• jules

    great article and perspective. the narrative on doping in sports has long since flown the moral panic coop, with too many people lining up to judge dopers without comprehending what has led them down that path. I hope the guy comes out of it OK – more important than a few of his competitors who were robbed of a brass medal.

    • Pete

      Fuck him, I wish they have a dob in a doper database in Melbourne.

    • Sean parker

      yes, the individual’s health is more important, i agree. But it is not ‘moral panic’ to judge this guy for his actions.

      He took action to knowingly rip off his fellow sportsmen what was rightfully theirs by contest – victory over him.

      In the scheme of things it is nothing. It is just a bike race. But he’s still a cheat and deserving of that title. He is not Pol Pot, but he shouldn’t race against people who are willing to live by a code of conduct – he doesn’t deserve to.

      • Dave

        I definitely don’t think it’s moral panic for fellow racers to be pissed at having been cheated and dob in a doper.

        Maybe this is the future of anti-doping enforcement? Instead of massive ‘programs’ like the bio passport, cut it back to just testing those who place highly (and the teammates who worked for them) and those who come to the authorities’ attention for some other reason.

        • Sean parker

          Probably more efficient. We can probably all cite cases of ‘that rider’ who suddenly achieves massive gains from being a middle of the pack rider to consistently holding off the pack in a breakaway.

          random testing of winners seems to be a more logical process.

    • H20

      On the other hand, it’s a pretty clear case of cheating. Once you start cheating to that extent (it’s not as if this was inadvertent or careless) a lot of the appeal of competitive sport falls apart. There are also doubtless people who worked very hard to achieve a goal they set out for themselves, who have been robbed of their just reward by people like this guy; why should he inflict any level of hurt on another person merely in order to dishonestly satisfy his own psychological needs?

      • jules

        empathising with underlying conditions that may have contributed to his engaging in doping is not the same as saying – let him dope.

        he definitely needs to be penalised for doping. I was talking more to the sentiment that it’s a hanging offence and the more pain he suffers the better.

    • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

      Punishment fulfills three purposes: (1) to disable the offenders ability to harm others, and his/her self, by continuing to offend (2) as publicity to dissuade others, and the offender, from committing similar offenses (3) abstract moral justice.

      Re (1), the goal has been satisfied 100%, anything more would be superfluous. Re (2), I think you underestimate the effectiveness that anger at doping has to curtail the spread of doping. In fact it may be the most effective means of stopping the spread, because testing is impractical. Re (3), this can be debated until the cows come home.

      Perhaps if the man would perform a public service of talking about the psychology of what led him down this road, present or potential dopers might connect to what he said and be dissuaded. And he might be psychologically rehabilitated through this process. Whether that would have any effect on riders quietly being prescribed testosterone by their doctors is unclear.

  • Mat Elkan

    There should be more testing. I feel the general consensus is that it’s easy enough to get away with it.

    It’s sad to hear that he’s lost his livelihood, he obviously has issues with addiction, but I don’t think that excuses his cheating or nullifies the punishment.

    • jules

      the testing is very expensive. who would pay for it?

      • Mat Elkan

        Easier said than done, I know, but if the current licensing costs don’t cover the costs, they need to be increased. Don’t make a rule if you don’t plan on enforcing it.

        • jules

          I suspect the increase would be quite a bit unfortunately

          • Tom Galbraith

            In Australia the road cycling licence costs are already outrageous let alone adding to them. That said more testing would be great, just not a financial reality unfortunately.

            • Robert Merkel

              I reckon that WADA should be sponsoring research into making cheaper doping tests.

              Even if results from a cheaper test weren’t sufficient to convict on their own, they might allow cheap screening with a retest later for any suspicious results.

              • Dave

                They do indeed sponsor work on that front, but they also keep the specifics fairly quiet.

                This has been going on for quite some time, even before the anti-doping efforts were united under WADA. The test which caught Ben Johnson at the 1988 Olympics was a surprise to the East German coaches of the time, and the EPO test was a surprise to even Michele Ferrari.

