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What is your opinion of doping?

Sep 10, 2013
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I often find the discussion around doping to be muddled, people seem to conflate the notion of doping with inherent immorality. Sure, from the rigid perspective of the rulebook it is against the rules and thus technically 'immoral'. But is there not a distinction here? I personally find the hypocrisy around doping to be the most irritating part of it all. I do not think that a rider is necessarily a bad person for doping and lying about it, there are obvious reasons for why they would do this. So where exactly does the blame lie with doping? Or is it all just one big malady with numerous competing elements which enable the farce to continue? Can we definitively point to an 'immoral' element in it. I would like to hear seasoned cycling fans opinion.
 
lets put it this way,if i had a chance to make millions of euros i would have dope as well,i have absolutely no doubts about it...but since i was never in position to actually do it its easy fom me to stand on high moral ground and pretend that im better than pro athletes - im sure im not

i just havent been given chance to make buttload of money

so i dont condemn athletes who dope,its part of human psyche to seek advantage at any cost - even at the cost of their lives

would i like if there was no doping in sport? sure...but its impossible,people will cheat,its only matter of their options
 
It is not because it is against the rules that it is immoral. Sometimes, rules are themselves immoral because poorly done.

Doping is immoral the moment it makes an epic sport look easy (look at what Milan-Sanremo has become) and the moment it becomes virtually impossible for clean riders to compete against the unclean ones. The "transmutating doping" that gradually came in the eighties were/are definitely immoral (blood transfusion, HGH, testosteron, EPO, ...) and we should have no mercy for such cheaters (whoever he be!!). The "mental", "intensifying", "stimulant" doping (amphetamines or so), I can be more tolerant. Not to say it's moral but we have to be realistic and I guess it should not fall into the same category as EPO, regardless. A bit like weed is not the same recreative drug as heroin (though both should be prohibited).
 
Jan 15, 2013
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I could write pages on this, but short version is: I blame the administrators of the sport and the dodgy doctors a lot more than the riders, but I still don't think a rider who decides to dope is blameless.

There are four types of riders: those who will always cheat (not just doping), those who would rather not dope but feel they have to to have a career in the sport, and those who refuse to dope, which you can further separate into those who stay in the sport in the knowledge that they'll lose races to doped riders, and those that walk away from the sport completely. The aim should be to protect the last category from the first two, and once you do a good enough job of that, the second category will no longer feel the need to dope.

In general the riders are vulnerable people - very little job security, terrible prospects when they start out, only a few years to make money before retirement. So most of my ire is directed at the predatory doctors who have siphoned so much money out of the sport, and the win at all costs team bosses.

I'm as guilty as many others here of being fascinated by the 'dark side' - the race within a race, the intrigue, the scandals, the guessing. But a lot of people here cheer on the really ridiculous performances like Ricco etc. but I just find them sad - I think of the clean athlete who could have been standing on the top step of that podium. The thing is, cycling at its best can be such a beautiful, pure thing - I can just grab my bike and head off on my own and it's just me and the mountain - pro sport will probably always be a cesspit but it can never take that away from me.
 
Jul 20, 2015
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Parts of it are definitely immoral breaking the rules, trying to gain an unfair advantage against your contemporaries, deceiving your fans and often friends/family who you would lie to in order to carry on. But on other hand you will find many who dope may see themselves as not doing anything that bad or immoral. They will have reasoning such as others are doing it so it's fair, I need it for injury prevention, I need to provide a food for my family and we are allowed supplements how is it any different
 
I don't care. I got interesting in cycling in 2003 where Vino, Mayo, Ullrich and Armstrong captured me. I'd love to see such a show again at some point - fueled by doping or not.

What I do have a problem with is the rhetoric of some teams proclaiming they are the saviours of clean cycling. Much rather do as Movistar, keep your mouth closed and dope just as much.
 
I don't see in what way doping makes this sport more entertaining, on the contrary. In 2003 I got pretty bored (except for an amazing Paris-Roubaix and a kinda great Milan-Sanremo). I started watching cycling by 1990 when EPO came up but when you could still see some real cycling. Blood doping really killed the magic of this sport. It's in our (the viewers') interest to be intolerant re: blood doping (and hormone-based doping).

The greatness of this sport is its epicness. Not just explosive attacks make this sport great but also the suffering of the riders who are hit by the "Man with the Hammer". You seldom saw that in the EPO era and it still is rare today. I actally never saw the greatness of the Pantani attacks, no, sorry folks. I would have much more enjoyed the Merckx fainting at the 1971 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Of course, doping is not the only thing that made this sport boring: better/lighter bikes, race radios, better roads, shorter races, badly designed routes, etc.

