1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

'Fairer' Drug Taking?

Discussion in 'Pro Cycling (Road and Track Racing)' started by Blonde, 31 Jul 2007.

  1. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Location:
    Bury, Lancashire
    Article from Richard Williams in today's Guardian Sport Blog:

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/07/31/it_may_be_wishful_thinking_but.html

    Is supervised drug-assistance in sport the only way to stop cheats ruining events like the Tour de France?

    "A friend of mine, holidaying in a remote part of Italy for the past couple of weeks, rented a television for the Tour de France. Last Wednesday night he came on the phone to announce that he had unplugged the set and locked it away in a cupboard. He sounded on the verge of tears and the reason, of course, was the sudden turmoil into which the Tour had been thrown by the disgrace of Alexandr Vinokourov and Michael Rasmussen. Since these were riders my friend had previously admired, and since his emotional investment in bike racing goes back almost half a century, he felt personally betrayed.

    "They cheated," he said. "I've been following this sport since I was 11 years old and they've ruined it."

    He is a successful and worldly person. He raced bikes as a youth. Yet somehow this year's revelations had hit him harder than the death of Tom Simpson or the shame of Marco Pantani. And it made me wonder if, in the modern world, sport is still capable of sustaining the burden we ask it to bear.

    My friend's reaction was in my mind when, on the eve of the Tour's arrival in Paris, I wrote in favour of more stringent dope testing and life bans for those in breach of the regulations. But then a reader wrote to upbraid me for, as he put it, joining the drug-war warriors. "You will find, " he said, "that a war on drugs is as crazy as a war on terror." And in support of his claim he sent me an academic paper advocating another approach altogether.

    Titled Doctors, Doping and Anti-doping, it is co-authored by two professors from the faculty of medicine at the University of Geneva and a lecturer at the University of Paisley in Scotland. Apart from an unfortunate tendency to overuse such phrases as "ideological constructs" and "normative frameworks", they have a case to make and a provocative way of expressing it.

    The war on doping, they think, is not only as good as lost but was unjust in the first place. Why try to maintain the fiction of creating a level playing field for athletes whose environmental, economic and genetic backgrounds already create significant differences and render the concept of fair play meaningless?

    At present, they claim, the system favours those affluent enough to afford the most sophisticated drug doctors. "Dope tests are not effective," they say, "if they lead merely to catching those athletes who do not have the best 'rogue' scientists working for them."

    Their solution is a radical one. "In the event that doping practices were permitted under medical supervision," they write, "it is possible that equality would be enhanced in so far as it would be based on some system of merit, rather than the undeserved inequalities arising from, say, genetic capacities." And science, they argue, is already so much a part of elite sport, in the form of everything from high-tech swimsuits to Paula Radcliffe's hypobaric bedchamber, that to legitimise its influence in this respect would actually be more sporting than "leaving it all to chance or unequal access to illicit practice".

    Among the benefits of permitting medically supervised doping, they say, would be the attainment of "a clearer view of what is dangerous and what is not", since the doctors concerned would be operating above board and thereby bound by the ethical principle of "nonmaleficence", the commitment by physicians to their patients' health more familiar to most of us in the form of the Hippocratic oath. And they see such practices taking their place in "a broader context of non-therapeutic use of substances or practices for reasons of human enhancement in general". In other words, the inevitable arrival of genetic engineering.

    There's more, much more, of that. And, frankly, I don't agree with a word of it. But that may simply be because I and most of my friends are a bunch of old romantics who don't want to see some kind of genetically manipulated equality take over from competition based on natural advantages, whether Miguel Induráin's eight-litre lung capacity or Tyson Gay's fast-twitch muscle fibres. It's worth thinking about, nevertheless, because we've seen from the past week what a mess the old ways can get us into."
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Location:
    Bury, Lancashire
    This is what I've been hinting at in some of my posts. I cant see how doping will ever be gone from sports so some sort of regulation might work better. Similar to the argument for legalizing the more general but currently illegal drugs in society.
     
