Ben Spies On Doping In Motorcycle Racing: "I Believe In Testing, But They're Going About It Wrong"

The use of performance-enhancing (or in the case of Anthony Gobert, performance-reducing) drugs in motorcycle racing is an interesting subject. There have been very few racers who have been caught for using doping of one kind of another - Noriyuki Haga being the most high-profile example, banned for the use of ephedrine - but the FIM continue to police the issue very strictly, even organizing a special educational briefing session for all of the riders in the MotoGP paddock in 2011.

At Brno, when news broke of Lance Armstrong's decision to stop fighting the charges made by the US Anti-Doping Agency, leading to the American cycling legend being stripped of his seven Tour de France victories, the subject came up during one of Ben Spies' daily press conferences. Spies is both a Texan and a very keen cycle racer, running his own elite cycling team, Elbowz Racing, and so it was a natural topic for discussion. Spies accepted it was a natural consequence of the accusations against Armstrong, saying "if that's what's fair and that's what's to be served with with they think is justice, then OK. That's the way the rules are and if they have enough data that proves that, then they do." The balance of Armstrong's career and his efforts outside of cycling was positive, however, whatever the accusations leveled against him Spies said. "I think at the end of the day, no matter what he's done good or bad, he's done more good than bad. Not just for cycling, but for cancer foundations in general, I think he's done a good job with that." The problem is that Armstrong's case is symptomatic of that era of cycle racing. "What he's done in the past I don't think is much different to what everybody did in the past," Spies added.

The discussions then turned to the benefits of doping in motorcycle racing. Where there any benefits, Spies was asked? "As a motorcycle racer, for sure there's benefit. There's a lot of things you could take that would be better for you on the motorcycle," Spies replied. But there were clear differences when comparing motorcycle racing with cycling, Spies explained. "When it comes to why the cyclists do it, it's a completely different reason, and they use it for a completely different thing for training. With us, it's more that, if you were to take something on a race weekend, it could help you." Where cyclists were using substances aimed at improving recovery, what motorcycle racers needed was a quick boost on Sundays, Spies said.

The problem for motorcycle racers is that they fell into the one-size-fits-all World Anti-Doping Agency ADAMS program, which sets out a standard procedure for all elite athletes in all sports. "The problem is that we're on the same ADAMS list, or a lot of the MotoGP riders are, the same as the cyclists. Where they have to know where you are 24 hours a day, all the time." The intrusion into his privacy was what irked Spies the most, especially as it was not enforced very well. "I'm on that program, I've been tested once, and I don't think that's fair. I don't think I should have to log in and tell everybody where I'm at 24 hours a day if you're going to test me once in seven months. I don't think it's fair."

The problem, according to Spies, is that the ADAMS program is irrelevant to motorcycle racers. What was needed was not following a whereabouts program, it was regular testing at the races. "I think they should test the top five, top six of each class every weekend, on the weekend. Because in motorcycle racing, if a racer's going to do anything, it makes much more sense to do it on the race weekend, not two weeks before, because we're not training for the Tour de France." Though Spies had issues with what was being tested, he was keen to point out that he was in favor of testing for illegal substances. "I don't agree with some of the ways they're doing our stuff, but I believe in drug testing and I'm for it. I like it, but I just think for them and from what I know about everything, they should do it on the race weekend. And they should do the top five in every class every Sunday, and that's it. And not make you live like Big Brother is watching over you for seven months and test you one time. I just don't see the point in that." Currently, the FIM tests riders selected at random at a certain number of events throughout the year.

Testing on race weekends was more effective because of the differences between motorcycle racing and a sport like cycling. "For cycling it's more of a recovery type deal, because they train so much. For us it's more 45 minutes of pure just going at it. So it would be different substances [they would use]." When asked what kind of substances, Spies professed ignorance. "I don't even know, but there's a lot of stuff, if you look at athletes like sprinters and things like that. Like I said, I don't know for our stuff, but cycling, everybody knows that everybody does, and there's always something you can do to make whatever you do better."

Would the FIM find anything if they tested riders in the paddock right now? Spies was unsure. "Maybe. You never know. It's hard to say, I mean there's been riders before that have, and like I said, I think they should test on the race weekends more often, instead of what they do know. I think it makes more sense and it's cheaper actually to do it that way than to do it the way they are doing it now, and it's just a big hassle for the riders, honestly, to have to go through that. But like I say, top five of each class every Sunday, test them, that's it, end of story."

