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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
THIS IS NOT A VALUE JUDGEMENT, JUST AN OBSERVATION BY SOMEONE WHO HAS FOLLOWED PRO CYCLING FOR TWO DECADES:

Let’s just assume for the moment that the majority of ProTour cyclists are 100% clean. Let’s also assume that the ones that do test positive are 100% guilty. By applying a basic human response model, one would expect that the overwhelming response of the ”clean” cyclist would be one of absolute outrage.

Now apply this to your personal workplace. Wouldn’t you be pissed enough to vehemently denounce cheating if you were “Boy Scout” clean and your colleagues were caught cheating to get ahead. Pro athletes command the bully pulpit and it seems very hard for me to believe that no one would vigorously speak out against cheating (doping) at any chance (that is, if they themselves are “clean”).

Instead we get rhetoric like, “cycling is not just about doping,” “I have never tested positive,” “we are the most tested athletes in sport.” This may all be true, but don’t you think you would here a quote like, “I feel like this guys should be banned for life,” or “I work my ass off and then this doper comes and wins…” etc, etc..

Generally, guys who are caught seem to be viewed as that unlucky bastard, instead of the bastard who is taking away my livelihood.

Make you own assumptions, but I think my observations are accurate.
 

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Rouleur said:
THIS IS NOT A VALUE JUDGEMENT, JUST AN OBSERVATION BY SOMEONE WHO HAS FOLLOWED PRO CYCLING FOR TWO DECADES:

Let’s just assume for the moment that the majority of ProTour cyclists are 100% clean. Let’s also assume that the ones that do test positive are 100% guilty. By applying a basic human response model, one would expect that the overwhelming response of the ”clean” cyclist would be one of absolute outrage.

Now apply this to your personal workplace. Wouldn’t you be pissed enough to vehemently denounce cheating if you were “Boy Scout” clean and your colleagues were caught cheating to get ahead. Pro athletes command the bully pulpit and it seems very hard for me to believe that no one would vigorously speak out against cheating (doping) at any chance (that is, if they themselves are “clean”).

Instead we get rhetoric like, “cycling is not just about doping,” “I have never tested positive,” “we are the most tested athletes in sport.” This may all be true, but don’t you think you would here a quote like, “I feel like this guys should be banned for life,” or “I work my ass off and then this doper comes and wins…” etc, etc..

Generally, guys who are caught seem to be viewed as that unlucky bastard, instead of the bastard who is taking away my livelihood.

Make you own assumptions, but I think my observations are accurate.
I agree with you, but I don't think it's that cut and dry. I think the "pack", "herd", "good ol boys club" dynamic is also part of the "basic human response model".

Don't you think if you were to report harrassment, saftey, discrimination, improper accounting or whatever to your boss(es) that they would immediately act on your concerns and no harm or danger to you would ever develop to you personally. I think we both know....that ain't the way it works. Whistleblowers are punished in many ways.

Look at all the examples in the workplace. The FBI agent in Mpls regarding 9/11....no longer an FBI agent. Katerine what's her name at Enron....quietly moved out when she cried "Doper". Rent an old movie and ask why was Erin Brokovich's job so hard. A Few Good Men is another one that teaches this leason.

Scot
 

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Devil's advocate. . .

How about if you could make the pro tour if you took performance enhancing drugs, would you take them? I'm willing to bet there is a very large portion of the pros who have taken drugs in order at one time or another to succeed. People may be keeping their mouth shut because they have taken drugs at one time and don't want to be hypocrits, or they could be keeping quite because it's very common and it would be breaking ranks to speak out.

Have you been following the supposed widespread use of speed in pro baseball?
 

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Have you been following the supposed widespread use of speed in pro baseball?

If the players are taking speed to make it through a game they are playing in, what the heck am I supposed to take to stay awake through 9 innings of boredom?

Couldn't agree more roleur. Seems fishy on sooo many levels.
 

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I disagree. If there is one thing I have learned through work, it is not to ever expect what I consider to be a normal reaction from people to any type of accusation.

Factors that complicate matters:

The "methinks thou protesteth too much" effect--- people who are conscious that a vocal protest creates its own effect on a problem. Besides, there is a fine line between "damage control" and a cover-up in the public's mind.

Occupational hazard-- it seems everyone in pro cycling goes through this. Eventually they become rather desensitized to the issue. The first time I was threatened with a law suit, I was scared... now, looking back, if I had a nickel for every threat, I could retire already. Everyone reassured me to not worry about it... it will go away--- and they always did.

