re: "The Giro is so hard it will encourage doping"

So not to detract from the original thread, and to allow more open discussion. I wrote this post for the other forum so avoided using doping terms like pint of blood :(

My argument is that doping is in response to a desire to win and to beat your opposition, not to make riding over a mountain "easier". We see just as much doping in an "easy" Tour as we do a "hard" Giro.

raddone said:
Of course they do. To win. Also they ride a race to win. The harder the race, the harder to win.
The difficulty of the race is determined by the opposition. Everyone has to ride over the same roads. You are still trying to beat 200 other cyclists, the gradient doesn't change that. All things being equal, the better climber will win in a MTF whether or not it's 15km @ 7% or 15km @ 9% (unless of course the two are so equal that they cannot be separated after 15km @ 7%). Likewise, the better TTer will win over 40km or 80km, despite the latter being "harder". The difference in terms of "ability" is still the same, hence you "only" need to make up that gap (via cheating) to be competitive on either of the two climbs. The harder climb will no doubt exacerbate the difference, in the way of time gaps, but the performance gap is still the same.

You are more likely to see the level of cheating determined by the level of competition and level of incentives to win, rather than the difficulty of the road.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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I think "that race routes are so hard that it may encourage doping" is a more plausible comment than saying one particular grand tour edition. How true that statement is though is questionable.
 
auscyclefan94 said:
I think "that race routes are so hard that it may encourage doping" is a more plausible comment than saying one particular grand tour edition. How true that statement is though is questionable.
The discussion directly relates to those that say there will be an outbreak of doping at the Giro in 2011 because of how "hard" it is.

I wasn't the one making the statement.
 
"life is hard-therefore people smoke crack".................. well................ actually people do get addicted to drugs & bad habits to make it through the day.........
is the same case for Cycling too?:p
 
I dont know. I think the main motive behind doping is wanting to win, rather than wanting to finish a race.

If no one dopes and your a superclimber and pre race favourite, why would you take the risk getting caught, when you feel you can win anyway. Sure it will be more painful in the mountains, but not just for you, everyone.

Remember, if no one dopes, its the same for everyone, a super hard race. And if your competitors can finish it, without doping, why cant you?

I think people will dope to win, as always, no other reason.
 
The Hitch said:
I dont know. I think the main motive behind doping is wanting to win, rather than wanting to finish a race.

If no one dopes and your a superclimber and pre race favourite, why would you take the risk getting caught, when you feel you can win anyway. Sure it will be more painful in the mountains, but not just for you, everyone.

Remember, if no one dopes, its the same for everyone, a super hard race. And if your competitors can finish it, without doping, why cant you?

I think people will dope to win, as always, no other reason.
Dont agree with you on doping to win only, according to man ex-pros like Kimmage, Parkin etc, riders dope to survive, otherwise only the top guys would dope. It would seem that doping was always worst in the kermesses/crits in Belgium/France and none of those were particularly difficult in terms of parcours.

Likewise, Fignon claimed that with the arrival of EPO/ blood doping, cycling had become more boring and that it was tough races/courses that really sorted the top guys from the rest in races.
 
May 5, 2009
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ridicolous. would a 100m sprinter not dope anymore if it will be shortened to 80m? will cyclists that used to dope not dope anymore if the Tour is cut in half by length and climbs? will they not dope anymore if the hellings in flanders are reduced by 50% or paris-roubaix distance will be cut in half?

doping is not related to the difficulty or length of a race or tour.
 
May 26, 2010
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The Hitch said:
I dont know. I think the main motive behind doping is wanting to win, rather than wanting to finish a race.

If no one dopes and your a superclimber and pre race favourite, why would you take the risk getting caught, when you feel you can win anyway. Sure it will be more painful in the mountains, but not just for you, everyone.

Remember, if no one dopes, its the same for everyone, a super hard race. And if your competitors can finish it, without doping, why cant you?

I think people will dope to win, as always, no other reason.
with or without dope a GT is a super hard race. the difference is the 2 speeds, doped and non doped.
 
The Hitch said:
I dont know. I think the main motive behind doping is wanting to win, rather than wanting to finish a race.

If no one dopes and your a superclimber and pre race favourite, why would you take the risk getting caught, when you feel you can win anyway. Sure it will be more painful in the mountains, but not just for you, everyone.

Remember, if no one dopes, its the same for everyone, a super hard race. And if your competitors can finish it, without doping, why cant you?

I think people will dope to win, as always, no other reason.
We have gone far beyond doping to win. It has become cultural, in the sense that that is how the game is played.

An arms race that began in the 60's really.