Tweet Button: 
Total votes: 45

Back to top

Comments

*Sigh*

Listen, the recuperative benefits of doping would be a boon to motorcycle racers. Train harder recover faster...be rested for race day.

Isn't Benjamin pals with & a training partner of Gilberto Simoni, former Giro winner from back in the crazy old days?

Just sayin'.

Total votes: 139

Treat it just like tech inspection- you place you're examined for legitimacy. End of story.

Total votes: 150

nice to see Ben calling it like it is & being blunt to boot! i totally see how he & Casey get along so well - pull no punches! :)

would be VERY interesting to see how Ben's testing ideas would pan out!

Total votes: 140

... and Gobert went on to burn every human being who tried to reach out to him here in the U.S. Blew his last ride in the States (a purse-only pity Superstock ride on a satellite Honda) by getting popped on a DUI before the second race of the season, and wound up a heroin addict back in Australia.

Yeah, that's the guy I want to grid up next to.

What makes you think there was only pot in his bloodstream, ever?

Total votes: 140

He must've had mental issues and an addictive personality, any young kid that ends up in one of life's many ditches makes me feel very sad.

Although the communities attitudes are now more enlightened, largely due to the work of some excellent riding clubs, there is still a fringe element to our sport that has little respect for their communities and those they live along aside - bikie gangs are still involved in drug trafficking and violent crime, unfortunately and on the rare occasion, even I get judged by uninformed members of the public.

If you cant win sober (of any drug) then you just aint good enough - any sport any where, any time.

We need to be seen as leading the war AGAINST drug usage in our community. More power to you Ben.

Total votes: 136

He got a little high after a race weekend at a celebration party, and it in no way affected him during his race weekend, or was ever a safety factor. It got blown way out of proportion, by fellow competitors and their teams. There are many riders out there putting other competitors into danger while completely sober just by being boneheads. Many professional riders can be seen having more than a few drinks after a race weekend to relax, but alcohol is never a factor though it's an arguably worst drug. Heck, Colin Edwards anyone?

Getting high, is getting high. Wether that be from pot, heroin, or alcohol. It's the hypocrisy of it all that really gets to me. No, I don't use drugs, and rarely drink, but I also able to intelligently inform myself on the matter. The problem here is using drugs to gain an advantage, and that's what the articles were about. I doubt Anthony experienced and advantage from toking a joint one week before he raced.

Gobert's personal problems are just that, personal problems. Doesn't take anything away from how fast he once was...

Yes it's a shame, but the fact is the dude was a genius on a motorcycle.

Total votes: 133

Snapshot testing is pretty useless. You have to have a continuous baseline to compare against. Most professional athletes are over training which is why they're taking PEDs to recover.

Total votes: 116

The panoply of drug testing in sports is a snakepit of political correctness, high profile vendettas and historic exhumation. Stripping Armstrong required going backwards in time 14 years! Who will be the new "champion" and what will it mean (if anything) to be awarded a "victory" in the wayback machine. Not to mention the first 6 places in most Tour de Frances have all been implicated at one time or another. So, chances are the new "winner" will be from mid-pack and perhaps never scrutinized. This long after the fact witch hunt is just as damaging to the sport as the original infraction.

Spies comments are charmingly naive - its a chemical world and there is something out there for every training regime. Think Pedrosa wouldn't like to muscle up to help him pitch the big bikes around? Those with big budgets can afford designer cocktails that are ahead of the testing regime.

We would all like sports to be pure and virginal but personally, I have my doubts that many (most?) high-profile sports have been drug free for a long time.

Total votes: 162

is a complete and utter joke. He never failed a drug test. Never. But he's being banned because of statements from associates and teammates? Ask yourself this - if he failed a drug test would statements from the same people clear his positive test? Absolutely fucking not. That's what makes it a joke and a witch hunt. The type of evident that is being used to "convict" him when he test clean wouldn't even be considered or taken into account to exonerate him if he had tested dirty.

Total votes: 171

Lance has definitely failed drug tests. To claim he has not is to ignore widely recorded reality (including in the records of the UCI - who've tended to be pro-Lance):

- He got an official notice of an analytical positive for corticosteroids in the '99 Tour de France.

