What is the Real Reason Cyclists Lie When Caught Doping?

Jul 22, 2009
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I was thinking about this today.

The majority of top cyclist's lie and deny usage when caught using PED's during drug tests.

Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis are the first two that come to mind.

I'd really like to know their primary motivation for lying when busted on these drug tests.

Tyler Hamiltion basically disgraced his career when caught, and Floyd spent tens of thousands of dollars doing the same thing, not to mention Tyler losing his wife over it.

Do you think that their motivation is due the fact that:


(1) They've denied it so many times in their past that they acutally justify it in their own minds and convince themselves that its really Ok since many cyclists do it?

(2) Do they actually think that with the right lawyer, they can beat the system?

(3) Are they getting pressure from within the cycling community, or from individuals to keep quiet about doping practices, or face getting black-balled from cycling for teilling the truth?

(4) They're just so ashamed of being caught, that they go into denial, fearing that there careers will be over with a positive test?


Just wondering what some of you guys that might have a better insight than me thinks drives an individual to spend their whole life fortune trying to fight something that they know they're guilty of in the first place?


Thanks!
 
Jun 26, 2009
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tockit said:
I was thinking about this today.

The majority of top cyclist's lie and deny usage when caught using PED's during drug tests.

Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis are the first two that come to mind.

I'd really like to know their primary motivation for lying when busted on these drug tests.

Tyler Hamiltion basically disgraced his career when caught, and Floyd spent tens of thousands of dollars doing the same thing, not to mention Tyler losing his wife over it.

Do you think that their motivation is due the fact that:


(1) They've denied it so many times in their past that they acutally justify it in their own minds and convince themselves that its really Ok since many cyclists do it?

(2) Do they actually think that with the right lawyer, they can beat the system?

(3) Are they getting pressure from within the cycling community, or from individuals to keep quiet about doping practices, or face getting black-balled from cycling for teilling the truth?

(4) They're just so ashamed of being caught, that they go into denial, fearing that there careers will be over with a positive test?


Just wondering what some of you guys that might have a better insight than me thinks drives an individual to spend their whole life fortune trying to fight something that they know they're guilty of in the first place?


Thanks!

1 No

2 Maybe

3 Yes

4 Yes

The main reason is embarressment and loss of credibility in the eyes of the public because they know they have done something wrong and been exposed.
 
Aug 3, 2009
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I think it is a combination of the factors you mention in many cases. Every individual and every situation is different. Lying is probably the instinctual response for many, and once you tell a lie you have to cover it up with more lies. And when the doping test says you are lying it makes you look really silly. But it is still initially the easy and convenient thing to do, though in the long run it is a much more difficult thing to do.

I'll bet that many cyclists just tell themselves that if they get caught, they'll simply play the lying game that many other cyclists have played in the past; deny it all. If the choice is either to not cheat and not be able to compete, or cheat and be able to compete, the lying if you get caught part might not seem so bad. Some people are desperate for fame and success, I guess.

The part I don't understand and the lying after being caught is that they must not understand how forgiving fans can be, especially if you don't lie about it and just face the music. The longer some of them lie after getting caught, the more resentment they get.

It's an interesting phenomenon to study, for sure.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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I suspect a lot of them don't think that it is cheating because "everyone else is doing it too". Why should they get punished for doing what is normal and expected?
 
I don't have the numbers but have posted them before. Floyd Landis went from

...winning the Tour, and standing on top of the world, prepared to make millions of dollars in both contracts and endorsements, plus being happily married, and living well...

to pretty much knowing that if he lost his case he would:

...lose the Tour, be shamed in front of the world, not be able to work for two years, have his wife leave him, end up being broke, sleeping in vans and eating at all-you-can-eat buffets, riding for a domestic team as a decoy.

What would you do?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
Deny: come back after two years
Admit: Osctracised by everyone.

Not exactly.

Deny or Admit and pretend you did it all by yourself (no one EVER does it by themselves. EVER. EVER. EVER. EVER. EVER.) -> come back after two years and have everyone defend you "he's learned from his mistake"

Admit and name everyone involved -> Ostracized by the Omerta
 
ProTour said:
The part I don't understand and the lying after being caught is that they must not understand how forgiving fans can be, especially if you don't lie about it and just face the music. The longer some of them lie after getting caught, the more resentment they get.
Joe Papp thought the same thing as you. He thought by telling the whole truth, admitting his mistakes, fans would appreciate his honesty. Do a search, you'll find some of the incredibly rude and downright nasty letters "fans" sent him. I don't know if he kept track, but most indications were that the majority of letters he got were negative. The majority of riders also disowned him. And if I recall correctly, despite his willingness to cooperate and help curb doping, neither the UCI, USADA or anyone else was very interested in what he had to say, despite his copious notes and evidence he kept.

There appears to be no cut and dry approach to getting fans appreciation. For the most part Basso is a nice guy, didn't say much but seemed pretty contrite, and most fans have embraced his return. Then again, Roberto Heras was a nice guy, didn't say much but seemed pretty contrite, and not only has he been blacklisted from racing (regardless of what Pat McQuaid would tell you), and he sometimes goes places and has people yell "doper" to him.
 
