As an up and coming young competitive cyclist, myself, I have been disappointed by the wrong doings of a select few, who have chosen to tarnish a beautiful sport. I remember meeting Lance Armstrong in 2011 at the Tour Down Under and the feeling of elation on meeting my sporting idle, only to have that moment destroyed upon revelation of his drug cheating. From that point in time, I made a promise to myself to never succumb to the culture of cheating through performance enhancement drugs and vowed to be role model to others, through my own actions.
I am part of the new up and coming generation of young competitive cyclists who have had enough of the drug cheats of the past. I will led by example in how I conduct myself in the sporting arena and will endeavour to spread the word, which simply starts with this project.
UCI ANTI-DOPING PROGRAM
The International Cycling Union considers riders’ health and the promotion of sporting ethics as high priorities. Its anti-doping programme is now recognised by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as one of the best in the world.
In 2008, the UCI created the Cycling Anti-doping Foundation (CADF) to manage the activities and funding of its anti-doping programme.
The UCI anti-doping programme has two objectives:
•Get rid of cheats (doping detection)
•Dissuade riders from resorting to doping (education, communication, firm sanctions and biological passport).
The UCI believes that conducting blood and urine tests in competition and out of competition are the best ways to catch cheating in cycling. The objectives of these tests are to:
•Direct detection (This testing can reveal the use of a prohibited substance)
•Targeting (This testing can be used to decide which riders should be the subject of special attention. E.g. if they are winning the tour)
•Drawing up individual profiles (Involves the biological passport)
THE BIOLOGICAL PASSPORT: A REVOLUTION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DOPING
Developed in close collaboration with WADA, the individual biological passport of a rider is an electronic document that includes:
•The results of urine and blood tests.
•The rider’s haematological profile.
•The rider’s steroid profile.
The benefits of having a biological passport is that it combines blood and urine tests to establish a rider’s individual limits. The individual limits allow more accuracy (compared with the limits set for the population) in determining whether or not a rider has used illegal methods.
The haematological and steroid profiles are established after several blood and urine tests. The haematological profile can show blood manipulation (for example use of EPO). The steroid profile can indicate the use of steroids (such as testosterone) thanks to urine tests.
The biological passport requires the strict implementation of a protocol, established in collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Agency. The main points of this protocol are described below:
•Athlete’s whereabouts: in order to allow the UCI to carry out controls at any time, the riders must provide details of their movements by means of the ADAMS system (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) managed by WADA.
•Sampling: urine and blood samples are taken from riders in and out of competition.
•Analysis of samples: this is carried out by a laboratory accredited by WADA, the UCI and the Swiss Quality Control Centre (CSCQ).
•Interpretation of results: the world’s leading experts analyse abnormal blood profiles. They advise the UCI on whether to open disciplinary proceedings for a breach of the anti-doping regulations.
•Sanctions: the UCI may decide to commence disciplinary proceedings on the basis of the experts’ recommendations. Proceedings can lead to the sanctions established by the World Anti-Doping Code.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
The UCI has established education campaigns in order to discourage doping at all levels. Some examples of these initiatives are:
•Distributing an interactive DVD to athletes entitled “True Champion or Cheat?”
•Setting up a training programme “Turning Passion into Performance”
•Making sure that athletes and team members have access to the international database on authorised and prohibited substances.
These results were discovered by a private French lab but can not be proven guilty because they were not over seen by a member of ‘WADA’ or the ‘UCI’. This has caused some cyclist to retire such as Stuart O’Grady.
The positive list is:
Andrea Tafi, Zabel, Bo Hamburger (twice), Laurent Jalabert, Marcos Serrano, Jens Heppner, Jeroen Blijlevens, Nicola Minali, Mario Cipollini, Fabio Sacchi, Eddy Mazzoleni, Jacky Durand, Abraham Olano, Laurent Desbiens, Pantani, Manuel Beltran, Ullrich (twice), Kevin Livingston (twice).
The suspicious list is:
Ermanno Brignoli, Alain Turicchia, Pascal Chanteur, Frederic Moncassin, Julich, Roland Meier, Giuseppe Calcaterra, Stefano Zanini, Eddy Mazzoleni, Stephane Barthe, O’Grady, Axel Merckx.