- There was no test for r-EPO in the 90s. One was developed in the early 2000s. In 2004 a research project by a WADA accredited lab re-tested the '99 Tour de France B samples. Of 87 samples, 13 tested positive. Of those 13, 6 belong to Armstrong.

Lance has never been sanctioned or *punished* for these positives, which is a different thing... Why he has never been sanctioned is a good question. Further, USADA claim they have new analytical findings against him, from his '09, '10 comeback years.

Further, there is a large amount of first-hand witness testimony that he doped. While the most high-profile of these are riders who have been caught doping themselves, and who then lied, before later admitting (Landis and Hamilton), several others had never been known to have doped before (Hincapie, etc). Indeed, several have never been riders themselves, and have no connection to the sport any more (O'Reilly, Andreu). Witness testimony, despite what Armstrong die-hards may think, *IS EVIDENCE* - it is used to obtain criminal convictions all the time.

Total votes: 163

It's very worrying that Ben Spies, a cycle racing team owner, has such a blasé attitude towards PEDs, indeed he almost appears to be accepting of their use today, even condoning. E.g. note this sentence, which refers to the present: "I don't know for our stuff, but cycling, everybody knows that everybody does, and there's always something you can do to make whatever you do better.".

Also the Armstrong affair is not about the past. Armstrong was still an active athlete until his ban, and the other people charged with him were all still active in top-level professional cycling, as doctors and directors.

Also, doping does not create a level playing field. Different athletes respond differently to doping. The athlete who wins when everyone is doped may have been a no-hoper if everyone had been without. The gifted athlete in a clean field may be nothing in the dirty field. Further, there is a large element of risk to many kinds of doping. The winner may be the one who takes the stupidest risks with doping (e.g. EPO and blood thickening).

Finally, doping often has many health risks. Hormones (testosterone, EPO, etc) are implicated in accelerating cancerous cell division, meaning cancer can be far more aggressive, indeed they may even cause cancer.

Very disappointed at Ben's apparent attitude.

Total votes: 121

PEDs - ie in cycling it is widely known what is available and how to use it. But that is not that case, as far as he is concerned, in motorcycle racing. However, I share your concerns about drug taking in any sport and agree entirely that Ben has got it wrong in his assessment of drugs cheat Lance Armstrong.

Total votes: 132

On reflection, perhaps your assessment is better. Ben isn't accepting PEDs, per se, but more talking about how widely known their applications to cycling are. In which case it needn't reflect badly on Ben, but rather on the sport of cycling generally. Just read that sentence of his: "everybody knows that everybody does, and there's always something you can do to make whatever you do better." - it's pretty much explicitly saying that PED use is still rife in cycling, according to Ben's knowledge.

Total votes: 133

"Finally, doping often has many health risks. Hormones (testosterone, EPO, etc) are implicated in accelerating cancerous cell division, meaning cancer can be far more aggressive, indeed they may even cause cancer."

The rest of your post aside (I have no respect for chemically-enhanced athletes, for the record), the quoted part shouldn't matter at all. It's their body, and should be their choice if they're willing to risk that. Same goes for any substance: The government should not have a say in what you decide to do with your body if you are not affecting the life, liberty or property of others.

Total votes: 132

What they put in their bodies isn't just their own business if it affects their performance. For they are in competition, and their performance is compared against others, affecting the relative rankings. The relative rankings will affect their careers significantly. So what they put in their bodies affects just not themselves, but the other athletes. It is no longer just their own body affected, it's the entire sport.

Many sports have decided collectively to control what athletes are permitted to do with their bodies (agree or disagree with the reasons why, this is a fact). As such, they make athletes sign contracts agreeing to anti-doping rules, as part of obtaining their competition licences. For many sports, those rules now follow the WADA codes - as MotoGP does. These are private, civil agreements, enforced often by private, non-governmental organisations (they may still receive some state funding in some cases). The only power these organisations have, ultimately, to enforce these rules is exclusion from the sport concerned.

Doping for sport is not, of itself, a criminal matter in many countries (e.g. USA, UK). In many (most?) countries, people are free to set-up sports where doping is tolerated (and some "sports" have branched into doping tolerant and "clean" versions, havn't they? e.g. bodybuilding). Yet many people prefer to affiliate with, compete in, or follow sports governed by bodies that are ostensibly anti-doping. I presume you agree that private people should have the liberty to form private groups with rules that set out eligibility conditions for membership and participation (modulo a limited number of taboo conditions)?

