International Review for the Sociology of Sport http://irs.sagepub.
The socialization of young cyclists and the culture of doping
Fabien Ohl, Bertrand Fincoeur, Vanessa Lentillon-Kaestner, Jacques Defrance and Christophe Brissonneau International Review for the Sociology of Sport published online 24 July 2013 DOI: 10.1177/1012690213495534 The online version of this article can be found at: http://irs.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/07/22/1012690213495534
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and we conducted 70 semi-structured interviews with cyclists and their staff. Lausanne.sagepub. Switzerland
University of Paris Ouest Nanterre. State of Vaud (HEP-VD).com by guest on August 6.Ohl@unil. University of Lausanne.1177/1012690213495534International Review for the Sociology of SportOhl et al. youth
Corresponding author: Fabien Ohl. France and Switzerland. Belgium
Vanessa Lentillon-Kaestner Jacques Defrance
University of Teacher Education. We analysed the economic.uk/journalsPermissions.co. We focused on the interactions within the work group to understand how young cyclists learn their job. socialization.1177/1012690213495534 irs.com
University of Lausanne.495534
career. 1015 Switzerland. We compared socialization of young elite and U23 cyclists in Belgium. legal and organizational conditions in each country. our goal is to understand how it influences the perception of the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
The socialization of young cyclists and the culture of doping
International Review for the Sociology of Sport 0(0) 1–18 © The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: sagepub. doping. Switzerland
KU Leuven.nav DOI: 10. While analysing this organization of work. we try to understand how these interactions determine the reported attitudes towards doping products and methods. In particular. cycling. France
The objective of this article is to understand how the specific interactions between actors involved in the production of performance influence the socialization process by which cyclists learn their job. Email: Fabien.sagepub.ch
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. drugs. France
we decided to compare young French-speaking cyclists from different teams in Belgium. etc. physicians. while also deploring the excessive importance given to culture and environment when explaining doping. Consequently. We need to analyse how bodies are continually put through disciplinary regimens by their coach. Doping was long considered as a technical skill and. our goal is to understand how it influences the perception of the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). 2008) clearly showed that entry into the professional world is often the point of first experience with illicit drugs as new organizational methods constitute a turning point in the career.
Doping as part of cyclist culture A moral dilemma or a culture?
Doping1 is predominantly perceived by journalists. While analysing this organization of work. its signification and definition varies over time.com by guest on August 6. 2009). game theory explains how people combine calculation and values to build strategies and further the ‘many vague sociological explanations of doping’. spectators. France and Switzerland. Although moral dilemmas can occur. Throughout all the history of cycling. money cannot be the only promoting factor to explain the use of illicit drugs. In order to understand how the cycling culture is learned and to examine the possible impact of different organizational contexts.. as a consequence. The use of PEDs is rooted in new experiences by the body and the research done in human physiology (Hoberman. 2009). 2006) and also how it influences their moral career. etc. until the 1950s. However. some well-known coaches collaborated with the industry to produce drugs (Dimeo. We focused on a very important stage. physicians have been involved in most of the doping cases (Waddington and Smith.2
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The objective of this article is to understand how the specific interactions between actors involved in the production of performance influence the socialization process by which cyclists learn their job. We focus on the interactions within the work group to understand how young cyclists learn their job. doping was even due to ‘overconforming’ to the norms and values embodied in the sport itself (Coakley and Pike. the WADA (World Antidoping Agency) and even by some researchers as a moral dilemma athletes have to face. In particular. team managers. Furthermore. Previous studies (Brissonneau et al. 2013
. some athletes would be considered cheats while others are supposedly clean. 1992: 127). Both the use and the perceived legitimacy of PEDs in cycling raise more than individual issues. Both knowledge and know-how about PEDs have thus been transmitted within the cycling subculture by cyclists and their coaches.
