Doping in Professional Cycling

There are many problems currently facing professional cycling, some of these problems have dogged the sport for many years.

Doping Issue. Mention cycling and inevitably people think of the doping problem. To be fair it is not just cycling that suffers from a doping problem. But, in recent years, cycling seems to have had more than its fair share of doping revelations and drug scandals. Before, Tommy Simpsons' death in the 1960s, doping was pretty much widespread in the peloton and the dope controls were very lax. Many riders barely attempted to hide the fact they were taking dope (often amphetamines). After Tom Simpson's death, controls were tightened, but, the sport was never really enthusiastic about enforcing strict doping controls. The taking of drugs was too deeply embedded in the sport.

A ground breaking book was Paul Kimmage's - Rough Ride this offered an inside insight into the extent of doping within the peloton. However, its rough reception showed how the UCI and the cycling establishment wanted to try and just brush the issue under the carpet.

After Kimmage's retirement in the late 1980s, the doping issue if anything got worse. With a new generation of performance enhancing drugs, there was an even greater incentive for cyclists to cheat. These drugs included EPO and growth hormones. It was not until the Festina scandal of 1998, that the issue was brought to light with a vengeance. The Festina massuer Willy Voet, was found with a car full of doping products. Comically, he tried to claim they were for personal use. But, eventually the main team members came to admit their guilt.

Yet, despite increasing evidence of doping, the sport has suffered many more scandals with nearly all recent major tour contenders being implicated in some way.

The list is almost too long to name but some of the biggest names to be implicated in doing scandals include:

  • Bjarne Riis - Tour winner later admitted to EPO use
  • Marco Pantani - would die from cocaine overdose
  • Michael Rasmussen - leading 2007 Tour until forced out over missed dope test.
  • Lance Armstrong - nothing conclusively proved. Although tainted by relationship with doctor Micheal Ferrari and alleged failed test (however, this test was several years old and has been ruled as being inadmissable as evidence)
  • Jan Ullrich - implicated in Fuentes scandal, packets of Ullrich's blood was found stored with Fuentes
  • Alexandre Vinokourov - failed dope test in 2007 tour after making dramatic recovery in a time trial stage.
  • David Miller - British cyclist admitted to taking EPO, banned for 2 years, now back racing
  • Tyler Hamilton - Olympic gold medallist - later failed drugs test.
  • Flloyd Landis - Leading 2006 Tour, when failed a test for testosterone after making dramatic stage win.
Perma Link | By: T Pettinger |


Anonymous Anonymous said...


September 12, 2008 at 6:01 PM  

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