Amateur doping - rider tests positive for TEN substances

I saw the story here Cyclist banned after testing positive for 10 different drugs | road.cc and I was surprised. While I absolutely don’t condone it in the pro ranks, I can at least understand the temptation. But as a masters amateur?? It made me wonder how common this is. What are people’s views?

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Oh come on.

‘How common is it’.

Entire drug sites, real world dealer networks, dark web discussions and sales forums are dedicated to it!

Think of the amount of racers in all sports. Now think of the number of days in a year and how many years they all race.

Now compare that to the amount of testing that happens.

And you start to get an idea of how ridiculous the aspect of ‘clean sport’ is.

Don’t worry about this stuff, it’s just the way it is. When someone gets caught, hang them out to dry, or just pretend it doesn’t happen and don’t check those kinds of places if you don’t want your eyes opened.

Was actually a flirtation with bodybuilding that makes me realise how rife performance drugs were across all sports. I’ve posted and been part of communities where they had dedicated areas to selling drugs for sports and had doctors giving support and advice. All may sound very back alley, but these people are super smart. You genuinely will not be able to find any doctor in a standard practise who has a clue about the science like the guys on these places. And they’re always a step ahead.

If you can put ethics to one side, then you can learn a lot from these guys in these sites. The science really is super interesting.

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Setting aside the people that intentionally seek out banned substances for performance improvement, there is a whole arsenal of medications and medical treatments that would require a TUE for usage in competition that people do not get. Asthma medications, anemia treatments, “Low T” stuff (my personal pet peeve)…most if not all of these would require a TUE. People use them all the same as if being prescribed it by a doctor somehow makes it OK.

Agree with @shrike though in general. I feel genuinely sorry for folks that dope for amateur sports. It’s missing the entire point of the effort/exercise.

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That’s an interesting perspective on the bodybuilding. I actually know a couple of bodybuilders personally and they’re quite open about steroid use: it helps that possession of them for personal use isn’t illegal in the UK. I understand most UK bodybuilding competitions are untested, and I also understand that for the purposes of muscle building, well, ‘on’ vs ‘clean’ are effectively different sports. Drug use in that scene isn’t news to me, trust me.

I’m also under no illusion whatsoever that pro sport, much less cycling, is in any way clean. The rewards are just too great for no one to be tempted.

What surprises me a little is that this is an older, amateur rider, with - given his age - no hope of turning pro or similar.

So perhaps I should have phrased the original question better. Do we think that more ‘average’ or older riders, without pro aspirations - or even without aspirations to national titles - are doing this? I’m not ‘worried’ as such, just curious really.

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That’s quite the list. Do you really need all those overlapping drugs to go fast? From reading about the Armstrong days, it seems they honed in on testosterone for training and recovery and EPO or blood to go fast on race day. All the other stuff was BS.

Testosterone – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents
Nandrolone – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – a Non-Specified Substance in the category of Anabolic Agents
Somatropin (hGH) – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics
Ipamorelin – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics
GHRP-6 – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics
CJC-1295 – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics
IGF-1 – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics
Anastrozole – a Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators
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Oh no you misunderstand.

The bodybuilding sites were simply a gateway to performance drugs sites for sports.

Those networks are connected.

User base varies, was mostly older guys with decades of experience running shop, then it trickling down.

Intake of new users I’d say anecdotally seemed to be younger males and probably because they’re more internet savvy and open to private messaging and asking questions about doping in a ‘fun’ or ironic way. Hence they’d be getting invited across. Probably also more likely to be taken in by the respectability of long term forum users with lots of ‘reputation’ points.

All western forums ultimately have T&Cs and can get taken down if doing a prohibited drugs sale in a thread and it was reported so sales are done privately as is linking to international deregulated markets for drug purchases. Invite only forums much more sophisticated and used code words for each drug.

Reputation means a lot in those places because drugs are made in batches and fakes are a plenty and there’s lot of drama over that on those places too. People have events and want to get a cycle done at specific times with enough time left to pee clean.

It’s big business, loads of US public facing guys on there like firemen etc. They get tested regularly so cycle times are trickier for them hence you get this build up of expertise.

Anyway, all I can offer on this without dragging the place into the mud. Not the most pleasant topic to discuss when you get to the murky details. As for demographics you’re looking for. No clue, but I’d say younger guys increasingly common and older guys less so due to the move to dark web which a lot of masters racers will find a barrier. So either you have a mate or are left chasing sites with constantly moving locations.

