Clash of Cultures...Do Europeans Think Differently About Doping Than Americans?

Jun 27, 2009
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Just came across an excellent, thought-provoking article on cycling fandom and doping, apparently published in 2009. Lots of good quotes and sourcing.

Check it out... It delves into the reality of doping and the typical American's fan's unwillingness to consider these realities. But I also find it encouraging that such a sophisticated piece actually appeared in SI--to some extent this rebuts the idea that Americans are unwilling to accept shades of gray in their cycling heroes.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/the_bonus/07/07/tour/index.html
 
Jun 19, 2009
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ludwig said:
Just came across an excellent, thought-provoking article on cycling fandom and doping, apparently published in 2009. Lots of good quotes and sourcing.

Check it out... It delves into the reality of doping and the typical American's fan's unwillingness to consider these realities. But I also find it encouraging that such a sophisticated piece actually appeared in SI--to some extent this rebuts the idea that Americans are unwilling to accept shades of gray in their cycling heroes.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/the_bonus/07/07/tour/index.html

The forums here have taught me the variety of tolerance levels by both Euros and 'Muricans. My own opinion hasn't changed but the added information amplifies my intolerance for self promotion combined with hypocrisy. That applies to Euro or North Americans.
I'm not sure you need to do anything but read the current Armstrong thread to see the polarization and get a true picture.
 
I think doping in Europe, if it's anything like it is in Central/South America, is an accepted reality but to a large degree goes unspoken amongst the participants.

What I mean is, the guys who are doping do not sit around contemplating the moral quandary of it all. And I really don't think they sit around wracking their brains over the issue of ethics.
 
May 18, 2009
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This guy is a cycling journalist? Frame pipe? Roche collapsing at the top of Alpe d'Huez and clinching the tour that day?? What's 24 hours and a few mountains between friends? He writes GL came back in 87 and won over Fignon. :rolleyes:

Is this guy on drugs?

He also implies Roche was on EPO with Carrera in 1987 under Concini. This is earlier than I have heard.

I do agree with the article of American perceptions and way of dealing with reality vs that of Europeans. Thanks for the link.
 

ravens

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Nov 22, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
Had not noticed that!

Don't ever stick your crack pipe in someone's spokes. The shards could cause a puncture, and then you've broken your crack pipe.
 
Jun 20, 2009
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ludwig said:
Just came across an excellent, thought-provoking article on cycling fandom and doping, apparently published in 2009. Lots of good quotes and sourcing.

Check it out... It delves into the reality of doping and the typical American's fan's unwillingness to consider these realities. But I also find it encouraging that such a sophisticated piece actually appeared in SI--to some extent this rebuts the idea that Americans are unwilling to accept shades of gray in their cycling heroes.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/the_bonus/07/07/tour/index.html

Well, the Sports Illustrated article puts it perfectly (yes, yes Chris E, there are a few factual confusions, but it's been over 20 years).

The eye-opening of the New World neo-pro is exactly right - experienced it personally when I arrived in Belgium to race with an amateur team a long time ago and found out the truth pretty quick.

So, there's a lesson in this for all us CN forum folk:

1. If you're a fairytale believing Lance-is-clean zealot - OPEN YOUR EYES

2. If your a cynical Lance-has-always-doped zealot - LOSE THE CYNICISM AND JUST ACCEPT THAT DOPING IS NORMAL

Either way, enough said.
 
Are you ready to go from Cutter to continental, to travel the path that Dave Stohler did in Breaking Away when that Team Cinzano rider jammed a frame pipe into his wheel?

Given the relative accuracy of the rest of the article, I'd probably blame an ignorant proofreader or editor for the "frame pipe" gaffe rather than the author. I mean the guy also gives us:

After Americans Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis got caught doping during the past decade -- Landis only days after having apparently won the 2006 Tour -- both tried to exculpate themselves with pseudo-scientific theories, cloying Web sites (ibelieveintyler.org, floydfairnessfund.com), and denials so reflexive and convoluted that, by continental lights, each man appeared to be an imbecile and a hypocrite.

Word.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Race Radio said:
Do any Americans think the NFL is clean?

No. Even the Fantasy League dudes that never caught a football know that all that beef was "corn fed at the feed lot". The mortality rate of former NFL players speaks volumes and is a sad commentary on the real cost to perform, and the individual atheletes motivation.
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Ludwig,

Any person who thinks there is such a thing as a 'typical American fan' is mistaken.

Us Colonialists here in the united States are a diversified and educated group of people. There are over 300,000,000 of us. Each of us has their own opinion. Many of those opinions are based on rational thought.

Please spare me and my countrymen the disrespect of declaring that there is a 'typical American fan'. Please spare youself the embarrasment of broadcasting your ignorance and bigotry.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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The anti drugs mentality in cycling is a relatively new phenomena and does correspond to the broadening of cycling's appeal beyond it's traditional countries and fan base, including America but also many others.

