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This form of doping is the absolute worst

There’s many ways to cheat in cycling, but this one wins

This form of doping is the absolute worst Photo by: Getty Images

Ah doping, that surefire way to get faster in sports. Over the years cycling and doping have had a relationship more famous than Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.

Before blood boosting–whether that was the method of choice in the ‘80s, a transfusion, or the use of hormones like erythropoietin (EPO) or CERA, pros used drugs like amphetamines to get a boost. Even earlier, strychnine was popular to numb the pain. (In fact, Adri van der Poel, son of Mathieu was once caught for it, but don’t worry, it was because he ate pie made of strychnine-filled Pigeons. You are what you eat, amirite Contador?)

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There are all kinds of other goodies you can take to go faster, or recover better. Testosterone will help your recovery, just ask Floyd Landis. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can help with that too, as well as increasing muscle mass.

Oh yeah, these are all illegal.

Do you know what else is illegal? Having a damn motor in your bike. And honestly, of all the ways to cheat, that is just the worst. Why? Because, even if you’re raising your hematocrit, growing more muscles, or numbing pain, you still gotta ride your bike. Yes, I know that using drugs like EPO means you’ll go faster than the clean guys, but you still have to give ‘er. Even during the ‘90s when everybody was cranked to the gills, they still suffered when the going got hard. Granted, they may not have suffered quite as much when they raced against clean guys.

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But using a motor? I mean you’re one step away from Rosie Ruiz. Remember her? She was the runner who won the Boston Marathon in 1980, but didn’t actually run the full course.

If you’re adding a few watts by a motor, whether that’s connected to the transmission or wheels, you’re cheating in the worst possible way. You’re not even relying on your dope-filled, amped blood and ‘roid ripped legs. At least those riders are still using the human body–albeit heavily modified.

Despite the many rumours over the years, involving all sorts of big names, from Fabian Cancellera, Ryder Hesjedal or Lance Armstrong only one rider has ever been caught: Belgian Femke Van den Driessche. At the 2016 ‘cross worlds, the UCI discovered a motor in one of her spare bikes. Her father Peter Van den Driessche said her friend had put it there by accident. She was fined 20,000 Swiss Francs, which she still owes to the UCI. According to the podcast, “Ghost in the Machine,” she still owes it and will never pay it. Van den Driessche has no plans to return to the peloton, even though her six-year suspension is over.

A side note: her dad and brother seem to be absolute winners of human beings. Not only did her bro Niels get popped for drugs, but he and his dad once got caught for ripping off parakeets.

Anyway, doping sucks, but using a motor, really, really sucks.