"My Sh!t Don't Stink" effect--- I believe many pro cyclists live in an insular (almost celebrity) world where they assume the public tends to believe the best about them and adored them (to an extent).

____

Personally, I believe most doping is justified as being "controlled" doping. Pros use EPO, but don't push their hemo levels "too far"-- so it is justified as "fair" doping (since eveyone falls under the same parameters). In fact, I simply assume everyone is doped to within an inch of "legal" thresholds. You would think most people on the RBR forum ride enough to know how brutal a multi-week stage race is--- there is no way pros aren't receiving some sort of help these days.
 

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Let's see.....180 plus riders desending down the 35 k's of the Galibier at speeds approaching 70-80 ks........hmmm, don't think that I would want to have any enemies riding alongside me in that situation. Anyone remember the frame pump through the front fork in "Breaking Away"?:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
JV: "can't beat someone on EPO."

My approach was to take my observation to an extreme. Obviously, one needs to dope to compete at the highest level of the sport. The inherent hypocrisy is the absolute silence of all pro's when their colleagues are busted. Another interesting reaction is that convicted dopers (who remain quiet) are typically welcomed back with relative "open arms" and those very few who squeal never come back.

Even worse...a clean rider who actually says something negative about doping, becomes a pariah, and retires at the age of 28...Christophe Bassons.

I know this sounds like terrible, but I am a pragmatist and I can understand why people dope. I can also accept that 99% of the guys pedaling up the Tourmalet in July are doping. I guess I see it as a level playing field.

My argument is more focused on those fans who still hold on to the myth that one can win without pharmaceutical aid.
 

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Even if it weren't true just the idea that everyone else is doing it would soon make it true.

Although I thought the 50% limit was a stupid test when they came out with it I now think it was the best test they ever had because it kept people within certain confines and protected their health but limited the pressure to move into more and more esoteric and untested drugs and methods to avoid detection. Festina got a very bad name for their organized and supervised doping program but none of those riders died to provide us with sports entertainment.
 

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Rouleur said:
My argument is more focused on those fans who still hold on to the myth that one can win without pharmaceutical aid.

No anti-histamines, no anti-inflammatories, no antibiotics, no creams.......what exactly constitutes pharmaceutical aid these days? An arbitrary line in the sand?
 

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Doping is such an ugly word......

Let's equate the problem to our own careers, shall we? In my college days, cheating was a big no-no. But if my fraternity had copies of the professor's old exams, and we could study from them to gain insight into HOW we would be tested, you better believe that we did that. Is it cheating? Well, no, not really, since the answers to the particular test were not there in front of me. Only the TYPES of questions and methods of testing.

Why do we only pick on the guys who WIN races as dopers/cheaters? Don't you think there are many, many riders who dope/cheat, and still don't win? They do it because it is believed that it will PREPARE them for the contest. But it still doesn't yield an "A", or a podium.

The facts are, doping is common. Everyone does it. Still, some results remain consistent. The trick is determining not who doped, and not how to detect it. But education, and changing the "old guard" way of doing things.
 

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unfortunately, it's not as simple as we'd like it to be.

some doctors/physiologists have measured around a base 10% increase in power on EPO, some people see a higher return. that's a HUGE return considering most cyclists see a 1-3% increase during a year of training.

That's enough to take a mid pack pro/semi pro 1/2 and with EPO, that cyclist could burst on the scene and win some major races and be offered a contract within a year. do it a couple years and that cyclist would most likely be offered a D1 contract for $50-100k a year. So, other than finances for the EPO, wheres the motivation for a young aspiring pro to not do EPO? when it comes down to it the $$$ and chance to ride for living would be a big draw
 

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cocoboots said:
doctors/physiologists have measured around a base 10% increase in power on EPO, some people see a higher return.
Could you post a link, I'd be interested to read that paper......
 

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You nailed it

Rouleur said:
THIS IS NOT A VALUE JUDGEMENT, JUST AN OBSERVATION BY SOMEONE WHO HAS FOLLOWED PRO CYCLING FOR TWO DECADES:

Let’s just assume for the moment that the majority of ProTour cyclists are 100% clean. Let’s also assume that the ones that do test positive are 100% guilty. By applying a basic human response model, one would expect that the overwhelming response of the ”clean” cyclist would be one of absolute outrage.

