Substance use, anti-doping, and health in amateur cycling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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One of the underpinning rationales for anti-doping efforts is to promote the health of athletes. In practice, however, athlete health is almost always relegated behind notions of fairness in distributing awards and awarding finishing places. Outrage in the cycling community is usually focused on the ways other presumably non-PED using cyclist are cheated out of rightful rewards, with virtually no discussion of potential damage to a PED-using athlete’s health. As with most sports, anti-doping efforts in cycling are largely focused on elite competitors − those who have the most to win and lose in terms of income and prestige − which may explain why health is so frequently absent from these discussions. Following on from evidence that PED use was occurring at the amateur level, USA Cycling renewed its focus on its expanded amateur cyclist-targeted anti-doping program. The results from the first year of the revamped program, 2016, are decidedly mixed. Drawing on known cases from amateur cycling, this presentation will detail some of the major points of critique in the application of the current anti-doping system to non-elite cyclists. Given the differences between elites and amateurs in lifestyles, motivations, and support, I will argue that the current approach to anti-doping is largely ineffective for promoting amateur health. Addressing these challenges will require not only policy changes, but also reorienting the role of anti-doping as it relates to cyclists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDoping in Cycling
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives
EditorsBertrand Fincoeur, John Gleaves, Fabien Ohl
ISBN (Electronic)9781351103879
ISBN (Print)9780367663858
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2018


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