Cycling: The Dirtiest Sport Of Them All

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Cindysphinx, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Did anyone catch Floyd Landis' allegations of doping in a recent Wall Street Journal article?

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704911704575326753200584006.html

    He says that he doped and Armstrong doped. To which I say: No kidding.

    I honestly don't think there is a single clean rider in the entire Tour de France, and there is no way Lance Armstrong was clean either. How could someone win all those titles against guys who were doping if he wasn't doping also?

    Anyway, Landis says the riders used to use EPO, but now there is a test to catch that. So they have gone back to giving themselves transfusions of their own blood.

    Honestly, I think the rules should allow that. Yeah, it's icky. Yeah, it's doping. But they're going to do it anyway, and I doubt there are any adverse long-term health consequences from repeatedly drawing and taking your own blood.
     
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  2. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    Track and field is bad, So is Tennis,Soccer,Football,Baseball,Basketball, and any other major sport. Its just the way it is now a days.

    Someone will argue I am wrong but they just have their head in the sand if they think the testing for PED's is anywhere close to the labs making them.
     
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  3. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Doping increases the red blood cell volume (relative to plasma) since the red cells are re-infused after the body has replenished what was removed. This mimics the medical condition polycythemia vera, in which the body makes too many red cells on its own, a condition so hazardous that the treatment is usually periodic removal of a volume of red cells by phlebotomy. Adverse effects of polycythemia vera include stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, peptic ulcer and other conditions, sometimes fatal. You think the rules should permit this, sphinx?
     
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  4. ramseszerg

    ramseszerg Professional

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    "I doubt there are any adverse long-term health consequences from repeatedly drawing and taking your own blood."

    hahaha nice.
     
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  5. PSNELKE

    PSNELKE Legend

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    Cycling is the reason why I hate and don´t watch Eurosport..
    Instead of showing Giro d´talia instead of RG most of the time.
     
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  6. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I'm just thankful that bodybuilding and boxing have manged to stay clean all these years.

    But I am going to say that the sport that has been most affected by science and medicine is "being a hot chick".
     
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  7. mozzer

    mozzer Hall of Fame

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    Theres no denying that they are super humen athletes though.
    Also, in what other sports would your whole team stop and wait for you if you fell? Do you see that in any athletics?
     
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  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I dunno. For plasma donation, don't they remove your blood, spin out the red blood cells and then give it back to you?

    How come blood tests don't detect this sort of doping?

    I think it is possible to be the No. 1 player in the world in tennis and be clean.

    I think it is completely impossible in cycling.

    I always wonder whether Carl Lewis was clean. I kind of want to believe he was.

    Cindy -- who will always believe FloJo was dirty and died young as a result
     
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  9. maverick66

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    Hate to be the bearer of bad news for you Cindy but all the top players are taking stuff they are not supposed to. Its just a part of the sport now.
     
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  10. ProgressoR

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    Wrong, I can guarantee I am not taking illegal substances. Mind you I am only ranked 14,462,765th in the world. But I reckon I can take out the guy above me sometime before end of the year.
     
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  11. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    ^^^^Maybe if you hit the 'roids you could crack the top ten (million.) You're not tempted?
     
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  12. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    For plasma donation your red cells are put back IMMEDIATELY so your body hasn't had the opportunity to make more. Thus the ratio of red cells to plasma does not change. In doping, red cells are removed and stored in refrigeration. While in storage, your body replaces them both with red cells stored in the spleen, and newly manufactured ones, bringing your percentage of red cells (about 40-45% of blood volume, called the hematocrit) back to normal. Once back to normal, the stored red cells are added before the athletic event, giving you a HIGHER than normal hematocrit. Nothing is detectable. Officials could measure your hematocrit and see it is higher than normal, but they could not prove this didn't occur naturally.
     
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  13. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    No offense maverick, you make a lot of reasonable posts on this board and are one of the more solid members, but this is ridiculous. Please back up with data and/or a lot more clarification as to exactly what they're taking (I don't expect you to name names - but go ahead if you feel like it) - or withdraw.

    Back to Cycling. When I heard years ago that a) it's really a team event - the top guy on each team is helped by his teammates; b) they would slow down/stop when one of the top guys got a flat so he could get back in the race, I didn't take it seriously as a real sport. Sure, I'm impressed someone can cover that much distance on a bike - but as far as competition, it's a joke. Then throw in the rampant drug use and I have no interest to follow it.
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    But if there is no way to detect it, why criminalize it? And if the hematocrit levels are not off the charts (near what can occur naturally), then how can it be so harmful?

