Why is doping in cycling bad? (serious question - not trolling)

Jul 26, 2009
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I have a somewhat metaphysical question on the primary topic for this forum:
What, in your opinion, is the reason that doping is bad?

I am in no way trying to troll here, but rather to use this question as a framework for thinking about how to remedy the problem.

It is my opinion that doping enforcement, even in the framework of a program like the Bio/Blood Passport, even if administered in a more competent way than the UCI currently appears to administer it, is not going to be able to eliminate all possibilities of doping.

There's enough individual variation, enough that's not understood about human biology/physiology, that by necessity any tests will have to allow enough leeway to leave room for some "tinkering."

So perhaps the goal should not be to eliminate doping per se, but rather to remove all/as many as possible of the negative effects of doping on the sport, on its participants, and on its fans.

This raises the question: What are these effects?

Here are some reasons I can think of (along with some of my thoughts on mitigating/exacerbating factors for the reasons):
- Because it gives an unfair advantage to certain competitors. This seems valid, though it seems that as far as the World Tour is concerned most teams probably have access to very similar levels of expertise in terms of doping and concealing doping.
- Because it tarnishes the image of cycling in the view of the "public." Valid too, and it seems that the UCI agrees with me because IMO this is the main focus of UCI's anti-doping efforts - make sure that the image of cycling is preserved, even if that means covering up known doping. This is a tough one for me, because it doesn't seem that the public is likely to accept anything short of the appearance of a completely clean sport (meaning there's not much room for flexibility in the rules).
- Because it is bad for the health of the professional racers. Certainly the deaths in the 90's support this argument - it seems critical to put enough limits on doping activities that racers won't be forced to take uninformed risks to be competitive.
- Because aspiring racers will be tempted into practices which will be bad for their health. This is the "but what about the kids?" argument and probably one of the more important ones to me. Pro teams have doctors who are at least somewhat informed on the consequences of doping practices. Kids who're just starting out might not have the benefit of expert advice, and might do things that would put them in harms way.
- Because the racing is boring. This one I have trouble with - people ascribe near-miraculous powers to doping products - powers that I don't believe have been documented to exist. I believe EPO doesn't make you an inhuman rider, incapable of fatiguing, capable of immense efforts without strain - It makes you pretty much what you were before, still feeling pain, still getting tired, still struggling to maintain your top pace, just 10% faster. That 10% is a huge difference, and at the top levels is the difference between winning and being in the grupetto, but it didn't transform you into a superman. And since most people in this forum seem to contend any top 10 performance is an incontrovertible sign of doping, then I don't see how the racing is "boring". I think we'll see different forms of tactics whether doping is rife in cycling or non-existent. Some will race on guts and intuition, like Nibali and Gilbert, some will race on science and statistics, like Sky. That's part of what makes cycling interesting to me - seeing how the different approaches affect the outcome. Certainly I have been fascinated with the sport since the mid 90's and I can't say that I ever found the racing "boring."
- Because it favors different individuals than the sport would favor without doping. This is a difficult one. It is true that "good responders" would have an advantage in a sport where some level of doping is possible. However, the sport is already tremendously artificial - If you think about the type of motion the cranks of a bicycle allow and the set of skills that riding requires (and riding a bicycle, of course, has very little to do with nature), it is clear that the sport selects for individuals with strengths in certain particular areas. So in my mind, it does not necessarily invalidate the sport, though it does perhaps significantly change who will succeed in the sport.
- Because it forces decisions on young riders that they shouldn't have to make. (This is my paraphrasing JV's argument). I fully buy into this, young riders shouldn't be forced into a position where they have to lie to succeed, where if they get caught they are shunned, and they have to live in constant fear.
- Because it's hypocritical. I buy into this, too - I hate seeing riders who on the one hand vigorously attack doping and dopers, and then turn out to be doing the same themselves.
- Because Lance did it and he's the incarnation of all evil - Ok, so this one is tongue-in-cheek.

