Why it is perfectly OK to still like professional cycling

February 2, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Posted in cycling | 1 Comment
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1. Only impressionable under-23s with Machiavellian parent-managers motordope. The pros have been definitely not motordoping since at least 2010. Everyone knows that.

2. EPO is like, so last season. Procyclists are FAR too fashion-forward to be doing it now. They won’t even wear the same shades as last year. You’re telling me they’re still doing drugs?

3. Testing is really amazing these days. Everyone has basically given up because they know they’ll get caught, as soon as they’ve retired. Their reputation will be in tatters and they won’t be national treasures or get commentating gigs or anything.

4. The UCI are committed to routing out cheats and punishing them severely, by giving them two-year bans and only letting them have Cat 2 licences when they come back.

5. The really bad offenders have to sit on anti-drugs-in-sport boards, and become the Mr Mackeys of cycling.

6. It’s only a few bad apples. Well, and their dads. And their spouses. And their brothers. And their doctors. And their mechanics. And their team managers.

7. If Modern Cycling gets too much, you can squinch your eyes tight shut and imagine you’re back in seventy-something and Eddy’s bossing the peloton with a single sneer like the Brabantse Elvis and Hinault’s knocking bystanders out with a mere EYEBROW and cycling is marvellous and epic and heroic and totally believable and nobody ever falls off their bike suddenly.

8. Or you can go back to the nineties when nobody wears a helmet so you can still tell who is who and there are real climbers and rouleurs and nobody is good at everything and there are proper CYCLING HEROES like Pantani.

9. Anyway, there are BRITISH PEOPLE winning bike races these days, and THEY can’t possibly be cheating, because it just wouldn’t be cricket. So, marginal gains, and, you know. Beetroot. I’m cheering for beetroot. GO BEETROOT.beet

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Doping through the ages

November 12, 2013 at 9:59 am | Posted in cycling | Leave a comment
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Performance enhancement has been around since the ancient Greeks, as Lance Armstrong recently reminded us. Nevertheless, the precise details of doping procedures in the Olden Days™ remain inexplicably under-researched. For your edutainment, I present here a summary of the little we know.

Stone Age performance enhancement mostly involved athletes poking sabre tooth tigers with sticks. It’s estimated that this technique resulted in several sub-four minute miles, although this is hard to verify, as no-one had yet invented clocks, tape measures or writing.

Roman darts

The Romans achieved performance advantages principally through confusing everyone about who was winning at darts.

The Vikings, in between all the pillaging, fornication and so on, were quite handy at rowing, winning the double sculls for over a hundred years on a carbohydrate-rich diet of porridge and ale. They were eventually beaten by the English, who achieved a tactical gain through judicious ingestion of cheese.

As French speakers, the Normans had a natural advantage. The Bayeux Tapestry was an elaborate subterfuge to disguise the Normans’ innovative use of needles.

The Tudors invented hose, or what we now know as ‘compression tights’.

In Stuart times, Samuel Pepys pioneered the meticulous recording of doses and effects, noting in a cryptic system of pseudonyms and symbolic references how ‘Maria’ had a ‘loin of mutton’ ‘fried’, for example, and became ‘very merry’.

crinoline centrifuge

The Victorians cultivated a demeanour of disapproval of pretty much everything; doping was no exception. Contemporaneous accounts indicate, however, that the lasting popularity of the crinoline was partly due to its suitability for concealing centrifuges.

Wartime doping continued despite strict rationing. Under the motto ‘COOK UP! for KING and COUNTRY’ , resourceful housewives fashioned effective stimulants from a mixture of dried egg, Spam and scouring powder.

In the modern era, the lines between legitimate and illegitimate means are becoming ever more blurred. Even amateur athletes can now source a variety of products from painkillers to inhalers, and most of us enjoy a protein supplement washed down with a nice sedative of a Friday night.

Doping in the future will involve food pills, jetpacks and women in PVC boots. Honest.

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