It also corresponds to the introduction of EPO.

Which is the more influential I'm not sure. I suspect the dawn of EPO and the introduction of team based programs and the fact that the PEDs really did just that. It was no longer a personal issue about coping with the life but a rather more scientific necessity.

The French reaction to the Festina affair was telling given they would have had the most informed public imo.

I think this moral duplicity (ie taking drugs was perfectly acceptable for 100yrs but now it's not because it's all too scientific) is one of the reasons cycling is struggling at the moment and tearing itself apart.

I also think the increased commercial success which is based on a huge number of new fans for whom drug taking is unacceptable is of course another big reason. (I'm not sure the nationality is)

One thing I am confident in is that Coppi, Antiquel et al would have been far more coy about their drug use if the climate was the same then as it is now.

No doubt 1950s internet forums would be buzzing with rumours and accusations while posters pondered the latest denials.
 
Mar 23, 2009
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there's not really one European mentality against doping as there isn't such a thing as one Europe ...

you have major cultural differences between North, East, South & West .... not even speaking of different opinions in the countries themselves ...
 
David Suro said:
Ludwig,

Any person who thinks there is such a thing as a 'typical American fan' is mistaken.

Us Colonialists here in the united States are a diversified and educated group of people. There are over 300,000,000 of us. Each of us has their own opinion. Many of those opinions are based on rational thought.

Please spare me and my countrymen the disrespect of declaring that there is a 'typical American fan'. Please spare youself the embarrasment of broadcasting your ignorance and bigotry.

Agree that generalisations should be used with caution and not applied to individuals, but they can be useful in attempting to understand certain points of view.
 
laziali said:
Well, the Sports Illustrated article puts it perfectly (yes, yes Chris E, there are a few factual confusions, but it's been over 20 years).

The eye-opening of the New World neo-pro is exactly right - experienced it personally when I arrived in Belgium to race with an amateur team a long time ago and found out the truth pretty quick.

So, there's a lesson in this for all us CN forum folk:

1. If you're a fairytale believing Lance-is-clean zealot - OPEN YOUR EYES

2. If your a cynical Lance-has-always-doped zealot - LOSE THE CYNICISM AND JUST ACCEPT THAT DOPING IS NORMAL

Either way, enough said.

But where LA stands out is his bullying of those who dared to speak out about doping. This is mentioned in the article. Doping may be "normal", LA's behaviour is not.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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David Suro said:
Ludwig,

Any person who thinks there is such a thing as a 'typical American fan' is mistaken.

Us Colonialists here in the united States are a diversified and educated group of people. There are over 300,000,000 of us. Each of us has their own opinion. Many of those opinions are based on rational thought.

Please spare me and my countrymen the disrespect of declaring that there is a 'typical American fan'. Please spare youself the embarrasment of broadcasting your ignorance and bigotry.
i understand your point but you r overreacting to ludwig.

the article he sourced is published by the american journal for american readers and is stereotyping american fans. ludwig rightly called it thought provoking. the same article stereotyped all european fans and that in my view is nonsensical. so david pls spare yourself some indignation though you're right to criticize. re. the article itself..its well written and researched but the author in an attempt to draw some special conclusions overused broad brush and chose a wrong size canvas.
 

ravens

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Nov 22, 2009
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Race Radio said:
Do any Americans think the NFL is clean?

I don't think it's really even a discussion, but no, I don't know any football fans who think even by the most liberal standard, that it is clean.

Once in a while ESPN will get up on its high horse about it, but for the most part, maybe young kids don't know yet. Sorta like the tooth fairy.
 

ravens

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Nov 22, 2009
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ludwig said:
Just came across an excellent, thought-provoking article on cycling fandom and doping, apparently published in 2009. Lots of good quotes and sourcing.

Check it out... It delves into the reality of doping and the typical American's fan's unwillingness to consider these realities. But I also find it encouraging that such a sophisticated piece actually appeared in SI--to some extent this rebuts the idea that Americans are unwilling to accept shades of gray in their cycling heroes.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/the_bonus/07/07/tour/index.html

You sound like you already have a pretty stereotypical view of Americans and SI. Are you willing to accept shades of gray in Americans?
 
Aug 13, 2009
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SirLes said:
The anti drugs mentality in cycling is a relatively new phenomena and does correspond to the broadening of cycling's appeal beyond it's traditional countries and fan base, including America but also many others.

It also corresponds to the introduction of EPO.

Which is the more influential I'm not sure. I suspect the dawn of EPO and the introduction of team based programs and the fact that the PEDs really did just that. It was no longer a personal issue about coping with the life but a rather more scientific necessity.

The French reaction to the Festina affair was telling given they would have had the most informed public imo.

I think this moral duplicity (ie taking drugs was perfectly acceptable for 100yrs but now it's not because it's all too scientific) is one of the reasons cycling is struggling at the moment and tearing itself apart.