But it still is the main reason why cycling has now got so boring. I repeat: look at what Milan-Sanremo has become.
 
Apr 3, 2011
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As it was discussed many times, it's largely a problem of distorted expectations - the whole controversy arises from mixing "sport" and "business".

People tend to perceive stuff named "sport" as something almost "holy", especially with respect to the dirty "business" as seen in the daily life. So they expect the visible frontmen, riders, to be somehow "moral etalons", while all the other people around (doctors, team members, directors, sponsors, race organizers, UCI, etc) are below the radar.

But in reality Santa surprisingly does not exist in any pro sport, just business as usual. Add factors as fandom or other personal bonding (I'm doing weekend rides too) and you have it.

Nobody expects a businessman to never think of any possible "advantage", and the perception varies highly in different (pro) sports. Soccer players fake all kinds of things all the time and it's completely accepted, often even appreciated as "skill" if they manage to fool the referee (not the case for Femke). And if they on top of that do some EPO that enables them to run full gas for the full 90 minutes? So what, the game gets only better!

I'm fully for harsh penalties and lifetme bans (even with the potential risks of false career-ending positives), but let's better not get too deep in the "morality" waters. It's just business, after all.
 
Jan 15, 2013
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Echoes said:
The greatness of this sport is its epicness. Not just explosive attacks make this sport great but also the suffering of the riders who are hit by the "Man with the Hammer".
I agree - it's not epic when riders can cycle up HC climbs with their mouths closed and have to brake going uphill round mountain hairpins to not crash.

doperhopper said:
Soccer players fake all kinds of things all the time and it's completely accepted, often even appreciated as "skill" if they manage to fool the referee.
That might be true in certain cultures, but it's controversial in many parts of the world. It's the reason many of my friends here in Ireland have stopped watching or following soccer, and the reason it will never be a major sport in the USA.
 
I've more or less accepted it as part of the sport. The 50% rule and bio-passport changed my perspective a bit, because they at least set some kind of limit on the arms race and reduced the risk of riders seriously harming themselves. Before then, the free for all was too much and was killing the sport - quite literally at times.

The issue that annoys me most around doping is when fans, and particularly the media, are so sanctimonious and have double standards despite most knowing full well what is going on. Especially when they are blinded by nationalism or jingoism.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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DFA123 said:
I've more or less accepted it as part of the sport. The 50% rule and bio-passport changed my perspective a bit, because they at least set some kind of limit on the arms race and reduced the risk of riders seriously harming themselves. Before then, the free for all was too much and was killing the sport - quite literally at times.

The issue that annoys me most around doping is when fans, and particularly the media, are so sanctimonious and have double standards despite most knowing full well what is going on. Especially when they are blinded by nationalism or jingoism.
I agree with this wholeheartedly - especially as it pertains to double standards.

On a related note I'm doing a very long endurance event this summer. I will be nowhere near the winners circle. Positively midpack. If someone said "Hey, take this (relatively) harmless stuff and you'll have an easier day while finishing an hour faster" I'd be tempted. Maybe that makes me a two-bit punk... or maybe it makes us all human.
 
We do not know "full well what is going on". The "all dope" soap is crap. There's no evidence that every rider juice up and as long as it is, we have reason to believe that any given non-busted rider might be clean. Okay some performances are too surreal to be credible but for the majority of the peloton who has not been busted, they are entitled to a least the benefit of the doubt.

There is double standard only if you hail a convicted doper and demonize another one, both being convicted for the same substance. I have never done that but others here do (and then teach us moral lessons on topic). Pantani, Museeuw, Armstrong, Bartoli, Jalabert, Valverde, etc are all in the same bag in my opinion, and I close the bag and throw it in the waste dump. While guys like Sep Vanmarcke or Jürgen Roelandts, I'd be a fan of until they get busted. If it happens, I'd switch side.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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this post by Helmut
HelmutRoole said:
Look, I’m a fan of professional cycling not despite the doping but in large part because of it. The doping makes it real. Not the performances. The performances are unreal. But when an athlete gets caught up in an investigation or pisses hot, that’s when things get real. That’s when all parties involved go into crisis mode, spinning truthiness, marginal gains, special diets and high cadence. People’s livelihoods and reputations hang in the balance. Millions of dollars at stake. And it’s all based on a lie.

