|Patrick O'Grady nailed this topic a decade ago. |
With permission of Maddogmedia.com
Back when I was a Cat IV in Honolulu, one didn’t have to worry about doping. We looked for an edge in races by experimenting with Gatorade vs. Cytomax and banannas vs. BanannaWham. Gosh, we were lucky to be so low level and pure. When I went off the back in a race, I knew it was due to my own lack of training and talent, not that my competitor was racing on hi test and a needle in the arm.
What this investigation is showing is how drugs were an intrinsic part of the sport from top to bottom, all teams, all the time—if anyone is still that naïve as to doubt it. Its a public health issue more than one of cheating. Since so many top teams have been implicated as cheaters, it seems like a level playing field to me, at least "level" for those teams that could afford to develop good doping operations–the hidden competition was amongst the team doctors, team owners, and team leaders. (As Ian has accurately commented, other, non-doping cyclists could come in last or find other jobs--and be ostracized along the way, for example, Christophe Bassons). The real question is this: do we really want people who are coming up in the sport to have to inject to win? That’s where it gets sickening.
The pro cyclists have to clean this mess up themselves, since they are the ones being cheated the most. Its really a working conditions argument, kinda like giving coal miners EPO and testosterone so they can hammer away in the mines for longer hours a day than the competition and boost coal output for the bosses, only to find the miners down the road are also running on chemical overdrive. Where is the cyclist’s union on this? If there ever was a workplace justice issue in cycling that screamed for labor action, it’s the notion that to have a job, you have to have arms that look like a junkie’s and break the law. These guys were either co-opted or cowed and cowed by their own teammates, which is even sadder. Its all about the money, and I’m not sure the cyclist would be paid any less if they were all going a little slower by the end of three weeks.