Thursday, 15 March 2018 14:33

DOPING IN CYCLING by Ruben Syrett

DOPING IN CYCLING

Unfortunately doping has had no small part to play in the history of sport.

Performance enhancing substances  were accepted in the early era of races like the Tour de France. But the death of Danish rider Knud Enemark Jensen at the 1960 Olympic games time trial(he was taking amphetamines) saw rules introduced to stop the use of PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs).

 

Nowadays  it is not unusual to get the odd positive test though. Lance Armstrong who was guilty of using PED’s in 2012 has been named the most notorious drug cheat in sporting history. I think its fair to say cycling does not have a good relationship with doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency is the leader in stamping down on the drug cheats in the sport industry, they also over rule the UCI.

 

As you may know Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky have been accused in a damning drug report. Sir Wiggins has been maliciously accused of taking PED’s under the guise of treating a true medical condition to help him win the 2012 Tour de France. Team Sky and some of the riders ‘abused’ the anti-doping system to allow them to take corticosteroids that prepared them for the Tour de France. Sir David Brailsfords ethos of “winning clean” has been completely abandoned due to these accusations. An infamous jiffy bag delivered to Wiggins at a 2011 race that apparently held PED’s; people found this story implausible. Lance Armstrong is an entirely different story as all of his accusations were found to be true and all 7 of his Tour de France victories were voided. Armstrong and two of his team mates at the time- Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton confessed to doping and said they knew Armstrong was using banned substances to fuel several of his Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005. The types of drugs used at the time were all banned substances these were: Erythropoietin (EPO), this increases the number of red blood cells in the athletes circulatory system, this helps the athletes get more air into their lungs and therefore it helps them ride faster: Blood Transfusions (blood doping), blood transfusions involve the extraction of the athletes own blood pre-competition and then the re-infusion of that blood shortly before the competition: Testosterone, this increase muscle mass and strength: Corticosteroids, these reduce inflammation, help recovery and provide bursts of energy to create a short feeling of increased energy and well-being. All of these are what Armstrong took.

 

Doping is now illegal in cycling and if rules are broken the athletes are at risk of losing their professional career. Doping does not just happen in cycling though, it is used in many other sports such as Running, rowing and even weightlifting. The anti-doping agency controls drug use around the big Tour races, they will test each rider before every race to see if they have been taking any performance enhancing drugs, if they have then they will be kicked out of the remaining stages of the race. Personally I think illegal doping should be cracked down on because it ruins the race for other riders who have worked their whole lives to have a shot of winning the race.

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