Amateur doping - rider tests positive for TEN substances

Around here, a professional is someone who gets paid to ride their bike. It doesn’t matter what category they are in.

Even with your definition, it makes no sense to me why you think it’s fine to dope in a lower category, but as soon as you’ve made it to an elite level, it’s suddenly not. It just can’t work that way.


Absolutely tons of amateur sports honestly.

But even in your small specific example we already see variation of rule sets at certain thresholds.

I mean even Zwift implements different rules for A racers than Bs.

Nothing really profound about any of this. Sorry just not finding this line of thought interesting.

Does one deserve a particular genetic advantage?


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So when you say it might be more important for pros to be tested vs. amateurs it’s because of the role model effect on kids? As in…if we have these superstars we want kids to understand it’s due to hard work and not cheating.

Vs. amateur sports where Joe might be all pissed off because a doper beat him but it doesn’t have any effect whatsoever on the larger society so it’s not really a big deal. I mean, to Joe it is but the disappointment/anger/frustration is confined to him and only him.

If that’s what you’re saying I reluctantly agree!


To me it’s sadder when amateurs dope to win a title because at that level all riders have is their hard work. The podium is meaningful. It may mean nothing to society at large but in the US pro cycling is basically meaningless - how many people have heard of Bernal or Pogacar - the last two winners of the Tour?

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I find the “it’s ok for amateurs” argument interesting, but where does this line of reasoning stop? That is: the doping rules are no different than any other rule - age categories, equipment, etc. sports are by definition contests between people / teams within an arbitrary, but agreed upon rule set.

So if you argue that doping should be ok in amateur categories what other rules are you ok with people not following? If I’m 50 can I compete in the 75+ masters category so I can win a world championship?

Depends, do you identify as being 50 or do you identify as being 75?


If people think I’m in my 40s, does that mean I have to compete in the youngums category. :thinking::rofl:

Doping rules are different, at least in the US, because the drugs are not legal for performance enhancement. If doping were legal in amateur sports, you force people that don’t want to dope to seek out the drugs illegally.

It would be really sad to have amateurs driving to Mexico for drugs, finding shady docs who will prescribe off label use, or buying who knows what substance from gym bro drug dealers.

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Problem is that pro sport doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Amateur sport is the grass roots and foundations without which there is no pro sport. Allow doping at the amateur level and most or all of the people who make it to pro will have done so by doping and with a mindset that doping is fine, which is a pretty basis on which to build a clean professional sport.

Not to mention that allowing doping at the amateur level will turn away all the people who disagree with doping from the sport. They’ll turn to other sports or just ride for fun and not race. Fewer people racing, organising races, running clubs, volunteering at races, running junior programmes, etc all damages the sport at every level.

I think the current model works pretty well. Which is basically that the rules are largely the same, but the enforcement of the rules varies according to the level you’re at. So even at the lowest level where there is basically no chance of being caught there is still the knowledge that doping is cheating and people are forced to do it surreptitiously. And the higher up you go (whether that’s as a racer or as an authority figure such as a club captain, coach, etc) the higher the chances of getting caught and the more you have to lose. Which acts as a damper on doping all the way down. And worst case scenario, even if doping is rampant in amateur sport, those who want to race clean still get to console themselves with the knowledge that they’re clean even if they’re not winning. Whereas if doping is allowed then you don’t get even get that!

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I think we are in general agreement. My point was more that some people were saying / implying they are ok with amateurs doping. My point was that if you remove the legality question of the substances themselves, there is the simple aspect that the rules prohibit their use. So at a first cut, being ok with amateurs using performance enhancing drugs is no different than saying you are ok with amateurs using motors / other prohibited equipment.

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Hi all,

Doping is actually a very interesting psychological and organizational matter. I can recommend this course on Coursera:

Went through during Traditional Base on the trainer. Gives some perspectives…on bodybuilding and cycling.



A lot of this thread acknowledges that there are many amateur athletes taking PEDs. I have never done a bike race, but race lots of triathlons and some running races, and it never occurs to me that someone in the field has taken something to enhance their performance.

Now in my mid 50s I do marvel at how difficult it is to sustain a pace that was very easy when I was younger, but the idea of trying something other than better training, eating, and recovery is totally foreign.

Maybe if I won a big race it would be different, but I have never encountered any event drug testing.

Great thread. Lots of eye-opening comments.

As someone managing asthma, going on 40 years now, using prescription medication, I’d love an explainer as to how mainstream prescription asthma medications are “performance enhancing.” Are people inhaling albuterol thinking it will make them faster?

I do agree with you that “Low T” is not a medical condition, and taking Testosterone for most guys is stupid. But as with asthma meds, I’m not too concerned about competing against guys using Low T treatment doses as they’re much lower than the doses used for athletic performance enhancement.

The asthma drug issue was with Salbutamol which apparently helps you burn fat. So the allegations are that GC riders were using it pre-grand tour to lean out.

Moving you blood level from 300 to 800 will probably make you faster. At least it did for the guy I know on it, it upped his hematocrit too.


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300 to 800 is a bunch, but the example makes the original point. Unless your friend is <30, he was already w/in normal limits for free testosterone for men 30-40 and mid-normal for men over 50. Why even Rx it in the first place?

Do you know the guy’s prescriptive regimen? That kind of jump seems too robust for a normal low T regimen.

Interesting. Salbutamol is just an international branding of albuterol; I’ve used the latter for years. The only thing that’s ever helped me lean up is increased volume and eating less. Haha!

That said, I do know that some of asthma treatments from the 60’s and 70’s were CNS stimulants that do increase fat metabolism under certain conditions. Ephedrine, for example. Banned and for good reason.

I think he was just below the normal range and with supplements he moved to the high end of the normal range, I don’t know the exact numbers or what he is on. But he went from being dropped on the climbs to leading them and he is not a lightweight dude. Hell, even in his 20’s he wasn’t leading the climbs! And he’s only on T, nothing else.

He feels he’s just returning his body to where it should be. And you know, I can kinda understand that…although I’d probably say “returning my body to where I want it to be” :wink: He’s not racing so he’s not affecting anybody’s leaderboard. He’s definitely happier with treatment (or whatever you call it).

At 52 I feel as young as ever but my power isn’t what it was in my mid-40’s, I’m fighting this annoying little “mini pot belly”, I’m losing hair, I can’t eat a dozen tacos on Taco Tuesday anymore, I don’t sleep like before, I don’t pee like before. I’m telling you, something is different and it kinda sucks!

Personally I’m not interested in “anti-aging therapy” (is that what we’re calling it in polite company now?) because I feel it’s cheating in competition, potential side effects, cost, and “it’s more trouble than I want to deal with” but…I can certainly understand the appeal.



Not surprising. A person spends $!0K+ on their bike, a couple of hundred on kit, a grand or two on training camp, etc. What does epo cost in relation to all of that? In my circles I know one person (and I don’t know him personally just via the socials and seeing him at races) who has been tested. For amateur racing especially when we are talking masters and lower categories I just don’t see there a huge risk in getting tested/busted unless all of a sudden the guy who was the perennial red lantern is now at the top of the podium week in/week out. I have two friends that won the overall at TOAD and perhaps they were tested, but I have not heard they were or not.

I took up cycling to avoid drugs not get into them.