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View Full Version : Great piece on cycling/doping and European vs US Attitudes


Ray
07-08-2009, 06:46 PM
I just found the new issue of Sports Illustrated in today's mail and there's a great short piece in the Scorecard section on the differences in US and European perceptions and attitudes about cycling as a sport and doping as a part of it. I liked it so much I looked for it on the web to shoot you folks a link. But it wasn't on the web - instead there's a MUCH longer piece written by the same guy from which the shorter piece in the magazine was edited out. It's somewhat long, but also very much worth a read.

If interested:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/the_bonus/07/07/tour/index.html

-Ray

majorpat
07-08-2009, 07:45 PM
Great read, for a guy who was one of those middle class, break-away geeks I'm glad to see an American paint an accurate picture of the european peloton. Now if Versus would just ease up on the hyperbole....

link
07-08-2009, 08:25 PM
At one point in Parkin's "Dog In a Hat" he categorizes euro pro riders during the amphetamine era as being one or the other... "Riders who dope to race and riders who race to dope." Both types were well represented in the pro peloton.

Take from that what you will.

rwsaunders
07-08-2009, 08:40 PM
Interesting article, Ray.

goonster
07-09-2009, 05:38 AM
Great article.

The speech he gives to rookies notwithstanding, Vaughters sure goes all the way in cultivating the appearance of a wine-swilling aristocrat himself.

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0115/oly_lg_slipstream8832_718.jpg

(mmm, Chateauneuf-du-Pape . . . )

th_boone
07-09-2009, 06:02 AM
Thanks for posting. No surprise. It is still great racing (this week in the TDF is a fine example). However, it pisses me off. I really want to believe LeMond was clean, just not sure I can believe anyone at this point who ever got to the top...

johnnymossville
07-09-2009, 06:29 AM
Great article.

The speech he gives to rookies notwithstanding, Vaughters sure goes all the way in cultivating the appearance of a wine-swilling aristocrat himself.

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0115/oly_lg_slipstream8832_718.jpg

(mmm, Chateauneuf-du-Pape . . . )

LOL! He's a dandy aint he?

Ray
07-09-2009, 06:34 AM
Great article.

The speech he gives to rookies notwithstanding, Vaughters sure goes all the way in cultivating the appearance of a wine-swilling aristocrat himself.

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0115/oly_lg_slipstream8832_718.jpg

(mmm, Chateauneuf-du-Pape . . . )
He used to be a coal miner. Now he RUNS the coal mine. BIG BIG BIG difference!

-Ray

coopdog
07-09-2009, 07:10 AM
Great article. Thanks for posting.

Climb01742
07-09-2009, 07:18 AM
mixed reactions here. the article (and the whole subject of PED) raises a deeper philosophical issue between what is and what ought to be. can't argue with what is in cycling but that don't make it right. reality isn't a philosophical argument or position. equally, appropriating an athletic ideal to sell sneakers doesn't negate the ideal or make the pursuit of that ideal less worthy -- it just illustrates the cynicism and opportunism of one approach to making money. just ain't nothing black and white. and just makes one (sigh) sigh.

Ozz
07-09-2009, 07:47 AM
...(mmm, Chateauneuf-du-Pape . . . )
:beer: That is what I saw first!

Ray
07-09-2009, 08:13 AM
mixed reactions here. the article (and the whole subject of PED) raises a deeper philosophical issue between what is and what ought to be. can't argue with what is in cycling but that don't make it right. reality isn't a philosophical argument or position. equally, appropriating an athletic ideal to sell sneakers doesn't negate the ideal or make the pursuit of that ideal less worthy -- it just illustrates the cynicism and opportunism of one approach to making money. just ain't nothing black and white. and just makes one (sigh) sigh.
You're such an American, Climb.

-Ray

Climb01742
07-09-2009, 08:44 AM
You're such an American, Climb.

-Ray

didn't the french fight the french revolution? didn't the english write magna carta? aren't many of the great philosophers european? i think the article's author grabbed a low-hanging but weak argument. :beer:

Ray
07-09-2009, 09:01 AM
didn't the french fight the french revolution? didn't the english write magna carta? aren't many of the great philosophers european? i think the article's author grabbed a low-hanging but weak argument. :beer:
First of all, I know you know I didn't mean that as a put down!

But I don't know that he was arguing right or wrong at all. I think he was explaining, quite well at that, the difference between the way Europeans and Americans look at cycing as a sport, where that sport fits into their societal strata, and how that also informs their opinions about doping. Obviously there are Americans who don't fit the American mold and Europeans who take more American attitudes. But clearly there are prevailing attitudes and they're different on either side of the pond for a variety of reasons.

I would like to think its possible to have high level sport without doping, but there's approximately NO evidence, either in Europe or here in the States, that it is possible. I'd also really like to think that humans, as a species, could get over the need to fight wars over territory, resources, ideology, or religion. And there's roughly no evidence of that either.

I think its entirely possible to hope for a brighter future and even plan for how it might be possible while still acknowledging the sometimes ugly reality of right now and yet still find a way to appreciate and enjoy right now. Because, as highly imperfect as it is, right now is all we have. And, even as things improve, utopia will always still be up around another bend or two, no?