Well - that's what comes to mind right now - I'm sure I missed some important ones.

Along with the firebrands and fanbois, there are quite a few rational, eloquent and insightful voices in this forum.

So assuming this thread can avoid being locked - and assuming I will be taken seriously, I'd like to hear from you what you think doping does to the sport.
 
Jul 9, 2010
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It's a sport, and hence there are some rules to adhere to. One of them being riding the complete course, another one being not taking dope. If you don't want to play by the rules, don't enter the sport.
 
ulrichw said:
It is my opinion that doping enforcement, even in the framework of a program like the Bio/Blood Passport, even if administered in a more competent way than the UCI currently appears to administer it, is not going to be able to eliminate all possibilities of doping.
I don't think anyone here thinks doping can be totally eradicated.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the general consensus is the Bio-passport could work if WADA had most of the testing authority. Coupled with a back-dated doping budget and program with current penalties, getting away with doping gets *much* harder.

The other shift that needs to happen is for the conventional story of "bad athlete caught" to end and for the sports federations and IOC to be identified as the fundamental source of most of the widespread doping.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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doping transcends the invisible line where the ideals and understanding of sport we had in our youth when formulating a worldview.

doping has no relationship to the sport we had inculcated.

the myths and understanding of pro sport nevertheless are maintained, and it is the administrators remit NOT to shatter these illusions we have.

It is bad open inverted commas close inverted commas, because this tension cannot be reconciled. pro sport has no relationship to our foundational ideals.

doping inherently bad? have I just answered this?

bad - no. I commit to answer in the negative.

good OP ulrich
 

martinvickers

BANNED
Oct 15, 2012
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1. It puts riders at risk. First and last, its dangerous. And you can't make it safe, because someone will always be looking for a new edge, and new edges are by definition dangerous. If we had suddenly legallised blood doping and epo, the peleton would simply have sought newer, better, possibly more dangerous gear.

2. It renders the sport, indeed any sport, pointless. All sport, in some way, is silly and ridiculous - picking arbitrary and needless things to do, and then getting lots of people to turn themselves inside out to do them. It's inherently silly.

the only thing that makes sport matter, in the end, is narrative. The story. Each man tested against the next. As they are. Anything else is WWE. And sure, people watch WWE (and lots of drugged up mules have died in it) - but in a very real way, WWE is meaningless.
 
Jan 20, 2013
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With doping, there has to be a limit at some point before health is seriously compromised. Big heads and teeth?

Uneven playing field....greatest funded individuals or teams get more advantage

I's fraud...and thus encourages corruption

Unhealth for none dopers to compete against dopers, as they perform against impossible odds

If cyclist A has real natural talant and say no to drugs....and cyclist B mr quite good to average dopes, cyclist B will beat cyclist A and this is profoundly unjust and morals are compromised.

Cheats can win..

End of..
 
It's easy to overanalyze the billions of reasons of why doping in cycling is bad. Quite simply, an athlete should be able to show up for competition in any sport at any level and be able to participate and compete with his/herself and the basic equipment required to play. I would not categorize doping paraphernalia as basic equipment, despite professional sports' attempts to force it to be that way.
 
May 27, 2012
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OP should have used the search feature to find the 50 other threads that asked this exact question.
 
Jan 20, 2013
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More points that may be relevant..

The western world benifits more than developed countries in sport, especially in cycling as it is costly to run. It is by it's very nature elitist.

Elitism is then encouraged in western counties so they may stay in an economically advantaged position over the third world and each other. This in turn encourages further competition among elite nations, self actualisation and in sport, doping then plays it's part in this.

Ohhh pretty much what we have right now...
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Fatclimber said:
It's easy to overanalyze the billions of reasons of why doping in cycling is bad. Quite simply, an athlete should be able to show up for competition in any sport at any level and be able to participate and compete with his/herself and the basic equipment required to play. I would not categorize doping paraphernalia as basic equipment, despite professional sports' attempts to force it to be that way.
no one compelled you to ride the pro peloton on the continent.


or did they?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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horsinabout said:
More points that may be relevant..

