Hysteria in Cycling – Just Say No to Steroids Pledges

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Lance Armstrong has been under fire from all directions since the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released its report revealing the systematic and organized use of anabolic steroids (testosterone) and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) by the United States Postal Service pro cycling team. The report was not only bad news for Armstrong. It also bad news for the entire sport of cycling as hysteria rapidly spread throughout the peloton.

The hysteria spread throughout cycling as “guilt by association” was the flavor of the day. The most extreme overreaction to the Armstrong scandal can be seen in the new policy put forth by Team Sky. Team Sky has been loudly proclaiming their “clean” status when it comes to doping and have celebrated Brad Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner, as proof that drug-free athletes can win the Tour.

“Team Sky has had a clear position on doping from the very start,” according to their anti-doping policy. “We are a clean team and have shown it is possible to win clean.”

Team Sky isn’t the only team that wants to be known as comprised of steroid- and drug-free cyclists. The Garmin Sharp, High Road Sports and Cervelo Test pro teams also proclaim the natural status of their riders. But Sky has taken it a step farther and asked their entire staff and cyclists to sign a pledge, in the spirit of the high school “chastity pledges”, declaring they have never, ever used anabolic steroids, erythropoietin (EPO), human growth hormone (hGH) or any other performance-enhancing drug during their lifetimes.

“There is no place in Team Sky for those with an involvement in doping, whether past or present. This applies to management, support staff and riders.”
Team Sky David Brailsford held a press conference at the Covent Garden Hotel where he reaffirmed his commitment to the team anti-doping policy.
Brailsford even promised to interview each and every member of the team about doping in a type of modern-day steroid McCarthyism. Brailsford may have asked a question like this:

“Are you now or have you ever used anabolic steroids or performance-enhancing drugs?”

Brailsford demanded that everyone confess their doping sins. And if they admitted guilt, they would be dismissed.

Under this cloud, several team members have either been dismissed, have resigned or have not seen their contracts renewed.

Former Team Sky coach Bobby Jullich admitted doping while a cyclist for the USPS team. He was dismissed.

Former Team Sky doctor Geert Leinders was linked to doping on the Rabobank team. His contract was not renewed.

Former Team Sky sports director Sean Yates admitted driving a car for the Discovery Channel team of which Armstrong was a member. He resigned.

Former Team Sky sports director Steven de Jongh was a cyclist for the TVM team when EPO was discovered during a raid. He left the team.

The timing of the resignations suggests it may be related to Brailford’s doping inquisition. The official reasons have not been released.


Benson, D. (October 18, 2012). Team Sky asks riders and staff to sign anti-doping declaration. Retrieved from http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/team-sky-asks-riders-and-staff-to-sign-anti-doping-declaration

MacMichael, S. (October 28, 2012). Sean Yates and Steven de Jongh reportedly shown the door by Team Sky. Retrieved from http://road.cc/content/news/69620-sean-yates-and-steven-de-jongh-reportedly-shown-door-team-sky