Downloaded from irs. Breivik’s (1992) rationalist analysis of doping may be dubious as not only the elite athletes use doping. 2007: 8). 2007). the use of doping products and methods were a part of elite cyclists’ daily life. as doping is used even by people without any sports ambition (Laure and Binsinger. (Gilley. For decades. we try to understand how these interactions determine the reported attitudes towards doping products and methods.sagepub. According to Breivik (1992: 235). doping is embedded in history and culture and. that of the transition from amateur to professional status.
Sport journalists contributed to the birth. 2013
. revealing some of the contradictory values associated with sport. athletes with their desire to do whatever it takes to win. As a matter of fact. Hughes (1976) theorized this interdependence as a ‘social drama of work’.com by guest on August 6. 1996: 19). de-amateurization. physicians. but also staff. 1993: 71). Waddington and Smith (2009: 129– 155) argue that the medicalization of life and sport. While some physicians did play a key role in doping. Some aspects of this divided culture. Considering drug use as a part of sports culture is crucial and legitimates focusing on athletes. The producing of sporting performances involves not only cyclists. with a rationalization of drug uses (Brewer. The increasing supply of drugs and the structural changes framed a network of people and an organization that participated in the spread of PEDs. Therefore sociologists have to find indirect ways of investigation (Trabal. More broadly. from the 1960s and the first national anti-doping legislations. However. politicization and commercialization of sport are structural trends that gave sport medicine a central role in the spread of doping. opposed narratives do not mean that the organizations and the athletes live in separate worlds.
The ‘social drama’ of cyclist work
Doping is thus a cultural heritage which.
The influence of main structural changes
Other authors state that the improvement in chemical technologies that brought new drugs into the market played a key role in the spread of doping (Verroken. journalists depend on cyclists to write their articles and the cyclists also need media coverage to find sponsors who will finance their cycling teams. However. there is an interactional process through which arrangements are established. slowly became a social problem.sagepub. but it does not explain how the athletes learn the ‘culture of doping’. coaches. who all contribute to such a production. which is illustrated by the growing trend of having formally-rational structures – that are presented as rational but are often based on practical knowledge. 2002). the increasing commercial dimension of cycling changes both the organization. the only French daily newspaper devoted to sports). a company that also owns L’Equipe. dominantly carried by the sports organizations and. 2002: 279). maintained and revised (Corbin and Strauss. the development and the economy of the Tour de France (owned by ASO. They can use data
Downloaded from irs. therapists. others were involved in developing anti-doping policies. and the doping practices. drug use as a hidden behaviour makes the access to data difficult for researchers. it well illustrates the interdependence between the actors of the cycling world. 1993: 72). it does not explain why PEDs have not spread in the same way in the various sports and why some sportsmen are doping users and others are not. Even if the influence of the commercialization is only one factor among others that plays a role. on the one hand. However. sociologists need to focus on the work group to understand their work. on the other hand. especially the oppositional ideologies considering. sponsors and even journalists. sport as an agent of moral development. Because cyclists do not work in isolation.Ohl et al. Even if it was only in the 1980s that interactionists began examining ‘how the structures of work are articulated in and through interaction’ (Corbin and Strauss. were observed when analysing a doping case in Australian cycling (Stewart and Smith. 2010: 195).
who give advice on health or on drugs.
