With all the talk at the moment about professional cycling and drugs I thought I would add my thoughts on the matter.
For some reason there seem to be many sports journalists out there who obviously do not like cycling or really have no idea what efforts are involved on a one day race let alone a three week race. Quite often the only sport they partake in is bandwagon jumping!
Firstly let me make this part clear.
I am a cyclist and have always supported and practiced drug free sport. I have competed in many events from 10 mile time trials, hill climbs, track racing, road racing, marathon mountain biking and Ironman triathlons. I have NEVER resorted to "Drug" assistance in any of these.
and Tour I follow professional cycling with interest and am lucky to live in an area where the Giro d'Italia & Tour de France pass regularly. I have ridden many of the routes these races cover and can fully appreciate the effort these guys put in. I am always disappointed when a rider is found to be a drugs cheat.
However there is part of me that can understand why they do it. After all how many people can honestly say that they can get through a "normal day" without some form of chemical stimulation. Can you wake up without your morning coffee? Can you get to sleep without a relaxing glass of wine/spirits/sedative?
Can you manage you sex life without a helping "Hand" from that most popular drug "Viagra"?
Every day people "Drug Cheat" on ordinary natural, daily functions. How do you expect an endurance sportsman who rides 200km per day for three weeks over all terrain and in all conditions under pressure from his sponsors and fans to "perform" not to be tempted? These guys may seem superhuman but they are only human and suffer from human weaknesses.
Cycling as a sport has two options.
1) It carries on as it is now and tries to eliminate drug in the sport (The fact that it is often in the news is good evidence that it is taking action)
2) It allows and controls certain performance enhancing drugs so that all riders have a level playing field and the doses can be controlled within "safe" limits.
If you are still not convinced then come and take a ride up one of the famous cols and tell me you do not need an aspirin afterwards (or a cold beer, coke, coffee, spliff etc.) to help recover.
Before you hammer cycling and proffessional cyclists think about your own life and how often you "cheat" just to get through it.
For more info on drug free sport look at these links:-
Drug free sport manifesto
What can or cannot be taken