I haven’t posted much about doping lately. After all, it’s the height of cycling’s off-season. In celebration of the Vuelta route announcement (won by an accused doper, but who isn’t?) here’s a pretty revealing article about what really occurs in high stakes sports. This guy, in fact, was only a second tier professional and, apparently, the pressure to dope began at even lower levels.
This is probably the most candid account of doping I’ve seen. Joe Papp doesn’t seem to be holding back. I’d love to hear more about the specifics but it’s interesting to hear how his doping came about,
Papp tells us of a hard to grasp paradox – that he doped not to earn money, but because he loved cycling so much, He wanted to keep cycling and that meant wins– which is ironic that this love for the sport is exactly what puts the sport and the health of its athletes in jeopardy.
Still, we get more info than most ex-dopers are willing to part with, such as:
And on it went from 2001 to his near-death crash in 2006. Papp admitted to using nearly 100 different drugs including EPO, HGH, cortisone, insulin, thyroid hormone, anabolic steroids and amphetamines. He fell into a definitive program of cycling with substances – unaware of the dangers – or at least unwilling to see them. “When you have a doctor managing your doping program, the risks seem less tangible.”
And an uncompromising look at the reality of how to stop it,
He has put his hand up and said yes I did this and here are the life destroying consequences. We wish all young athletes to be aware of the lifelong opportunity cost of doping which far outweigh the short term gain of drugs Papp, somewhat despondently, admits, “I hate to say it, but a fear based education from an early age, if you dope you put the rest of your life in jeopardy is essential to making doping something that is again unconscionable for the next generation.”
All in all, a good read to keep you focused on your off-season conditioning because the fitter you make yourself the less the temptation to dope becomes. Okay, that last line is probably complete bullocks. But in the world of fear mongering at least the threat of death might give one pause.