                • jules

                  especially after Ferrari’s mentor Prof. Conconi had tried and failed to develop a test for EPO (where is the laughing hysterically emoji?)

      • Eddy’s love child

        Sign a legally binding agreement when you get your racing license, that if you get caught cheating you owe the USADA 100K.
        That will pay for a few tests. :)

        • Paul Webb

          That’s an interesting concept and worth exploring. One flaw with it is that any fixed level of penalty will mean different things to different people. 100k would likely mean bankruptcy for many which (a) means the USADA don’t get the money anyway. An affluent rider, who is is obsessive enough to dope, might consider a lower level of penalty to be ‘fair risk’. It seems wrong to have a penalty in sport that has a different effect depending on your wealth. Maybe a binding commitment to do some kind of community outreach in talking about what led you to doping? That doesn’t solve the doping test cost, but it might be useful in the overall effect on doping rates.

          • Eddy’s love child

            Thanks Paul. I agree a rich person probably would not be intimated by the fine. Although the impetus of the idea is to fund the testing process through the penalty, which would still be accomplished. Probably the embarrassment and disgrace of guilt for the rich person would be their ultimate penalty?
            Keep registration and license fees low to grow the sport. But, if you get busted for dope, you basically have agreed to pay 100k to the USADA which could be legally taken out of a persons pay check like back taxes or child support can be.

    • Eddy’s love child

      I wonder what sports his blog buddies are participating in?, seems there a bunch more of this sorry lot.

      • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

        Equestrian Show Jumping?

        • Eddy’s love child

          …Those and the damned Curling jocks

      • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

        class 1 Road Rage ?

  • Andy B

    Interesting article, I wonder how many people immediately went online looking for information on GW50516 after reading it
    It would be very interesting to know exactly how common doping is at amateur levels and to what extent people take it

    • H.E. Pennypacker

      I know I did. Googled it right away because I had never heard of it. Stuff is terrifying. Grows tumors on mice like mushrooms on a forest floor.

  • Christopher Bennett

    This made me reflect on the book I read called ‘The Doper Next Door’ about someone who did the same thing as a one year experiment. Not a great read but did make me wonder how many of us on the wrong side of 40 (or 50+ like me!) would be tempted to regain some of our earlier abilities – no matter what the cost. What happened was wrong but like Peter, I’d be happy to go for a ride with Michael. Not all of us have the inner strength not to succumb to temptation…

    • Derek

      Feel free to get all hopped up on whatever you want, just don’t compete.

      • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

        How about while driving, or while at work, or while otherwise interacting with the public in a way that makes life difficult or dangerous for others. Because, especially while on PED’s people tend to get psychotically competitive.

  • Michele

    Great article – not necessarily an enjoyable read, but a story that needed to be told. I hope the gentleman in question gets through this.

    From a personal point of view: 5 years, maybe even 3 years ago, I would’ve said doping is black and white. There were no ifs or buts. However, now I would say that doping / cheating is NEVER black and white. It is ALWAYS a shade of grey.

    I found this such a telling comment:

    “To be an elite athlete, you can’t really be normal,” Keim added. “To be at the top level, you often need to be on the edge of depression or anxiety, or to be bipolar — you need to be on that high or low.”

    I’m not referring to this specific case here, and this is a generalisation, but as someone who has several acquaintances that suffer from such mental disorders, and who has seen the irrational decision making that can be the consequence of having such a condition, I do understand why some feel the need to dope.

    • jules

      it’s an issue that spreads much broader than doping in sports. serious crime is another – perpetrators are very often suffering from mental illness, and frequently have experienced severe disadvantage in their lives. it’s easy to look down on them and say ‘no excuses’, but on an objective level it’s hard to ignore that external factors beyond their immediate control seem to be influencing that criminal behaviour.

      it’s much easier to just judge people as good and bad though. keeps things simple for the casual observer, which is of course the priority ;)

    • Bob Struwe

      That caught my eye too – is she saying you don’t have to be bipolar to be elite, but it helps?

