8 Random thoughts on doping

July 31, 2013
  1. Why does everybody “drive across the border” to buy drugs? Is it the thrill of potentially getting caught by border guards (yes, those still existed in Europe back then).
  2. What a lonely life where everybody dopes all on their own, without any help.
  3. With some exceptions (and more so in later years), pro riders have often struck me of being very dependent people who couldn’t survive on their own in the real world. I find it hard to believe some of them could cook a meal for themselves, let alone drive across the border and buy drugs.
  4. If you are a famous cyclist, would you walk into a pharmacy to buy doping products? Even if it was “across the border”?
  5. Combining 3 & 4, would it not be more logical to assume that in virtually all cases, somebody else bought the drugs for them and therefore, others were involved? At the very least as a mule, if not much more intricate than that?
  6. O’Grady, Zabel and others have stated that they resorted to doping because they couldn’t compete but quickly stopped. We now know the sport didn’t get cleaner after their “short bout with doping”, so how did they effortlessly compete afterwards? For Zabel we now know the answer – he couldn’t and doped throughout his career.
  7. Between USADA, various books and the French Senate report, we can conclude that many riders doped and some did not. Therefore, this is now officially no longer an interesting topic. Topic should now be, how do you fix it.
  8. People point to the number of cycling viewers and spectators this year to show the doping fallout is not so bad. Pro wrestling, Paris Hilton and the US Senate are also popular (together, all senators collected almost 100% of the US vote!) It doesn’t mean you have credibility, the ability to affect change or even a bright future.

20 Responses to “8 Random thoughts on doping”

  1. slim jim Says:

    My biggest issue with the ‘I only did it once and all on my own’ defence is how insulting it is to our collective intelligence.

      • slim jim Says:

        They all trot out the same old lines; “it was just this once,” “I acted alone,” etc. They know it’s bullshit, we know it’s bullshit; but they do it anyway.

        I’d have more respect for the likes of O’Grady and Zabel if when they confessed they did it properly and told the whole truth.

        • Alex TC Says:

          Agreed. In the end, we come to this… they’re caught/busted/outed/whatever and we think they’re just human… and then they lie, lie and keep lying, and try to cover it or make it look less of a sin with such stupid and lame BS that is offensive to our intelligence, showing us they’re more flawed than we’re ready to accept.That final disappointment is the worst for me, can’t respect.

  2. Lars Says:

    8b. the Tour showed us that in fact the sport does not yet have credibility.

  3. Hi, Gerard!

    Once you trawl through enough of these confessions, patterns start to form.


    Pharmacy purchases are in many countries logged against a national social security card. Procure in another country and you cut down the audit trail that leads back to you.


    Individual procurers (mules) were common until the Cofidis Affair showed us that such practices were dangerous because the risk was not properly spread.

    Too much knowledge in the possession of a supplying individual carrying a bigger volume of substances.

    This created a house of cards because the authorities could lean hard on the individual with the threat of a suitably heavy sentence based on the volume.


    Every rider for him/herself decreases risk, enables the self-doping admission and, most importantly, deflates suspicions of institutional doping. Lop off one head and the hydra lives on.

    It is still and always will be, I think, an interesting topic. Because it is not enough to say “they all doped” or “most of them doped”. Until we know how, why and – given cycling’s nepotism – who in order to know how to fix it.

  4. ax Says:

    1 – EPO was prescription-free in Switzerland, people were able to buy it anonymously in every pharmacy there.

    • Alex TC Says:

      Damn! I’ve traveled to Switzerland many times, and didn’t know that!!! What a waste!!

    • craigp Says:

      But professional cyclists, especially the famous ones who win races, are not very anonymous. I think that was Gerard’s point in number 4.

  5. Evan Shaw Says:

    Although tongue in cheek Dan’s Doping Categories is quite illuminating. http://glurl.co/bSs

  6. Racer Rich Says:

    Marcel Kittel is being held up as a shining example of clean rider of the new generation – somebody who is prepared to be outspoken on the subject, and prepared to put forward a strong point of view – very courageously.

    I have one massive problem with all of this: Marcel’s own blood reinfusion after UV treatment, a CAS case and corresponding media controversy.

    Putting aside the question of whether it was legal at the time, or more accurately, not illegal yet, where would Marcel stand on lifetime bans for dopers.

    Isn’t this very similar to O’Grady’s positive samples from the 1998 tour – it wasn’t really illegal _yet_ … or at least testable for.

    • It is important to recognise the difference between O’Grady’s EPO and Kittel’s UV treatment.

      As a 19-year old U23 rider visiting a doctor approved by the German Olympic facility, Kittel’s UV treatment involved the cleansing of bacteria in a sample of blood which then required reinfusion. Reinfusion has since been banned but the practice of UV treatment itself was not a performance enhancing method.

      EPO had long since been banned when 25-year old, 4th year pro O’Grady procured and injected it and thus O’Grady knowingly and wilfully flouted the rules of the day because he thought he could not be caught.

      I am not interested in whether or not Kittel can be considered an example of clean cycling – that is all press conjecture – but it is not correct to equate Kittel’s case with that of O’Grady.

  7. Evan Shaw Says:

    Of these categories one more is needed, the “beyond category doper” Armstrong and the inevitability of an outlier being attracted to the mix, the malevolent, depraved indifferent manipulative grandiose doper

    Editor’s note: remainder of comment contained the entire doper classification, which you should read, but not here. You should read it at: http://www.neilbrowne.com/2013/07/guide-to-doping-categories/

  8. IOC Vice President hitting the Media with ” Doping will NEVER be beaten “! Bit diff. to nein fordruggen with ” Lance NEVER, Never , never Doped “!

    When the Top of IOC give up , what do the Drug Cheats think ? Carte Blanche ? Has anyone noticed we have had no ” Positives ” from the TDF as yet ? Could it be that they are waiting until all the brown paper bags have surfaced ?

    Looks like there will be Peace in the Mid east before WADA gets a New Charter allowing them to SUCCEED in the Anti doping Fight ?

    Wondering when @Mike Rann , @KevinRuddMP & her Excellency G.G. of Oz will get to read :http://t.co/iA5i79KUNY

    This will suffice until SOME Organisation works up a sweat as they decide to do SOMETHING Constructive !

    • Larry T. Says:

      I wonder about that too, especially with AFLD there doing some testing. So far NOBODY at the TdF has been found to be using any banned substances? Excuse me, but I find that very difficult to believe.

      • Well, if you put it that way it’s a lose-lose proposition. If they have positive tests, you say “hah, they’re not clean” and when there are no positive tests, you say “hah, that’s suspicious”.

        And of course that’s exactly the position the sport has maneuvered itself into.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          I think you mean LOSE, LOSE? But yes, the sport’s reaping what it’s been sowing for many, many years. But to think suddenly NOBODY is cheating, after a few were nabbed as recently as the Tour of Turkey or Giro seems too good to be true…and we know how that usually ends up!

  9. Mike Says:

    fortunately CyclingTips is thinking along the same lines as you Gerard: http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/07/missing-the-point/

  10. […] Gerard Vroomen wonders about all the coincidences in the doping confessions […]

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