With a grant from the World Anti-Doping Agency, University of Vermont anthropology professor Brian Gilley has spent the last year studying attitudes among under-23-year-old cyclists towards use of performance enhancing drugs.
Since the Tour de France ousted its third cyclist from the race, even after multiple doping scandals the last few years, his findings are interesting.
Using American amateur collegiate cyclists as his control, Gilley interviewed elite junior and young adult Italian, Belgian, and American riders and found a surprising mix of responses about willingness to dope. The majority, he says, believe intense pressure from team managers and sponsors forces them to cheat in order to be competitive.
Some of Gilley's findings delve into conspiratorial opinion, like that doping is part of a secretive, intentional long-term training regimen encouraged by European trainers for even very young cyclists and that pressure to dope is entrenched both in their national culture and within cycling culture.
He is willing to believe rider claims that sponsors are responsible for doping because they can get monetary benefits whether riders get caught or not: if they perform well sponsors gain through publicity and related product sales; if a rider gets caught, the sponsor gains by taking the moral high ground and withdrawing support.
In order words, cycling is exactly the same scenario as every sport, every university and every business in the entire world.
He says it must be sponsorships causing the problem because collegiate riders view doping as a moral failure but approximately 20% of American college cyclists say that they would dope if the stakes were high enough.
Not exactly a consensus.
What is his solution? An interesting one. Basically he believes there should be two tiers in sports; a higher level of professional competition in which doping is accepted as a given and then authentic amateur athletic competition across all sports.
If you can't change the cheating, change the rules?
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- The World Is NOT Ending Today! AWFUL "Silly Season" Story
- Why An Extra Planet Can't Be Hidden Behind The Sun Or Above The South Pole
- Why Has Organic Farming Flatlined?
- My Applied National Security Paper. Being President Isn't For Idiots.
- Hugh Hefner's Wife Was Not Poisoned By Breast Implants
- The Daily Physics Problem - 5
- SYRINA: A Trojan Horse For Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?
- "Apparently mr walker nasa has said that there is a pole shift happening and it will quickly speed..."
- "The same goes for Greenpeace's opposition to nuclear power. It is so easy to scare people about..."
- " I think the researchers are on the wrong way. The rotation curves of spiral galaxies are not only..."
- "I do not wish to publicly get involved in partisan politics of the USA on this site, but you may..."
- "Ian, nothing is going to happen, not now, not in September, none of these predictions is based..."
- Acute kidney injury identifiable in preterm infants
- Teens who smoke daily are more likely to report health complaints
- Lab method sheds light on how genetic mutations cause inherited Parkinson's disease
- Abundant and diverse ecosystem found in area targeted for deep-sea mining
- Portable device produces biologic drugs on demand