  3. chris42

    chris42 New Member

    Location:
    Deal, Kent
    It's basicly what they do in pro bodybuilding
     
  4. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    Location:
    Rosyth
    No, nein, non, nope and nay.

    Sending out a message that if you want to succeed in this sport you must use performance-enhancing drugs or regularly take blood transfusions, and by the way we will help you do it, is indefensible.

    I don't think it should be confused with the argument surrounding supervised illicit drug use either. In one case we're talking about winning a race. In the other we're talking about preventing death.
     
  5. fuzzy29

    fuzzy29 New Member

    Location:
    Somerset
    If you allow certain performance enhancing drugs, then their use is worthless. If all riders were using EPO, then the effects would be neutralised. The reason they use these drugs is to gain an advantage over their rivals. You could argue that anything other than bread and water is ‘performance enhancing’, therefore, there are thousands of food and drink products that will improve performance. Injecting someone else’s blood or using a drug designed for kidney replacements is abnormal and dangerous. It needs to be irradiated for the good of the sport and for the safety of the riders.
     
  6. Squaggles

    Squaggles New Member

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    And pro bodybuilding is a freakshow . How could we ever encourage our children to take part in cycle sport if it endorsed the use of drugs ?
     
  7. gavintc

    gavintc Guru

    Location:
    Southsea
    I am with fuzzy on this one. The only point of cheating is to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors. If certain doping was allowed, the cheats would need to find other alternatives. The current system works fine, we just need to continually refine the testing process to reduce the opportunity for cheating.
     
  8. chris42

    chris42 New Member

    Location:
    Deal, Kent

    NO NO NO we wouldn't and shouldn't but go to any gym in the world. Who gets the most attention?
    The guys with the big arms/legs.....
    young or old, men/women of a certain nature get drawn in and bingo, they are on the path to roids......
    So each person at the end of the day is FULLY responsible for their own actions. They make a descision to use the next generation of performance boosters.

    Remember Roger Bannister was an amature runner, part time when he broke the 4 min mile.
    He would think full time runners doing nothing but training would be a form of cheating. As everyone has said this creats an unfair playing field, but is that also wrong?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Location:
    Bury, Lancashire
    Thing is, some products people are 'allowed' to use and some they are not. Some things 'legally' used at the moment may be on the banned list in the future. It's all a bit mad. How on earth do they decide and for what reasons does the UCI decide that certain techniques or drugs may be used and others not? Just wondering.
     
  10. chris42

    chris42 New Member

    Location:
    Deal, Kent
    Add to this question, who discovers what works and what dosn't? i e A lot of steroids are cancer treatment drugs.
     
  11. fuzzy29

    fuzzy29 New Member

    Location:
    Somerset
    I suppose that doctors would know what a drug does (i.e.. EPO increases red blood cells) and would then link that to exercise. A few trial runs, and bingo, the pharmaceutical company has a new customer. It's not like they don't want to make any money is it?
     
  12. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    Location:
    Rosyth
  13. spen666

    spen666 Guru

    "Fairer Drug Taking" isn't this a contradiction in terms?


    It would make drug taking compulsory if you are wanting to win - what age do we start pumping our athletes with these "compulsory" performance enhancing drugs?

    U16s, U14s, U12s, U10s. Why not do it right from the start- get those six and seven year olds on EPO etc
     
  14. Squaggles

    Squaggles New Member

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Well we have to draw a line somewhere unless we allow riders to use anything which would see people pushing it to the limit , the limit been death . Obviously the system is in a mess but people do know what is allowed and what isn't . If I then go and choose to use EPO or whatever and get caught then I have to accept the consequences . Losing your profession is pretty bad , losing your life is worse .
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Location:
    Bury, Lancashire
    Chris 42 - regarding steroids as cancer fighting drugs - I've often wondered about that as there seem to be a lot of people who've made a big come back after having cancer and become more sucessful afterwards than before having it. Didn't know if it was the cancer fighting drugs that helped or something that changed in their bodies as a result of the cancer itself, but I guess that may answer it.