Doping has sadly become a perennial issue in cycling. Every year there’s a new drug, a new disgrace and a series of articles on websites where we all persuade ourselves that this will be the last time this happens.
Let’s be clear. Cycling is far cleaner than it once was. Despite the non-endemic media’s perception of bike racing as a kind of endurance version of WWE wrestling, the vast majority of riders and racers wouldn’t know where to begin doping. But that doesn’t mean they don’t wonder how it feels. Everybody who has found themselves in the gruppetto all week, only to see the same guys ride away from them three weeks later, has marvelled at how form can change that fast. We’ve all asked ourselves what it is like to not get tired, to always be the hammer and never the nail. Does it feel like every day on the bike is your best day? Or a little bit superhuman? Or like you’ve had too much coffee?
What does doping feel like? After decades of racing in the bunch, a top amateur racer satisfies his curiosity in a clinical trial and discovered that it’s not what you put into your body, but what you get out, that matters.
The latest in this series is ‘New Blood’ by James Stout, from Rouleur 20.4. Download the Rouleur app and use the code NEWBLOOD to read the whole issue free of charge.
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