Team organized doping?

I am quite new to this forum and up until now I've managed to avoid coming here to The Clinic. I am, what many frequent posters in The Clinic would call, a very naïve cycling fan who thinks (or at least hopes) that cycling nowadays is relatively clean. I thought that the fact that many highly talented youngsters immediately make their mark and get impressive results is actually a sign that cycling is cleaner now but the rather absurd time trial by Pogacar has brought even me down here to The Clinic to read your thoughts/assumptions regarding his performance.

The fact that I've always believed, and still believe, that cycling nowadays is relatively clean doesn't mean ofcourse that I know there will always be cheaters and therefore there will be riders in the peloton who dope. However I think these are individual cases who work either alone or are connected to an outside doctor/network not directly connected with any team (like Operation Aderlass).

In reading through some of the threads and posts in The Clinic I've realized that many of you believe that doping nowadays is not limited to individual riders or outside networks but that the top teams still organize their own doping programs. I just can't seem to wrap my head around that thought.

To me the risks of a team still involved in doping programs just seem too high and there are too many questions/incertainties involved:

- Many riders in the past few years have taken quite strong positions regarding doping. Do the teams still involved not approach/contract these riders? Do they contract them but keep them out of the doping program? But how do they know they aren't interested? If they simply ask then they risk that the rider will eventually talk about it, especially if he does not want to participate.

- Is everybody in the team involved or at least in the loop about it? I can't imagine a small part of the team can keep this safely secluded from the rest of the team. And if everybody is in the loop I just can't imagine that everybody goes along with it and not a word gets out to a third party and so on.

- The risks when they are caught eventually just seem so high. The riders involved will obviously face a ban but the organisers/doctors/team managers may very well face effective jail time as well as hefty lawsuits from their sponsors. Are they really willing to risk that much?

- History has shown us that even 'undetectable' doping after a few years might get detectable and they still might get caught later on. I think the general public will also be less 'forgiving and forgetting' with riders/teams that get caught now (as it is supposed to be a lot cleaner) then a few years ago when 'everybody did it'.

All in all I have a hard time believing the top teams are still running their own doping programs nowadays but I'm curious to here your views/opinions on it.
 
I am quite new to this forum and up until now I've managed to avoid coming here to The Clinic. I am, what many frequent posters in The Clinic would call, a very naïve cycling fan who thinks (or at least hopes) that cycling nowadays is relatively clean. I thought that the fact that many highly talented youngsters immediately make their mark and get impressive results is actually a sign that cycling is cleaner now but the rather absurd time trial by Pogacar has brought even me down here to The Clinic to read your thoughts/assumptions regarding his performance.

The fact that I've always believed, and still believe, that cycling nowadays is relatively clean doesn't mean ofcourse that I know there will always be cheaters and therefore there will be riders in the peloton who dope. However I think these are individual cases who work either alone or are connected to an outside doctor/network not directly connected with any team (like Operation Aderlass).

In reading through some of the threads and posts in The Clinic I've realized that many of you believe that doping nowadays is not limited to individual riders or outside networks but that the top teams still organize their own doping programs. I just can't seem to wrap my head around that thought.

To me the risks of a team still involved in doping programs just seem too high and there are too many questions/incertainties involved:

- Many riders in the past few years have taken quite strong positions regarding doping. Do the teams still involved not approach/contract these riders? Do they contract them but keep them out of the doping program? But how do they know they aren't interested? If they simply ask then they risk that the rider will eventually talk about it, especially if he does not want to participate.

- Is everybody in the team involved or at least in the loop about it? I can't imagine a small part of the team can keep this safely secluded from the rest of the team. And if everybody is in the loop I just can't imagine that everybody goes along with it and not a word gets out to a third party and so on.

- The risks when they are caught eventually just seem so high. The riders involved will obviously face a ban but the organisers/doctors/team managers may very well face effective jail time as well as hefty lawsuits from their sponsors. Are they really willing to risk that much?

- History has shown us that even 'undetectable' doping after a few years might get detectable and they still might get caught later on. I think the general public will also be less 'forgiving and forgetting' with riders/teams that get caught now (as it is supposed to be a lot cleaner) then a few years ago when 'everybody did it'.

All in all I have a hard time believing the top teams are still running their own doping programs nowadays but I'm curious to here your views/opinions on it.
Okay, my two cents to your thoughtful post:

Personally, I don't believe in full team programs to the degree that almost everybody in the peloton is full of dope.
I imagine there to be many different takes on this, with dirtier teams and cleaner teams, but among the dirtier teams there may be clean riders, among the cleaner teams there may be a very dirty rider. I do think team doctors are still involved in doping, but that not everybody knows about it, suspecting, probably, but that the teams and their doctors with them start talking to the individual rider, be careful what they say and do until they know his mind about this. They might also start to persuade someone not extremely firm in his stand to do a bit more than he would do on his own. Nonetheless I think many riders will take an individual approach to this, find their own guys, their own drugs.
So, based on this, which is not more than the picture my layman's mind has formed from bits of information, I am going to answer your questions:

- Many riders in the past few years have taken quite strong positions regarding doping. Do the teams still involved not approach/contract these riders? Do they contract them but keep them out of the doping program? But how do they know they aren't interested? If they simply ask then they risk that the rider will eventually talk about it, especially if he does not want to participate.
I don't think there are full programs that every single rider knows about and that every rider has to take part in. I assume if they think the rider is good enough for them they want him, if they don't they won't, more or less regardless of what his opinion on doping is. They will not talk about it openly with everyone. Most people will get drawn into this bit by bit, becoming accomplices by this. Some will have their suspicions but mostly remain outsiders to this.

