Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Prior user Sevilla pinged 6 months for potential masking agent - and other moral dilemmas

Not that I'm against it at all, doping in sport is as legitimate as breaching technical regs in any sport - or in life generally. After all it's as human to lie, cheat and deceive as it is to be decent, sober and honest. What you are doing is running a calculated risk. If it was motor sport we could almost admire the cheats for their cunning - think about a certain famous Aussie racing driver activating his fortuitously aimed engine-bay fire extinguishers just when his turbo-charged engine needed a denser dose of air - and just let it ride. But when we are the engine on top of the machine it becomes somewhat more of a dilemma. Someone could permanently injure their health by that form of cheating. Should that matter to us, or should we just address the inequity in performance enhancement by drugs?

So by enhancing yourself with a product - any product really - then you are taking yourself into ethically interesting territory. It's just a matter of distinction by degree where you personally draw the line. Drugs vary by effect and danger. Altitude training and cryotherapy costs money and isn't available to all. Some bike makers claim weight, stiffness or aerodynamic advantages that aren't available to others. And so on. How you personally address your individual ethical situation is up to you. You can take a stricter or looser approach and balance your risks accordingly.

Now Oscar Sevilla has previous form here but we should forget that and just look at the situation as it stands. He's a good rider, perhaps even a great one, who has taken decisions that have led to various penalties. He's paid the price. And now he's paying again. Is it any different from speeding in your car and paying the fine or accepting the disqualification?   

Sevilla Given Six Month Ban For Hydroxyethyl Starch Positive |
Oscar Sevilla (Gobernacion De Antioquia-Indeportes Antiquia) has been handed a six month suspension by the Spanish Cycling Federation for his Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES) positive that occurred in last year’s Vuelta a Colombia.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nice work by Durbridge, Hepburn, Allen at road world champs. Blurred vision and up over the footpath

It's not just that they are Aussies, it's the style in which they have claimed their medals, too.

Durbridge's blurred vision on lap 1 says it all. Any athlete who has pushed themselves to their limit knows the feeling. Personally I - lowly clubbie that I am - found it easier to achieve on the track in a 1km time trial or 4km pursuit, although I've had it happen on the road when I've been coming back from injury or illness and have tried just a bit too hard to keep up with faster guys or gals in the hills. For the uninitiated it's unnerving and just a little unsafe. You go a bit light-headed and the vision strays a bit. It's a struggle to keep both eyes focused on the one spot. I'm sure many people hold back at that point, if they reach it at all. If you go further then you get the "seeing stars" effect and a general dimming of the lights. Your legs lose their power and you feel all over the place. Now you've gone too deep. (Don't even try it without many months of serious training. And don't blame me if you push your body over the edge and can't come back.)  

UCI Road World Championships: U23 Men Time Trial, Route Maps & Results |
"About a lap in, I was 20 seconds up and then 25 seconds. James (from the team car) told me to keep concentrating and I had little bit of blurred vision because I started fast. But the course suited me and it was just about grinding it out on the flat. In the last 10km, I started to enjoy it. I knew I was up and only had to stay up and bring it home."
Hepburn also had a go, but demonstrated another side of pushing the limits:

UCI Road World Championships: U23 Men Time Trial, Route Maps & Results |
Michael Hepburn of Australia was also favoured for a medal, and set a new best time halfway time. But he appeared to be pushing too hard, one time going up on a pavement after a turn. The final blow came when he took a left hand turn too fast, had his front wheel slip away and down he went. A ripped kit was not the least of his worries, as he had to change bikes as well.
Still, a bronze ain't bad and he certainly got noticed. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. You aim to be fast and smooth but you get fast and ragged instead. One off-line corner leads to a worse one until you are way off course and up on the footpath, or hard on the brakes. Or on the ground.

Nice job by Allen, too:

Allen wins gold for Australia at road world titles : Cycling Central on SBS
Jessica Allen opened Australia’s medal count at the 2011 UCI Road World Championships​ winning gold in the junior women’s time trial.
And that was just day one.