The western world benifits more than developed countries in sport, especially in cycling as it is costly to run. It is by it's very nature elitist.

Elitism is then encouraged in western counties so they may stay in an economically advantaged position over the third world and each other. This in turn encourages further competition among elite nations, self actualisation and in sport, doping then plays it's part in this.

Ohhh pretty much what we have right now...
that is why the medal tally at the Paralympic Games is a very instructive metric.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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very instructive? thats an absolute abjective, no need for the qualifier.


Paralympics is instructive to resources States put into doping, sorry, errr, sport. Or more myths to sell.

Need that Nike add for Pistolero, the Saffa runner what ever his name is.

Why is he called bladerunner anyhow. I think that euphemism is more felicitous for OJ Simpson.

I think Pistolero should be called Forrest Gump, or Thomas the Tank.
 
I was thinking about this only yesterday - even without doping pro sports would be a murky place to earn a living.

It's good entertainment for us but the strain on athletes and those around them means not everyone comes out the other side for the better. Probably partially due to the types of personalities it attracts.
 
Jul 26, 2009
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ChewbaccaD said:
OP should have used the search feature to find the 50 other threads that asked this exact question.
The flavor of question I've been able to find are more of the ilk "why don't we legalize doping," which is not what I'm asking.

I'm asking that if doping itself can't be eradicated, what are its harmful effects and can those be addressed? (Actually I'm mainly asking the first half of that question).
 
ulrichw said:
The flavor of question I've been able to find are more of the ilk "why don't we legalize doping," which is not what I'm asking.

I'm asking that if doping itself can't be eradicated, what are its harmful effects and can those be addressed? (Actually I'm mainly asking the first half of that question).
We could ask all those dead guys, but I am not sure they are in a position to give us an objective answer.
 
Dec 14, 2012
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S/E of PED's

ulrichw said:
The flavor of question I've been able to find are more of the ilk "why don't we legalize doping," which is not what I'm asking.

I'm asking that if doping itself can't be eradicated, what are its harmful effects and can those be addressed? (Actually I'm mainly asking the first half of that question).
There are a lot of negative effects.

Cancer:

IGF-1/ GH :
http://www.croh-online.com/article/S1040-8428(05)00208-8/abstract
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.26438/abstract

Androgen(Testosterone):
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22843896

EPO:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17349798.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445554/.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1501166/figure/F3/

Specific substances:
(Not gonna supply references here as it's easy to find)

EPO: If used to the max causes increased coagulation and can lead to MI and Stroke.

Blood Transfusions: Done correctly: Dilutional coagulopathy, hypothermia, hyperkalemia, metabolic acidosis/alkalosis (depending on time elapsed)

Done incorrectly: Renal Failure, Hemolysis (ABO/Rh- incompatibility), Anaphylaxis, Infection(sepsis), thrombocytopenia.

Androgens have a huge S/E profile, depending on dosage, potency, duration used. Here is a nice article if you have access.
http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2009/08005/Position_Stand_on_Androgen_and_Human_Growth.1.aspx
or a nice picture: http://www.doping.chuv.ch/en/lad-effets-secondaires-saa-eng.jpg.
What is not mentioned, and what is seen a lot by the endocrinologists in my hosp is that years after even once off use (cycle) men present with extremely low androgen levels. They usually(always) need to go on lifelong HRT.

Growth Hormone: Diabetes. Visceromegally. And possibly reduces life expectancy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14583653

Clenbutarol: Subaortic stenosis and others.

Any amphetamine like substance carries huge risks incl. ventricular fibrillation/- and cerebral infarction, even if 'used in moderation'.