Observing the target-group
Instead of looking at doping backstage. Consequently. Before being able to reach the top level.com by guest on August 6. mechanics. cyclists have to learn their job. one often needs to be an insider to have access to this kind of information. 1993. They sometimes also rely on questionnaires to assess the prevalence of doping (Pitsch and Emrich. trainers. 2001) but sociological knowledge on PEDs is often based on secondary sources or athletes’ revelations after being tested positive. past champions. The ‘moral aspects of career’. 2011). 1961: 119) are thus central to understand doping. 1960) are interesting ways to understand doping as a deviance. the use of doping products and methods to perform well or to
Downloaded from irs. allowing us to understand a global ecosystem. training. that is ‘the regular sequence of changes that a career entails in the person’s self and in his framework of imagery for judging himself and others’ (Goffman. in interaction with their environment. Cloward and Ohlin (1960) demonstrated that the illegitimate means to reach legitimate goals (here. However. sponsors. instead of focusing only on the cyclist. coaches. training.sagepub. researchers have to find other ways to understand the importance of doping in the sports culture. as the media and the sporting organizations sometimes tend to claim. his health. various models may be used to explain doping in sport. mainly through interviews. including significant others. trainers. Subsequently. physicians. This can be reached by directly observing how athletes perceive and behave towards pharmacology and how they acquire their knowledge and know-how about drugs. including social norms that frame behaviours. the culture of doping remains largely neglected. 1965: 13) and the too few opportunities available to reach success (Cloward and Ohlin. But most often. in this research we considered doping as a resource athletes may use to produce a sporting performance. we decided to enlarge the study to all of the actors who contribute to produce such a performance. 2013
. The idea of a ‘disjunction between goals and means’ (Cohen. According to the traditional analysis of deviance. It is crucial to observe how athletes interact with their environment when learning their job. police and justice officers).
Deviance as a part of the career
Doping cannot be considered just as a personal deviance.4
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from the law enforcement agencies (customs. nutrition. Access to bodybuilders’ drug use is often easier (Klein. Instead of labelling them as cheats violating the WADA-requirements because of a supposed lack of ethics. The sporting performance is ‘coproduced’ by the athlete and physicians. etc. As a consequence. Work conditions. etc. Cooperation and interdependences are embedded in an ecosystem which socializes the cyclist and leads him to redefine his norms and values. sociologists often have access only to indirect observations. rules and enforcement are important for understanding the cyclist’s moral careers. etc. Monaghan. which is difficult to achieve and not always relevant for sociological knowledge. we aimed at understanding how cyclists and their environment progressively become ‘good professionals’ with close attention given to their health. drugs. A cyclist’s beliefs concerning himself. change according to his ‘moral career’.
the perceived (il)legitimacy of the means can be reconstructed by cyclists through the interactions they have with the other actors of the cycling subculture. the belief that the game is worth playing (Bourdieu. But the model of reward/ punishment seems too simplistic. even if the athletes devote their life to increasing their performances. Lê-Germain and Leca. and an environment presenting sportspeople as desirable heroes on the other hand encourage the athlete to push his limits in a kind of ‘positive deviance’ (Hughes and Coakley. the different ways by which athletes are socialized shape young cyclists’ discourses.sagepub. Observations of the so-called deviant behaviours in cycling incite us to focus on the process produced by the interactions between people cooperating to produce performance. However. 2005) and cyclists have also confessed to doping practices (e.
A conversion to cycling
Being totally involved in sport is the result of a social process in which family and sporting organizations play a key role. Social desirability may always lead interviewees in minimizing
Downloaded from irs. especially when becoming professional. with rewards attributed to doping and the low risk of being punished. The sporting organizations play a role in the secondary socialization. 2009). Burgess and Ackers’ (1966) social learning theory. An excessive commitment is the result of a ‘conversion’ comparable to what is observed for priests in religion (Suaud.com by guest on August 6. Our research is thus intended to understand how interactions with the people involved in the cycling subculture may allow or facilitate the use of doping by the riders throughout their career steps. 1974).g. Although several researchers have studied doping practices during professional careers (Brissonneau.] Taking risks. The full commitment of all the members of the work group to increase performances on the one hand. Please check and confirm. not much is known about the transitions between the career steps. especially when they move up from amateur to professional status. Careers correspond to a temporal process divided into different phases. through differential reinforcement.
