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MalevolentPanda

Performance Enhancing Drugs in Cycling and Other Sports

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This was being discussed in the Tour de France thread the other day but because that thread shouldn't be all about doping and because it's also an interesting subject in general and in relation to others sports, I'm making this thread.

I've heard loads of people in the run up to the Olympics saying how they hope there's no doping stories during the games. Every time this really pisses me off. I hope there's doping stories because I'm not naive enough to believe that no one will be doping. To me a lack of people getting caught represents a lack of effort/ability to catch them, not a lack of doping.

I think the experience that cycling has gone through has sent a terrible message to other sports. Obviously cycling used to have an endemic doping problem. As a sport it dealt with that by tackling it aggressively. No other sport comes anywhere close to cycling in terms of the efforts they go to to expose dopers. It's very clear from all the evidence available (comparisons of wattage outputs/climb times, increased testing abilities, blood passports) that cycling today is a lot cleaner than it was in the late 90s/early 00s. So the aggressive approach has worked in terms of cleaning up the sport. But the consequences of this for the image of cycling and indirectly, for sport as a whole, has been massively depressing.

The reaction of the media and general public to doping exposures in cycling hasn't been 'they're really good at exposing dopers', it's been 'cycling is full of dopers'. The message that has been sent out to other sports from the experience of cycling over the last 15 years has been that the more you look for and expose dopers, the worse the public perception of your sport will become. Any thread on the internet about cycling which includes comments from people who don't follow the sport will have loads of people saying how all cyclists are on drugs. Whenever there's a post about cycling games on games sites, people will pop up and ask if the special edition comes with a syringe etc.

There are definitely ways to dope today that are effectively undetectable. The laxer the testing protocols in a sport, the more this applies. Every other sport has more opportunities to dope than cycling. In many of them the potential financial rewards are far greater. I think it's the height of naivety to believe certain sports are clean. Sports have everything to gain by sweeping doping under the carpet, and nothing other than a clean sport to gain from exposing it.

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Replying to posts I didn't reply to in the Tour thread because I didn't want it swamped...

As for the annual just-pre-Tour doping-related coverage, is no-one sick of that either? I can't stand that side exists in any sport and as a cycling nutter in a former life and one that's old enough to have seen its effects too many times - as have we all since the 90s - and whose early years included knowing of Tom Simpson (who died a few years before I was born) but I'm also fed-up of the near-enough annual wind-up of drugs stories. I can in no way come close to portraying my disdain for the dark and risky behind-the-scenes aspect of Cycling and other sports - which fuels an inner conflict with a pursuit that's been a key part of my life for decades, creates disgust, perhaps anger and more - but I also don't like the muck-raking that's essentially now guaranteed to appear year-on-year. I'm not condoning, I am conflicted; but also find irritation akin to the distracting reporting that goes around in Politics and related discussions and the repeated lazy 'scandal story' features of certain sections of the press time after time.

Much of the sheen of the Tour has been wiped out for me over the years as the cheats and contemptible team doctors and companies were discovered and outed, but there is another, positive side to the sport.

I'm not coming close or clear enough to what I'm trying to say there, but I hope that it makes some sense and I am interested in hearing in more detail what you guys think - whether that's pro- or anti- the reporting or how it relates to individual riders (including why you might be glad of it).

I'm fine with doping stories coming out in general for the reasons I allude to above. I don't like the fact that stuff always seems to come out just before the Tour. It smacks of muck raking, and people holding stories until they think it will hurt the sport most.

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Chris Sharma (possibly the best climber in the word (Carlsberg TM)) got banned from a climbing competition for having massive levels of THC in his blood. I'm not sure how this would have helped him.

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Ok, so I've never followed this really but I might this year! I've just finished reading Armstrongs biography, but can people fill me in on why they have re-launched accusations at him? I've only heard his side but a quick read suggests he has never failed or refuses to take a test, so what are the allegations based on?

Don't want to de-rail the thread but it would be good to hear why it's being brought up again!

The short answer is it's being brought up again because USADA have got shit loads of his former team mates to testify that he doped and was involved in a team wide conspiracy to dope. The details can be found in the notification document from USADA which was leaked to the Wall Street Journal here: http://online.wsj.co...harging0613.pdf

The longer answer is that Armstrong definitely doped. The evidence for this is absolutely overwhelming. Here's a list I made off the top of my head on Neogaf in the thread about this there:

-Samples he gave that were retrospectively tested were positive for synthetic EPO.

-He worked for years with a doctor known to be running doping programmes for his athletes.

-Many of his key team mates from those years have been proven to be dopers. There is every reason to believe the team as a whole were running a doping programme.

-Several team mates and staff have stated that Armstrong was doping.

-All evidence and research points to the power outputs he did on climbs during those years being impossible for anyone riding clean.

-The Filippo Simeoni incident.

