The most compelling reason riders dope is that they don’t think they’ll get caught. It’s nothing to do with the winning, it’s all about the perceived risk of sanction.
Joe Lindsey expounded on this in the Boulder Report: Read “Can Black Swans Stop Doping?”
Of course he was talking about Danilo Di Luca getting busted. It’s notable that the noises he’s been making in his defence are all about calling into question the testing.
Compared to Mikel Astarloza’s defence, that’s seems pretty coherent. Astarloza is saying that he came up positive for EPO because he had been training in an hyperbaric tent. You can read more on cyclingnews.com
Let’s put aside that hyperbaric tents are pretty borderline and are banned in some countries as doping. I’m stuck at how an hyperbaric tent can produce exogenous EPO.
Meanwhile teams that sign dopers, have dopers on their books. Ceramica Flaminia are supposed to have signed Riccardo Ricco for his return. Anyone surprised then that one of their riders got his collar felt?
And while we’re over on Velonews, it’s always nice to see that the glories of doping in national colours hasn’t disappeared in the years since the Soviet Bloc dissolved and the Italians applied “can’t beat them, join them” logic. Actually, the record suggests that the Italians didn’t need any outside encouragement to get pricky with the needles.
Yes, you read that right. These guys aren’t even old enough to vote in some cases but they are having to deal with the pressure to dope. It’s easy to see why cycling fans anonymous quit.