Should We Just Let the Tour de France Dopers Dope Away?

Now that virtually every cyclist in the Tour de France has been booted for doping, is it time to consider a radical rethinking of the doping issue?

Is it time, perhaps, to come up with a pre-approved list of performance-enhancing agents and procedures, require the riders to accept full responsibility for whatever long-term physical and emotional damage these agents and procedures may produce, and let everyone ride on a relatively even keel without having to ban the leader every third day?

If the cyclists are already doping, why should we worry about their health? If the sport is already so gravely compromised, why should we pretend it hasn’t been?

After all, doping in the Tour is nothing new. According to this MSNBC.com article, it was cycling that introduced the sports world to doping:

[T]he history of modern doping began with the cycling craze of the 1890s and the six-day races that lasted from Monday morning to Saturday night. Extra caffeine, peppermint, cocaine and strychnine were added to the riders’ black coffee. Brandy was added to tea. Cyclists were given nitroglycerine to ease breathing after sprints. This was a dangerous business, since these substances were doled out without medical supervision.

Are there parallels to be made between legalizing narcotics and allowing cyclists to use performance enhancers chosen from an approved list? I wonder what Gary Becker would have to say on the subject.

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  1. egretman says:

    Actually, I’m getting more and more impressed with the testing that the tour does. Makes Lance look even better. Makes baseball look like a bunch of charlatans.

    And let’s face it, the tour is largely boring without a Lance or doping scandals. So watching the fools keep getting caught is kind of fun.

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  2. egretman says:

    Actually, I’m getting more and more impressed with the testing that the tour does. Makes Lance look even better. Makes baseball look like a bunch of charlatans.

    And let’s face it, the tour is largely boring without a Lance or doping scandals. So watching the fools keep getting caught is kind of fun.

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  3. Bill Basso says:

    Not every rider has tested positive. The set of riders who have tested positive is nowhere near All. Two have during the race and one has tested positive in an out of competition testing before the event started. As a statistician you can see the fallacy of claiming three out of nearly two hundred is “virtually every”.

    Despite what many sensationalist Headlines and misguided journalists have been saying Tour leader Rassmussen did not test positive. He was not banned. No leader in this year’s tour was banned. He was given a warning for not informing the Danish sporting authorities of his where abouts so he could be available for random out of competition testing. He was allowed to continue competing. No sanctions were imposed.

    What happened was his team fired him for lying to them when they learned from eyewitnesses he was training in Italy not Mexico as he had claimed.

    What is happening in cycling is important. Sport is not sporting if it requires a staff of doping experts to keep you competitive. That is cheating and if it were to be allowed to continue it would be no better than Wrestling, Baseball or American Football.

    It is misleading to say doping in sport started with cycling. It has been around as long as there was sport. The ancients doped. Dante mentioned how athletes were tempted to drug abuse and had a place in Hell for them long before the bicycle was invented.

    Cycling is the first sport to stand up and seek a solution. Drug testing in sport first started in cycling after the horrible drug related death of world champion Tom Simpson forty years ago.

    In Europe, cyclists are being criminally prosecuted for fraud which is what the use of performance enhancing drugs is.

    People shouldn’t be outraged that some athletes are being found guilty of cheating. People should be outraged that so many sports actually encourage it. And it’s not just the Eastern Bloc, or the Chinese, or the Europeans… it is us too. Look at the growth of average size in all US Pro sports. It’s not due to obesity.

    So please, stop trying to compare cycling to the WWE. It is nowhere in that realm. Instead, demand the same standards that cycling is putting forth to be placed in all sport. How can you take Baseball seriously until Barry Bonds is fired just like Rassmussen was. Bonds should be in jail not chasing Hank’s record.

    That a #1 team would be willing to fire it’s best athlete just for suspicion shows how serious the sport of cycling is.

    It’s not time to backpedal. It’s time to take this problem as seriously as cycling now is because you can be assured there are High School and Junior High coaches all throughout the US who see nothing wrong with shooting up children with veterinary grade pharmaceuticals from mexico and used needles just so they can excel.

    Legalize it and kids will be buying “Barry Bonds Brand Stanozol” in the school bookstore. And this is what you are calling for when you want to legalize doping.

    It’s bad enough to see top baseball players pitch over the counter stimulants that they use to keep their head clear so they can play. This mentality needs to be stopped from the top down. Otherwise, get your toddlers on a program now if you want them to make it through gym class.