    It's not like these guys are dropping dead from this form of doping. That said, I do remember reading an article some years ago that said a lot of top racers were dropping dead (or having other problems) from using EPO.
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't care for cycling, but the team concept doesn't bother me. I believe there are other cycling race formats that truly are individual.

    Besides, it's a team. If they all decide to sacrifice themselves so that one guy can win, I don't have a problem with that. Still, I would have more regard for Lance Armstrong if he actually won all of those titles by his lonesome. I say the team won, not Lance.
     
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  16. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    I agree. And I don't think a lot of the public knows it's a team - or how far the team concept goes. I do enjoy the Olympic cycling events where it it one on one.
     
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  17. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Floyd was caught, properly caught, doping during the tour that he 'won'. His reputation is now dirt. He is pond scum. He now cannot make money from cycling, has no fame as a cyclist, and now seems to spout random stuff to grab a little fame every now and then.

    How do you know the other guys are definitely doping? All of them?

    How come Federer and Nadal win pretty much everything in tennis? They are the best at the game, and they surround themselves with the best.

    I'm not saying Lance is 100% clean, it's just too hard to know. But to understand even a little about the tour is to know the following:

    a. Lance geared his entire year around the tour. He effectively ignored the tour of spain and italy. This is like Federer never playing the Australian or the French (or playing them, in his grass-court shoes and with his grass-court tactics, just for training), and focusing the whole year on Wimbledon.

    b. Lance assembled the best team money could buy. Cycling tours, for better or for worse, are team sports. I don't get why people find that abhorrent, it's just a fact. So many team sports are about buying the right players.

    c. Lance was appropriately genetically gifted as an endurance cyclist - ridiculous aerobic capacity.

    So you take one of the very best riders with amazing genetics, you give them the very best team every year, and they focus entirely on one race.

    Not surprising he won some.
     
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  18. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    The above is odd. There are hundreds of team sports out there, where people compete as a team. In many of them, one or two players are elevated massively above the team. In cycling, both the individual and the team are competing for the win.

    As for b - it's sportsmanship. Pure and simple sportsmanship. It's like playing tennis, and allowing your opponent to have an injury time-out to have their ankle taped. It's a recognition that they are competing as athletes, and that the bike is just a piece of equipment. It's akin to saying 'no, that is your point, your shot was in". It's akin to saying 'my opponent is 10 mins late due to unforseen circumstances, but i'll not take a default as I'm here to compete on equal terms".
     
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  19. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Some, but not as many as people think. Some of track racing is individual, and most mountain biking is individual too (but not all). There are time trials on the road that are individual, but they're not that common. Much of triathlon prohibits drafting, making the cycling component of that an individual challenge.

    In saying that, you're obviously partly correct. But to have more regard for him if....he wasn't competing in the sport he competes in? It's like saying 'I'd have more regard for Federer if he was a squash player, because they have it really tough'.

    Ultimately, cycling team leaders are chosen because they are the strongest. Why? Because ultimately they have to ride alone. Their team supports them up to a point, but they have to then ride alone. Usually, in the toughest of tough situations. Up some of the steepest terrain imaginable, after riding 4 or 5 hours to get there. Off on a long breakaway at stupendous pace. The individual time-trial, something that has made or broken many riders' tours over the last few years, is entirely individual. To not recognise these massive individual components as the truly amazing is to not understand the sport.

    I don't think 'a lot of the public' realise many, many things, but one should not criticise something just as it's poorly understood. Anyone that cares to follow cycling for 10 minutes could learn entirely about the nature of the sport. It's the same as tennis, the public think it's about hitting winners, we know it's about consistency and placement, and letting the winners just happen.

    I barely follow cycling anymore, but it's a shame to see it smacked around annually on here as the whipping boy of sports...
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
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  20. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    We can agree to disagree...

    Let's start here. At least in the US - you don't list your location - they say '7 time Tour Winner, Lance Armstrong.' They don't name his team as having won 7 times, then list him as the captain. So you may know it's a team - but a lot of people don't.

    And I won't even bring up the fact that the last stage is mostly ceremonial - they ride into Paris drinking champagne.