      • jules

        basically, yes, that’s my take. people with more balanced frames of mind are more content to come home, switch the telly on, watch Master Chef and down a beer. if you suffer from a disorder you may need more stimulation to manage the symptoms. Lance was a great example – biographies painted him as someone struggling to come to terms with being abandoned by his dad (as you would) and needing to prove himself in a world that in his mind – was against him. great motivation for a high achiever. not the most easy going, friendly or trustworthy bloke to be around though.

    • Paul Webb

      Absolutely. That same phrase really jumped out for me. I’ve often wondered whether testing properly accounts for the abnormality of elite athletes, but this really puts the psychological side of the doping ‘battle’ into context.

  • Ronin

    “We train and we suffer, we occasionally succeed and more often we fail, and we turn the pedals to learn something elemental about ourselves”. Speak for yourself, please.

    I find the notion of training and racing to find something “elemental about ourselves” just weird. For me, and many others, it’s just damn thrilling to be in the race, especially when you’re in a position to win or fighting to be in such a position. And, this is all related in one way or another to winning. When the win does happen, it makes the racing even more thrilling. The engrossing thrill of competing for the win, it is for me. And, given the expressions on my teammates faces when we do well, and the post race chatter, trash talking, etc.., I’m pretty sure it is for some of them as well.

    It’s like some sorts of people these days think competing to win is . . . what? . . . unethical? Tawdry? Is that why so many people are online saying things like this, as well as the related piece of nonsense about how the point of sports is to compete against yourself!? Pfft. What?

    Aside from that, another very important reason why I do and many I know race is the comaraderie with teammates and the rich social circle you enter in to with your own teammates and more generally the racers in your area.

    Honestly, what that is so elemental about yourself do you find racing? I may be missing some enlightenment. Or, maybe I can offer some. If you don’t find competing for the win, or helping your teammates to win, elementally thrilling, engrossing, or just plain fun, even if you don’t win but especially when you do, you are likely not elementally well-suited for sports. Your attitude to competition in sport is likely not healthy.

    I think the point is related to this issue. Buckley, by the way, is from my conference, and I’m not all broken up with indignity over this. Why not? Because, again, the two major drivers for me are just the thrill and the fun of racing for the win and the social aspect of the local sport. Buckley’s cheating does not really threaten that. Now, I’ve not lost a race to Buckley. Well, I don’t think I have. Although, the name did sound familiar when it came up. But, if I did, I might be a bit miffed. But, it wouldn’t go far. I’ve figured anyway that some of the guys I’m racing against are probably doped.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad he got popped. If I had solid info on someone doping, I’d send it to USA Cycling. But, it’s just hard for me to get worked up over this, and I’m starting to think that guys that do may not be all that different from Buckley, honestly. Two sides of a coin. Middle aged dudes with problems.

    • Dave

      Cycling does seem to attract more than its fair share of weirdos, despite the organisation of riders into teams in some races it is close to the most intensely individual sport in the world and you need to be a borderline psychopath to get to the top.

      Look at Chris Jongewaard for an example closer to home.

    • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

      So you are competing to win – to get to the podium, and not just to do your best – and someone who isn’t racing to win is not suited to sport. But if you can’t get to the podium because of someone who has doping, that’s no biggie because “the two major drivers for me are just the thrill and the fun of racing for the win and the social aspect of the local sport”.

      It sounds like you are saying that those who are not winners are natural born losers, except for natural born winners who just happen to lose but get by with high spirits and social connections.