Researchers studying doping usually face the same difficulties as those studying common illegal behaviours. the doped athletes) manage to use the illegitimate means. We see it as an interactive process. at least before the Festina Affair in 1998. This conversion process leads to sharing an ‘illusion’. 1998 ). 2007.Ohl et al. the use of doping products can nevertheless be considered here as an illegitimate means as they are illicit with regard to the sporting rules. Despite the added value of Cloward and Ohlin’s theory in understanding the doping practices. This is why we found a more interesting challenge in observing how the specific culture of cycling is shaped. 2013
. doping and injuries are therefore all part of the job. Our approach through the ‘careers’ is thus useful in understanding how cyclists become involved in pharmaceutical and doping practices.
become a professional rider) are not equally available to everyone. However. 1991). these authors do not explain how the delinquents (here. inspired by the sociology of Becker (1963). is also a good way to question the process of learning within the cycling culture. Fignon. Of course. )’ to match the reference list. and probably practices.
sagepub. 2011). 1998. We discussed the modes of organization in cycling and the techniques of physical preparation. the organization of their schedule. ethic codes. Insiders’ books (Bassons. trials. their training and the relations within the team were discussed. The second part dealt with their career and way of life. and data specific to each country were compared. Research on doping consequently raises the issue of the reliability of the collected data. training. as during observations. emphasizing the fact that they are very much involved in anti-doping policies. We also decided to collect information on how. We conducted 70 semi-structured interviews. They helped to understand how coaches present races. if at all. training. etc. the plan was to start the interviews focusing on the beginning of their career. we cross-referenced the information collected during the interviews. The sample. their leisure or concept of health. which means that very few people have access to them. Topics on the family. customs or police inquiries. five physicians. 10 team managers. Kimmage. the incomes. Finally. we focused instead on the more general aspects of their activity. coaches or physicians.com by guest on August 6. Because of the need to gain the interviewees’ confidence. using an interview guide. The main goal was to collect information on how the cyclists interact with their peers. etc. relatively equally split between Belgium. in particular by taking into account the means by which young talented cyclists are
Downloaded from irs. It means that we did not have in mind a clear hypothesis of what could explain the various attitudes. including the actors in the environment of the cyclists.) also constitute a major source. including the use of authorized drugs. was made up of 22 recently professional cyclists. nutrition and pharmacology. We analysed and compared the cycling organization methods. Furthermore. However. the staff. six coaches. they were preparing their retirement from sport. etc. 22 retired cyclists. We wanted to focus on cyclists’ descriptions of their interactions with people from the cycling world. based on the interview guide. We made observations among cycling teams. Most of our data were primarily collected through interviews. We also tried to understand how the relations with the coach. although we tried to establish a relationship of trust and empathy. strategy. Direct observation could be of interest but it is usually not straightforward and rarely feasible. These teams accepted our presence. 2013
. We used field notes that were useful in understanding how people interact. To observe consistency in the discourses. We made some observations in French and Belgian high-level amateur teams. we did not directly broach the issue of doping.6
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the importance and the extent of their drug use (Pitsch and Emrich. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and kept anonymous. But. But our option was clearly an ‘understanding’ sociological approach rather than a more ‘explaining’ one. access to teams is very difficult and most of the interesting interactions are behind the scenes. France and Switzerland. their knowledge of the products. 2000. if they defined a grey area of product use and if they ever used any doping products or methods. with five other interviews with journalists or policy-makers. health management. changed during their career. Some other ways exist to obtain information about doping: legal procedures. The content of the interviews was analysed by theme. we tried to understand their relation with doping. the physician. This is framework of the guide. athletes do not easily reveal their potential doping practices.
we progressively identified types of teams reflecting different perceptions of the cyclist’s ‘social drama of work. Although each country presents some singularities. including pharmaceutical techniques. These factors allow an understanding of the use of authorized drugs and the different discourses on doping among cyclists. were selected because of their validity when analysing the data we collected: the different organizational contexts. the kind of support for the young cyclists. we initially thought that the main differences between teams were related to the country to which they belong. and teams made up of individuals with relatively poor supervision. most of the differences between countries are mainly related to the differences between socialization processes within the team and especially the organization of work that determines cyclists’ follow-up.