    Bad analogy. A better one would be a broken string - and those points count. It's considered bad luck. Just like in racing - F1 doesn't slow down if someone has trouble getting their tire lugs fastened properly.

    I'm sorry you think we're disparaging your 'sport' - but it's very flawed. At least compared to tennis. Again, we can agree to disagree.
     
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  21. OrangeOne

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    As I posted later, should we apologise and cater for every member of the public that wants the crib-note version of life? I don't think so. Of course Lance wins the tour - as I explained in a subsequent post - the truly amazing efforts are that of the individual, and the individual in crowned the winner. But team positions are also acknowledged (and can differ from the individual ratings unless I'm remembering incorrectly), and efforts of the team are acknowledged.

    It'd somewhat surprise me that the teams of the riders are never mentioned in the US, as the major sponsor of Lance's team for much of his career was US Postal, a group who'd likely sponsor in return for the exposure they receive back home.

    Yes, it's actually a large problem for the tour. They drink so much that they have to fit training wheels on the bikes, and France often runs out of Champagne, what with 200 riders drinking Champagne instead of water for the day. Did you see the year that 7 of the riders actually had to stop and have a bit of a spew?

    Or in actuality:

    a. It's a PR shot, it's a sip of champagne, and it's only something the leader(s) of the winning team(s) do, after the result is beyond doubt. It's like the final 5 mins of a football / basketball / soccer game with one team leading by a simply impossible margin, you see a few things you wouldn't normally. It's one of the great things about the untimed nature of tennis, players are forced to compete until the final point.

    b. It happens after 20 days of cycling THOUSANDS of miles.

    c. Even though the race leader is usually known, the green jersey (a very prestigious award) - the sprint jersey - is often not decided until the finish line. Those guys aren't sipping anything on the final stage, it's the biggest moment of their year / career.

    Actually, I thought about the broken string analogy. The problem is - under most circumstances (for a Pro, with unlimited access to restringing), a broken string is user-error. As is your tire-lug (wheel nut??) example. User error. Whereas a flat tire in cycling - in the circumstances we're discussing here - is almost universally simply bad luck. Hence my analogy.

    Why do you need to make it 'my sport'? I've cycled for about a decade, and played tennis for almost 3 times that length of time.

    In my opinion, it's your opinions that are flawed, and some people are just not willing to understand the sport. Of course, we can agree to disagree.
     
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  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    My husband is a big fan of the Tour. He makes the arguments that Orange One makes about doping.

    What makes me think Armstrong is doping? Well, it is an endurance sport. When I think about endurance sports (say, marathons), it is rare for someone to dominate year after year. Has anyone ever won a marathon seven years in a row?

    Does anyone really believe Armstrong could beat opponents who were doping if he didn't also dope?
     
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  23. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Considering he tested positive in samples from '99 for EPO, along with countless eye-witness accounts of his PED usage, I'd say there's at least a 90% chance he was dirty. Even though the case was thrown out, I still think its probably legitimate.
     
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  24. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    There is just as much evidence of him doping as there is with any other athelete. Basically articles would come out in Europe he would get all mad and sue the people. Then when everyone back in the US was saying "He couldnt have done it or he wouldnt fight it this hard" the lawsuit would get dropped before it went to trial.

    So Ill take your 90% and raise it to 100%. You dont win that race 1 time in this day and age without doing that stuff.
     
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  25. TheJRK

    TheJRK Rookie

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    What??? A doping thread when the TdF is on TV? This has never happened before.

    Until Lance has been caught, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Being an avid cyclist myself though, I wouldn't blame the guys on tour for taking something... that race is brutal.

    Just get on an exercise bike and ride for 1 hour (if you can) and see what your watts/hr is... then watch the TdF and see what the pro's output is. Get back on your exercise bike and try to duplicate those results, even for 5 minutes.

    YOU WILL DIE.
     
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  26. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Lance has been caught.
     
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  27. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    Landis needs to shut his mouth. He got busted so he wants to drag everyone down with him. Unfortunately for him, he is the only one found guilty. Sour grapes on his part.
     
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  28. 813wilson

    813wilson Rookie

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    Armstrong did not test positive in '99.

    Cindy, comparing the TDF to marathons is a flawed analogy. Numerous runners have won marathons more than once - agreed, not seven in a row, though.

