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Is Doping talk fair game on the Forums?

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Mar 10, 2009
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what is doping anyway?

What I have been missing on this forum is an intelligent discussion about doping. For one, how is it possible that no one ever tries to give a clear definition or even an understanding of the word 'doping'? Everyone who engages in conversations about doping and dopers i.e. the people who supposedly use 'something' to 'enhance there performance', either makes or denies accusations, spreads rumours or hearsay and pretends to know what the future of cycling holds.

When one goes to the WADA website, I would assume the first thing to encounter on their webpage would be a defintion of doping. I mean, it's their core business around which everything else they do, revolves. Their regulations to prevent people from doping, from whereabouts forms to random testing, strategies to expose dopers and decrease doping in the future, for f**** sake, they even offer workshops at schools to get kids involved in a discussion around doping. But when digs a little deeper, and you try to find some case law in which doping is defined - without a clear definition of what doping is one cannot come to a conviction - there is almost nothing. Doping is reduced to the Code. Whatever is listed in the Code as performance enhancing 'stuff' is considered doping, while consequently there is no clear definition of doping, and hence, to corroborate why that product is listed! Doping gets caught up in a circular argument.

-Doping is the Code.
-A is a substance listed in the Code, hence using A constitues a violation.
-Why is A a doping violation? Because it says so in the Code.
-The Code however, was already synonymous for the definition of doping, hence the logic is circular.

So just to tickle the mind a little

Commonly heard criteria to put some meat to the bones of doping, revolve around performance enhancement, protecting the health/well being of athletes and cheating.

1) Training, practice, exercise are performance enhancing as well. Should we therefore limit the number of hours athletes are allowed to train?

2) If one trains hard, really hard, and even goes on special altitude training camps to increase the amount of red blood cells, and one decides then to harvest some of that blood and store it for later, to inject it before or during an endurance event, why would that be doping. Is it autologous blood doping even when nothing is added to enrich blood? But if one trained to achieve those results, isn't it then just the ultimate form of tapering?

In comparison, the technology of bikes has progressed much from th 1900s, and enhanced the performance of athletes. Why would similar advancements in prepping/treating the human body not be allowed?

3) An article in a dutch newspaper, a year or two ago, dealt with the routine of QST riders during the TdF to take 76 pills per day. They were all supplements, to replenish low levels of about everything the body needs, from iron to zinc to vitamins etc etc etc. They were forced to take these supplements in pill-form, because the anti-doping industry had forbidden the use of syringes. 76*21=1596 pills in one TdF.

Now, I don't know if that - taking so many pills - is healthy for a human body. However, if it is necessary to take so many pills to stay healthy during one event, what does that say about the event itself with regard to the well being of athletes?

On a different note, when someone has supposedly a big heart (LA) or a huge lung capacity (MI), a high VO2max, a lighter weight, more slow or fast twitch muscles, we do not really consider competition between athletes as unfair. Although the genetic differences in terms of heart, lungs, base VO2max, body strucure/build, can be altered by physical exercise, they can only do so up to a certain point. Could voigt be as lightweight as Pantani, could Vansummeren ever actually compete with MI or LA? The answer is no. Why isn't that unfair, or why is it?

However, back to my main point and what connects it with the 1596 pills per TdF story, is this. An athlete is not allowed to become more competitive by injecting red blood cells in his body and to deliver more oxygen to his muscles, at which he has a natural/genetic disadvantage, while at the same time all athletes are allowed to add supplements to their diet to remain competitive for three weeks. But the ability to recover and stay competitive for a long period of time, is also partly determined genetically/naturaly. So why is it that people are allowed to take supplements, which somehow lessens the competitive advantage a person has at staying strong for a long time, but not to inject more red blood cells, to stay similarly competitive at which one has a natural (dis)advantage?

4) why would the use of cocaine be a doping violation. The effects of cocaine are known to be insufficient to boost the results of an endurance athlete. I.e. having cocaine at th estart of Milan San Remo doesn't really make you a faster sprinter 300k later.

5) How is it possible that doping agencies sponsor events, amongst others intermediate sprints in TdF stages. Why, of all organizations, do they want/need exposure? What does that say about their intentions, or their perceived impartiality.

Just on a side note, what is their level expertise if they can't even spell 'Stefan Schumacher' right and refer to him as 'Michael Schumacher'. Exposing dopers is like executing a death sentence. We all know that mistakes are being made everywhere, every time. If that's the case, why would people still consider a life long ban, which is basically the same as killing off a person's career, especially in the case of cycling, which has been a rather long term and intensive commitment, and effectively results in taking away someones purpose of life. So, if we can already agree on the fact that he did something wrong (he doped, whatever that means), why punish him like a criminal.