High drama. You can’t make this stuff up.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Echoes said:
We do not know "full well what is going on". The "all dope" soap is crap. There's no evidence that every rider juice up and as long as it is, we have reason to believe that any given non-busted rider might be clean. Okay some performances are too surreal to be credible but for the majority of the peloton who has not been busted, they are entitled to a least the benefit of the doubt.

There is double standard only if you hail a convicted doper and demonize another one, both being convicted for the same substance. I have never done that but others here do (and then teach us moral lessons on topic). Pantani, Museeuw, Armstrong, Bartoli, Jalabert, Valverde, etc are all in the same bag in my opinion, and I close the bag and throw it in the waste dump. While guys like Sep Vanmarcke or Jürgen Roelandts, I'd be a fan of until they get busted. If it happens, I'd switch side.
its a pretty good rule of thumb tho, that all dope. And I think their compact to be part of the professional peloton is axiomatic understanding of this doping acceptance. We wont be depriving anyone of their liberty with this rule of thumb, and I am content with this as my starting position. Ofcourse there will be the odd clean domestique riding the twenty one days of july and the festival of may. no doubt about that, but on some higher plane, this does not neutralise my rule of thumb.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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DFA123 said:
The issue that annoys me most around doping is when fans, and particularly the media, are so sanctimonious and have double standards despite most knowing full well what is going on. Especially when they are blinded by nationalism or jingoism.
much of it relates to the commodification of sport and to make it acceptable to the succour moms sic

you cant sell nfl if u say everyone is on roids. you cant sell holidays in july if you say everyone is on EPO.

this starts with an anglophile pedagogy and social engineering raising individuals to ascribe certain values to sport. a muscular christianity and olympic ideal. but it is all emperors clothes i tell ya. the test is within oneself, the sport is between you and a mirror
 
May 6, 2016
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There is one thing that doping is above all else, is that it is hazardous to ones health. What is the point of having millions of dollars aided by doping along your way if your health takes a turn for the worse due to doping. As the saying goes your health is your wealth. And if you are caught your livelihood and reputation could be jeopardized.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Zypherov said:
There is one thing that doping is above all else, is that it is hazardous to ones health. What is the point of having millions of dollars aided by doping along your way if your health takes a turn for the worse due to doping. As the saying goes your health is your wealth. And if you are caught your livelihood and reputation could be jeopardized.
professional sport is not a safe vocation even sans dope

but there are many other unsafe professions

and to ride a bike in the pro peloton, is for may, existential. Doping is but a tiny price to pay
 
Sep 10, 2013
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blackcat said:
DFA123 said:
The issue that annoys me most around doping is when fans, and particularly the media, are so sanctimonious and have double standards despite most knowing full well what is going on. Especially when they are blinded by nationalism or jingoism.
much of it relates to the commodification of sport and to make it acceptable to the succour moms sic

you cant sell nfl if u say everyone is on roids. you cant sell holidays in july if you say everyone is on EPO.

this starts with an anglophile pedagogy and social engineering raising individuals to ascribe certain values to sport. a muscular christianity and olympic ideal. but it is all emperors clothes i tell ya. the test is within oneself, the sport is between you and a mirror
Sorry I have to take issue with you there. We anglophiles maybe bear some responsibility for it continuing recently but it's the Greeks who started it (although they would probably blame the Spartans).

Cycling has been an incredibly weak professional sport in UK until very recently, with almost no monetary reward for any amateurs, so mamon can't have been the means or the end to doping here. Equally, no amateur, however successful was ever given real recognition except amongst a tiny peer population. So i don't think there has been any intrinsic doping regime in UK cycling or any inclination for it.

That is quite possibly changing with the increased popularity of the sport, and pastime, particularly as the traditional club scene is being eroded by semi-sponsored teams and independent sportive riders.
 
Jan 15, 2013
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eleven said:
On a related note I'm doing a very long endurance event this summer. I will be nowhere near the winners circle. Positively midpack. If someone said "Hey, take this (relatively) harmless stuff and you'll have an easier day while finishing an hour faster" I'd be tempted. Maybe that makes me a two-bit punk... or maybe it makes us all human.
Bear in mind I'm not judging you at all for this but... would you not feel your achievement had been diminished? Meaning, instead of knowing it was 100% your effort that got you to the finish line, it was say 80% you, 20% something you took? The line on that will be different for everyone - caffeine, aero wheels, etc., but EPO or equivalent to do an event with nothing at stake but pride? Hmm.

I dunno, maybe it's my Catholic guilt talking. For some people the little voice in their head is obviously louder than others.