    But consider: one can win the Tour w/out ever winning an individual stage of the race. Armstrong's best performance year was one where he one five of the 22(?) stages.

    The times and "bonuses" are compiled throughout the race and the way it is measured is not always the exact difference between the 1st place finish and the last.

    His lung capacity and VO2 Max are among the highest in the sport. Combine that with his heart rates - mid 30s at rest and 200 max and size and he is about perfect for cycling.

    I'm not saying the sport is clean - but he's tested more than the others; so until he is "caught" I give him the benefit of the doubt.
     
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  29. TheJRK

    TheJRK Rookie

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    Cycling is a team sport, Lance had a great team (and domestiques) all those years he won. In a marathon, it's just you vs. 1000 other people.

    In cycling, the winner will give the prize money to the rest of his team since he'll make more money off of endorsements anyway.
     
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  30. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    C-sphinx
    Why ban something if it can't be detected? Because the governing body of cycling is not a court of law and can disqualify riders if there is enough reasonable evidence, such as a doctor and teammmate who report the doping. They don't need evidence that is utterly irrefutable. And they SHOULD disqualify them. A practice that is known to be seriously dangerous can't be condoned by the governing organization.
     
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  31. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    In 2005, Armstrong's sample from '99 tested positive. Maybe it was mishandled, maybe it was irrelevant, but I'd say it most likely was a legitimate test that just happened to be thrown out. That coupled with all the witness accounts, and the nature of the sport, I'd say its pretty likely he was just as dirty as the rest.
     
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  32. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I'm anxiously awaiting the results of this provocative discussion as to whether Armstrong might have taken performance enhancers and if other athletes might possibly take performance enhancers.

    This is a real nail biter.

    If you get a minute, can you also answer these questions for me please? I have been asked these with some frequency lately and have no idea. Thanks.

    1) Is the Pope Catholic?

    2) Does a bear **** in the woods?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
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  33. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    I'd like to know where the pope poops
     
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  34. 813wilson

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    It was not a legitimate test - which is why there was no additional action. A little more detail about "testing positive" .....

    In '05, 12 samples from the 1999 race(120 + racers) were deemed to be positive. Of those, six were attributed to Armstrong. Interestingly, the other six samples(riders) were never identified.
    The reason for the test, in the first place, was to perform additonal testing/dvelopment to prevent false positive reports. Because there was no secondary sample available - it can't be considered "positive".
    L'Equipe's editor in chief Michel Dalloni has been out for Armstrong for years. He even wrote a novel - The Last Tour that completely parallels Armtrong and his team/support/ownership.
     
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  35. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I don't have a problem with the result being thrown out, but I still think his urine sample did fail the test because he is a cheater. So yeah I believe in innocence til proven guilty, but that doesn't mean I actually believe they are innocent.
     
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  36. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    That sounds alot like Barry Bonds. He had grand jury testimony illegaly leaked claiming he didnt know what he was taking. And these guys wrote a book on nothing but heresay (Game of Shadows) about how he knowingly did the roids.

    Yet Barry is thrown out of the game and made an example of and the public eye finds him guilty. Lance is still hearlded a hero and such a great human being.

    Tehre is no doubt in my mind that both of them did stuff. Yet they are treated completly different.

    There are three reasons I can think of why I think this happened.

    1. Barry doesnt hide the fact that hes an A-hole and doesnt like the media. While Lance plays into thier hands and they think hes great, but behind the scenes hes an A-Hole. Advantge Lance

    2. One of them had cancer and surviced and milked it for all it was worth. Advantage Lance

    3. One of them was black. Advantage Lance.
     
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  37. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly.

    Which is why I think every last one of them is doping.
     
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  38. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Wait a second. Now you are suggesting that Barry Bonds took PED's?

    OK. Slow down for a second and let me catch up here. This is groundbreaking stuff.
     
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  39. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    You know, of course, that Barry wasn't officially thrown out of the game, just that all those major league teams independently decided not to offer him a contract (I'm sure there was no collusion going on, that would be illegal.) Maybe everybody doesn't know, though.

    You make some good points. I've always been inclined to give Lance the benefit of the doubt, partially because I don't much give a hang about cycling. If he really has been a steady user of performance-enhancing substances, he's been darn good at it, lucky, and good at public relations. Maybe he's just a great athlete? Of course Pete Rose swore he never bet on baseball, Floyd Landis swore he didn't dope...
     