There is thus a strong psychological component at work, and it begins to set in already at the amateur level in a not insignificant number of cases. And not only in cycling of course. Human weakness, technology and the business market have converged to make pro sport "the greatest show on earth."
 
May 18, 2009
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la.margna said:
ridicolous. would a 100m sprinter not dope anymore if it will be shortened to 80m? will cyclists that used to dope not dope anymore if the Tour is cut in half by length and climbs? will they not dope anymore if the hellings in flanders are reduced by 50% or paris-roubaix distance will be cut in half?

doping is not related to the difficulty or length of a race or tour.
I agree with you, the hitch, Ferminal, etc.

A few years ago this discussion came up, ie lessen the severity of the GTs and it will lessen doping. That was BS then, and it is BS now.

But, your example doesn't exactly square with the opinions of some that state it is possible to win a classic clean. I don't believe that, either, at least not in the past. Hopefully things are getting better.
 
whilst I agree with Ferminal's angle of doping to win, there are those amongst the lesser-lights that will need to just to finish or to stay with their leader and support him... Someone's already mentioned Kimmage, who will push for the latter group occuring just as widely as those trying to win it.
 
Apr 22, 2009
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Archibald said:
whilst I agree with Ferminal's angle of doping to win, there are those amongst the lesser-lights that will need to just to finish or to stay with their leader and support him... Someone's already mentioned Kimmage, who will push for the latter group occuring just as widely as those trying to win it.
That's true, but it's all about improving relative competitiveness. The top guys dope to be competitive against the other top guys. The domestiques dope to be competitive against other domestiques. Whether it's to win or just to maintain a more modest position in the team and the peloton, it's all just different definitions of 'survival'.

This, I believe is why the riders themselves get so upset when people say they are 'cheaters'. From their perspective, since the organizers can't/won't do what's necessary to prevent all doping, they're forced to do it as a simple necessity of survival. And to be called a cheat for trying to survive has to be hard to take.

I'm not defending it, and I think UCI has to work harder and harder to stamp it out. But until they get there, the average rider is stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.
 
May 18, 2009
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Archibald said:
whilst I agree with Ferminal's angle of doping to win, there are those amongst the lesser-lights that will need to just to finish or to stay with their leader and support him... Someone's already mentioned Kimmage, who will push for the latter group occuring just as widely as those trying to win it.
Then they shouldn't be in the sport in an ideal world, ie a dope-free world.

Regardless of the course doping is only needed to beat the competition if you cannot beat them naturally. Or, to keep up with your leader if you can't do it naturally. Domestiques or riders with less talent don't have a right to be in the sport.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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The Hitch said:
I dont know. I think the main motive behind doping is wanting to win, rather than wanting to finish a race.

If no one dopes and your a superclimber and pre race favourite, why would you take the risk getting caught, when you feel you can win anyway. Sure it will be more painful in the mountains, but not just for you, everyone.

Remember, if no one dopes, its the same for everyone, a super hard race. And if your competitors can finish it, without doping, why cant you?

I think people will dope to win, as always, no other reason.
I will have to disagree with the bold, The Hitch...

Imagine a scenario where the race is very hard, and we have multiple epic rider battles right down to the finish - but the race was "scripted" ie fixed.

Would that eliminate doping? The "winner" did not really win. It was just an awesome show put on for the spectators. Of course, the spectators would not know the outcome - the "script" would be a tightly guarded UCI secret.

At first blush, one might think that would minimize doping. At least Doping would not imapact the finish. But holy crap, that was an exciting race. Ricco vs Basso right down to Milan. OK, the finish was predetermined. The winner had no reason to dope. OMG, no doping required - our children are safer in the sport! Our children are clean and safe.

But alas, look at Pro Wrestling.
The winners are scripted, but there is still an abundance of doping.
Doping just to survive the grind. Doping just to stay a pro.
Doping not to win, but to survive.

If the doping in pro wrestling was professionally supervised by top notch Doctors, it would be safer....
 
Jun 12, 2010
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Theres doping to improve performance beyond ones normal fit and healthy ability and doping to preserve ones condition at "fit and healthy" levals.
For decades GT doping has been for these two reasons.
The fall of in performance that , for many ( all)? riders, comes after 11 or 12 days in GT`s due to blood values depreciating may be so severe doping becomes " essential" merely to finish without efectivly making ones self ill.
I`ve said this for years as have many , many pro`s .
Remember "doping" now includes ALL Iv administered substances be they PEDS or non PEDS. Yes, theres dispensation if the race doctor agrees...but that a whole can of worms in itself.:rolleyes:
Yes, using peds will always be a temptation regardless if the race is 100m or a 3 week GT but riding clean GT`s ( in the strictest sence) is beyond most athletes.
In single day races and tours up to two weeks there is no "excuse" or reason but GT`s need to be understood as amongst the most severe tests of athletes there is in any sport and regulatry conditions for them need to take into account the very severe problems of fatigue they produce or alter the formats to prevent it.
Altering the formats seems to be a non starter as fans and promotors alike seem to want there pound of flesh regardless and most fans show very little understanding of what GT`s do to the body.
 