To draw an analogy, are dopers like any other professional - let's take medical practicioners/doctors - who are employed by an organization - i.e. a hospital - and who did something wrong, willingly and knowingly, in the way they operated and executed their profession - and as prescribed by medical regulations, some of which have turned into law - did something wrong, and perhaps illegal? The consequence for some doctors, who have to appear in selfregulating courts before a medical council, and assume responsibility for what they did, is that they can be ousted from their profession, for life. If they truly did something illegal, a prosecuter would even try them in a real court. Mind you, before one will be ousted from the medical profession, they must have done something seriously wrong

Or are dopers professionals who supposedly cheated, just like an employee, who tries to get ahead, overly ambitious maybe, but only works to advance his career? If there was a code that prevented people from brownnosing, and people were caught doing it, what would be the right thing to do?

The gradual convergence of sports regulations and real law is being tested soon I believe. It's rumoured that the lawyer who challenged the football/soccer transfer rules in Europe, better known as the Bosman arrest, is preparing a case to challenge some of the regulations that athletes have to obey to in order to stay remain in the profession as athlete, which are in conflict with basic human rights as set forth in the European Convention of Human Rights, or EU (trade)law. One of them would be a violation of the freedom to move. The whereabouts regulation is supposedly too strict to achieve the aims it was set up for, as it limits persons to move around freely. Perhaps even the presumption of innocence would be challenged...

In conclusion, in all the doping discussions, everyone seems to be content to discuss it on the terms as presented to us by the so called anti-doping industry. How is it possible that they set the standards and perimeters, and everyone seems to quietly/willingly accept it. Is it because so many vocal protagonists have an interest in an expanding anti-doping industry? *conspiracy alert* If they set the standards, globally, now, they start dictating the standards of many sports, and become, perhaps, even more powerful than the different associations that organize and regulate specific disciplines. Is that what they are doing by being tough on cyclists, trying to establish credibility - street rep in the sporting industry - so that they can be trusted to assume a bigger role in different disciplines. After all, all 'industries' have the tendency to grow, and make it in their interest to expand beyond their base constituency, while simultaneously vehemently defending their right to exist.

I might have phrased some issue incorrectly, used the wrong words, or intentionally taken it to the extreme. I hope however that it leads to a real discussion about doping...
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Some interesting points Bala Verde. I too would like interesting, informed debate on this matter.

On the points you raise, I think there are two aspects. First, if a substance is banned, then it's banned and a rider should not go near it. There's no debating the morality or ethics, they sign up to accept the rules and if they don't like them, they can opt out of competitive sport and take a normal job in a factory, shop or office.

Second, the idea behind the list is to prevent exogenous aids. We are born with different bodies and can train to maximise our abilities. Now taking supplements begins to look at the grey area but it's still just dietary aid, you might take a pill for calcium or you could just eat cheese.

As for altitude training, if you are willing to go up a cold mountain, that's up to you. The gains are small. Some opt for altitude tents, these encourage the same reaction and the gains are small. But with both of these methods, you can't overdose. No rider will end up training at 8000m but riders have been using EPO to take their haematocrit to beyond 60%, which can be fatal.

This is the point with doping, the first point of it all is to protect rider health. Left to themselves, some riders (often ignorant of the risks, paying a lot to doctors who want the cash) can take big risks.

Now you could say "the riders get tired, we need to rebalance their hormones" but of course this leads to risk taking. Remember when the UCI had the haematocrit count at 50%, riders were clocking 49.9% in tests. EPO as a pharmaceutical product comes with a health warning from the US FDA, that studies suggest it can increase the risk of cancer in patients taking it. Only there are no tests on riders taking doses way in excess of the amounts intented for health use. So to rebalance the blood count, taking EPO can be bad for the health.

There's also the sport, the rider who wins should be the one who can survive the race. Otherwise we soon get to Formula 1, where the car is important, we will have the sport where having Dr Ferrari on your side gives you the advantage over having Dr Fuentes, Dr Ortolano or Dr Cecchini etc.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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I don't object to doping discussions per se, it's the 'conspiracy theorists' and those with their own agendas that get so utterly tedious. Some of their posts are virtually unchanged from a few years ago. They could probably copy and paste their posts. Maybe they do.