Note that even in countries that have criminal laws that cover doping in sport to various degrees (e.g. France and Italy being notable ones, in large part due to cycling), those criminal, governmental investigations will be entirely separate from the sports governing bodies rules and investigations.

Total votes: 128

I was specifically NOT referring to the performance side of things and implications of that. ONLY the health sides.

Total votes: 119

They put them into their body for performance, but they have health implications. Then other competitors must use them, because of the performance deficit, which means they must also suffer the health risks. Sorry, I thought this was obvious context, given the previous comments.

Total votes: 126

I think a basic look at what a top-flight racer needs would highlight the potential use for PEDs in MotoGP (without even touching the recovery/ recovery from injury aspects):
-STRENGTH: to hustle a +240BHP, 160kg machine at some multiple of G through 120mph corners
-ENDURANCE: to do the above for 45mins
-CONCENTRATION: hitting the same spot every corner whilst doing the above for 45mins

If Ben thinks PEDs that would enhance these attributes could be taken over the race weekend and have effect then he's greatly mistaken (except for the concentration PEDs).

In the bad old days of athletics, the athletes would take PEDs all the time except during competition because that was the only time they were tested, by which point they had gained the advantage of the PEDs but had also flushed them from their system.

I think out of race weekend testing is perfectly valid for all professional sports.
The fact that he's only been tested once in seven months is more worrying...

Total votes: 125

I think there would be way more overlap in Moto & Cycling PED's than Ben seems to think...

The FIM should be utilizing the same athlete biological passport as the UCI, as should every sanctioning body of every professional sport.

As for Lance, he was the dirtiest rider of a dirty sport at it's dirtiest time. Every rider that finished second to Lance during his run was sanctioned for doping at some point. So whatever... losers no matter how you slice it.

But remember, USADA has sanctioned Lance, but UCI has done no such thing, and in fact are suing to over-rule USADA's jurisdiction. Friends in high places, never underestimate the power of politics. All you need to do is follow the trail of money...

Edit:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/19527032

Total votes: 135

"But remember, USADA has sanctioned Lance, but UCI has done no such thing"

Correct. David it's a minor point in your article, but Lance hasn't been stripped of anything yet.

Total votes: 131

Sorry this is wrong.

USADA has the authority to sanction. The authority that starts proceedings (which could be a governing body or an Anti-Doping Agency) has the authority to return sanctions, including the removal of placings. Other authorities are obliged to honour the sanction. The governing bodies concerned (UCI in this case) and WADA further have the right to appeal the result of an investigation, and any sanction, to CAS. In the event of an appeal, any sanctions stand until and unless CAS overrules them.

Where UCI or WADA have appealed investigations to CAS, it usually is because the investigating authority is a governing body (rather than an ADA), and the governing body has let off an athlete (typically a star athlete). It would be highly unusual for UCI to appeal a sanction brought by an ADA. UCI has further indicated they do not, at this time, have any plans to appeal.

In short: UCI has no further say in Lance's case, other than being able to appeal it to CAS. The sanctions USADA set are official, and ones that all other sports governing bodies (including UCI) signed up to WADA *must* honour.

Total votes: 110

The UCI have yet to review the USADA dossier, and what the UCI's actions will be after they get that dossier and review it is pure speculation. (see link in my original post)

At first they (UCI) were saying they would appeal, now they are saying they will likely not. As far as Lance & his 7 TDF titles, as of today, as far as the UCI is concerned, his name is still in the official record books. USADA cannot strip him of those titles.

Of course, if even a portion of rumors turn out to be true, and backed by evidence in the USADA dossier, the UCI will have no choice but to strip Lance of those titles.

This may seem like a game of semantics to some, but it's the way these procedures need to play out "officially."

Total votes: 136

I don't really care what the BBC story says, I didn't even read it - BBC News reportage tends to be fairly light & simplified (to be kind). My analysis comes from having followed the Armstrong case fairly closely, and having read primary sources (e.g. USADA and Armstrong submissions in the recent federal case, and the actual WADA code by which USADA, US Cycling and UCI procedures must abide).

