If I took a guess it would simply be a guess. I know maybe 1 current pro “a bit”, and 3 current pros “less than a bit”. I have however known 6 or 7 pros in the past 20 years – all cyclists, mind – and have raced and trained with a couple, too. And I have a few MySpace friends who claim to be pro cyclists, past and present. None of them have said, ‘oh yeah, I dope’. But how would you know, I mean really know?
Indeed, how do you judge whether someone is doping? Empirically, yes, by blood or urine sample; which may miss the smarties with the latest masking techniques. Or by feel, as in ‘I don’t know Floyd/Tyler/Ivan at all personally but I’ve seen them on tele and watched their careers unfold over years, and from their words and deeds I trust them completely’. Yeah, right.
So what about a man who has obvious, broad and deep contacts with riders past and present, including his own son? Say Eddy Merckx? Would he know, and do you trust that he would tell all?
From La Gazzetta dello Sport via Cyclingnews.com:
“Merckx convinced the majority of cyclists are clean. Legend Eddy Merckx, winner of nearly every race on the calendar, is forced to face the current doping polemics with the entire cycling community. The 62 year-old Belgian who reigned from the 1960s to 1970s believes that although the sport is going through a black period, three-fourths of the cyclists are riding clean.
“I hope that cycling rises again. The disease is terrible, the situation continues to be serious, but there are signs of life,” said the five-time winner of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia to Marco Pastonesi of La Gazzetta dello Sport. The sport has been rocked by doping related incidents in the last month involving Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile), Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Cristian Moreni (Cofidis), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) and Luca Ascani (Aurum Hotels).”
“There a lot of honest guys. I say that three-fourths of the gruppo is clean. The others are at risk. [Tour Director] Christian Prudhomme is right; the riders that are doping are playing Russian roulette with their lives.”
So how about 25% still doping? That’s a lot of riders slipping through the cracks…