What's Cool In Road Cycling

Reader Commentary: Dope State Part 2

It’s time for another installment of our ongoing series of Reader Commentaries. This time PCN reader M.J. Creedon offers his response to last week’s posting by Stephan Esleban on the current dope state…

I would like to reply to the letter posted on your website by Stefan Esleben. (see June 6, 2002)
I think we are all a tad naive if we are to believe that only a few people take performance enhancers in the professional peloton. Sean Kelly said along time ago that the guys taking the drugs were always 2 yrs. ahead of the people testing for them.

The underlying problem here is that a professional is clean until he is caught.The ones that do get found out are unlucky or plain stupid in the eyes of the majority of professional riders hence the abuse dished out to riders who do speak out about drug use in the peloton. I believe the difference between the stayers and the flash in the pan professionals is in the quantity of drugs taken. The sport is riddled with guys who shine for 18 months or 2 years and then fad away never to reach their former levels.Those who limit their use tend to have much longer careers.

I think it admirable that cycling is trying to clean up its image, there are many endurance sports out there who don’t have or want the dearth of testing which is carried out in professional and amateur cycling. Is it right that a professional is put on a drip after a stage in the TDF to rehydrate himself. That in my opinion is just taking it too far. Cycling unfortunately is being used as a scape goat for drug abuse in all sports. Look at the case of Jan Staam at Manchester United.The guy tests positive was there a public outcry..no…all brushed under the carpet.

We have to be drawn over the hot coals everytime some-one gets caught b/c its only in cycling that real drug abuse exixts not in rowing,rugby,soccer,marathon running etc. the list is endless. I agree w/ Stefan that alongside riders team contracts there should be a standard contract w/ the UCI. With fixed penalties for failed tests and non hiring of previous drug takers.If you don’t sign it then no license. Only if these measures are vigorously enforced can we have any hope of cleaning up the sport. Sure the average speeds will fall but what we will get is a true reflection of one riders ability against another.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to voice my opinions and concerns I look forward to hearing any responses.
M.J. Creedon

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