- Is everybody in the team involved or at least in the loop about it? I can't imagine a small part of the team can keep this safely secluded from the rest of the team. And if everybody is in the loop I just can't imagine that everybody goes along with it and not a word gets out to a third party and so on.
I think they can keep it at least secret enough so that nobody has proof against them. Also people will just not talk about it because they are used to accept things in order to get to the top/ a job. They know they may have to work with these people in the future, because cycling is a small world and the ex-dopers are everywhere. Yes, I have been wondering about this myself some time ago, but you just have to read about all the sexual assaults and misconducts that happen in sports, for years, people knowing about it, people looking away. It's hard to believe, but obviously it happens.

- The risks when they are caught eventually just seem so high. The riders involved will obviously face a ban but the organisers/doctors/team managers may very well face effective jail time as well as hefty lawsuits from their sponsors. Are they really willing to risk that much?
Yes. They are. Obviously. Some people think they can get away with everything. Some people think so many others are doing it and they don't get caught or jailed, so nothing will happen to me. Some will know the risk and be afraid, but ultimately they are taking the risk for the money, the fame, the success (and probably because they live among people who don't think so bad about doping as we outsiders do).

- History has shown us that even 'undetectable' doping after a few years might get detectable and they still might get caught later on. I think the general public will also be less 'forgiving and forgetting' with riders/teams that get caught now (as it is supposed to be a lot cleaner) then a few years ago when 'everybody did it'.
They are willing to take that risk. Not everyone, I think, like I said. Many won't. But there are enough people willing to do everything to reach the goal they have set for themselves, that others are talking about, that maybe even defines their identity. They are thinking now, they are thinking they are clever enough, they are extremely focused, ambitious and have ex-dopers all around them as their persons of trust.
 
Reactions: Berflamand
Let's try to answer some of this. I mostly agree with BlueRoads. I highly doubt there are programs currently like US Postal or Kelme. Those are the two most notorious team doping programs. Although US Postal gets the vast majority of the attention Kelme was actually worse. When talking of Kelme this only applied to their pro team. They specifically banned doping on their amateur team. Actually they and Benesto were the only two Spanish amateur teams that banned doping on their amateur teams. The reason being is they wanted to know exactly what their amateur riders had before moving them up. (For reference Banesto is now Movistar). I'm sure at this point you can have clean riders on dirty teams, however I don't believe there is a "clean" team. I believe there are cleaner teams.
I think from 2006/2007 after Puerto broke until 2016/17 the peloton was cleaner. However, I think due to a few performances we witnessed during that time frame the peloton started going back to the free for all era of the early 2000's. I don't think we are to the Lance/US Postal era fully yet, but I think we are on that road.
To find out how open a rider is to doping is very likely just over time in general conversation. This isn't the early 2000's when a team like US Postal or Kelme would force all their riders to dope whether or not they actually wanted to.

- Is everybody in the team involved or at least in the loop about it? I can't imagine a small part of the team can keep this safely secluded from the rest of the team. And if everybody is in the loop I just can't imagine that everybody goes along with it and not a word gets out to a third party and so on.

Movistar under all of it's names (they were started in the '70's, but have been basically a WT team since 1980) has never had a rider test positive while a part of their team during an anti doping test during competition or out of competition. (Valverde's Operation Puerto ban is from a confiscated blood bag not an anti doping test). Alex Dowsett who has been vocally anti doping spent several years there and enjoyed his time there. I also agree that teams can keep it secret enough for those who are doping from those against it that there isn't any proof.

- The risks when they are caught eventually just seem so high. The riders involved will obviously face a ban but the organisers/doctors/team managers may very well face effective jail time as well as hefty lawsuits from their sponsors. Are they really willing to risk that much?


See this jail time and other issues really depend on which country you happen to be in. In Germany or France this is likely. Spain still has extremely lax anti doping laws. Theirs are literally just enough to make WADA, CAS, etc happy. Although they did have that big bust a few months ago, it appeared somewhat tied to Adalass and had more to do with exporting and shipping the drugs, which appears to be the one way to get the Spanish anti doping authorities upset with you. That and not being Spaniards because if I remember correctly, the group arrested were all non Spaniards.
 
Reactions: Berflamand
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
D The Clinic 9
Invicituz The Clinic 0

ASK THE COMMUNITY