The Sport That Benefits Only a Few
By Staff News & Analysis - June 28, 2013

Tour de France 2013: It was impossible to win Tour without taking drugs, claims Lance Armstrong … Five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault reacted angrily to Armstrong's comments and his claims that there was a doping culture in cycling. "We've got to stop thinking that all cycle racers are thugs and druggies," he told BFM TV. "It depresses me to hear all this. I think that when people do exactly what they have to do, in other words, proper testing in all sports, we're going to be rolling around laughing for five minutes. "Stop saying it's cultural for God's sake. It's impossible. There are plenty of young riders who've had dope tests and not tested positive. It's constant suspicion." – Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: Armstrong is a slacker and all around horrible guy who cheated. And cheaters never win.

Free-Market Analysis: Lance Armstrong is back in the news again, and we can see from the above excerpt that others are not happy with the comments he is making.

Go online and you will find comments made about Bernard Hinault, as well. Many simply do not believe – along with Lance Armstrong – that when many are doping it is possible to win without going along.

They have stripped Armstrong of his titles but they have not provided replacements, presumably because they cannot find anyone above reproach. Hundreds, even thousands of cycle racers competed with Armstrong, and this lack of suitable candidates says much about the sport.

Armstrong is likely being candid in making his statements.

Asked whether it was possible to win without taking performance-enhancing drugs when he was riding, he told Le Monde: "That depends on the races that you wanted to win. "The Tour de France? No. Impossible to win without doping because the Tour is an endurance event where oxygen is decisive.

"To take one example, EPO (erythropoetin) will not help a sprinter to win a 100m but it will be decisive for a 10,000m runner. It's obvious." Armstrong, who won the Tour a record seven times between 1999 and 2005, was last year exposed as a serial drug cheat in a devastating US Anti-Doping Agency report that plunged cycling into crisis about the extent of drug-taking in the peloton.

The Texan rider, who insisted for years that he did not take performance-enhancing drugs, was stripped of his Tour titles and banned from the sport for life. He then admitted in a television interview that he used a cocktail of banned substances, including the blood booster EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions, to win the Tour.

Armstrong told Le Monde that he was not the first athlete to dope and there would always be a doping culture. "I simply took part in this system."

Armstrong's comments and the entire doping episode surrounding him is notable because in the 21st century sports act as a metaphor for the regulatory state.

This was the reason that Armstrong was made an example of. And this is also the reason that anti-doping measures are continually insisted upon, not just in cycling but in sports generally.

Cyclists have doped since the beginning of the sport. For decades doping was widely accepted. But as regulatory democracy has encroached on every aspect of people's lives, sports' enforcement has become hyperactive.

We are to be reminded perpetually that we are watched, evaluated and in some cases degraded for the larger purpose of celebrating the current sociopolitical and economic system.

After Thoughts

It is always cast as a system that benefits the masses. But peel away the pretense and see, unfortunately, that it seemingly benefits only a few.

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