Posted by Editor on 10/29/14
Earlier this year, Cycling Canada sent out a request for members of the cycling community to participate in a "consultation" on doping within cycling in Canada. The firm LLB Strategies was hired to undertake the project, which consisted of one-on-one anonymous and confidential interviews with participants.
In an effort to encourage full and frank disclosure, Cycling Canada and CCES (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport) agreed that they would not use statements or admissions made during the interviews to attempt to identify and/or sanction individuals. The full report can be downloaded Here. Below, are some of the key findings of the report.
• The findings of the report were broken down into five categories: Cycling culture and performance-enhancing drugs, Decision-making, Key Players, Investigation/Testing, and Education/Prevention.
• 64 people were contacted, consisting of athletes, coaches, sports administrators and cycling stakeholders - 21 athletes, 6 administrators, 2 team managers, and one each of a sports leader, coach and parent.
• The report also states that an "important subject" agreed to be interviewed after the report was submitted, and that an addendum will be filed after this interview takes place.
• Numerous Canadian athletes who had committed anti-doping infractions [ie, were caught and sanctioned] were contacted, but refused to participate.
• With a few exceptions, the majority of interviewees said that they had never used performance-enhancing substances (PEDs), however, many had witnessed situations or had indirect conversations about doping with key stakeholders.
• Most reported to learning about PEDs while outside of Canada.
• Interviewees believe that there is no organized doping culture or system in cycling in Canada and that any such activities are isolated instances by individuals.
• Suppliers and influencers of doping are doctors, trainers, coaches, equipment suppliers, sports administrators and (in most cases) other cyclists.
• Interviewees who had used PEDs did so because of peer pressure and pressure to perform. There was extra pressure if the athlete was on a European pro team, in order to perform and not let the team down, or to keep their place on the team.
• PEDs were used primarily in the build up to important events as well as during the training season.
• Interviewees said that they had "a good idea" of when doping controls were going to occur, and that anti-doping strategies were not efficient.
• Many interviews said that once an athlete comes under "strong suspicion" (ie, rumours, sudden increases in performance, erratic performances), they should be investigated and tested more.
• There is still a culture of silence, particularly among athletes who have used PEDs.
• Most feel that sanctions should be harsher and act as more of a deterrent, and that a lack of financial consequences hurt the anti-doping efforts.
• A certain doctor specializing in anti-aging products was well-known among Masters riders for supplying PEDs, and that in the Masters circuit, aging athletes would not hesitate to use PEDs supplied by unknown and unsafe suppliers.
• Two interviewees independently provided information that a former Canadian sports administrator had assisted Canadian riders in obtaining PEDs.
• For education and prevention, anti-doping rules should be written in layman terms for better understanding, and there should be more information about the risks and dangers of doping, and it should be transmitted more effectively with targeted initiatives.
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