I also think the increased commercial success which is based on a huge number of new fans for whom drug taking is unacceptable is of course another big reason. (I'm not sure the nationality is)

One thing I am confident in is that Coppi, Antiquel et al would have been far more coy about their drug use if the climate was the same then as it is now.

No doubt 1950s internet forums would be buzzing with rumours and accusations while posters pondered the latest denials.

While I agree with your points I think that the recent anti-doping push has more to do with the dramatic increase in performance achieved by modern doping not because it is "Too Scientific". What was once a personal choice became mandatory.
 
Jan 18, 2010
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Doping has made racing boring?

I wonder if the modern push against doping is because ONE guy dominated the Tour (unfortunately the only race casual American fans follow) for 7 years? Being a new fan of the sport myself, I didn't start paying close attention until Armstrong retired because it's no fun to follow a race, or any sporting event, where the outcome is known.


Contador is fun to watch but the inevitability of his victories makes stage racing boring. Being an American fan, it's exceedingly difficult to see the classics live so we're left with a month of racing where the GC battle isn't worth caring about.
 
Jan 18, 2010
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Race Radio said:
Do any Americans think the NFL is clean?

Some probably do.

There's also a sense among fans that doping makes the players bigger and stronger, but not more skilled. If bike races could be won on the descents alone then the dope would have much less impact on the outcome. I think this point has been made before in the clinic, and I'm in no way condoning the doping among NFL players. I, like the generalized European fan in the SI article, accept doping in the NFL and still watch and enjoy the games.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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Race Radio said:
While I agree with your points I think that the recent anti-doping push has more to do with the dramatic increase in performance achieved by modern doping not because it is "Too Scientific". What was once a personal choice became mandatory.

"Too scientific" was perhaps a poor choice of phrase.

I was trying to convey the sense that doping was considered acceptable (essential even) as a way of coping while methods were more haphazard and of less quantifiable benefit.

The introduction of a scientific approach lead to methods of illegal enhancement that, as you rightly point out, meant doping became a necessity to have a chance of success. At this point it became unnacceptable to the outside world.

Perhaps it was the idea that a weaker rider with the better program could win that people objected to?

but then if riders of Coppi's or Antiqeul's stature were describing drugs as essential to their ability to ride as fast (and as often) as they did maybe there are other riders of the time who did not wish to risk taking drugs and missed out on glory because of their stance due to riders like them?

Should we judge riders of different eras by different standards?

I've now realised that I don't know at what point amphetemines etc became illegal. I know when drug testing came in, which is not the same thing.

Clearly if something was not yet deemed illegal they cannot have cheated!
 
Aug 13, 2009
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SirLes said:
"Too scientific" was perhaps a poor choice of phrase.

I was trying to convey the sense that doping was considered acceptable (essential even) as a way of coping while methods were more haphazard and of less quantifiable benefit.

The introduction of a scientific approach lead to methods of illegal enhancement that, as you rightly point out, meant doping became a necessity to have a chance of success. At this point it became unnacceptable to the outside world.

Perhaps it was the idea that a weaker rider with the better program could win that people objected to?

but then if riders of Coppi's or Antiqeul's stature were describing drugs as essential to their ability to ride as fast (and as often) as they did maybe there are other riders of the time who did not wish to risk taking drugs and missed out on glory because of their stance due to riders like them?

Should we judge riders of different eras by different standards?

I've now realised that I don't know at what point amphetemines etc became illegal. I know when drug testing came in, which is not the same thing.

Clearly if something was not yet deemed illegal they cannot have cheated!

I agree about the weaker rider on a stronger program. For many years the strongest riders won and dope did not play a large roll in it. Doping was used by riders as a way to race more often and recover, it did not give you a 13% increase in power.

When riders like Riis started winning the Tour informed observers felt it had gone too far. When the Festina affair laid bare the depth of the issue the fans as a whole were shocked and many disgusted. Of course OP took it too a different level. It is hard not to look at pictures like this and not be disgusted.

0,1020,633648,00.jpg

TDF_doping_m.jpg


Add to this the ridiculous claims by some of the riders and PR people and fans perception of the sport sank even further.
 

ravens

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Nov 22, 2009
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biokemguy said:
I wonder if the modern push against doping is because ONE guy dominated the Tour (unfortunately the only race casual American fans follow) for 7 years? Being a new fan of the sport myself, I didn't start paying close attention until Armstrong retired because it's no fun to follow a race, or any sporting event, where the outcome is known.


Contador is fun to watch but the inevitability of his victories makes stage racing boring. Being an American fan, it's exceedingly difficult to see the classics live so we're left with a month of racing where the GC battle isn't worth caring about.

At least AC's style brings some excitement, Armstrong is a lot of smoke with not a lot of fire. And now...no fire whatsoever. But LOTS of smoke.

Arcalis.
Verbier.
Annecy.

You don't need to be a student to dig that. Just have eyesight.