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Performance Enhancing Drugs Used In Cycling

972 words - 4 pages

The use of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) in elite cycling extends well beyond the 60’s. Evidence suggests that PED’s where used as far back as the Ancient Greeks. They used various methods of doping to gain the performance edge (Bowers 1998). People will always use and abuse substances in the pursuit to get the edge as well as personal appearance (Fernandez, Hosey). These days with equipment being technologically advanced and available to all professional teams athletes need to find a way to perform at the new levels. There have been many theories to explain the contributing factors for professional athletes deliberately using PED’s to gain an unfair advantage, a competitors success or failure should be a result of their natural talents (Beloff 2001). Although, the literature covers a wide range of information, this review will focus on the pressure athletes are facing to succeed and stay on top at the elite level. (Maler, Liechti, Herzig, Schaub 2013)

The World Anti-Doping Agency code declares it to be an illegal drug if it is performance enhancing, a health risk, or if it violates the “spirit of sport”(WADA, 2009). Teams like the US postal team, place a ‘code of silence’ pressured athletes to use PED’s as well as groomed them to evade detection from the authorities so they can gain an unfair advantage (Tygart 2012). In the past 16 years of the Tour De France there have been 12 years that the overall winners have been linked with and found guilty of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (McLean, Tse, Wannanen 2013). Considering the state of the doping culture in cycling throughout the last 20 years alone, its no wonder athletes like Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landers, Alberto Contador and many more, have to make a choice when becoming a professional athlete. To either take the banned substances and be apart of the PED winning program or be at a competitive disadvantage (Dime 2014). Graeme Obree a professional cyclist in the 90’s quote sums up exactly what happens at top end of professional cycling.

‘I was signed up to ride in the prologue of the Tour back in 1995, but it was made very obvious to me I would have to take drugs. I said no, no way, and I was sacked by my team . . . I feel I was robbed by a lot of these bastards taking drugs’. (Campbell 2006)

The better athletes perform with doping the more likely there teammate will also use, clean athletes moving into a doping team is more likely to dope, appose to a clean team moving to a clean team is less likely to dope due to positive influence from the team (Murray, Van De Rijt, Shandra 2013)

Young athletes turning professional have pressure to perform and impress team managers, team mates, family and even fans (Villines 2013). That pressure to succeed and fit in within the team structure can force these athletes to...

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