This article just popped up on my Facebook timeline and I needed something to brighten up my day, so I read it.
The title of the article is ‘Three masters cyclists caught doping with EPO in amateur race”, which probably begs the question, ‘why did you need to read it?’. You’d be right, it’s a pretty explicit title.
The best part was reading the comments on FB, though, where most questioned why anyone would dope to ‘win a pair of socks’. I think this is missing the point.
Everybody knows ‘a friend’ who cheats a little on their taxes. We’ve also heard of people who tell little white lies (‘I only had one beer’). Perhaps some folks even embellish their CVs a little to beat out the competition for a job. Dishonesty is hardwired into our DNA.
Cycling, like any sport, attracts a minority of people who will try to win at any cost. I know someone who met Lance Armstrong at a VIP party and was nearly immediately challenged to a drinking contest by him. Apparently Lance will bet on just about anything (notably golf games) and for any amount, no matter how small. He probably can’t stop himself.
I don’t think it’s the pair of socks that is the attraction for these guys, but an insatiable urge to win and beat the other guy (or girl). And I’d posit that these 3 cyclists will probably not feel too guilty about it, either, since human nature also allows us to justify just about anything we do (something I love about human nature, incidentally). Here is Cyril Fontayne, the Frenchman who was caught motor doping a year ago:
“I don’t sell drugs and I didn’t kill a child, I put a motor in my bike….I am not the only one doing it.”
I think if you looked around you’d find similar defenses from others who’ve doped.
Finally, kudos to the organizers of the Vuelta a Miami for actually implementing drug testing. This is nearly always ‘threatened’ in gran fondos, but I’ve never personally seen it in action. If I got called to take a pee in a bottle after an event I think it would be the highlight of my career.