-Ray

Kines
07-09-2009, 09:29 AM
Interesting read, but clearly just an editorial, and self contradictory at that. If Euros were so "but of course" about doping, then what's a all the uproar about in the first place?

Sure, the attitudes between Americans and Euros are as different as our cultures, but he's making it sound like they actually want their heroes to be cheaters!

KN

goonster
07-09-2009, 09:35 AM
If Euros were so "but of course" about doping, then what's a all the uproar about in the first place?
The article describes the attitudes within the cycling establishment. There has never been a great uproar within the metier "over there".

he's making it sound like they actually want their heroes to be cheaters!
No he's not. He's explaining different definitions of "heroes" and "cheating".

fiamme red
07-09-2009, 09:37 AM
In 1987 I would miss LeMond's comeback from his near-fatal hunting accident, the Tour in which he made up nearly a minute on the final day to beat France's Laurent Fignon by eight seconds. But after SI named LeMond our Sportsman of the Year, I found myself sitting around the kitchen table of the American sports fan, as a guest on WFAN Radio's Mike and the Mad Dog, where co-host Chris Russo took up the cause of the jocks and cheerleaders. How could SI possibly choose Greg LeMond? Cycling was "a yuppie sport," he said, as if anybody could "tour France," and LeMond had done it on the modified American plan. I would have thrown up my hands, but the gesture is generally lost on listeners to sports talk radio.It was 1989, not 1987.

But I agree, Chris Russo is an idiot.

goonster
07-09-2009, 09:47 AM
All euro sports are stupid. Until an American dominates one. Then that sport is briefly awesome.

daker13
07-09-2009, 12:09 PM
Great article, thanks for the link.

I had two issues. First, the writer suggests that EPO is more dangerous than the cocaine-heroin-speed cocktails riders were taking forty years ago. I'm pretty sure that's not true. Second, he says with respect to Lance's taking a shower when the Tour piss-in-a-cup guy showed up that "Europeans know that the one thing a cyclist may not do under any circumstances is leave a tester's sight before providing a sample." Pretty much every account I've read of the episode -granted, all from US journalists- made it sound like Armstrong was being unnecessarily harassed. Seems like a simple question to answer: would a pro cyclist know you couldn't leave the room to take a shower when the guy shows up for a urine sample?

Tons of great cycling quotes in the article - thanks again.

allegretto
07-09-2009, 12:13 PM
In Yurrip the attitude toward all types of drug use/misuse, prescription or recreational is much more relaxed than here. at virtually any level of Society.

goonster
07-09-2009, 12:45 PM
In Yurrip the attitude toward all types of drug use/misuse, prescription or recreational is much more relaxed than here. at virtually any level of Society.
Popular perception of Amsterdam and Zurich aside, I don't really agree with that. There is less of a tendency to moralize and criminalize it, but drug use/misuse is generally seen as a serious public issue. There was a wave of heroin deaths among upper middle class kids in the late 70's and early 80's that left a deep impression.

I can't think of a Euro equivalent for Cheech and Chong.

link
07-09-2009, 03:24 PM
would a pro cyclist know you couldn't leave the room to take a shower when the guy shows up for a urine sample?


Good question.

It's actually a blood and urine sample.

Here's a WADA .pdf doc (http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/Athlete_Whereabouts) that covers the Whereabouts aspect of Out Of Competition Testing.

In section 5.3 it states:

"The team representatives should ensure that the DCO is given access to the Athlete immediately upon the DCO’s arrival at the location."

It goes on to describe tampering and masking.

It's for good reason too. Doping Control agents know that a rider can easily mask a substance in their blood and urine. So the basic rule is that once you're tagged for testing, you're obligated to comply immediately.

Bottom line ...all riders know the basic rules.

goonster
07-09-2009, 03:33 PM
all riders know the basic rules.
You cite a WADA protocol, and I agree that this is a fundamental issue known to all riders, but:

The twist in this case, allegedly, is that the tester was not from WADA, not from the UCI, but from the French federation, who had never tested Lance before, so (the story goes) there was an unusual delay (compared to all the other surprise tests) while the tester's bona fides were established.

link
07-09-2009, 03:55 PM
I purposely avoided addressing the Lance incident 'cause I don't know what happened in that scenario.

But since you mentioned it, Lance could've just as well stayed in sight as he was supposed to do ...knew he was supposed to do... while creds were verified.

edit: I'm not a Lance hater.

allegretto
07-09-2009, 09:24 PM
Popular perception of Amsterdam and Zurich aside, I don't really agree with that. There is less of a tendency to moralize and criminalize it, but drug use/misuse is generally seen as a serious public issue. There was a wave of heroin deaths among upper middle class kids in the late 70's and early 80's that left a deep impression.

I can't think of a Euro equivalent for Cheech and Chong.

Cheech and Chong were all about reefer. in my Yuppipeeon experiences, the casual attitude toward hard drugs was the thing that arrested me. being a heroin user was not a big deal in some circles i met, and to see/hear that in the US is... well, i think you know.

i am well aware that not all of the continent is typified by Amsterdam (which you know is changing...) but i'm talking about people i met. can't speak for you,