Jul 21, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Joe Papp thought the same thing as you. He thought by telling the whole truth, admitting his mistakes, fans would appreciate his honesty. Do a search, you'll find some of the incredibly rude and downright nasty letters "fans" sent him. I don't know if he kept track, but most indications were that the majority of letters he got were negative. The majority of riders also disowned him. And if I recall correctly, despite his willingness to cooperate and help curb doping, neither the UCI, USADA or anyone else was very interested in what he had to say, despite his copious notes and evidence he kept.


I'm not saying it is so, but could it be the case with Joe of the silent majority and the vocal minority?

I certainly have a lot more respect for dopers who come clean. Mind you, I can also understand that to do so may be a bit like standing up to the bullies in the playground ...
 
May 26, 2009
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tockit said:
(1) They've denied it so many times in their past that they acutally justify it in their own minds and convince themselves that its really Ok since many cyclists do it?

Yes. I think this is the most important factor. After they retired a few years and have some distance some do come clean.

(2) Do they actually think that with the right lawyer, they can beat the system?

Maybe.

(3) Are they getting pressure from within the cycling community, or from individuals to keep quiet about doping practices, or face getting black-balled from cycling for teilling the truth?

Threatened directly? Maybe not, but if you name others your career is over.

(4) They're just so ashamed of being caught, that they go into denial, fearing that there careers will be over with a positive test?

If you believe in #1 you won't be ashamed.
 
May 26, 2009
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Animal said:
It's a good question.

Di Luca after all his scandals and tests is still argiung the toss.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/di-lucas-failed-doping-control-confirmed

Lifetime ban now, surely?

No, rules are rules (and that is a good thing).I think his first ban was a so called RS (reduced sanction) as it was less than two years. His second one is a ST (standard sanction), so I guess that would mean 2-4 years if we follow the UCI anti doping regulations.

http://www.uci.ch/includes/asp/getTarget.asp?type=FILE&id=NDc3MDk
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Digger said:
Deny: come back after two years
Admit: Osctracised by everyone.
ostracised by everyone? friends by definition, won't ostracise you. Only cutthroats and frauds.

I like what Jorg Jaksche said about cycling: "I have no friends in cycling"

pretty much sums up cycling in one pithy and piquant aphorism
 
Jul 28, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
I don't have the numbers but have posted them before. Floyd Landis went from

...winning the Tour, and standing on top of the world, prepared to make millions of dollars in both contracts and endorsements, plus being happily married, and living well...

to pretty much knowing that if he lost his case he would:

...lose the Tour, be shamed in front of the world, not be able to work for two years, have his wife leave him, end up being broke, sleeping in vans and eating at all-you-can-eat buffets, riding for a domestic team as a decoy.

What would you do?
Why would confessing to doping end in his wife leaving him and him ending up broke & sleeping in vans?

If Floyd had admitted that he doped instantly (or simply decide not to fight the positive test) he would not have been broke. He would have missed the big sponsor contracts a TDF-winner can get as well as being banned 2 years, but he would not have spent a fortune on his case. As for his marriage, i have no information why his marriage did not work in

the end, but it seems to me that fighting the doping test for years and spending all your money and more on it seems more stressfull for a relationship than admitting your mistakes right away.
 
Jul 28, 2009
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blackcat said:
ostracised by everyone? friends by definition, won't ostracise you. Only cutthroats and frauds.

Depends how much you are willing to admit. Jorg Jaksche and Bernie Kohl named people, teams and suppliers. They won't get much support.
 
Apr 3, 2009
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Don't laugh but maybe, sometimes, they didn't dope: - still not convinced in Floyds case and never will be unless he tells me to my face. I've pondered the question myself quite a bit and thought that those that are guilty of doping may be caught for something that isn't necessarily what they used.

For example, EPO usage. Rider is said to have tested positive for CERA but used an older generation or newer generation drug. In their minds they are justified in that the rider feels he/she was not caught because that was not the correct form of doping drug. Just a thought - I guess you can rationalize it somewhat with the same mindset of powerful businesspersons that embezzle or act illegally. Once you get into a position of power you feel entitiled and above reproach and really don't think you've done anything wrong.
 
To a large extent, isn't it just human nature? A child whose face is coverd with cookie crumbs will deny having taking the cookies. Someone charged with committing a crime will automatically deny it. Why should cyclists be any different?

Nor is it just cyclists. Didn't Marion Jones deny ever having doped?

Susan
 
Jul 7, 2009
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Interesting topic! I think a great deal of this has to do with culture as well. Some cultures are more tolerant of one admitting to "the crime" (especially the type of "crime" we are talking about, especially if it can be thought of as a "mistake"), while others will throw the book at you.

Now please, no one take this as a stab against one culture compared to another. I am not saying some countries are OK with doping!

Let's just compare a few different scenarios. Joe admits and wants to work with the various organizations - we know how that went (hint - not so good for Joe). Floyd and Tyler deny (but lose) and are pretty much not any worse off in the general public opinion (than Joe; I know they were worse off compared to their own previous images), and actually were both able to return to cycling. And yes, I know, both pretty much imploded their lives in their attempts to defend themselves.