Doping and other forms of drugs have and still are destroying the
Reputation and integrity of cycling as a sport around the world. The
UCI which is the head of cycling is now having to admit to reports of
Gruelling information on cyclists that have taken performance enhancing drugs to win.
Steroids were the first preference in the early 1900’s performance enhancing and now
In modern day racing ‘EPO’ is the drug of choice to increase your red blood count. Huge
Numbers of cyclist have taken EPO to give them the upper hand to be on the podium.
Cheating is a part of human nature and there will always be people who have to. The
Younger generations of cyclists look up to the cyclist of today as role models of
Cycling today. Cycling needs to rebuild and put in place strategies to eliminate cheating.
Lance Armstrong was one of many big names in cycling to come forward about taking performance enhancing drugs.
Increasing testing, targeting certain cyclists and the biological passport are the things UCI is doing to
Neutralise drugs in cycling and repair cycling’s tarnished name. We also need to
Grow a better understanding on how to catch out cyclists and make it fair!
Bjarne Riis admitted in May 2007 to using erythropoietin in the 1996 Tour de France when he won. He was then stripped of his Tour de France title. So then did erythropoietin (EPO) really help Bjarne Riss win the Tour de France?
EPO did helped Bjarne increase the amount of red blood cells in his blood. His red blood cells were 60% but should have been less than 50%. EPO can increase the delivery of oxygen to muscles by 5-7% and endurance performance of a bicycle racer by maybe 1-2% in single day events. An increase in red blood, thickens the blood. This can lead to heart attacks
During consistent races such as the Tour de France, autohemodilution normally occurs. This means the blood becomes thinner due to increased plasma volume and a lower blood cells. This lower blood cells actually increases athletic performance. This is called exercise tolerance where during multiple day events as shown in scientific studies. An increase in red blood cells, such as from dehydration during the Tour de France can result in the overtraining syndrome.
Bjarne was a strong rider in the Tour de France in 1993, 1994 and 1995. He won the Tour in 1996, when he admitted to using erythropoietin. In 1997, he was seventh overall aparently without erythropoietin. Riis was a strong rider who had the talent to do well and even win the Tour. Erythropoietin probably hurt him as much as it helped him.
Another rider named Marco Pantani was found guilty of doping with erythropoietin (EPO) in the 1999 Giro d’Italia. In 1995 and 1997, he won the Tour de France stage at Alpe d’Huez. In 1998, he won the Tour. In 2000, he won the stage of Mont Ventoux without doping. Clearly doping did not help Pantanis performance. But if it did it wasn’t much.
How do athletes who do not dope compete with dopers? Hematocrit increases with high altitude adaptation. This is the train low (below 2,000 feet), sleep high (above 10,000 feet) training method. Hematocrit increases to about 50 with this training and does not return to normal for 12-16 days. In addition, the high altitude increases the efficiency of the lungs. Oxygen tents and altitude chambers can be used to increase red blood cells. This is how Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis prepared for and won the Tour with EPO.
Many drugs have placebo effects especially testosterone and stimulants. Testosterone makes athletes feel strong without improving performance. However testosterone damages the heart. Stimulants such as amphetamines, ephedrine and cocaine make an athlete feel superhuman without improving performance. Tom Simpson demonstrated this in 1967 on Mont Ventoux when he died of a heart attack due to amphetamine use. Human growth hormone can cause diabeties and don’t increase the performance.
So in conclusion taking drugs and stimulants along the line of EPO and amphetamines actually makes you perform worse but it is the mind (placebo effect) that makes/gives you the effect that you feel great and that you are unstoppable. So if that’s the case if cyclists want to take EPO and other let them because there not performance enhancing there mine enhancing while killing themselves why not let them?
This years Tour de France drug testing results have come back with no positive readings. Chris Froome is quoted saying ‘I believe cycling is one of the most cleanest sports in the world.’ He also said ‘that he and the team were regularly tested’ If this is true does that make cycling one of the cleanest sports after all the cases and things that have happened?
1. Fausto Coppi
2. Knud Jensen
3. Tom Simpson
4. Eddy Merckx
5. Dietrich Thurau
6. Sean Kelly
7. The Festina Team
8. Marco Pantani
9. Lance Armstrong
10. Alberto Contador