Armstrong's constant refrain about never failing a test sound reasonable but is meaningless when it is analysed properly. I'm sure I don't have to make a list of athletes who have been exposed as drugs cheats that never tested positive. That aside, the methods he is suspected of using were undetectable. When he used EPO, there wasn't a test for it. Samples that he gave at the time were tested retrospectively when it was detectable, and they were positive. He refuses to accept those tests were valid but nothing I've read suggests a reason to doubt their veracity. After the EPO test came out, he is suspected of blood doping. Autologous blood doping (injecting your own spun blood to boost red blood cell count) is effectively undetectable, and can be combined with microdosing of EPO at sub-threshold levels.

Armstrong knows that whether he failed a test or not is irrelevant. The way he defends himself takes cycling fans and the general public for fools. The man might be good at campaigning about cancer, but he was a total cock as a cyclist who shamed the sport. I really, really hope he gets his tour titles stripped. That he still holds them when so many others have been dragged through the wringer is completely unfair.

The latest news on this today, by the way, is that Levi Leipheimer is one of those who will testify against Armstrong, according to a Dutch paper. There have been rumours about him, plus 3 others (Christian Vande Velde, George Hincapie, David Zabriskie) since they all withdrew from the US Olympic team just after Armstrong was charged. Every reason to believe they will all testify against him.

Chris Sharma (possibly the best climber in the word (Carlsberg TM)) got banned from a climbing competition for having massive levels of THC in his blood. I'm not sure how this would have helped him.

Yeah, having recreational drugs on the banned list is fucking bollocks. Wasn't there a snowboarder who successfully appealed after he had a medal stripped for testing positive for pot?

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Wasn't there a snowboarder who successfully appealed after he had a medal stripped for testing positive for pot?

There was. I agree with you with cycling getting a bad name for quite clearly (and publicly) cleaning up its act.

Football is pretty bad for some dodgy practices. I believe creatine is in use in lots of places (Arsenal for some reason spring to mind) then you have blood-spinning (Chelsea?) and some stuff with Milan. All that has actually happened is people getting busted for cocaine or Rio Ferdinand, who forgot he was supposed to take the test.

Also, far too many hockey players are hooked on painkillers. (Derek Boogaard)

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There was. I agree with you with cycling getting a bad name for quite clearly (and publicly) cleaning up its act.

Football is pretty bad for some dodgy practices. I believe creatine is in use in lots of places (Arsenal for some reason spring to mind) then you have blood-spinning (Chelsea?) and some stuff with Milan. All that has actually happened is people getting busted for cocaine or Rio Ferdinand, who forgot he was supposed to take the test.

Yeah, football's a joke. There were strong rumours that the reason the Operation Puerto investigation which implicated a load of cyclists was put a stop to by Spanish authorities was that a number of footballers from Barca or Real or both were involved.

Other sports which definitely have doping problems that are never mentioned: tennis, boxing.

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The main reason I think cycling gets stuck with it, is that Armstrong is like the most famous successful one ever, and there he is with a string of titles, a hero's reputation, and known doping record. If he goes down and is stripped, it'd help a lot.

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The main reason I think cycling gets stuck with it, is that Armstrong is like the most famous successful one ever,

Eddy fucking Merckx :angry:

Agree with the sentiment of your post though. It will be a great day for cycling if Armstrong gets nailed.

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An interesting example of how the media shapes our perception of PEDs is the Ben Johnston case. Richard Moore has written a book about this recently, but it if you ask most people, they will all name Ben Johnston as a terrible drugs cheat who shamed athletics, whilst they consider Carl Lewis and Linford Christie to be heroes. All are proven drugs cheats.

You still hear British athletes (some of whom were coached by him) talking up Christie in glowing terms. Some of those same athletes will then get on their fucking high horse about Dwane Chambers or David Millar. The massive pricks.

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Induran! The Big Mig! Loved that guy.

Armstrong's a cunt. His lack of respect for France is horrible seeing the nation paid half his wage.

Yeah, this can be the official 'Lance Armstrong is a cunt' thread as well. What a cunt.

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Michelle Smith got villified after Atlanta '96 and has been persona non grata in Ireland since. Spent some time there and it pisses me off the attitude, I assume all the Americans had the same drugs she just swam faster. I hate high horse bullshit.

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Michelle Smith got villified after Atlanta '96 and has been persona non grata in Ireland since. Spent some time there and it pisses me off the attitude, I assume all the Americans had the same drugs she just swam faster. I hate high horse bullshit.

A bit off topic, but do you remember all the shit about those new swim suits, and Rebecca Adlington said she wasn't going to use them because they were 'technological doping'? How very high-minded of her.