  • Scooter

    Great read Peter. It’s good to see more open discussion of Masters/AG doping. If anyone really thinks that AG/Masters cycling and triathlon don’t contain a number of these cases you need to remove the rose colored glasses. Michael wasn’t particularly cautious with his activities, so he got caught. The same can be said for a lot of positives in professional sport. If you are interested in a perspective from the doping side I would suggest listening to the Patrick Arnold interview Tim Ferriss did http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/03/02/patrick-arnold/. Will shed some light on those Strava KOM’s you have been seeking :)

  • Avuncular

    “Raced pro for 5 years and now just race for fun in Masters 40+ age group. I know how to train and what my limits and power #’s are. I have only been using for 5 days and my power numbers have skyrocketed. What’s most impressive is the recovery from interval to interval and day to day. I am now sold on PE and bought Sr9009 arriving Saturday. What can say?”

    Interesting definition of fun. Don’t these guys ever look in the mirror? There’s no deceit like self deceit.

  • aerotech

    I race in “oscar’s” district. In his category. I looked up his USA Cycling record and i’ve been in at least a few races with him, though never heard of him. So I guess you could say I’m a ‘victim’. So a friend has asked me how do i feel about this (the news has been out for some time). And to be honest i told him i was ambivalent because I’ve always raced under the assumption that some percentage of masters guys i raced against are or have used something that would have flunked a test. How is that possible? 1) Its incredibly easy. Its practically advertised on TV…’low T’ commercials during sporting events. Go to a weight loss clinic or a Men’s health clinic and now you have a legal prescription for a thyroid supplement or a testosterone patch or any number of products you shouldn’t take. Someone above mentioned an article called ‘The Doper Next Door’. read it. its that easy. (though in oscar’s case who knows where he got it from) 2) No testing. or at least the perception that there was no testing. As far the percentage? some optimistic fellow racer on an FB discussion said it was less that .000001% or something like that. i thought that was adorably naive. I’m not comfortable giving an actual percentage. I am comfortable saying Oscar was dumb enough to leave enough evidence to be caught and that there are others who arent so dumb. This article is enlightening in that sense. I assumed he got caught at a test a nationals or something like that.

    so why race when you assumed some people were (i was right all long) doping? i dont do it for a career. i do it for fun (really really fun) and I’m pack fill. What about the principle…people are cheating? Its totally wrong and sad, but i’ve always just assumed that somebody was cheating. I guess i would feel more angry about it if he kept me off a podium or took my district championship. But even if you took away him and everyone that was dirty else I’d still finish like 48th. I’m not condoning. I’m just saying i wasnt surprised.

  • roddders

    I think it’s worse at masters level than it is at pro level. Especially in the uk.

    • Dave

      No! No British riders would ever cheat, it must be those EU laws allowing foreign cyclists into Britain.

      • roddders

        Yeah, the Kenyan ones ;-)

  • Chris Lee

    I bet online stores selling this stuff get a real good sales boost after these “how to” guides are published.

  • zosim

    Do we need yet another story about an amateur doper where the writer seems to say “He’s a great big cheat… but probably a nice guy” ? Whilst it’s an interesting tale, please don’t try to somehow soften things by claiming flawed people have no choice.

  • Cale Reeder

    I raced with Michael. He seemed like a very nice guy. Always friendly. I didn’t see this coming. Sad!

  • obrienpatrickm

    “Who holds no mercy?…. well, I guess I do, and find it odd that I am the jerk in the equation. Those engaged in dishonest activity rarely consider potential consequences, or rationalize/minimize its effects. Racing ban, job loss for what-bragging rights on the local amateur circuit. How do we define that worth? Just because I haven’t walked a mile in his troubled shoes does not forgive a decision to defraud race organizers and fellow competitors. Every caught cheater is apologetic, chagrined, and mortified–once they’re caught. There is no satisfaction in hearing that he might have lost a job and might be suicidal, just a headshake of sadness that one can risk it all for so little. You are a better man than I am Mr. Flax, extending an empathetic hand.