Edit: also worth adding to mods @mcneese.chad etc, that if my last two posts weren’t vague enough, then feel free to delete. Younger dudes could probably second guess some of the references there.

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I heard plenty times, that the amateur scene is riddled with drug abuse. I also remember an article from way back during the Armstrong years… some Journalists matched the sales numbers of EPO in Italy with the estimated number of cases for the rather rare diseases, that are treated with EPO… well only roughly 5% of EPO sold was actually used medically. It´s not hard to guess what the rest was used for.

But just like OP I really, really don´t get it. What´s there to win, other than bragging rights in a very small social circle?! And even then you yourself know, that any results you achieved are not real. So really what´s the point? I think cheating on Zwift is already pretty dumb, but at least you are not sacrificing your health.

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Very believable. Some people just have a switch in them that says ‘win at all costs’. And they justify it in a similar way to the pros ie everyone is doing it so I’m just making things fair.

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At a certain age I get it. If you are 60 or 70 or 80 and the science became clear-ish you could take this stuff and add 5 or 10 or 20 years of healthspan to your life without much effecting your lifespan, you have to at least weight the choice. If you do so at 70 you may feel 15 years younger and want to start racing again or continue doing so. Do these choices mean you should never be allowed to race again? I get its, it is a hard thing to solve… If you make it a checkbox on the form do you have to split the already small fields? This specific one looks a lot more like a clear case of cheating but i think there is plenty of grey area. The science of it is moving so fast that for all of us 40 somethings this is going to be a very real conversation we will need to have in the coming decades.

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Now that I’m older I don’t think I’d trust anyone enough to buy drugs off them. How’s the quality control with illegal substances?

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I think he would’ve done better than mid-pack if he took a few more drugs.

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Bloodtype = Watts

I have no idea with PEDs. I assume it’s like a lot of illicit areas: who do you know, and how much have you got to spend?

Further investigations then uncovered a total of 10 substances that Aivazian either possessed, used or had attempted to use.

I could definitely be wrong here, but I doubt he was “on” them all at the same time. He likely cycled different drugs throughout the course of many years, at least that would be my guess. (states that he started in 2010). That’s how body builders typically do it, even if they’re on many drugs at the same time they’ll probably cycle through a few so the total drug count is higher.

I have a few gym buddies that have been cycling a few different drugs for many years. On that note, it was amazing/surprising to me how many people I work out with at the gym aren’t “natural”.

People intentionally buy wheel on trainers because they record more watts than direct drive. Forums are flooded with posts about “my X reads higher than my Neo, why is my Neo wrong?” People hook machines up to their spindle to win Zwift races.

People STILL defend Lance to this day.

People take drugs to win the sprint to the stop sign on a Saturday shop ride.

Nothing surprises me any more. I assume everyone is cheating. Then I don’t get let down.

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Without defending Lance, I understand why he doped.

I have no comprehension of why someone would dope for the Saturday group ride.

I mean, I could take all the drugs in the world and I’m not going to be able to sit on a pro’s wheel*, much less win a race at that level. It’s a hobby. Ethics aside for a moment, why would you bother/risk it? But then as was noted above, some people just have to win, and how doesn’t worry them, I suppose.

*but I might get to that elusive 4.8 w/kg :rofl: Is that the thinking, mad as it is?

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I think I could defend people doping to beat their friends on Saturdays easier than I could defend lying to the entire world, taking charity money, breaking the hopes of thousands of cancer patients, and encouraging others to put themselves at risk just to be rich and famous.

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I have no intention of defending either Lance or the hypothetical Saturday cheater: I was referring to the context of someone doping at elite/pro level competition, not the specifics of the Armstrong case. I really don’t want to make this an Armstrong debate because it’s not the point of the question. We know Lance doped. I was surprised to see a masters amateur so juiced up. Make sense? :+1:

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This is an interesting thread as there was a podcast I listened to a while back with Johnathan Vaughters where he talked about how hard it was for him as a clean athlete in the 90 cycling world. My working theory is that whatever circle you’re in, that’s the doping that’s going to bother you the most. Not saying you’re a masters rider, or that this is always true, but I was really offended to see a guy in my field last year on road results with the needle by his name. The pro stuff doesn’t bother me quite as directly!

Edit, by last year I mean 2019 :sob:

I think the two are connected, because if you assume every pro is doping, and you know lots of average Joe’s are cheating to make their numbers look better on Strava, then it’s not a long shot to assume lots of lower level racers are doping too.