We'd like to think of pro cycling as a test of character and determination, something all of us can aspire to. We'd like to think about some of the classic duels as we pull another long climb. Unlike the fans of a lot of pro sports, we actually get out and do it ourself. So when we find out that the inspiration we were drawing was actually fake, we have a right to feel particularly indignant. We were doing a bit more than tipping a brew when remembering the performance.

At the same time, the erosion of due process is also disturbing. Doping is manipulating the system unfairly. So are unfounded rumors that get acted on. Yes, it's tough to catch dopers, but if we loosen the standards of evidence and process, that opens cycling up to yet another form of manipulation. With millions at stake, there is plenty of motivation to manipulate the process.

Let's be sure we're feeling indignant about the right thing, and directing the bile towards the right person or organization. I see far more abuse heaped on riders than the DS's and team owners who pushed them into it. Until the right people are held accountable, doping will continue. Do you really think the riders cackle with evil glee as they reinfuse blood or get another HGH shot? It's more like - do this, or you're no longer competitive. That's what has to change. The needle in one hand, fame and fortune in the other. It's a temptation that no person should even be offered.

At least cycling is trying to address the problem. The more organized endurance sports (football, tennis, to mention a few) are being very quiet about it.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Cocaine is an illegal drug in society you dopes! Anyone testing positive should be sent to the local police station and arrested, just like you would be if caught with it! Whoever is not seeing the problem there is on DOPE!

Do you want the young kids idolizing a cocaine addict bike racer? Its bad with the performance (UCI) illegal drugs as it is now you want cocaine to be ok? :eek:
 
Mar 10, 2009
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What do trolls, asshats, & wums have in common? They HATE to be ignored!

wum
An acronym meaning Wind-Up Merchant.
It refers to someone who posts on message boards and newsgroups with the intention to cause as much disruption as possible by goading others.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hit-and-run_posting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamebait



troll
One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem



sockpuppet
An account made on an internet message board, by a person who already has an account, for the appearance of posting more-or-less anonymously; a pseudonym, alter-ego, alias, AKA, 'oh that's my other user name'.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_sock_puppet


asshat
One whose head is so far up their rear end it could pass for a hat; used to describe a person who is stubborn, cruel, or otherwise unpleasant to be around; also, the person protesting the loudest whenever they're called an asshat.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
tifosa said:
wum
An acronym meaning Wind-Up Merchant.
It refers to someone who posts on message boards and newsgroups with the intention to cause as much disruption as possible by goading others.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hit-and-run_posting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamebait



troll
One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem



asshat
One whose head is so far up their rear end it could pass for a hat; used to describe a person who is stubborn, cruel, or otherwise unpleasant to be around; also, the person protesting the loudest whenever they're called an asshat.

You think quite a lot of yourself. I am not sure why? Maybe mommy didn't love you enough or daddy was mean. Either way, you are really kind of funny to me. I am quite certain that your don't have mirrors in you house. That being said, you will never read these comments (actually, you will because you just can't stop yourself. You just want acknowledge it. It will be our little secret) as I am sure you have me on your "ignore" list.....I am so devastated. Toodles.
 
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Anonymous

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Stani Kléber said:
This is turning into a silly thing now with some people posting unintelligent, personalised things.

You just made a personal comment about other posters....

Past that, I generally like your posts.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Henri Desgrange said:
I thought an *** was a donkey, so do you mean **** hats?

I dont know read some of their comments! :confused:

Does anyone remember where Realgains was (which forums.) I know which one he is usually on.
 
Stani Kléber said:
This is turning into a silly thing now with some people posting unintelligent, personalised things.
+1
I see this thread being pulled. A pity as there was some intelligent posts on this emmotive subject.
The other "D" word that always appears to accompany the subject is degeneration. Happens when things get personal.:(
 
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yes, if its relevant, accurate and in the relevant thread..

no, if its a thread where some posts for instance "i like __insert rider here___" and people just derail the topic with doping allegations..
 
In an ideal world, we wouldnt have to talk about doping, only the racing. The problem is after all that has happened in the last 10 years, its hard to witness a trend in cycling and not wonder if its related to doping.

For example, maybe its just me but the French seem to have been going a lot better the last few years, for example Geslin won a Belgian semi-classic at the weekend and Chavanel won a few last year. This never happened a few years ago and overall the French are more compeitive. The first thing that enters my mind is why? Is cycling cleaner now than a few years ago? Have the French started doping now? Its hard to ignore the possible ramifications of links with doping in the sport.