    • jules

      with due respect – but I think you’ve missed an important point. that is that – his unhealthy state of mind is not a consequence of a poor decision on his part to dope. rather, the other way around – that an unhealthy state of mind may have been what led to a poor decision to dope, and a further deterioration in his condition.

      it’s expedient to think of his mental problems as a consequence of his cheating – it helps justify not showing mercy towards him. but maybe that’s not the case and we’re telling ourselves that for our own benefit. maybe that thinking is also skirting dangerously close to how dopers justify doping to themselves…

  • Bobolini

    I see that podium and don’t just see one doper, I see a podium clouded with suspicion. I’ve been in that specific peloton; Master’s racing is the most enhanced, especially where affluence and competitive society drives daily living. Combined with the out-of-control trend of testosterone replacement therapy for getting old by general practitioners, USADA would find this to be the tip of the iceberg if they had the money and resources to live up to their charge.

  • roddders

    Anyone who thinks this is a rare or unusual case is kidding themselves. Doping in the UK, Europe, Australia and especially the US is rampant. There was an interesting thread on a UK time trialling forum discussing the doping where most commenters condemned it yet were scarily ignorant about the banned list / TUEs and the fact that they are liable for whatever is in their system, regardless of it being needed for an illness or not. PED abuse is rampant in amateur and pro racing and to a lesser extent in sportive. UKADA seem to be intent on demonstrating that they are educating athletes rather than trying to catch them cheating. I guess that positive tests would demonstrate that their education program is failing so they don’t test so much. The odd sacrificial lamb gets thrown to the lions but it pretty much goes on unchecked. Sad but true.

  • Karl Walters

    Sad story.

    • david__g

      But it says you turned down an interview?

    • aerotech

      But does any of the missing information change the story? Middle aged man. amateur athlete. cheating for some kind of non-financial gain. caught by system that was put in place to catch those like him, though system woefully inaccurate. various reason why doping is bad and why it occurs at an amateur or masters level (FYI – also occurs in many sports besides cycling). said doper now having to deal the consequences of said actions even if consequences are social and not legal. what’s missing that really changes that story?

    • david__g

      Interesting you said it was an inaccurate story and you were involved and then…edited your comment?

      “Considering I was the main tipster and quoted in this article, I’d just like to say that the timeline of events is wrong, missing information and context, and that I’m disappointed CT would publish this without doing more fact checking.”

  • david__g

    I want to have sympathy for these guys but…I’m not sure what i’m really supposed to be sympathetic about. They’re cheating and looking at the thread on that forum, he was going all in. This wasn’t some casual attempt to secure some dodgy caffeine pills with a little extra whammy, or a couple of tramadols – this was blatant and unrepentant.

    Add to that that I see a bunch of people here (my city/area, not CyclingTips!) who seem to make incredible and unrealistic improvements in a matter of months and I suspect it’s happening more and more and I’m not sure my sympathy could ever go that far.

    • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

      What’s a “dodgy caffeine pill”? Tramadol causes peloton crashes and injuries. Do you excuse those who quietly get prescribed testosterone by their doctors? The man was a fool – almost honest in his dishonesty. No sympathy for that, but it should be noted that the probability of anyone less foolish getting “popped” is very very small. If the only thing that gets learned is “don’t be foolish”, it’s a shame. It has to be remembered his offense was doping, not being foolish.

      “who seem to make incredible and unrealistic improvements in a matter of months” — I firmly believe we have to avoid walking down this path. It is a witch hunt. Most people are not performing to their full potential. Simple lifestyle issues such as diet and sleep and forming mental goals, as well as training methodology, can yield huge benefits for most people. Any sports, and (I feel) cycling in particular, offers great opportunity to objectively measure how lifestyle patterns affect a persons “performance” in cycling, and (hopefully) by extension to greater overall performance in other areas and satisfaction in life. Using increased performance as a yardstick for prob of doping carries with it too big a price to pay – it really is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  • Darren Yearsley

    Eh, I race masters in NZ, if some of the guys I race are gearing up then i just feel sorry for them for their priorities being so screwed up. I ride a lot to be competitive but at the end of the day I’m just having fun, I love riding my bike and feeling fit. Nobody cares where you place in masters racing, being an old fast guy is about as interesting as being an old slow guy. I am most interested in longevity, I want to enjoy riding my bike for a long time, I fear the boomerang effect of doping would compromise that and it is super lame to take it so seriously. Publicly kicking a doper who gets popped is a bit distasteful imo.