The only body that can possibly over turn the USADA decision to strip Armstrong of his titles (which follows almost automatically from the finding that he doped, btw) is CAS. There simply is nothing in the gift of the UCI that would allow them to decide for themselves not honour the USADA ruling (at least, if they wished to stay within the WADA and IOC frameworks). The only role UCI have is to decide whether to appeal the USADA decision to CAS (which would be unusual and create a bit of crisis of faith in UCI).

Total votes: 116

UCI could announce they will appeal to CAS. E.g. on technicalities like jurisdiction, or the 8-year statute of limitations. (This is how Armstrong got away with the EPO positives uncovered in 05, of his '99 TdF samples - UCI argued it couldn't be used to sanction Lance because of procedural technicalities). If UCI appeal, it could be years until the case is resolved.

Total votes: 109

It's been mentioned that we live in a chemical world. Dope testing has become chemical testing and the motivation for it has expanded well beyond "creating a level playing field" whatever that fantasy is about. Unless you make every competitor a clone with identical life experience you don't have a level playing field. Thankfully, the physical world doesn't work that way. Who defines a clean competitor is more important today than how one is defined and that is troubling. Those who control sports need to control the testers as much as the tested or the results of competition will become irrelevant and every champion an illusion. Giving away sport to the lawyers' and chemists' unbridled agendas will surely destroy it and it will become political farce like bicycle racing is today, better living through chemistry indeed!

Total votes: 121

First, I agree that they are adults and signed up to a set of rules in their contract... however, the game ain't that simple...

The interesting part to me in all of this is that these rules exist to maintain a appropriate public perception for the sponsors so they can make money...

Insiders knew, but nobody cared about Tiger Woods bangin... err... having extra martial affairs, until it made Nike look bad, and when mommy (or wifey), wouldn't let husband or junior be seen in a Nike/Woods branded item, his butt was on the street...

I don't see the sponsors/organizing groups involved giving back the $$ they earned on the back of an "illegal" athlete, (oh horror give back the money?!?!) to us spectators who were all "duped" into watching and buying product. So, Lance and all of them were doped... and that made those climbs less exciting, HOW???

Consider, what if there was a drug that kept say, (American) football players from getting concussions (an evolving crisis in the USA all the way to the child league level)? Would it be allowed/required as a "safety and protection measure". It can easily be argued that it's performance enhancing (so are helmets). What about oh, contact lenses?

Oh, but it's safety, I hear the cry... It will protect the kids... as they give them another Red Bull... (Ok junior, you can only have 3 a day, that's the rules of the pee wee league..)

Expecting the days of Barry Sheene or Ago, who both admittedly were bangin... err... having fun with all the "birds"... and racing with hangovers was better, HOW?

This will all be mute in 20 years when you can genetically modify yourself or your kids... and we'll look back and shake our heads about all this silliness...

Summary: It's not about the money, it's ALL about the money...

P.S. I like Ben, but those comments are as full of BS as the political advertising currently running in the US.

Total votes: 121

Isn't it? So can we just leave the Tour de Drug cheats to bi-cycling sites and let's concentrate on what Ben Spies said about drugs testing motorcycle racers. I think he is correct. The top 5 (and perhaps another rider in each class taken at random) should be drugs tested every race weekend.

Talking about Gobert, here's the thing. He (and another Australian rider) tested positive in an Australian post-race drugs test back in 1993 (in Tasmania, I understand). When the Federal drugs testing authority got the positive results back, they notified the then sole Australian motorcycle sports governing body - the FIM-affiliated Motorcycling Australia (MA). And MA did NOTHING. They swept it under the carpet. If Gobert had been suspended then, and made an example of, and sent off for counselling or re-hab, who knows, perhaps his career could have been different. A huge talent on the bike, but how much of his bravery was drug-related?

In an earlier era, I clearly remember being in the motor home of a Southern California road-racer at the old Riverside Raceway and was appalled at how many top level AMA riders were in there snorting cocaine. The AMA announced there would be a urine test of all riders next day - so these guys were drinking water all night ... I can tell you, Kenny Roberts was NOT one of these guys. They were all the guys who whined that they could not beat Kenny because of his factory Yamaha (in fact a production TZ750D) but as one racer I know put it, "the trickest part about Kenny's bike is the guy sitting on it turning the throttle." Kenny beat all the drug-addled idiots because they were LOSERS.

Total votes: 132

I would like to know where the riders stand then on pain killer injections and medications before a race or qualifying. It clearly enhances a riders ability by enabling them to ride with say, a broken hand, foot etc.

