I was just arguing that it should be better accepted in sports in which it often occurs, such as pro-cycling. There is a big difference.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    Hysterical?

    I’ve argued for years for an open drug olympics (plus other sports) which follows on from your argument.

    Freakshows are great fun for the spectator.

    As an aside it’s hard to think of a not-on-the-water olympic sport where performance enhancing drugs have not been influential historically.

    Why should road lice have all the fun? Let’s have an open “olympics”.

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  31. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Is that as good as you can argue, MT_Tinman? Try and paint me out to be in favour of drugged up sports, generally? Nice one, chap.

    By writing a guest post on Kiwiblog, I had hoped to provoke some intelligent debate. If that’s your level of thinking, I feel sorry for the people who read your 1,995 other comments.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  32. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > Is Usain Bolt on steroids?

    You’d be silly to think he isn’t. I imagine that most of the top sprinters are taking performance enhancing drugs. It’s difficult to imagine how a clean Bolt could beat a whole bunch of drug cheats. Remember that Ben Johnson smashed the world record when on such drugs…yet he would be well behind Bolt.

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  33. Kea (12,812 comments) says:

    Longknives (1,665) Says:
    October 30th, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    Kea- How long do you give it before Bereal turns up and unleashes hell?

    I am waiting for him to turn up and defend his body building/rugby mates in the AB’s.

    I have just been for a cross country run, could have done with some juice myself tonight ! :)

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  34. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    Mike, I’m not trying to be blind. I understand the proliferation of drugs in professional sports, and I accept there are problems with trying to clean it up. Maybe it’s too late. Maybe it is wishful thinking.

    You certainly haven’t failed to convince me of the problems with my approach. I very much doubt that there is anybody who believes that what is currently happening with cycling is going to cause a revelation, an epiphany of “Oh, how could we have let this happen” and miraculously clean out the sport.

    But again, I return to the last paragraph of your original post which states:

    While cyclists might by themselves reach this point, it’s doubtful that the general public would accept any sort of doping.

    In fact, the cynical part of me considers that the powers behind pro sport, and particularly cycling, will in fact take the viewpoint that doping is endemic, will accept it, and will quietly work over the next decade to gradually soften the public’s opinion to the point where – as you say – we are ready to accept that “if the rules were changed so that a level of doping was acceptable” is okay – as long as nobody exceeds that specified level of doping, of course. Because if a certain level of doping is stipulated, then none of the competitors will exceed that, will they? Or use some form of stimulant that isn’t allowed. Of course not. That would be cheating.

    I still think your question – what if anything should we do about doping in cycling – has essentially just two answers. Either we accept it, or we don’t. As far as I’m concerned, we don’t. Maybe that’s just too idealistic, too Pollyanna-ish. Well I’m sorry. Doping in sports is not ok.

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  35. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Interesting comment, Graham. I should point out that I’ve relied on nothing about the-way-things-should-be, instead I’ve talked merely about the way-things-are.

    Although we might have a slightly different approach to thinking about good or bad, I reckon we actually have in mind the same end-point.

    I agree that what seems likely is that the sport will muck along for a decade or so with the occasional doping scandal. The public will get more and more sick of them. Eventually, something will happen like a new person will become head of the ICU and he or she will suggest a new approach to drugs. The public will initially be aghast (similar to how some are with me now), but realise that the ICU is serious and that they have little option but accept it.

    What do you think? Do you see something being a catalyst other than an insightful person at the head of the sport?

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  36. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    Nope. I can’t see anything happening outside of the sport – I think that it will be the governing bodies within the sport that dictate which way it goes.

    But you say that if – when? – that happens, the public will have little option but to accept it. What do you think will happen with sponsors? Unless public attitudes chang in a major way, which may well happen, I think the sponsors may decide to cut their ties. The issue then is, where else to invest that sponsorship money? Another sport that isn’t tainted? In a decade or two, maybe it will be accepted in all sports. And that will be a sad day.

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  37. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    I come at it differently. The problem is the amount of money in sport. With that much money in play for the winners, of course someone will take drugs. And once some people take drugs then anyone else who is in it for the money has to do the same. The underlying problem is the money. The money exists because of advertising. And advertising is lucrative because of the fans. To put it another way – drugs get taken because of the fans.

    I’ve all but given up on watching top level sport. Too much of it is rigged, drugged, mismatched or boring. I’d rather go out and ride my own bike than watch some other bloke do it.

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  38. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    No, even if we dislike doping in sport, Graham, I think there’s still reason to be optimistic. At least in our lifetimes, I don’t see drugs being accepted in much more than a couple of sports. The sport of cycling could perhaps be the only one. I know of few others that face such significant issues with drugs.

    When I talked about the public having to accept the opinion of the ICU head, I was being way too simplistic. Sponsors are of course where the money comes from in the sport and, to a large extent, they’ll just follow public sentiment. I think the question is whether there are enough drug scandals in pro-cycling in the coming decade to change public sentiment.