The new stuff AICAR and GW-501516. We're now beginning to get studies showing their adverse effects:
Liver Fibrosis: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519722/
Cancer induction and progression: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21318167

Please don't argue about the relevance, content or interpretation of the references. They are correct.

As to the second part of your question. These side effects will be difficult to address and any attempt to do so would either: a) Reverse the effects of the drugs. b) Cause further damage or c) Be of little benefit. One exception might be the use of antithrombotics in patients with high Hematocrits.

*Feel free to copy, paste, add to and spread this post if you wish.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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ChewbaccaD said:
OP should have used the search feature to find the 50 other threads that asked this exact question.
but usually they are the Armstrong narrative threads with the underlying "but they were all..." and done so much good

#freepass type threads
 
Dec 7, 2010
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May 27, 2012
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ulrichw said:
The flavor of question I've been able to find are more of the ilk "why don't we legalize doping," which is not what I'm asking.

I'm asking that if doping itself can't be eradicated, what are its harmful effects and can those be addressed? (Actually I'm mainly asking the first half of that question).
There have been a lot of new posters asking this same question in the past. You'll have to forgive me for being suspicious about the motives of someone who has a post count barely over 10 asking the question.

After this, I'll just sit back and watch...
 
Mar 13, 2009
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sideshadow said:
Please don't argue about the relevance, content or interpretation of the references. They are correct.

As to the second part of your question. These side effects will be difficult to address and any attempt to do so would either: a) Reverse the effects of the drugs. b) Cause further damage or c) Be of little benefit. One exception might be the use of antithrombotics in patients with high Hematocrits.

*Feel free to copy, paste, add to and spread this post if you wish.
Len Bias, Skywalker Thompson, George Best, Ben Cousins,

Dr Jason Mazanov has made a significant point, in what is lost in these "athlete's health" contention, is sport as a professional pursuit, is not a healthy excercise. Dont need to be a N effle 10 season player to have dementia ten years after retiring. Alcohol and recreational drugs will take more lives than PEDs ever hope to. And pro sport IS NOT a microcosm of wider society. Its a magnifying glass with exponential(ly) greater incidents % terms, cos of the gateway of personality type, and the subculture they inhabit. (spotlight, fame, celebrity)
 
If you don't like Elite pro cycling with doping, you don't like Elite pro cycling at all.. Since there is not, and have never been such thing..

Another question is; how do you even define doping? If it is something that makes your performance better, it can be anything,... If it is a banned substance, is it then just about to find some medicament's, who are not yet banned, and the you can be a clean winning rider:)?

Doping is just a part of the game, like crashes, tactics, and bad weather.. Yes it can be dangerous, but so many things can be.. It's not like you will not die, if you don't dope..

Does doping means that people don't compete on equal terms? No, they would not be anyway.. Human's are not equals( and good for that), and for everyone to compete on equal terms, is not possible..
There will always be somebody who is stronger, faster, smarter, or whatever.. The idea of competing on equal terms, is just a illusion..
 
Dec 9, 2011
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Samson777 said:
If you don't like Elite pro cycling with doping, you don't like Elite pro cycling.. Since there is not, and have never been such thing..

Another question is; how do you even define doping? If it is something that makes your performance better, it can be anything,... If it is a banned substance, is it then just about to find some medicament's, who are not yet banned, and the you can be a clean winning rider:)?

Doping is just a part of the game, like crashes, tactics, and bad weather.. Yes it can be dangerous, but so many things can be.. It's not like you will not die, if you don't dope..

Does doping means that people don't compete on equal terms? No, they would not be anyway.. Human's are not equals( and good for that), and for everyone to compete on equal terms, is not possible..
There will always be somebody who is stronger, faster, smarter, or whatever.. The idea of competing on equal terms, is just a illusion..
Im sorry but you talk alot of ****.

I love sport. I will not accept that sport as I know it will be condemned to an illusion. If you just say doping is matter of fact then it will be and we go back to the stone age.
 

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