Amateur Doping

No, this post isn't some sort of Darwin Awards for obtuseness in doping, it concerns the unknown prevalence of doping amongst people who are paid to do other things than race bikes. In each community there are persistent rumours about individual riders that go beyond petty jealousy.

It is impossible to know whether amateur doping has decreased in what authorities and athletes proclaim is a post-EPO and blood-doping era. Certainly the antediluvian world, before the biological passport and the whereabouts system, cannot exist anymore, but amateur athletes aren't held to this level of scrutiny.

In the last seven years holding a UCI license issued by Cycling Australia, I haven’t been tested once. I would happily pay a levy on license or race fees if it was guaranteed that ASADA would be randomly testing athletes.

There has been a collective decision that anti-doping resources are deployed to the professional ranks save a few spot checks at national amateur championships. I can well understand that, and obviously the temptations to dope are enhanced by money. Yet there are plenty of mature-aged athletes who have a pathological desire to win. Part of this pathology stems from society’s current unwillingness to age. Anti-ageing clinics are huge business, and their middle-aged patients are taking peptides, human growth hormone, and testosterone in their battle against the deleterious effects of accumulating years. And so why not rage against the dying of the cardiovascular output light, too?

We can pretend that doping isn't happening in local cycling, but that didn't end well for the professional cohort. Doping amongst well-heeled amateur athletes is less likely to be a desultory process than the professional ranks. There are plenty of enabling doctors with a willing prescription pad. Moral relativism should not apply to cheating in sport — it is not OK at any level. Subjectivism goes out the door when you sign your racing license.

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