In athletics and swimming etc, even some brands of aspirin are banned.

Total votes: 133

If you have a broken ankle does a crutch enhance your walking abilities or enable them?

Anyone who thinks Keith Richards used performance enhancing drugs so he could play guitar raise your hands.

It's not a problem in the sport so why make it one?

Total votes: 126

Before I open this box of worms I want to be clear about my underlying feelings about PEDs. I dont use them, I havent used them and I would push any athlete away from their usage.

But...

Ultimately, I have no problem with athletes using PEDs to improve their performance or just regular Jane and Joe Schmos to improve their lifestyle. Its their body and therefore their choice. We spend billions of dollars on improving the performance of machines, including chemistry in oils and fuels. I mean look at the race for electronics and traction control. So whats the difference between man and machine? In my opinion, there isnt one. Both are tools and a means to an end. I do not buy into the idea that athletes are role models for children and therefore need to offer a "positive" image. If that is a conscience decision that a player makes, then so be it, but it should not be a requirement that is forced onto someone who doesnt want it.

Athletes also train their bodies and take supplements to enhance their training. Many of them are perfectly legal. But dont these supplements technically give an athlete an edge over his competition? Taking something as simple as a protein shake, its giving you more protein with less calories than if you were to consume food substance. Why is that 100% legal, but testosterone is not?

However, I do believe in testing for PEDs. Simply because then you know who is juicing and who isnt. You can then attach the dreaded asterisk to their name in record books and stats. The public and other athletes would know who is using and can make their own choice whether to cheer or boo. I also believe that if people want drug free athletes, first, you are living in a dream world, second, it should be a market place solution. Contract stipulations stating that if you are caught using PEDs, you lose your contract ect ect. Bonus money if you play clean. Money is ALWAYS the best motivator. Money is the reason that PEDs became prevalent in Major League Baseball and in cycling to begin with, so take the money go the other way, and athletes will choose to "do the right thing" or lose a large chunk of change.

Someone mentioned that a nobody could become somebody with the use of PEDs and a somebody could be reduced to a nobody in a field of PED users. I call BS on that. PEDs do not make you better at your sport. You have to already have the skills in place in order to take advantage of the effects of PEDs.
Example: It takes a baseball .412 seconds to go from the pitcher's hand to the catchers glove if thrown at 100 MPH. 78 MPH is .58 seconds for reference. The human eye WILL blink when the ball leaves the pitchers hand. Its impossible not to. It takes anywhere from .3 to .4 seconds to blink. The point of these numbers? To show that one has to posses the skills to be a great hitter before PEDs will make a difference. PEDs will NOT make you a better hitter in baseball. PEDs will make you a stronger hitter, but one must posses the advanced ability to hit the ball first. PEDs will NOT help you become better at your sports core skill set, hence they are called performance ENHANCING drugs. They will only enhance your natural and developed abilities to their maximum potential. Far too many people, including uninformed users, think that PEDs will grant you ability above and beyond your skill set. It wont. If you can hit a baseball, PEDs wont magically give you the ability to hit the ball.

The best thing you can do is put the issue front and center and allow the public to make their own decisions regarding the issue. Ultimately, the public will choose the "right" answer so to speak.

Sorry if my opinion irks people, but there is so much misinformation out there regarding PEDs, their effects and side effects that the whole discussion has become a joke in my opinion. The US Congress holding hearings about their usage? Really? Ridiculous. In the US women talk about my body my choice, but why does it stop with that one issue?

Total votes: 111

The reason why a protein shake is legal is because it is food, a necessity, and because the risks of abuse are relatively low. Items which are on the restricted and prohibited lists generally are items which, a) are not items we must routinely take, and are easy to avoid; b) have significant health risks.

E.g. growth hormones have a variety of side effects if abused over time, including acceleration of cancer. EPO additionally thickens the blood and can cause sudden cardiac failure. Blood transfusions are extremely risky, and can cause severe illness, even death, if anything goes wrong with the storage of blood, the equipment used or the technique. Athletes have gotten very ill from trying this. Another example: consider that training and sleeping at altitude and EPO both have the same effect - they increase the amount of red blood cells. One is legal, but the other is not. This is because one is difficult to abuse (you won't thicken your blood to point of heart failure with altitude training), and also hard to avoid for some people, while the opposite is true for the other.