Now apply this to your personal workplace. Wouldn’t you be pissed enough to vehemently denounce cheating if you were “Boy Scout” clean and your colleagues were caught cheating to get ahead. Pro athletes command the bully pulpit and it seems very hard for me to believe that no one would vigorously speak out against cheating (doping) at any chance (that is, if they themselves are “clean”).

Instead we get rhetoric like, “cycling is not just about doping,” “I have never tested positive,” “we are the most tested athletes in sport.” This may all be true, but don’t you think you would here a quote like, “I feel like this guys should be banned for life,” or “I work my ass off and then this doper comes and wins…” etc, etc..

Generally, guys who are caught seem to be viewed as that unlucky bastard, instead of the bastard who is taking away my livelihood.

Make you own assumptions, but I think my observations are accurate.
If I was clean I would be PISSED that others were doping and winning. That's why I could never figure out why dopers that were caught were never ostracized. It's because they all do it. Look at what happened to Bassons.
 

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svend said:
Could you post a link, I'd be interested to read that paper......
american journal of something...i don't have the exact link. it was a reference from my former coach at GTS who emailed it to me long time back. he said it was a rough 10% increase in power for a full cycle. he wasn't adovocating it, just explaining why so many turn to it as a quick fix.

i'll keep digging in my emails and online
 

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Not likely...

cocoboots said:
unfortunately, it's not as simple as we'd like it to be.

some doctors/physiologists have measured around a base 10% increase in power on EPO, some people see a higher return. that's a HUGE return considering most cyclists see a 1-3% increase during a year of training.

That's enough to take a mid pack pro/semi pro 1/2 and with EPO, that cyclist could burst on the scene and win some major races and be offered a contract within a year. do it a couple years and that cyclist would most likely be offered a D1 contract for $50-100k a year. So, other than finances for the EPO, wheres the motivation for a young aspiring pro to not do EPO? when it comes down to it the $$$ and chance to ride for living would be a big draw
Not likely are too many pro cyclists even on ProTour teams going to ever make $50k/year, let alone $100k/year.

In Europe, you've got to look at cycling from a different perspective. I'm not advocating doping here, just bringing in another view of things, bear with me.

Cycling in Europe is the poor man's sport, unlike in the US, where generally snotty rich kids are the ones who end up making it good in the sport in the US, generally I say. Go to a local bike race on the weekends. Who shows up? Normally a good cross section of professional folks, in their mid 20's to mid 40's with a wide assortment of high end cycling gear. In Europe, generally a lot of these guys riding bikes for a living are farm kids who used this as a way to get out of the factories, and to get out of the fields, and to make maybe a decent living. Say you're the water carrier, as on most teams, most of the guys on the teams are water carriers, and you're paid to do a specific job, carry water, food, coats, clothing, spare gear, and whatever else to help your team leader. For this, you will probably make the princely sum of maybe $35k/year. Here's the thing. If you are not able to do your job day in and day out over the course of 100+ days of racing per year, you get the axe, and someone slightly younger with fresher legs comes in, and takes your place. How do you get to keep this job as a pro athlete? You take EPO and other drugs so that you can ride hard, and work hard day in day out.

I'd say that probably the majority of the peloton are taking some sort of doping agent, but that is because they almost have to, to keep up with the workload, and to keep their jobs. Is it right? Heck no. But is it just about necessary? I say more than likely, yes. If you've ever trained really hard for say, 2 or 3 days in a row how do you feel on say day 4? You feel whipped. Think about these guys doing this in races probably more times than most people in here ride in a year. Some of these workers will be in 120, 130 races per year, easy. That's a lot of stress on your body.

And, just for an addendum. I think most people in here would be shocked, and or maybe appalled, at just how many people in the US pro peloton dope on a regular basis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Exactly

I agree with your statements. Well put.

Having seen some of the documents from Operacion Puerto, the most surprising item for me is the high cost of a doping regime. I would argue that in pro cycling a big factor for the separation of stars and water-carriers is MOOLAH. Guys who win can afford dope. Guys who don't win can only get dope if a team regulated program is in place. Pro Tour teams are under a ton of pressure to produce results. Draw your own conclusions.
 

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gregario said:
yeah, I think he has more or less said that he retired because he could no longer compete with others taking drugs.
But if Lemond (and the Hampster) are to be believed they are both arguments that the true benefit of doping is far less than 10% in practice. Didn't Greg finish 7th in his last completed Tour? That must put him all of 1/4% behind the leader.
 
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