    • Il_falcone

      “Publicly kicking a doper who gets popped is a bit distasteful imo.”
      Is it? Why? Can’t figure.

      • Darren Yearsley

        Its like making fun of the mentally disadvantaged

        • Il_falcone

          If you’re serious about it and there’s no irony or cynism involved on your side I respect your empathy. But I feel your comparison is misleading. Those who dope are not the victims IMHO. And if we want to clean up the sport as much as possible for guys like you and me who don’t dope then making successes like that one in the fight against doping public and naming names is most probably the most effective measure. I agree that he’s denounced now. And I hope he feels bad at least as much as he felt great when he reported in that forum about the great effect that his doping had.
          That could finally lead him to look for help with his mental illness if he has one. Which at the end of the day might be the most beneficial thing to him and a turning point for the better in his whole life.

          • Darren Yearsley

            I just think the punishment is disproportionate to the crime. Losing your job because you cheated at bike racing seems crazy, being known as a lameo is punishment enough. Having said that I don’t think it is a big problem here, I’ve never seen anything alien which made me think wow not normal. Maybe if i was having my face rubbed in it every week my opinion would harden a little.

            • Il_falcone

              I agree that he should not loose his job because of this. But that’s how it is in the court of the public opinion, they overreact.
              And maybe even if it is certainly “disproportionate” this is the biggest and most effective punishment AND preventive measure for guys with his kind of attitude. Because their motivation to race is clearly not the same as yours and mine who do it for ourselves.

              • Dave

                The best way to prevent losing your job for losing your employer’s trust or bringing the company into disrepute is to not do things that cause you to lose your employer’s trust or things that reflect poorly on the company.

              • Rodrigo Diaz

                We don’t know how/why he lost his job.

                Resigned due to the embarrassment? Forced out? Specific type of job requirements like an ethical clause? My job wouldn’t care if I doped for bike races. It would, however, care if I went on a racist rant or if I harassed some woman on the bus.

                But, on the other hand, I would totally understand if a racer/worker for the bike industry was forced out. Say, if the sales manager of a bike company was caught doping you bet that would be a big issue.

                As for the analogy regarding mental illnesses – a complicated angle, but in practical terms has very little impact. With legitimately mentally ill people you put them in a situation where they can’t harm others or themselves until they can effectively manage their condition. So you take the person falsifying the race results out of that situation. Seems adequate.No kicking when down needed.

  • James Kramer


  • H20

    Slightly off-topic, but every time I read anything about the Californian area local and Masters racing, there are superlatives about how competitive it is, as in this article where it claims it is “highly competitive”. But when you glance at world level road racing at any level, there don’t seem to be many winners from the Californian area. Is the standard there really that high, or is there just some local Cali tendency to talk it up? I wonder if that leads people to think it’s worth doping to win local Masters races?

    PS – that doesn’t mean to say I’m implying there’s no Masters doping in other places.

    • jules

      what is the world level for Masters racing that they are not shining at?

    • Dave

      Under 12 football can be pretty competitive too.

    • Bobolini

      If you look at the podium photo in the article you’ll notice one chap (not the rider the article is about) has World Champion stripes on his kit. These are from Master’s Worlds…

      • H20

        Yes, but lots of other places around the world have World Masters champs lining up and yet California is the only place I know where local writers seem to regularly claim that the local scene is extremely competitive.

        Perhaps if the local scene has the belief that it is full of uber-masters, maybe they feel that they can only succeed by doping?