There are many athletes who would prefer not to have to take these things. For that to be possible they need to know that it is at least difficult for other athletes to dope. Doping controls are required to protect the athletes who wish to compete without PEDs.

Those athletes who would prefer to dope are perfectly free to set-up their own competitions that allow it (assuming the local laws allow it, e.g. on possession/use of prescription medicines). Those competitions that do not allow it are, and should be, perfectly entitled to exclude PED-using athletes they find.

I don't know about baseball, but drugs do exist that will make you react quicker, or concentrate longer, or make your hands/limbs steadier. These drugs also have significant side-effects, particularly with repeated use over time. PEDs can't turn a nobody into someone, but given two dedicated athletes who both have about the same natural talent and do the same training, they can certainly give one an edge over the other. Once one athlete starts using them, the other will have to. Neither gains anything, but they lose or face risks to their health. The only clear winners are the pharmaceutical industry and the drug pedlars.

The two athletes would have been better off to have agreed in advance not to take drugs. And guess what, that's exactly what many today have chosen to do, by choosing to compete in sports with anti-doping policies!

Total votes: 110

I ran out of time and had to make an appointment, so I didnt get to finish, and ill elaborate on what you said and I was saying.

New studies have shown that a human can indeed overdose on protein and it can have a detrimental effect on their kidneys and liver. By that logic, we should ban protein shakes as well.

At the end of the day, all of the side effects you listed are well known. I still stand by the my body, my choice mantra. And Im all for the consequences of their usage as well. You used PEDs and got cancer? Your cancer treatment shouldnt be covered by insurance. I am a firm believer in cause and effect and personal responsibility. If you choose to do something stupid or risky, there SHOULD be consequences for your actions. Especially if these risks are KNOWN at the time.

I agree 110% that leagues should be allowed to make and determine rules for PED usage. They are private institutions and most definitely do have the right to determine their own rules, guidelines and testing policy and procedure for PED usage. Im speaking more from the historical perspective and a general public POV than from the league commissioner position. If I was running a league, I would 100% have an anti-PED policy in place. Probably much harsher than anything anyone has. 1 positive test, year long ban, 2 positive tests, lifetime ban. No appeals, learn about what you are putting in your body. It is your responsibility.

Bottom line, I agree 100% with what you said and dispute none of it. However, I think that using 2012 technology to test 1999 blood in an attempt to catch Armstrong is nothing more than a witch hunt. We do not test a classic 1968 Chevy Camaro's emissions and expect it to pass the same standards that a 2012 Camaro does do we? Its unfair and biased to use modern technology for a 13 year old witch hunt. It makes the agency going after Armstrong look petty and pathetic, when the bottom line seems to be that they are just pissed an American won the Tour 7 years in a row. I used to think that was a BS excuse and they actually cared, but the amount of time and money spent going after Lance makes me think its the only reason now. The guy has been competitively retired since 2005. Its been 7 years. Move on.

My biggest issue with doping is that people are spending an enormous amount of time, effort and money to try and fix something that can not be changed in the past. No matter what happens, everyone will remember Lance Armstrong for winning all those Tours. Same with PEDs in baseball or other sports. Changing the "official" record means so very little in the long run. Its like when the US Congress takes a vote today to condemn an action that took place 60 years ago. Yes, they actually waste time doing this. Its a waste of time and money. Focus on today and tomorrow. Make your sport better today and tomorrow. You cant fix yesterday and its useless to try and "right a wrong" in something as trivial as sport.

Total votes: 115

Glad to hear we actually agree more than we disagree. ;)

On the point of Lance, he was not retired. He competed in top-level cycling in 2009 and 2010 - indeed, USADA say they have evidence of doping from these years! Though Lance had indeed retired from top-level road cycling, he was however still competing in mountain biking and in top-level triathlon.

Further, this case isn't all about Armstrong. Four other people were also charged, all of them still active in cycling. Johan Bruyneel is a director of a cycling team, responsible for the ethos around a number of young, new professionals. A number of doctors were charged, one of whom works for a top cycling team, the other two were still working with professional cyclists, as well as athletes from other sports.

This case was not about digging up Armstrong's distant past, it was about dealing with the present.

Edit: this was in reply to DK and "But...", starting "I ran out of time and had to make an appointment, ..." in the thread just above. Somehow I managed to post this in a new thread.

Total votes: 106