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  40. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Because something is hard - everyone must be doping?

    I know some pro / ex-pro riders (not TDF level, but some close, and some that level in other variants of the sport). Of course there are stories of the drugs, and the dirty riders that would take them. There are also stories of people with ethics and morals, and people who want to live a long, healthy life after cycling, people who were clean.

    I fail to see why out of a sample of 200 - you claim 100% doping. 100%?

    Remember the media - and there are hundreds / thousands of people covering the tour - are desperate for a scoop. If you think 200 people are doping - how exactly does only 1 or 2 get caught? Any media outlet that can get a photo of a drug, an empty syringe, a doctor acting inappropriately - is going to be in heaven during the tour. It'll give them a month or a year's worth of hits in a day. They'll get a whole team kicked out of the tour.

    It's not just the (many, many) doping controls that police the riders, it's also the media, and even the fans.

    To say that every TDF rider is doping is lunacy (possibly as much lunacy as to say that none are, but the number is closer to none than all).
     
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  41. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    How many are doping do you think?

    1%

    2%

    5%

    10%

    20%

    40%

    What do you think about other sports?

    track & field

    tennis

    boxing

    NFL football

    etc?

    Are you thinking it is the minority?
     
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  42. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Out of all the athletes in all the sports in all the worlds?

    72.
     
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  43. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Let's just concentrate on Earth for the moment.

    Obviously, I was asking about TDF primarily (as that is what your quote references). Secondarily, I was interested in other popular sports, individually.

    But, I guess we pretty much agree. I would put the number around 72% for most sports myself. Higher for some, lower for others. But 72% isn't a bad number overall.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
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  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    For figure skating, I would put the percentage of high-end participants (top 10 in each major country) at 2% (assuming you don't consider rhinestones to be doping).

    For the Tour de France, I would put the percentage of participants in the 2010 race who are doping at 90%. The other 10% wanted to dope but couldn't get their shipment of testosterone patches through customs. I mean, it doesn't do much good to have just Armstrong doping. I assume his posse can't do him any good if they are at the bottom of the mountain sucking on oxygen tanks.

    That's what I think.
     
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  45. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I think it takes guts for even a gay man to wear some of the stuff I saw in the Olympics.

    Most of the women look stunning however (for 14 year olds that is).
     
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  46. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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  47. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    I think if you understood the tour a little more you'd know that the 'posse' does indeed end up left behind by the team leaders / specialist riders.

    I know such a situation doesn't limit your scenario, and I know we sit at the polar opposite ends of the spectrum here. I hope you meet some amazing people that are, or have been, pro cyclists, and you get to know them well enough to find out more of the truth.

    Here's the thing:

    This almost feels like an 'ism'. Sexism, Racism, Cycle-ism? Ok, so I'm being extreme, but so are positions here.

    I believe it's always wrong to tar everyone with a brush simply because some commit a crime. I firmly believe it's wrong to tar the whole sport of cycling because some dopes dope. I also firmly believe the doping isn't as 'beyond testing' as people say - if it were, how come some very, very high profile riders are getting caught - surely if anyone, they'd have access to the 'mysterious undetectable stuff'?
     
    #47
  48. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    6,295
    You know, that's a bit far isn't it? I had enough of an issue with your now-deleted post in another thread (and mustn't have been only me, as I didn't report it), and now this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
    #48
  49. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    6,295
    Time to read less John Grisham, or watch less CSI / House.

    Any athlete who is choosing to stay clean, is also more than aware that they need to be meticulous about consumption. This is their career that has taken years and years of training.

    What you are alleging there, by the way, doctors medicating people illegally / without their full knowledge and consent, and worse, without a condition requiring the medication....if and when it occurs would be enough to both have a doctor lose their licence to practice medicine and be jailed.

    So you're proposing that both doctors and pro athletes - both are people who have to train for a decade to be 'qualified & effective' in their career - regularly risk this. I can see that the guy coming 3rd might want to come first (Landis). I can't see that the guy coming 56th would risk this to come 49th, and I can see very very few doctors with around 10 years of study risking a career and freedom...
     
    #49
  50. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,114
    My posts get quietly deleted fairly often (so I'm really not sure what you are referring to).
     
    #50

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