actually that IS the point - 100% no doubt about it.
A lot of years spent learning and refining the swing and developing mind and body to be able to consistently flight a ball through varying conditions to land within less than 1% of where you want it - every single time for 72 holes over several days - every competition.
Well, until you are actually winning at better than club level you are never going to be putting meals on the table. You are going to be working as a pro on a course or in a shop and training around that hoping that one day you will be good enough to get a tour card and perhaps a decent sponsor or two. Then you need to start REALLY working on your game to be able to stay there against all the new players coming up.
Anyone can ride a bike right? Wrong. Its going to take years of junior and senior development to build a smoothe and efficient cadence and to increase endurance capacity to huge levels. You will possibly build a speciality, be it climbing, sprinting, time trialling, or 'going for the long one'. You'll be riding in almost any weather conditions almost every day of the year - and virtually nobody will ever see that.
Well, until you are actually winning at better than club level you are never going to be putting meals on the table. You are going to be working in a shop and training around that hoping that one day you will be good enough to get on a team and a decent sponsor or two.
wow - that seems amazingly similar doesn't it? In fact its pretty hard to find any sport that doesn't decompose into a similar story.
Yes doping occurs in road cycling - like it does in every other endurance sport. It also occurs in track cycling, like it does in every other anaerobic sport. In shooting, fencing, archery, freestyle skiing - not to mention golf, we see mind alering drubs used, such as Mary Joanna. On top of all this we see equipment constanly being redesigned to 'extend' the rules and gain competitive advantage (see swimming recently).
You can try to analyse the mind of the competition cyclist but I think that is rather myopic. You can just as easily look at the minds of sportspeople in general. The question isnt really why cycling instead of other sports, its more like why sport instead of a 'desk job' ;-)