    In summary, I think the public’s view will remain critical. While that view might eventually accept drugging in one or two sports like pro-cycling, I don’t expect it will, much more beyond that.

    PaulL, in spite of long thinking that drugging’s likely to be common, I’ve had no trouble enjoying watching the Tour for some years now. Surely you’ve been a bit interested by the battles between Schlek and Contador. Didn’t you agree Evans was lucky to scrap through and win the yellow jersey last year?

    That said, I do agree that money is something to have in mind during sport watching. Wouldn’t the English Premier leg be a better competition to watch if it had a salary cap? Some suggest Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal wouldn’t be winning all the time, were it so.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  39. James Stephenson (2,176 comments) says:

    Be an unbelievably bad look for Team GB, wouldn’t it? The man who helped open the Olympics going down for drugs.

    Of course it would, and temptation would certainly come his way, drugs were endemic not only on the top level of European cycling. My first “shit, really?!” moment on doping was a well-known NZ cyclist telling me about being shown his bag in the fridge, which was there to be used, or not, his choice.

    Wiggins has defined himself by being a clean rider (there was no need for him to publicly react to Cofidis being dumped in 2007 following Moreni’s fail) he’s painted himself into a serious corner if it’s all a sham. Given the mentors he’s had over the years, like Boardman and Brailsford, I just don’t think it is.

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  40. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    Mike Wilkinson (27) Says:
    October 30th, 2012 at 6:27 pm
    Is that as good as you can argue, MT_Tinman? Try and paint me out to be in favour of drugged up sports, generally? Nice one, chap.

    By writing a guest post on Kiwiblog, I had hoped to provoke some intelligent debate. If that’s your level of thinking, I feel sorry for the people who read your 1,995 other comments.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    Actually Mike I suspect you “wrote” the post to defend your bloody silly sport because it has once again disgraced itself.

    “Intelligent debate” never came into it.

    You appear to think I’m attacking you. Believe me I see nothing worth attacking.

    That however is of no import, I am quite serious when I call for an open drug policy for professional sport.

    Not only would the spectator value be unbelievable but no longer would people be on edge after a fine display in case it proves to be drug assisted. For mine I shall be unhappy should Bolt ever test positive.

    The general consensus around the sporting world is that the chemists will always be ahead of the anti-drug enforcement people, proved by the fact that several Seppos recently have admitted drug taking despite no evidence of them doing so being found or presented.

    Armstrong only stands out because he was such a wanker about it.

    There is no way the anti-drug people can win so why not split the sporting world in two; one for open drugs competition and one for completely clean competition (we’ll call that one “amateur” and remove the incentive for cheating)?

    Oh, and as for those who have read my previous posts (I doubt there are that many) it again doesn’t matter. I post (anywhere) for me, not you nor them.

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  41. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but all cyclists who were caught taking drugs were caught by drug testing processes that found evidence in their samples of specified banned chemicals. Armstrong never failed a test but has been found guilty on the balance of probability based on teh testimony of people who were themselves drug cheats and liars. Surely it would be impossible to mask drug taking over successfully every time over such a long career? If he could pass 500 tests while pumped up, surely the others could have as well.

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  42. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Mike,

    Examining the rules is usually better than adding more rules. I was simply pointing out that some form of regulation won’t (probably) solve the problem, and it is easier to detect in a “no drugs” situation than in a “some drugs” situation.

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  43. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman, apologies. My earlier comment to you was a little on the nose!

    However, if you weren’t taking the mickey out of me, you are arguing some pretty odd points. How many fans do you think would enjoy watching a sport without there being any control of it? I wasn’t calling for the sporting equivalent of anarchy, I was calling for a more measured approach to drugs.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  44. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    James Stephenson, Armstrong was another athlete who also painted himself to be clean. I reckon the probability’s one chance in three that Wiggins has doped. After all, Team Sky looks a lot like US Postal did around the turn of the century.

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  45. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Rouppe, I don’t understand. On what basis would a no-drugs approach allow easier detection than a “some-drugs” one? After all, specimens with traces of drugs can still yield negative tests. If they didn’t, the potential for false positives would be massive and sport would descend into a farce.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  46. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller, I quite agree, there is significant potential to do the testing, but still get away with doping.

    As Rouppe is just showing us, people can easily assume that drug testing is perfect. Regretfully, the reality is somewhat different to that.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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  47. ChardonnayGuy (1,206 comments) says:

    Uh, steroid abuse can have some highly unpleasant personal consequences, David. Just pointing out.

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  48. Kea (12,812 comments) says:

    The great thing is that drug use by sports people is a matter of personal choice (and consequences).

    It has no real effect on anything that matters, to sensible people. All sports are just games, nothing more.

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  49. Mike Wilkinson (71 comments) says:

    Kea,

    They might just be games, but I reckon it’s the human condition that a lot of people take them very, very seriously. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Mike

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