Aug 10, 2010
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Of course it encourages doping.

There's the training doping that racers do to prepare for a stage race. That level of doping probably won't vary from easy stage races to hard stage races.

Then, there's the doping that goes on in a race. Some of that doping is preplanned and some of it is situational.

The preplanned doping is calculated with an eye trained on WADA at all times. That probably won't change much, either, because you can assume doping to the max undetectable limit.

But situational doping could be a big temptation in a race that drops your fitness dramatically in a day. I'm thinking of the Road to Morzine as an example of this.

Doping--in the race--is all about maintaining. If the race intercourses you up so much that you can't maintain anymore, then the doper's willingness to risk increased doping is challenged. You can't deny that the peloton has such risk takers, that's for sure.
 
ChrisE said:
I agree with you, the hitch, Ferminal, etc.

A few years ago this discussion came up, ie lessen the severity of the GTs and it will lessen doping. That was BS then, and it is BS now.

But, your example doesn't exactly square with the opinions of some that state it is possible to win a classic clean. I don't believe that, either, at least not in the past. Hopefully things are getting better.
+1!

if it's more difficult and no one's doping (or no one is on blood vector drugs at least), then all the riders go slower and as fignon points out there is actually more drama as we get -- as fans -- a sense of truer hierarchy and the greater possibility of bad days and tactics being used as riders have to think much more about the consequences of what they do each day in a grand tour.

however, i'm sure kimmage is right, in his day some riders took uppers etc, cortisone, perhaps to keep their job as even in the 80s the domestique did not get paid well, but many of the riders came from worker families, so it was better to get paid to ride, because what else was there?

however, epo and blood doping was all about winning initially. it provided a huge advantage. we know that riders in the early 90s were then forced to make a choice if they wanted to remain paid. most chose to do epo. some quit racing. think of the decision that frankie andreu had to make...
 
I find it hard to believe that individual riders will vary their program depending on the parcours. What's the tinking? This years GdI is extra hard, so I'll ramp it up 5% compared to last year? TdF this year is extra flat, so I'll go easy on the dope? Or a clean rider comtemplating doping for the first time, because the upcoming race is especially hard? Implausible line of thinking, to my mind. If you're doping, and think you'll get away with it, why not do as much as possible?
 
Mar 11, 2009
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zapata said:
I find it hard to believe that individual riders will vary their program depending on the parcours. What's the tinking? This years GdI is extra hard, so I'll ramp it up 5% compared to last year? TdF this year is extra flat, so I'll go easy on the dope? Or a clean rider comtemplating doping for the first time, because the upcoming race is especially hard? Implausible line of thinking, to my mind. If you're doping, and think you'll get away with it, why not do as much as possible?
+1.

A tougher brutal parcours will affect the clean riders - not the dopers.

If we see any rider "protests" - riding a stage massed at tempo just to survive, crappy transfers and all - we fans should be sympathetic.
 
Polish said:
I will have to disagree with the bold, The Hitch...

Imagine a scenario where the race is very hard, and we have multiple epic rider battles right down to the finish - but the race was "scripted" ie fixed.

Would that eliminate doping? The "winner" did not really win. It was just an awesome show put on for the spectators. Of course, the spectators would not know the outcome - the "script" would be a tightly guarded UCI secret.

At first blush, one might think that would minimize doping. At least Doping would not imapact the finish. But holy crap, that was an exciting race. Ricco vs Basso right down to Milan. OK, the finish was predetermined. The winner had no reason to dope. OMG, no doping required - our children are safer in the sport! Our children are clean and safe.

But alas, look at Pro Wrestling.
The winners are scripted, but there is still an abundance of doping.
Doping just to survive the grind. Doping just to stay a pro.
Doping not to win, but to survive.

If the doping in pro wrestling was professionally supervised by top notch Doctors, it would be safer....

You make a good point but i think people do dope in wrestling to win. They dope to make and stay in the big leagues, the main event matches.


