No, seriously. Cycling and doping…who cares?

I took a lot of crud for not being properly outraged at the revelations that Lance Armstrong won his 7 Tours de France by doping.

Sorry, I still don’t care.

It’s not about Lance (nor his bike). Of course I’m disappointed — it was fun to think that, among all the drugs and scandals, there was one guy who didn’t. Now everyone says there wasn’t. It has a feeling of inevitability, as if no matter who competes, they they win, they cheated somehow.

It’s about a sport that is so swamped with money that absolutely nobody can stop people from using drugs to win in it. It’s about a massive contradiction in which we demand “clean” sports, but we also demand winners in those sports to be every faster, ever stronger, and ever more supernatural in their ability to achieve those levels without performance enhancers.

At least one team sponsor feels as I do — Rabobank in Holland (click) has withdrawn from the sport, not just over Lance, but over frustration with the whole mess. The sport is irredeemable, it says, so why bother?


Cycling is a great sport. As long as all it involves is riding your bicycle from here to there, with no money involved and, perhaps, even only minimal bragging rights, it might be possible to keep it clean and tidy and fun.

Throw money, millions and billions of dollars, into the mix, forget it.

And, no, it is not the only sport where this is an issue, just the only one I made the mistake, for a while there, of caring about.



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5 Responses to No, seriously. Cycling and doping…who cares?

  1. Richard Sachs says:

    Couldn’t agree more. All levels and types of cycling will always have cheats.

    Road racing, mountain biking, Tri’s and even cyclocross. As long as they declare a winner, someone will do whatever it takes to win.

  2. David says:

    Do you feel this way about all sports? Not being sarcastic or anything, just wondering.

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      Professional sports?

      Yeah, pretty much. I quit caring about them decades ago when it became clear they were all about money and sponsorships and selling toothpaste.

      Pro sports today are why the major football leages have tax-funded minor leagues otherwise knows as college football, just to give one random example, which is why I don’t have a lot to do with that either.

      I’ll still get interested in the World Series if the Yankees are playing, more out of inertia than anything else, but even baseball is more about money and power than actual athletics.

      • RH09 says:

        Even if sports are all about money, as you suggest, there are still incredible athletes playing them. The level of competition has risen, not declined. They make those enormous salaries because they’re the best of the best, they’ve often times put in the work that the rest of us didn’t have in us to succeed at the highest levels, and because so many of us keep watching.

        Yes, baseball went though the steroid era, but they now have far stricter testing than other sports, and as a consequence, HR have gone down. Minor leaguers who aren’t top draft picks sometimes struggle for years on small salaries before ever getting their shot at the big leagues, if at all, so it’s not all about money. Players are still driven to be the best, and not all of them are using PEDs.

        Your opinion is a sad one. People are using drugs illegally, so we should just legalize them all. Some people cheat on their spouses, so we all should. Some students cheat on exams, so all students should cheat. Etc, etc.

        I commend anyone who sticks up for honesty and who exposes those who’ve cheated. If we give in to dishonesty then we all lose. I’m glad there are people who still care about things that are good, even if we’re the minority. Charles, your attitude is one of low morality and low character. Your writing continually reflects that.

        • Jaman says:

          ” People are using drugs illegally, so we should just legalize them all. Some people cheat on their spouses, so we all should. Some students cheat on exams, so all students should cheat. Etc, etc. ”

          I can’t believe you tried to boil down his post into that drivel. If you’d paid attention you’d have noticed the author wasn’t condoning performance enhancing drugs, but pointing out the absurdity of creating an extremely competitive environment in all major sports where millions of dollars are on the line, and then being outraged when people (and nearly everyone, in the case of cycling) attempt to cheat.

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