Doping is more than just Postal

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02/15/2013| 1 comment
by Neil Browne
If you want to go “old school” with your doping scandals dig a little deeper - back to the 80s Fotoreporter Sirotti

Doping is more than just Postal

It's 2013 and time for harsher punishments.

This week I got hit hard with a virus that I swear I caught from this European journalist who was sitting in front of me coughing and hacking all day at the Cyclo-cross World Championships. I tried to write Monday, but my brain wasn’t cooperating. As I waited for my brain to kick back into gear I turned to the TV for a distraction. Which isn’t always the best thing to do.

I’m always overwhelmed by all the cable channel choices. Scrolling through the on-screen channel guide I’m unable to pull the trigger on anything. However, there’s usually “Top Gun” playing on a channel somewhere, so I watch that and call it a night. This is where we’re at with these numerous doping cases. So many choices I don’t know where to start!

Much like the television show “The Office,” different countries have their own version. The UK version is considered the best because it was groundbreaking. One of the original team-organized doping scandals that caught the media’s attention was the Festina team doping scandal. However, if you want to go “old school” with your doping scandals dig a little deeper - back to the 80s.

The eighties were magical times when neon-colors were the scheme of choice and shifting your gears could require you to reach for a lever on your bike’s downtube. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics rolled into my town. USA Cycling national cycling coach Eddie Borysewicz organized blood transfusions, known as blood doping. Technically this practice was not illegal, and it was banned the following year. However, not before four of the seven blood transfusion recipients medaled.

Not really a big scandal, more of a moral breach of sporting conduct. Because something is legal, but ethically wrong, does that make it right? That’s a question only you can answer. Moving on ...

Recently a soigneur admitted that when he was employed by PDM in 1988, seven out of eight riders on their Tour de France squad used banned substances. This is the guy who carried the team luggage and massaged riders and was also administering doping products. Reading this article I’m amazed that whole teams didn’t get sick because of some screw-up due to a person with dubious medical experience. Oh wait ... hang on ...

The nineties were the hey-day of EPO. And one team that was leading the peloton with team-wide organized doping was PDM. Known by the civilized title “The PDM Affair,” it showed how organized team-wide doping could go terribly wrong.

During the 1991 Tour de France the PDM team withdrew due to “influenza.” Drug use was suspected and according to a French doctor their fever was “typical of an overdose of EPO.”

From here we have continued drug infractions. The Festina team got popped in the 1998 Tour de France, but the big spin-off show for doping was the US Postal Service team. As we all know, under the leadership the now disgraced Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel they elevated doping to a form of art.

The Giro d’Italia also had its fair

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hughest|

I am glad someone else finally said this not so much in the past unless you consider last week in the past.....(just ask any 8 y/o kid). This is not going to go away unless HARSHER punishments are enforced. I agree that getting the guilt off is an enormous relief and people should be given a chance to clean out ones closet. As I have felt for years than break off leagues are not such a bad idea. Maybe an "Olympic" and an "enhanced or modified" leagues to let the morally challenged still perform. Once in the modified class there is no going back.... Once a cheater.....kind of idea.
This would divide racers and animosity would help keep the Olympic class from being poisoned by the junkeys and the modified class can given us the 10-15+ year studies on what those drugs do to a pro athlete. Just like American sporting, the collegiate level is where the real athletes are as would be with the Olympic class of cyclists. If Olympic class pops a positive for anything banned should result in a 5-lifetime ban. Make the modified athletes compete on harder courses and no radio.. Minimal media coverage of the events etc. Professional sport in America is flooded with all kinds of drug use and not one of them is allowed to be any kind of roll model in my house.
This is just a thought and it would never fly but something must be done. I will place my bet now that we will see at least 1 positive this season.
I will never turn my back on cycling.... Lots of guys that I will never ask for a picture or autograph but I love the sport to much to turn away and I have no problem saying to a certain sprinter with an amazing record only matched by his fit throwing, cry baby assholeness Lucky that chair you kicked didn't hit my kid or it would have been your ass.
Dreaming of a clean future and respectable athletes that I can tell my sons are good competitors and roll models...