While wrestling is scripted, the victories, and the main events, go to the people who can possess the extreme mix of endurance and strenght needed to take part in a main event match. The reaction you get from the crowd is based mostly on your performance in the ring. Even the guys populat for their good acting and speaking skills, have to be just as good in the ring.

You cant be good in the ring without an extraordinary ammount of strenght (in some cases speed and gimnastic skills instead) and stamina.



If you cant go 20 minutes in the ring, without getting tired (being tired =lower awareness = bad bad injuries to you or yuour partner) they wont give you the 20 minute matches, and you will forever be destined to the lower leagues.

If you cant pick up, with extreme ease, people your size, or heavier, hold them in the air while the crowd cheers, and then SAFELY, put them down to the ground WHILE maintaining the illusion of a fight, then you wont be able to woo the crowd and the organisers wont give you the top matches. Again, destined to the lower leagues.

To tie this in to your cycling example, imagine if cycling was scripted, but that the script required the winning rider to do the Alpe d huez in 39 minutes flat. You would therefore need a rider who you knew 100% could do a 39 minute Alpe d huez time with ease for the role of "winner". The only candidates that could be considered are those with sub 39 minute Alpe times and we all know that the best candidates would therefore be heavy dopers.

Thats to say nothing of the ped use to recover from injuries ( i think wrestling is injury wise, the worst proffesion in the world). Ive heard people say on here that ped use is probably most widespread in sport with high injury rates.
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Of course the difficulty of the course matters! A harder race will obviously increase the relative gains from "recovery therapy".

Darryl Webster said:
Theres doping to improve performance beyond ones normal fit and healthy ability and doping to preserve ones condition at "fit and healthy" levals.
For decades GT doping has been for these two reasons.
The fall of in performance that , for many ( all)? riders, comes after 11 or 12 days in GT`s due to blood values depreciating may be so severe doping becomes " essential" merely to finish without efectivly making ones self ill. I`ve said this for years as have many , many pro`s .
Remember "doping" now includes ALL Iv administered substances be they PEDS or non PEDS. Yes, theres dispensation if the race doctor agrees...but that a whole can of worms in itself.:rolleyes:
Yes, using peds will always be a temptation regardless if the race is 100m or a 3 week GT but riding clean GT`s ( in the strictest sence) is beyond most athletes.
In single day races and tours up to two weeks there is no "excuse" or reason but GT`s need to be understood as amongst the most severe tests of athletes there is in any sport and regulatry conditions for them need to take into account the very severe problems of fatigue they produce or alter the formats to prevent it.
Altering the formats seems to be a non starter as fans and promotors alike seem to want there pound of flesh regardless and most fans show very little understanding of what GT`s do to the body.
This is a common misunderstanding. The drop in Hb concentration is mainly due to plasma-expansion. When you see riders with the same values at the end of a GT as they had at the start, it means they increased their Hb mass - a lot. Yes, a clean rider will lose rbc's in a GT and it will hamper performance, but it wont be significant enough to make him anemic (ill) unless he was low to begin with.
 
I guess a spectacularly tough course would make it easier for a first-time or occasional user to rationalize doping, but that's not going to affect more than a handful of riders, maybe. Generally speaking I agree with those who say the toughness of the course is largely irrelevant.
 
Jun 12, 2010
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Tyler'sTwin said:
Of course the difficulty of the course matters! A harder race will obviously increase the relative gains from "recovery therapy".



This is a common misunderstanding. The drop in Hb concentration is mainly due to plasma-expansion. When you see riders with the same values at the end of a GT as they had at the start, it means they increased their Hb mass - a lot. Yes, a clean rider will lose rbc's in a GT and it will hamper performance, but it wont be significant enough to make him anemic (ill) unless he was low to begin with.
Surely this is a huge variable?. Mainly GT gc contenders will arrive at the start in peek condition but for many domestiques they wont have had the priveledge of curtailing the number of days racing pre the GT or after.
This is probably less the case than it was in the past were I think many pro`s did many more days racing per season and there was less focus on the one target.
In no way am I trying to "rationalise" doping ...what`s important in combating doping is to understand the reasons its done.
While clearly winning is one very big reason its clearly not the only one.
No problem can ever be dealt with in a rounded manner unless its fully understood.
As the saying go`s "Walk a mile in my shoe`s then tell me you understand"..assuming we know what a GT rider has to contend with is not knowing.
The people who realy need to be heard are the riders ..those who do or wish to ride clean are best placed to explain what can be done.
As Micheal Ashendon found out when he asked riders the question and recieved the reply along the lines of " show us youl catch every doper every time and it will stop".
There in lays the problem from the riders perspective.
 

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