General thoughts on doping

Jul 10, 2012
200
0
0
I didn't want to start a new thread but this seemed like a good idea to put all my thoughts in one place rather than a thousand replies. I am new to posting but I have been reading the forum for years.

Like many people, the thing that bothers me the most about doping is that we find out days, months, or even years later that so-and-so's incredible winning effort was due to drugs. I remember getting this feeling when finding out about Ricco and about Rasmussen (not convicted of actual doping but similar). Until the efficiency of analyzing samples improves this will not change.

The ideal situation is thus. Develop a method which will analyze everyone's samples which are taken before the start of a race. No sample, no participation. Analyze the samples in a nearly error proof test which takes approximately an hour. When the results are in, disqualify the offending riders while the race is going on. Continue to test as they are doing now once the race is over, to catch if anyone took anything during the race.

Until this technology is possible we will be unable to escape the feeling we get when someone does something amazing, and then three days later tests for CERA or something. We will also be unable to escape the suspicious feeling we now get whenever anyone currently does anything amazing. In other words, these feelings have reduced the enjoyment we get from watching cycling and until the technology improves, neither will our feelings.

Sometimes I wonder if doping is or isn't the same as mechanical improvements. The average rider even this year can do better than an average rider from 50 years ago on improvement on conditioning and strength training, eating better, not smoking, etc. And that is if this year's riders were on bicycles from 50 years ago. I always have the hour record in the back of my mind. The bicycle and riding position developed by Obree was fascinating. And yet, there is always this need to compare results to the greats of the past. So the UCI created more than one hour record.

In other words, there are people who could care less about technology, they want to see if a man is faster than another man, even if that other man cycled 40 years ago. This mind set gave us single speed bicycles in the Tour de France long past the point when it became hilarious.

There are others who love the technology, but only the mechanical kind. Carbon fiber water bottle cages! Hooray! Wind tunnel testing!

In theory, isn't doping a kind of technology? Where is the line drawn between nutritional supplements which aren't banned and those that are? And another thing sticks out to me -- performance enhancing drugs. If they don't enhance your performance, can they truly be called that? Now, one could argue that when they catch the guy who is in 107th to show everyone they mean business about catching the cheaters -- it may be true that the poor guy would be in 200th or most likely not even in the race if he wasn't on the drugs -- they do enhance his performance -- but what we really want out of the sport are the performance enhancing drugs which cause the guy who isn't in first place to become first place.

When it all boils down to it, you have to prove -- did whatever Schleck have in his system enhance his performance?

But I wonder if that is really true? What if there were two events going on at the same time -- the Super Clean Race, where everyone was 100% clean, no questions about it, or the Jose Canseco Memorial Race, where people could take whatever they could get their hands on? I really wonder which event would get the better ratings.

I get the whole point behind due process, and with USADA involved it is much like USA Tax Court - hardly any rights for the accused. I agree with the notion that if USADA intends to deprive someone of their rights and livelihood like a common criminal, then the accused should at least have as many rights in a courtroom as a common criminal. However, the athletes do agree to participate in all of this when they go into that line of work in the first place, and there aren't enough athletes standing up for themselves. They are much like baseball players in the 1950s who are just so happy they get paid for playing baseball that they don't realize that they have been sold into indentured servitude -- unable to negotiate with anyone other than their master, and unable to earn what the market determines they should, like the rest of the free world.

If athletes truly cared about their rights in this area, they wouldn't agree to participate in it. They would do the only right thing -- they would quit and go home, and call the bluffs of the organizers. You can't have an athletic event without athletes. Seriously, how simple would it be for USADA to retain the team of lawyers they already have and argue their case in federal court every time a doping violation comes up? And yet, they retain this edge because the athletes don't care enough to speak up for themselves.

Baseball players used to not care about free agency because they didn't think that they could ever get it. Then a few stuck their neck out, and as a result, they did get it. Then the head of the union, an economist by trade, fixed the market so that it would favor the players. While I think that was a little cheeky and unfair, the owners agreed to it, mostly because they weren't economists (i.e. they were dumb). I think that if athletes stood up for themselves, they could get the simple concession of trial by jury, which in theory according to their natural rights, they already have.

If there is one thing I can't stand, its the Nancy Grace attitute that everyone accused is guilty and therefore must be run through, put on a spit, and roasted in front of everyone without a trial. I know that attitude might not get me far with the suspicious crowd that thinks that everyone who wins a bicycle race must be high on 17 different untestable things. I would like to think that I'm being fair with the issue when I say, let the accused have their day in court.

All the fans want is for the process to be fair. In theory, it wouldn't truly be "fair" because the riders all have varying levels of actual talent. I am not in favor of any Harrison Bergeron type stuff here. However, I have to wonder...

Because the crusade to eliminate doping falls on individual countries' doping authorities, is it fair for different penalties to be handed out for similar offenses?

Because one nation might be more fervent in going after retroactive doping abuses, does that mean that if, as a result, someone would be stripped of a title, that the guy in second place would receive the award, even if he too was doped to the gills, but just happens to have a national federation that doesn't care about going after retroactive doping abuses? Is that fair? Has winning a cycle race now come down to which country is more puritanical about doping? Have the French held themselves back for 15 years or in that whole time, did they just not have anyone capable of getting on a Tour podium?

These are some of my thoughts on the subject and I would love to know where the peanut gallery falls on this. I am no means an expert on any of this -- I do have a chemistry degree but it is more in the area of polymers, materials science, physical chemistry, than organic or biochemistry.

Thanks for reading!
 
Aug 3, 2009
3,217
0
0
babastooey said:
1. Standard, "Long time lurker, first time poster" opening.

