Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ils Sont Tous Dopeurs

I haven’t posted much about doping lately. After all, it’s the height of cycling’s off-season. In celebration of the Vuelta route announcement (won by an accused doper, but who isn’t?) here’s a pretty revealing article about what really occurs in high stakes sports. This guy, in fact, was only a second tier professional and, apparently, the pressure to dope began at even lower levels.

Doping Consequences: A case study with Joe Papp: by Myles McCorry

This is probably the most candid account of doping I’ve seen. Joe Papp doesn’t seem to be holding back. I’d love to hear more about the specifics but it’s interesting to hear how his doping came about,

Papp tells us of a hard to grasp paradox - that he doped not to earn money, but because he loved cycling so much, He wanted to keep cycling and that meant wins-- which is ironic that this love for the sport is exactly what puts the sport and the health of its athletes in jeopardy.

Still, we get more info than most ex-dopers are willing to part with, such as:

And on it went from 2001 to his near-death crash in 2006. Papp admitted to using nearly 100 different drugs including EPO, HGH, cortisone, insulin, thyroid hormone, anabolic steroids and amphetamines. He fell into a definitive program of cycling with substances - unaware of the dangers - or at least unwilling to see them. “When you have a doctor managing your doping program, the risks seem less tangible.”

And an uncompromising look at the reality of how to stop it,

He has put his hand up and said yes I did this and here are the life destroying consequences. We wish all young athletes to be aware of the lifelong opportunity cost of doping which far outweigh the short term gain of drugs Papp, somewhat despondently, admits, “I hate to say it, but a fear based education from an early age, if you dope you put the rest of your life in jeopardy is essential to making doping something that is again unconscionable for the next generation.”

All in all, a good read to keep you focused on your off-season conditioning because the fitter you make yourself the less the temptation to dope becomes. Okay, that last line is probably complete bullocks. But in the world of fear mongering at least the threat of death might give one pause.


Heather said...

I dunno, smoking causes cancer, does that stop young teens from picking up? Nope.

Steve Edwards said...

I agree. As long as there is a possibility to improve and not get caught people will try. However, the perception until the very recent past was not "should I" but "when should I start" or "am I willing to do what it takes" because the common sentiment was that all the top riders were juiced. This has really only changed since the inception of High Road and Slimstream. Progress has been rapid, I think. But, hell, I don't know. They could still be juiced to some degree. The only evidence we have now is slower speeds, more obvious suffering, and that when someone is doped to the gills like look suddenly superhuman, like Ricco or Schumaker.