Thursday, July 27, 2006

It WAS Too Good To Be True

I thought it was suspicious that Floyd Landis could ride so well given his dying hip. Perhaps I should have been more alert this lunchtime when I noticed a large number of my hits were coming from people searching for "Landis doped".

All I will say is this (I had more, but it has been lost somewhere in Blogger): cycling clearly has a systematic doping problem. Even riders like Lance Armstrong who vehemently deny doping have shady links. Having thrown out riders connected with a Spanish drugs probe, le Tour still hasn't been able to prevent its top performers from doping. Sports, as a whole, are too congratulatory when they return many negative doping tests. Often, they may prove nothing other than a weakness in the testing system itself. The prevalence of masking agents, combined with the knowledge of when many testing programmes target athletes, means that there are many loopholes to get around.

The other question that must be asked is - does banning the drugged athlete solve the problem? Drugs are only effective in combination with a specialised training regime, and behind every instance of drug taking is a specialised trainer and medical team. If the people behind the offence are not punished, then surely the problem is just passed on elsewhere?