I started folowing cycling in 89, there were 2 Italian teams in the Tour, Italian cycling was in the doldrums and then in the 90s, they started winning everything. By 96, almost half the teams in the Tour were Italian. This year, there will be only 2 Italian teams in the Tour again. This trends reflects the reported increae and decrease of EPO usage in the peloton. Its just too obvious too ignore.

People say innocent until guilty but its a fact that most rumours regarding doping eventually prove to be true. My own believe is never put your faith 100% in anybody in cycling. I believe Garmin for example are a clean team but would I bet my life on it, no way. Its hard to not mix cycling and doping and thats just the sad reality of our sport.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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pmcg76 said:
In an ideal world, we wouldnt have to talk about doping, only the racing. The problem is after all that has happened in the last 10 years, its hard to witness a trend in cycling and not wonder if its related to doping.

For example, maybe its just me but the French seem to have been going a lot better the last few years, for example Geslin won a Belgian semi-classic at the weekend and Chavanel won a few last year. This never happened a few years ago and overall the French are more compeitive. The first thing that enters my mind is why? Is cycling cleaner now than a few years ago? Have the French started doping now? Its hard to ignore the possible ramifications of links with doping in the sport.

I started folowing cycling in 89, there were 2 Italian teams in the Tour, Italian cycling was in the doldrums and then in the 90s, they started winning everything. By 96, almost half the teams in the Tour were Italian. This year, there will be only 2 Italian teams in the Tour again. This trends reflects the reported increae and decrease of EPO usage in the peloton. Its just too obvious too ignore.

People say innocent until guilty but its a fact that most rumours regarding doping eventually prove to be true. My own believe is never put your faith 100% in anybody in cycling. I believe Garmin for example are a clean team but would I bet my life on it, no way. Its hard to not mix cycling and doping and thats just the sad reality of our sport.

I believe there are a few teams (or just riders) that are super jacked and the rest of the field not so much. Its very hard to be on those morning blood tests by the UCI and then still autologous blood dope. They have to be very careful but its not rocket science or anything like that. Kohl confessed the other day to blood doping 4 times in 2008, so the bio=passport is not great at catching this.

Times on the track have not slowed, this is a definite indicator of power output values being just as high as they were before. If racing cleaned up these 4K pursuits would slow down big time.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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BigBoat said:
I believe there are a few teams (or just riders) that are super jacked and the rest of the field not so much. Its very hard to be on those morning blood tests by the UCI and then still autologous blood dope. They have to be very careful but its not rocket science or anything like that. Kohl confessed the other day to blood doping 4 times in 2008, so the bio=passport is not great at catching this.

Were Kohls blood values not suspect before the Tour? IIRC about 10 guys were informed beforehand & he was one of them? Although it did take them a while to nail him.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Times on the track have not slowed, this is a definite indicator of power output values being just as high as they were before. If racing cleaned up these 4K pursuits would slow down big time.
Be careful with sweeping allegations. Understanding how doping benefits riders and the areas in which it is more likely to occur. Look at where the historical doping is to be found. There is little evidence of extensive doping in track racing, also the US road scene is reputedly quite clean.

Just because power outputs aren't down on the track doesn't mean they are doping, perhaps there never was any doping in the first place. There is not the competition in track as there is on the road and there isn't the reward either. Whether it's right or not, I've generally gone on the rule that doping has much more of an effect multi-day racing, when the ability to recover becomes vital. With one-day races there is plenty of evidence to suggest that supposedly clean riders are able to compete and win.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Jarvis said:
Be careful with sweeping allegations. Understanding how doping benefits riders and the areas in which it is more likely to occur. Look at where the historical doping is to be found. There is little evidence of extensive doping in track racing, also the US road scene is reputedly quite clean.

Just because power outputs aren't down on the track doesn't mean they are doping, perhaps there never was any doping in the first place. There is not the competition in track as there is on the road and there isn't the reward either. Whether it's right or not, I've generally gone on the rule that doping has much more of an effect multi-day racing, when the ability to recover becomes vital. With one-day races there is plenty of evidence to suggest that supposedly clean riders are able to compete and win.

Meet Tammy Thomas:
tammy-thomas.jpg
 
Jarvis said:
Be careful with sweeping allegations. Understanding how doping benefits riders and the areas in which it is more likely to occur. Look at where the historical doping is to be found. There is little evidence of extensive doping in track racing, also the US road scene is reputedly quite clean.

I think this is rather hilarious. It reminds me of people baseball circles not only saying that doping was not a problem in baseball but denying that drugs would help. And then there was the time I got a good laugh when reading literature from a gymnastics organization that contained the sentence, "Fortunately drugs are not a problem in our sport."