Farcanal said:
Cycling has been an incredibly weak professional sport in UK until very recently, with almost no monetary reward for any amateurs, so mamon can't have been the means or the end to doping here. Equally, no amateur, however successful was ever given real recognition except amongst a tiny peer population. So i don't think there has been any intrinsic doping regime in UK cycling or any inclination for it.
Recognition amongst a tiny peer group is more than enough incentive for some people to cheat. Some people would cheat at Tiddlywinks if they could.
 
It's not simple because each person has their own agenda.
I chose the clean route but never wanted the hard pro life nor had to rely on race winnings to pay the bills. Very convenient for me.
The sport was epic, even faced with doped competition but had to come to terms with that reality; even using it for motivation.
In the end my choice was a long and healthy life over fake glory. I had that choice so judging others is tough. Hard to take Liars prospering.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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vedrafjord said:
eleven said:
On a related note I'm doing a very long endurance event this summer. I will be nowhere near the winners circle. Positively midpack. If someone said "Hey, take this (relatively) harmless stuff and you'll have an easier day while finishing an hour faster" I'd be tempted. Maybe that makes me a two-bit punk... or maybe it makes us all human.
Bear in mind I'm not judging you at all for this but... would you not feel your achievement had been diminished? Meaning, instead of knowing it was 100% your effort that got you to the finish line, it was say 80% you, 20% something you took? The line on that will be different for everyone - caffeine, aero wheels, etc., but EPO or equivalent to do an event with nothing at stake but pride? Hmm.
Well now that you put it that way and I think about it - you might be right. I don't have access to the juice so I guess I can't say for sure what I'd do. Let me rephrase and say "I understand why someone might". In this case, however, I'd probably like to complete it at least once without the juice. Then maybe we'd see...

Good point you raised.

Just for reference, I'll take full advantage of the legal performance enhancements - both equipment and food / nutrition. Lots of caffeine, lots of raceday energy elixirs, lots of over-priced equipment in the name of umm.... aggregated marginal gains.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Farcanal said:
much of it relates to the commodification of sport and to make it acceptable to the succour moms sic

you cant sell nfl if u say everyone is on roids. you cant sell holidays in july if you say everyone is on EPO.

this starts with an anglophile pedagogy and social engineering raising individuals to ascribe certain values to sport. a muscular christianity and olympic ideal. but it is all emperors clothes i tell ya. the test is within oneself, the sport is between you and a mirror
Sorry I have to take issue with you there. We anglophiles maybe bear some responsibility for it continuing recently but it's the Greeks who started it (although they would probably blame the Spartans).

Cycling has been an incredibly weak professional sport in UK until very recently, with almost no monetary reward for any amateurs, so mamon can't have been the means or the end to doping here. Equally, no amateur, however successful was ever given real recognition except amongst a tiny peer population. So i don't think there has been any intrinsic doping regime in UK cycling or any inclination for it.

That is quite possibly changing with the increased popularity of the sport, and pastime, particularly as the traditional club scene is being eroded by semi-sponsored teams and independent sportive riders.[/quote]

if Wiggins was not British he would not have kept on getting the second and third and fourth opportunities. He gets those because of the Lotteries, and because British Cycling (in my reckoning) was paying some of the wages to Tonissteiner Colnago etc.

Kiwis have to go and ride crits in America. Same with South Africans, the opportunities before John Robertson were just not there. exception that proves the rule: Froome dawg

Americans and Australians had a pathway from Lemond onwards, much to do with their national teams and national track programs, better financed, like the current setup within British Cycling.
 
Re: Re:

blackcat said:
DFA123 said:
The issue that annoys me most around doping is when fans, and particularly the media, are so sanctimonious and have double standards despite most knowing full well what is going on. Especially when they are blinded by nationalism or jingoism.
much of it relates to the commodification of sport and to make it acceptable to the succour moms sic

you cant sell nfl if u say everyone is on roids. you cant sell holidays in july if you say everyone is on EPO.

this starts with an anglophile pedagogy and social engineering raising individuals to ascribe certain values to sport. a muscular christianity and olympic ideal. but it is all emperors clothes i tell ya. the test is within oneself, the sport is between you and a mirror
beat me to it... comes back to parenting... simply look at what LA's "father" did in turning him into a sociopathic "winner"
Can you imagine what he'd have been if he was raised by Basson's parents?? (we'd never hear from Walsh for a start)

to raise a child so that they compete in their chosen sport without even thinking that cheating (doping) is an option... honesty, integrity and actually realising that if you win by cheating the victory is just hollow and meaningless, and therefore something you'd not contemplate...
utopia is a lovely place though
 

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