In Germany, they tend to really go after you, for example, when I think of Ullrich, but what happens if you admit to doping (Jaksche)? BTW - I would be really interested in the opinions of riders from other countries here.

So the riders will react differently based on who they are, which of course includes where they grew up/live - their cultural identity. Please note that I am not saying there is a right or wrong reaction (I am hoping not to get flamed for this!)
 
Jun 24, 2009
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This is a good question, that I've never been able to reconcile, especially given the cost to defend your position. I've heard that Tyler Hamilton spent like $700,000 on his defense. I don't care how much you make, that's a lot of cash to burn defending your morality. His life has since unwound..divorce etc. and now he's just living a lie.

It's much better to just come clean. Look at athletes in other sports. Does anyone even remember that Andy Petite did steroids, while Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have been dragged through the media for months/years.
 
Aug 1, 2009
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So this Omerta... So you come completely clean and get 'ostracized' by it.

...... ? ...... ? what, they don't let your breakaway succeed or something?
Lots of the dopers won't talk to you?

The doping doctors will hate you?

Bricks come through your window?

haha, clearly I'm asking you what does this mean?

Surely it would be a good thing to come completely clean, then by seeing this ridiculous omerta in action we could see who is truly a douche and who are legit clean?
 
Apr 24, 2009
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Just look at the evidence. When Jesus Manzano confessed, he named people, showed documents and even produced the drugs that were given to him. What's his reward? Not being touched with the preverbial bargepole. Ask Bassons, Simeoni, Jaksche, Khol and Sinkewitz;to name few; what their reward for honesty was ?

Silence and deception is effectively rewarded.

There's the 'I only did it at the end of my career' arguement.

There's the 'I only did it once and I did it all by myself with noone's help whatsoever' arguement. This is also accompanied by the amazement and shock of teamates who had absolutely no idea even when they were roomates.

There's the Mafia-style 'Keep your mouth shut. They've got nothing on you. They can't prove a thing.' arguement. Even when you are caught you deny. Further still you attack those who dare to stain your carachter, you have no idea how you were found positive as you have never taken anything in your life and threaten to pursue legal action where you withdraw your threats when eveyone has forgotten about it (Shumacher, Rebellin). Even if you take it the whole way you try to blind eveyone with science, set up a foundation (usually for a disease, never anything like human rights or the environment) and then still deny. By the time all this happens your ban will have expired and you are free to sign for a lower level team who are grateful for all the extra publicity. You then get some fans who don't know any better on your side.

Basso invented the new category 'attempted doping' where you go to a doctor, have your blood removed, pay said doctor thousands of Euros for 'training' and then decide that after all that you don't want to go through with it, have a reduced ban and then get signed up by a ProTour team like nothing happened.

Related to this is the 'donate money to the Federation to fight doping' by someone who has supported dopers, criticised anti-dopers and proved positive himself. I remember listening to an interview by David Walsh where he said what would people think if Marion Jones donated money to US Athletics. Wouldn't it be quite rightly ridiculed?

When Ben Johnson testified at hearings conducted by the Canadian government after his steroids positive he was asked why did he do it. He replied, why wouldn't you do it ? In his words "victory is too sweet". That was 20 years ago and what has changed?

There is plenty of evidence of corruption by officials in other sporting bodies but I don't think there is any other sport that is as corrupt (morally if not in the legal sense) from top to bottom; from officials, managers, riders, doctors etc; than cycling.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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The culture of doping is so ingrained that it doesn't seem wrong to the riders involved in it. It only seems wrong from the outside. That's what Jaksche and Sinkewitz have said.

Look at Landis. They were going to take his yellow jersey away and give it to Pereiro. He was on the same team as Pereiro the year before, so he probably knew what Oscar was doing. DiLuca at the Giro stood on the podium with Pellizotti and Menchov. Why was Danilo singled out? Why did Rasmussen get his career destroyed while Contador has ridden to glory? I'm asking this question from the cyclists' perspective. It can seem very unfair to be the one caught while others go free.

Landis also had extenuating circumstances. He was going to have hip surgery so his career could be in jeopardy. And like he told Lemond an admission would damage people close to him he cared for. Hamilton could have put his wife in jeopardy. Why did Rumsas let his wife sit in jail for so long?

So the options are to admit and say everyone was doing it or to deny. If you say everyone is doing it then the door could be shut on a decent career when you return or retire.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Epicycle said:
If you say everyone is doing it then the door could be shut on a decent career when you return or retire.

If these guys don't start doing something to expose what everyone knows they are doing, and find a way to test it out of the sport, then no one is going to be left with a decent career.
 
Jul 7, 2009
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podilato said:
When Ben Johnson testified at hearings conducted by the Canadian government after his steroids positive he was asked why did he do it. He replied, why wouldn't you do it ? In his words "victory is too sweet". That was 20 years ago and what has changed?

This is a pretty strong point. In general, with the level of competition when you are a pro, and the money that can be had, and your other career options (construction, painter), the perceived risk can be pretty low.