By this time, anyone involved at all in the cycling world has heard about the latest Floyd Landis scandal. He’s been making so many wild accusations that it’s hard to keep track. People are concerned that even more cyclists may be outed as having taken drugs. In fact, it’s starting to seem like they all took supplements of some kind.
Which is precisely why I don’t care. I say let em go nuts.
I was saying this when all the baseball stars were being outed for having taken steroids. Why not just let them take whatever they want? After all, I’m interested in watching professional sports because its a spectacle, not because I believe the participants are special angels.
Professional athletes are not role models any more than CEOs or politicians are. If you want there to be someone in your community that kids can look up to, then I suggest that you yourself should be that person. Athletes are human beings who get paid to deliver results. They’re going to seize every opportunity to achieve that goal, and along the way they’re going to have to make some tough “ends justify the means” choices.
On another note, it seems to me that if everyone’s cheating, then the game is perfectly fair. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.
I also don’t know who draws the line between advanced nutritional supplements and a cheating drug. A chicken wing contains calories, protein and nutrients that will aid a cyclist’s recovery, but I don’t see UCI officials testing people for traces of KFC. That’s a garden variety example, but what about electrolyte pills, or sport gel laced with caffeine?
Riders also train at altitude in order to help boost their red blood cell count, but if they draw off some of their blood at altitude and then put it back into themselves at sea level, that’s called blood doping, because it raises their capacity to process lactic acid and deliver oxygen to their muscles. I’m not a doctor, obviously, but I think that’s how it works.
At my last race I was chatting with a fellow rider who told me point blank he’d just sucked down a 5-hour energy drink and a red bull. He was so jacked up on caffeine I could hear his eyeballs jiggling in his sockets. I can only assume that pro riders do the same thing. Is that cheating? He ended up beating me that day, but he had a better bike, was a lot leaner, and showed better technique by staying low in his bars the whole time. I sat up on the climbs.
Ultimately I think that if you’re interested in the nuances of a sport, then the nutritional habits of the participants aren’t that important, especially if they’re all doing whatever it is.
You could make a case that if doping is legal, then a team could gain an unfair advantage just by having more money than another team, but lets not forget that equipment and coaching are also factors and they both cost money too. A well-funded team is going to have an advantage no matter what, I think.
I think we can all agree that accepting donations for a legal defense fund when you’re guilty as hell is a dick move, though. No argument here on that one.
So, in summary, I’m anti-drugs except the ones I like, and all for injunctions to be imposed on cyclists in my category if it will make me win.