  • Hugh Janus

    awesome article! thanks for the tip on GW 50516 and Sr9009. I want some of that shit! You think Max Muscle or GNC has that stuff? I’ll put that shit in my greek yogurt baby!

  • Gary Fryett

    “……… Most of us come to amateur sport looking to test ourselves, to challenge our limits and have fun, and cheaters undermine the entire endeavor……..” I think for many the FUN element soon becomes overlooked. Human nature perhaps?

  • Eddy’s love child

    Great, well researched and written article. Funny how he dreamed of breaking peoples legs in spring races. His ego was strong enough to lie to himself, thinking it was him and not the drugs that would be putting the hurt on other racers.

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    Something missing from this article is background on rising Testosterone use (in my opinion mostly abuse) in the general population, where the sporting goal is often nothing more than improved road rage ability. Pharma industry is successfully pushing testosterone usage through doctors while leaving the general population to pick up the costs. Judge for yourself the probable rate at which this “legal” plague also has spread to amateur cycling.

    “The researchers found use of testosterone therapy was three times higher in 2011 than it was in 2001. Over the course of the decade, testosterone therapy increased from 0.81 percent to 2.91 percent.The investigators noted that 2.29 percent of men in their 40s and 3.75 percent of men in their 60s were taking some form of testosterone therapy by 2011.”

    “In 2013, testosterone drugs generated a revenue of 2.4 billion U.S. dollars.” “By 2018, annual revenue generated from testosterone drug sales in the United States is expected to reach 3.8 billion U.S. dollars. Testosterone use was among the highest in Canada and the United States as of 2011, with 385.5 monthly doses and 98.5 monthly doses per 1,000 population, respectively.”

    • Sean parker

      there’s a difference between a prescription of testosterone to bring your testosterone back up to ‘normal’ 30 year old levels to retain muscle mass and ‘virility’; and taking testerosterone above those levels for the purposes of recovery or increasing muscle mass above that individual’s baseline.

      • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

        I could answer you with points like, how can a man race masters when he’s taking drugs to achieve a 30-yr olds muscle mass?, what is wrong with declining muscle mass?, isn’t it the case that exercise is the best way to age slowly and gracefully?, by condoning use we are encouraging people to take a drug which increases their risk of heart disease, cancer, and mental disorders – can that be OK?

        But instead I’ll just say, the rule is it cannot be done without a TUE. And USAC won’t give TUE’s for testosterone. So it would be cheating.

        And if we’re talking about other kinds of non-sanctioned events, and if the person has any kind of a remarkable performance, they are still being a jerk to others. And if they don’t have a remarkable performance, they are being a jerk to themselves due to health risks.

        • Sean parker

          That wasn’t my point. My point is that there is both an ethical and clinical distinction that can be made.

          It isn’t cycle racing’s job to make ethical decisions on whether citizens ought to use hormone supplementation. Do we ban women’s use of hormone replacement therapy in menopausal racers based on this logic also?

          It IS cycle racing’s job to make decisions on performance enhancing supplementation. I contend that their is an ethical difference between return to baseline testosterone levels as compared to overdosing for performance gains.

          • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

            You think USAC should not have made the rule. You think you should decide the rule. You are entitled to your opinion, and to stating it, however vociferously I disagree. Nevertheless, it is the USAC rule, and violating it is cheating. And it’s not just driving 5 mph over the speed limit, it is changing the race results and robbing those who didn’t cheat of their just deserts. (The same goers for unsanctioned events, except that even though it is not usually a written rule, it is still robbing others of their just deserts.)

            • Bobolini

              I completely agree with you; irregardless of documented health risks, testosterone replacement is cheating, which is why getting a TUE through USADA is basically unheard of.
              This is why: cycling performance is genetic first, training after that. You can train the motor, but what came out of the box is only going to get so good. Part of the genetics in Master’s racing is how well we age. Testosterone replacement is doping, period…

  • Paul Webb

    Thank you for a rather more nuanced story on doping than we normally get.


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