2. I'm just like everyone else and hate being tricked, but it's all the testing's fault.

3. Ridiculously impossible "solution" to "fix" perceived testing problem.

4. More. Blah blah blah about its all bad testing.

5. Doping apology #1: Is doping really cheating or is really just like applying any other new "technology"?

6. Doping apology #2: is it really cheating if you can't prove performance enhancent on an individual basis?

7. Doping apology #3: doped racing is more entertaining than clean racing. Cycling will lose fans.

8. Armstrong lawsuit talking point #1: no due process, kangaroo court, yadda, yadda, yadda.

9. Armstrong lawsuit talking point #2: USADA violates athlete rights, down with USADA!

10. Cyclists should form a strong union like baseball. That way they can enter a CBA and get rid of all that pesky, human rights violating, testing.

11. Call him crazy, but he thinks people who are concerned that professional cyclists may still be doping are crazy.

12. If we take Lance's jerseys away, we'll just be giving them to someone else who is fortunate to come from a country with different doping controls or less fervent testing.

13. Token dig at the Feench.

14. Token "I am a scientist/chemist qualifier, even though I just wrote 4,000 words that had nothing to do with science.
I think that sums it up. ;)
 
Mar 11, 2009
1,930
0
0
babastooey said:
I didn't want to start a new thread but this seemed like a good idea to put all my thoughts in one place rather than a thousand replies. I am new to posting but I have been reading the forum for years.

.. snip ...

Thanks for reading!
Nice first post ... welcome to the Forum!

T
 
Mar 10, 2009
6,158
0
0
180mmCrank said:
Nice first post ... welcome to the Forum!

T
Isn't there a "I'm a new forum member, bla bla" thread for that? I could be wrong though the title is Welcome to the CN Forum - Come and introduce yourself so that can confuse some people :rolleyes:
 
Is it just me, or does it seem odd timing that as the screws are being turned on the sport's biggest fraud, the frequency coincidentally increases of first user posts that are essentially very long, painful, and poorly structured opinions giving any number of reasons to try to break down the current USADA efforts against Armstrong, even if not specifically naming him. More sophisticated talking points, but still the same talking points just wearing a different dress.
 
Apr 8, 2010
329
0
0
babastooey said:
Have the French held themselves back for 15 years or in that whole time, did they just not have anyone capable of getting on a Tour podium?
You seem not to be aware that the French have criminal laws against doping, which are a major disincentive. This may be the reason that many riders use locations in Spain (including the Canary Islands) as training bases.

babastooey said:
These are some of my thoughts on the subject and I would love to know where the peanut gallery falls on this.
And a big welcome to the forum to you, too.
 
Jul 10, 2012
200
0
0
I don't really want to get into a flame war on my first post, but some of Mac's summary was correct and some of it was a stretch.

I don't blame the testing. When someone breaks the rules, they break the rules. The big problem I have is that because the testing lags behind the events of the race, we get to see the event, and then later find out it was fake. I wish there was a way to screen these guys out beforehand. I really think that it might take years, maybe even decades, but I hope it happens.

Lets face it, there are lots of people watching this year's Tour thinking that Wiggins, Froome, and other Sky riders are on something that is undetectable. And perhaps they are. But that isn't how I want to watch the race. I don't get 100% enjoyment out of watching the race with a suspicious mind. This will not change until the testing gets better. Is there any other way it can change???

Also -- I am tired of riders in 100th place getting busted. Someone might think that this will tell the fans that the sport means business in getting rid of the cheaters, but I don't think it does. I always thought there were a lot of baseball players on steroids who were mediocre, and they took the steroids to become major leaguers when they only had the talent to be minor leaguers, but those weren't the guys we wanted investigated. We want the big names investigated. The guys who would have been mediocre players who became all-stars because of what they took, like Raphael Palmiero.

I believe in due process. This doesn't mean that I am some sort of Lance Armstrong honk. I just believe that he should have his day in court. Let's face it, when it goes to court, then all the evidence comes out and everyone can see for themselves what has or hasn't been going on. Disclosure is a good thing. The USADA process is open door but it is also guilty until proven innocent, and that doesn't sit right.

Also -- I didn't know that I needed to write in three sentence posts to get my point across. It is true that most of the time I need an editor, but please understand if I choose to deplore the short attention spans of the present day. I guess this is why Michael Bay makes so much money making movies.
 
Jul 21, 2012
36
0
0
babastooey said:
I don't really want to get into a flame war on my first post
Unfortunately, most discussions on doping become just that.

Anyhow, my $.02 as long time lurker turning new poster.

IMO duping is rampant in cycling and has been for decades. I would certainly love to see it cleaned up but it's just been an arms race between those trying to hide the drug use and those trying to catch it.

At the end of the day I enjoy watching racing and just accept that it's one doper beating a bunch of other dopers. That doesn't make doping ok it just means when "my guy" loses I don't start crying about the winner being a doper. Because I know damn well "my guy" is just as likely to be doping.

It's this reality that makes me question the stripping of titles from years ago. Sure Lance was doping, but when you strip the title from him who do you give it to? The second place winner who likely doped as well. Heck, the 2000 tour places 2nd through 5th and most of the top 10 all have been later caught doping.

Also if we are going to be striping titles let's be consistant about it. Go down the list of tour winners and you will find the majority admitted to or got caught doping at some point in their career. Do we strip all of those as well? Again who do we give the titles to if we do? At this point, if you want to strip titles you should just throw the history book away.
 
Jul 3, 2011
199
0
0
If everybody dopes the best still rise to the top the same way they would if everybody was clean. I don't see the obsession with clean racing. What's the difference between a tailored nutrition plan and a tailored drug programme? Absolutely nothing in reality.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY