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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:58 am 
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mattr wrote:
Neil wrote:
Well in my opinion, given sports where it's rife, it doesn't tend to make champions of people who wouldn't otherwise be champions, all other things being equal - but I'm sure some will dispute that.
It does. Bjarne Riis used to get spanked out of the back of the peloton on hills as steep as a motorway flyover on a regular basis, a handful of months later hes climbing with the best of the non-specialists in the world in the TDF. And then goes on to win.


I'm not sure that's refuting what I'm saying. If, in that example, drugs were used to transform his performance, how can we be sure that all it didn't do, was level the playing field with those he was truly competing against?

And yes - I get, some people get better results from some drugs than others. Some people have better natural hormonal profiles than others. Some people have better genetic predisposition to various physical factors than others. Some people respond to exertion differently.

I've plenty of experience of seeing the effects of PEDs - and no, I've never partaken, personally - to realise something that's often missed in all of this - many who use PEDs get a psychological boost as well as physical. It's like a switch, in many - which I think goes to explain how some, may seemingly move from being mediocre, to outstanding - they know once they are using something, that they are truly "on" something, and it affects them. How they train, how they perform - suddenly, there's an artifical feeling of having this additional performance, a certain superiority or beyond normal ability - almost as if they're invincible and can do or win. For some, truly, the psychological aspect can be significant - maybe as significant as the biological / physical enhancement they provide.

I remain unconvinced that drugs in sport do much more than level the playing field in sports where drug use is rife. In sports were there may only be the odd person who manages it undetected, probably a different matter.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:11 am 
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Neil wrote:
mattr wrote:
Neil wrote:
Well in my opinion, given sports where it's rife, it doesn't tend to make champions of people who wouldn't otherwise be champions, all other things being equal - but I'm sure some will dispute that.
It does. Bjarne Riis used to get spanked out of the back of the peloton on hills as steep as a motorway flyover on a regular basis, a handful of months later hes climbing with the best of the non-specialists in the world in the TDF. And then goes on to win.


I'm not sure that's refuting what I'm saying. If, in that example, drugs were used to transform his performance, how can we be sure that all it didn't do, was level the playing field with those he was truly competing against?
It made a champion out of a mediocre domestique.
There are figures bandied about that a good response to EPO can add over 30% to your performance, that takes you from 4.5w/kg at threshold (a good second cat) to 6w/kg, which is what the likes of the best riders in the world can put out. Not quite carthorse to grand national winner, but not far off.

And we can't be sure how leveled the playing field was. We don't know how every rider in the top 50 responds to the dope, or how good they were before, or how much risk they were willing to take (Mr 60%!). Or if they were all doping......

Tho, statistically, its unlikely that the field was anywhere near level.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:25 am 
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mattr wrote:
Neil wrote:
mattr wrote:
Bjarne Riis used to get spanked out of the back of the peloton on hills as steep as a motorway flyover on a regular basis, a handful of months later hes climbing with the best of the non-specialists in the world in the TDF. And then goes on to win.


I'm not sure that's refuting what I'm saying. If, in that example, drugs were used to transform his performance, how can we be sure that all it didn't do, was level the playing field with those he was truly competing against?
It made a champion out of a mediocre domestique.


How can you be sure, though - how can you truly compare where he was in the relative hierarchy - who was clean, who was using.

mattr wrote:
There are figures bandied about that a good response to EPO can add over 30% to your performance, that takes you from 4.5w/kg at threshold (a good second cat) to 6w/kg, which is what the likes of the best riders in the world can put out. Not quite carthorse to grand national winner, but not far off.


I've no doubts of the effects, that's not in dispute - I'm talking about the situation with the landscape, too - if the rest of the peloton is using, then how can you be sure that exactly the same suggestion of turning a journeyman into a champion, isn't true of countless others? And given that it will almost certainly be those using at the front of the pack, surely they are only there because of their drug use.

Were they all completely clean, would the results be different? I don't know. I struggle to care, though. Drug use is - or at least was - so rife, that it becomes merely an intellectual hypothetical.

mattr wrote:
And we can't be sure how leveled the playing field was. We don't know how every rider in the top 50 responds to the dope, or how good they were before. Or if they were all doping......

Tho, statistically, its unlikely that the field was anywhere near level.


That's my point, really. Yes, I truly know, PEDs can transform the performance of people. It can also transform their attitude, because of some psychological boost they get. Problem is, in sports where drug use was so rife, for the front of the pack, it simply becomes another equaliser, largely. You could argue some might benefit more - well biologically, and naturally, some may already have more capabilities - you could argue some get more of a psychological or attitude boost, some may take more (in the examples, where the benefits are still scalable).

The only scenarios I see the potential to suggest somebody got there merely by use of PEDs is where PED use is so scarce in some particular sport, or discipline, that it made them a rarity. Thing is, realistically, how could most ever appraise that?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:44 pm 
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Neil wrote:
I remain unconvinced that drugs in sport do much more than level the playing field in sports where drug use is rife. In sports were there may only be the odd person who manages it undetected, probably a different matter.


I suspect you are right - it's a ratcheting effect justified by the 'everyone is doing it' excuse. However it remains detrimental to health and honesty so has to be fought. That battle will remain endless as there are a minority who are prepared to win at all costs.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:54 pm 
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lifetime bans & jail time should put some off cheating to win.
unfortunately, some are prepared to sell their soul to the devil to get any kind of advantage.
the biggest problem we have is sports personalities who have no conscience and pretend to be a winner when they are frauds.
no victory in being a lying cheat.


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