Q&A with Dr. Bengt Kayser on the doping dilemma in sport

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Jun 23, 2009
I agree there needs to be a better solution.

I would suggest riders on protour teams undergo daily blood tests. Same thing with power meters on all bikes (even on training rides) and all data available after 1 or 2 years.

Any clearly proven case of doping, with the intent to cheat, should mean a lifetime ban.
Jul 25, 2009
riobonito92 said:
Talking about ethics or long term health risks is not effective with these guys.

Upon very short reflection, I also think that was a pretty dumb idea:eek:

riobonito92 said:
Possibly the best argument to use with the ambitious U23s is to say "if you want to turn pro and stay pro you have to be clean when you are on the way up because the pro teams want clean riders."

That argument sounds like it really could work. Would it be possible to get pro teams to somehow reinforce that message? I can think of ways for teams to make considerable PR mileage out of it if they spin it right.

riobonito92 said:
it is interesting that posters think that an officially sanctioned program would make that level of the sport more, rather than less dangerous.

It's difficult to comment on safer vs less safe without knowing what's currently going on. I assume your view of increased safety with sanctioned PED use is based on suspicions of some really dodgy stuff going on.

The real problem with this idea is that it would not be credible for cycling to permit PED use, as there are lots of reasons that PED use cannot be considered medically safe. E.g:

1) Drugs would be used for purposes that have not been tested - safe dosages and long term effects are unknown......the only thing offering riders some protection from unsafe prescription, is the doctor's caution and ethics regarding performance advantages vs health risks.

2) Where are the cautious, ethical doctors willing to prescribe untested drugs to healthy 20 year olds coming from?

3) If PED use is permitted, more riders from lower levels will use products which have unknown risks.

4) What happens when riders add un-approved PED's to their approved program? (On a scale of "1 to dangerous" that has to be right up there with dirty needles)

Just can't see an approved program happening any time soon....

Dr. Maserati

Jun 19, 2009
riobonito92 said:
The main reason I am raising these issues is because I am concerned about the safety of top level amateur racing and it is interesting that posters think that an officially sanctioned programme would make that level of the sport more, rather than less dangerous.
Talking about ethics or long term health risks is not effective with these guys.

By in large I agree with your post.
But to the first paragraph I would argue that this is where cycling is at the moment - the current controls and Bio-passport are in place to stop the all out use of PED's and if they can catch the odd rider than happy days.

One idea for the U23's that are in line to make it Pro could be that they have to provide a Bio-passport like analysis before any team can recruit them.

I dont think an U23 could afford the elaborate ways of keeping within the parameters of the Bio-passport.
Most top amateurs and U23's already do a lot of scientific tests through their Federations so the cost on the rider should be minimal.
Mar 19, 2009
Is it just me though or is this interview a bunch of BS? Kayser does not give any useful info at all. Its just a bunch of nothingness.
Jul 10, 2009
Along the lines of what Dr. Maserati said, perhaps the National Federations could provide biological passports for the top 20-30 amateur riders so they could be targeted as well.
I also wonder if WADA could fund the development of drug tests simultaneously by the companies developing drugs that could be used as PEDs. This way there is a test when or before the drug hits the market. I know this is probably not doable but it would keep the testers in step with the users.
Aug 4, 2009
The article that generated this discussion is very poor. However, I would like to further the discussion relating it to amateur cycling. First some more assumptions.

1. The cost of UCI sanctioned testing is prohibitive at the amateur level, so, although enforcement may be a realistic option for professionals - a relatively small and clearly defined group of riders who can be subjected to surprise tests, whereabouts tracking and whatever else is dreamt up - it is not, and never will be, an effective deterrent for amateurs who want to dope.
2. It is almost impossible to limit the supply of illegal doping products.
3. Some up-and-coming, aspiring young riders, believing that doping is widespread among the riders who are beating them (the ones they have to beat to have a chance at the prized pro contract) will be tempted into doping, and most will get away with it.
4. Amateur level doping is likely to be haphazard and unsafe.
5. Ultimately, eradicating doping at the pro level depends on eradicating it at the amateur level.


Would it be possible to focus entirely on haematocrit testing? This would be cheaper than testing for a wide range of illegal substances (a UCI sanctioned test is very expensive and can be carried out at too few labs). Assuming that amateurs are less likely to be able to control their haematocrit levels, the possibility of being tested several times every season, along with increasing the "medically unfit" suspension to, say, three months, might be an effective deterrent. A haematocrit test could also be (a) a condition of acquiring a licence and (b) a condition of changing licence catergory. This would enable national federations to gather useful data for more targeted testing.

Perhaps this could be combined with a simplified biological passport scheme for all aspiring professionals and riders above a certain national ranking.
Jul 25, 2009
riobonito92 said:

Have you had a chance to read the article http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-doping-dilemma referred to in http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=2827

Basically, a situation where the payoff for confessing to doping (including dobbing in others) is higher than the payoff for remaining silent is required. Then its possible to trigger a cascade of confessions, that would temporarily clean up the sport...............Then whats needed is a system where, even when other riders start doping, the payoff for riding clean is greater than the payoff for doping....simple:eek:

Possible steps could be:
1) Introduce some basic testing so elite juniors and amateurs believe there is some chance of getting caught

2) Grant a temporary amnesty with no sanctions or reduced sanctions to riders who choose to volunteer information about their own and others doping.

3) Motivate these riders to confess, dob in others and then stay riding clean with evidence that pro teams insist on clean riders. They need to beat the other guy to get noticed, so it's in their own interests to make dob in others who aren't riding clean.

I think that pro teams are in the best position to insist on squeaky clean test data from prospective riders. They can say no to a rider who is in the just below a positive test threshold, on the grounds that they are a bad business risk. Whereas regulatory bodies have to establish guilt and therefore have a greater burden of proof.