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  4. Bill Basso says:

    Not every rider has tested positive. The set of riders who have tested positive is nowhere near All. Two have during the race and one has tested positive in an out of competition testing before the event started. As a statistician you can see the fallacy of claiming three out of nearly two hundred is “virtually every”.

    Despite what many sensationalist Headlines and misguided journalists have been saying Tour leader Rassmussen did not test positive. He was not banned. No leader in this year’s tour was banned. He was given a warning for not informing the Danish sporting authorities of his where abouts so he could be available for random out of competition testing. He was allowed to continue competing. No sanctions were imposed.

    What happened was his team fired him for lying to them when they learned from eyewitnesses he was training in Italy not Mexico as he had claimed.

    What is happening in cycling is important. Sport is not sporting if it requires a staff of doping experts to keep you competitive. That is cheating and if it were to be allowed to continue it would be no better than Wrestling, Baseball or American Football.

    It is misleading to say doping in sport started with cycling. It has been around as long as there was sport. The ancients doped. Dante mentioned how athletes were tempted to drug abuse and had a place in Hell for them long before the bicycle was invented.

    Cycling is the first sport to stand up and seek a solution. Drug testing in sport first started in cycling after the horrible drug related death of world champion Tom Simpson forty years ago.

    In Europe, cyclists are being criminally prosecuted for fraud which is what the use of performance enhancing drugs is.

    People shouldn’t be outraged that some athletes are being found guilty of cheating. People should be outraged that so many sports actually encourage it. And it’s not just the Eastern Bloc, or the Chinese, or the Europeans… it is us too. Look at the growth of average size in all US Pro sports. It’s not due to obesity.

    So please, stop trying to compare cycling to the WWE. It is nowhere in that realm. Instead, demand the same standards that cycling is putting forth to be placed in all sport. How can you take Baseball seriously until Barry Bonds is fired just like Rassmussen was. Bonds should be in jail not chasing Hank’s record.

    That a #1 team would be willing to fire it’s best athlete just for suspicion shows how serious the sport of cycling is.

    It’s not time to backpedal. It’s time to take this problem as seriously as cycling now is because you can be assured there are High School and Junior High coaches all throughout the US who see nothing wrong with shooting up children with veterinary grade pharmaceuticals from mexico and used needles just so they can excel.

    Legalize it and kids will be buying “Barry Bonds Brand Stanozol” in the school bookstore. And this is what you are calling for when you want to legalize doping.

    It’s bad enough to see top baseball players pitch over the counter stimulants that they use to keep their head clear so they can play. This mentality needs to be stopped from the top down. Otherwise, get your toddlers on a program now if you want them to make it through gym class.

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  5. conor says:

    Is cheating in athletic competition inevitable?

    Are the cheaters in sports akin to the insider traders on Wall Street, the lawyers that rip off their clients, the accountants that misstate earnings, etc.?

    What I mean is, we give people responsibility and trust them to do the right thing, but there are always a few that break the trust for their own benefit.

    Personally, I think some people have always cheated at whatever they do, some people would never cheat at anything, and others are in the middle, susceptible to influences from both sides.

    I still can’t believe that guys got caught this year after all the extra scrutiny.

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  6. conor says:

    Is cheating in athletic competition inevitable?

    Are the cheaters in sports akin to the insider traders on Wall Street, the lawyers that rip off their clients, the accountants that misstate earnings, etc.?

    What I mean is, we give people responsibility and trust them to do the right thing, but there are always a few that break the trust for their own benefit.

    Personally, I think some people have always cheated at whatever they do, some people would never cheat at anything, and others are in the middle, susceptible to influences from both sides.

    I still can’t believe that guys got caught this year after all the extra scrutiny.

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  7. Crishy says:

    I agree that cheating is inevitable. Doping atm is cheating because the rules say so, not because of some eternal rule of sports which says it has to be man (or woman) against man, no help, the better wins. In cycling, we have all sorts of material advantages anyway – helmets, shirts, shoes and all parts of very high-tech bikes. A new development brings an advantage which has nothing to do with “may-the-better-man-win”.

    Legalizing doping, whether with a positive list or without, just widens the definition of “material”…

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  8. Crishy says:

    I agree that cheating is inevitable. Doping atm is cheating because the rules say so, not because of some eternal rule of sports which says it has to be man (or woman) against man, no help, the better wins. In cycling, we have all sorts of material advantages anyway – helmets, shirts, shoes and all parts of very high-tech bikes. A new development brings an advantage which has nothing to do with “may-the-better-man-win”.

    Legalizing doping, whether with a positive list or without, just widens the definition of “material”…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0