Rebecca Adlington won her Olympic gold medals using a Speedo suit that used the same tech, but not over all the suit, and was the most advanced available at the time. That suit is now banned. By the time of the 'technological doping' comments, her suit had been surpassed by other manufacturers. The reason she didn't use them is that Speedo were paying her shit loads of money to use their suits so she couldn't without losing out financially. So she decided to impugn the character of those that did instead.

What a total dickhead.

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You can't get gold without performance enhancing drugs. Competitors have to take them just to level the playing field in that respect.

It's one of the reasons why the USA sucks at weightlifting - because their national competitions (qualifiers for the games) are tested, whereas the equivalents in Russia and China are not.

Hopefully one day there will be an "open" competitor to the Olympics, maybe not with all the same sports but most of them, where we can just see how freaky strong/fast/athletic people can get taking all these crazy drugs. If I ever have the opportunity I'll do it myself.

Lance Armstrong is amazing. Everyone else in the Tour was on what he was on and he was still that much better.

Football is pretty bad for some dodgy practices. I believe creatine is in use in lots of places (Arsenal for some reason spring to mind)

:lol:

Is this serious?

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You can't get gold without performance enhancing drugs. Competitors have to take them just to level the playing field in that respect.

It's one of the reasons why the USA sucks at weightlifting - because their national competitions (qualifiers for the games) are tested, whereas the equivalents in Russia and China are not.

Hopefully one day there will be an "open" competitor to the Olympics, maybe not with all the same sports but most of them, where we can just see how freaky strong/fast/athletic people can get taking all these crazy drugs. If I ever have the opportunity I'll do it myself.

Lance Armstrong is amazing. Everyone else in the Tour was on what he was on and he was still that much better.

It's simply not true that drug use gives a level playing field. Not all PED programmes are the same, and not all can be afforded by all athletes. A proper blood doping programme is very expensive. The programme that Armstrong was on isn't what everyone else on the tour was on at all. Armstrong's team had an exclusive contract with Michele Ferrari during his tour wins to ensure that no one else had access to the same doping programmes.

I also disagree that a drugs free for all would be great to watch. It would literally be a battle to see who was willing to risk their life or long term health the most. People would be dying all over the place. It would be horrible.

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How is creatine a banned substance?

I didn't say it was - I was trying to remember the article.

Here we go - from 1998. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/drugs-in-sport-survey-creatine-anatomy-of-a-miracle-substance-1189957.html

Also from 2004 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/henrywinter/2374066/Ranting-part-of-Wengers-grand-design.html

The quest for excellence saw Wenger encourage his players to take Creatine, the controversial stamina-enhancing powder that is legal here but banned in some countries. Ferguson, fiercely disapproving of Creatine, will be pleased to hear that Arsenal have now stopped using it, partly because certain players were suffering upset stomachs.

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It's simply not true that drug use gives a level playing field. Not all PED programmes are the same, and not all can be afforded by all athletes. A proper blood doping programme is very expensive. The programme that Armstrong was on isn't what everyone else on the tour was on at all. Armstrong's team had an exclusive contract with Michele Ferrari during his tour wins to ensure that no one else had access to the same doping programmes.

It's simply not true that food consumption gives a level playing field. Not all dietary programmes are the same, and not all can be afforded by all athletes. A proper nutrition programme with a qualified chef and dietician is very expensive. The diet that Armstrong ate wasn't what everyone else on the tour was on at all. Etc...

Substitute equipment, training routines and genetics as you please.

A good drug programme is a necessary but not sufficient requirement to compete at the top level, just as with every other element of sport.

I also disagree that a drugs free for all would be great to watch. It would literally be a battle to see who was willing to risk their life or long term health the most. People would be dying all over the place. It would be horrible.

This is complete and utter nonsense.

To begin with, elite level athletics is already partially a battle about who is willing to risk their long term health and longevity the most - drugs don't change that. In fact, one job of drugs is to keep athletes healthier, help them recover quicker and enable them to survive the training they need to do at that level.

People are already on significant amounts of drugs in the elite levels of just about every sport and people aren't "dying all over the place".

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I think that if you're found to be doping and you get banned then that's it, game over man! Athletes know they should not be doing it so there is no excuse. I guess it's hard when whole teams are doping and you're expected to be a whistle blower.

My point is that a line in the sand (you take x, y and and you will never compete again) should act as a massive deterrent. Who's going to risk it. As it stands you've got folk getting banned then coming back in a few years later. Fuck that, send them a message.

I gave up on the Tour about a decade ago (due to doping) was meaning to get back into it this year but still haven't bothered my arse :(

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People are already on significant amounts of drugs in the elite levels of just about every sport and people aren't "dying all over the place".

Ice hockey, American football and (I know it isn't a sport) wrestling all say "Hello". As does Flo-Jo.

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Ice hockey, American football and (I know it isn't a sport) wrestling all say "Hello". As does Flo-Jo.

They don't use drugs or those sports have people dying all over the place?

Flo-Jo died from an epilepsy attack you spanner.

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