At the beginning of the study.sagepub.com by guest on August 6. retired cyclists who have a strong doping background. the scope of the clubs. In ‘strongly supportive’ teams. teams with ‘affirmed values’ that develop an anti-doping focus but have less support and follow-up with cyclists. we have identified three main types of work organization (Appendix 1). cyclists are closely followed in their training. We therefore would like to describe now the key dimensions of the organization of work that differentiate the socialization process of young cyclists and that determine the construction of their norms towards legal and illegal products. for example.’ Teams were not built on a typical ideal but on real types of disparity that mirror the differences in the work organization and in the interactions that frame differential socialization experiences. institutions (police and customs) and legal framework specific to each country.
supported by federations and clubs. each team interacts more frequently with the sporting and institutional authorities of the country in which they are located.Ohl et al. As a consequence. but also the interventions. nutrition. the size and the
Downloaded from irs. The less a team supervises its cyclists. The three types of cycling teams we have identified are: the ‘strongly supportive’ teams. presenting some risks of interacting with. However. The social learning of the profession of cyclist.
Different organizational contexts
The socialization of cyclists involves several categories of actors.
Three types of organization of cycling teams
Considering the way by which the cyclists learn their profession and interact within the working team. Seven key factors of socialization. the organization of training practices. the medical follow-up. varies and depends on a plurality of factors: the involvement of the family. Professional cycling teams are often rather independent of national sports federations and they are today made up of cyclists from all over the world. 2013
. which correspond more to the models of French or Belgian teams. the more the riders can manage their own lives in their own way. medical and even psychological support. explaining the various attitudes towards PEDs.
support from Swiss federal or cantonal authorities. we saw similar commitments. in particular organizational and funding models. civil and penal laws as well as specific anti-doping police units exist in France and Belgium and police interventions are also more common in these countries.com by guest on August 6. the government is
Downloaded from irs. In the three countries. to a lesser degree.g. even at an amateur level. family support is still present. ways of entering elite sports and training vary from country to country. According to them. while this situation is different in France and Belgium as both countries are historically strongholds of cycling. the market. Swiss cyclists complained about the lack of popularity of their sport in their home country. during the interviews. The professional cycling market is also bigger in France and Belgium than in Switzerland. whereas Belgium had two Pro Tour teams and two Professional Continental teams (and 10% of all professional cyclists). the current situation of sports law is comparable in the three countries. etc. with the family. has declined in comparison with the older generations of cyclists (Colin. Moreover. This support seems to be necessary in French-speaking Switzerland while in France and Belgium the more numerous and bigger clubs provide more guidance. Our analysis reveals differences between France and Belgium on the one hand. the sponsors. and even from the Swiss population. with WADA-rules as a reference. traffic disruptions). The number of junior cyclists in Switzerland is decreasing3 and the disappearance of some cycling clubs can be explained by the increasing difficulty of finding new sponsors. there was no Pro Tour or Professional Continental team in Switzerland.8
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policy of the sports federations. clubs and friends playing an important role. The authorities indeed financially support cycling in France and. the small size of the country is an obstacle in obtaining resources from sponsoring. national races attract very few spectators along the roads and are often disparaged by inhabitants because of the inconvenience they may cause (e. 2013
. and Switzerland on the other. These unfavourable dynamics also have as a consequence a lack of competent road cycling managers in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. With regard to legal aspects. There was a lack in the intervention and methods of Swiss customs and police in 2008. also in Belgium. They appear to be non-existent in Frenchspeaking Switzerland. On the contrary. local environment.
Support and follow-up of young cyclists
Despite differences inside the countries themselves. Notwithstanding. some Belgian or French cyclists. Often.2 We also observe negative dynamics occurring in cycling in French-speaking Switzerland. which was not the case in Belgium or France. One does not necessarily fall into the ‘cycling family’ and many riders often had practised other sports before cycling. is largely absent in Frenchspeaking Switzerland. However. In France. Although the traditional influence of the family culture on the choice of cycling. This social learning consequently occurs in interaction with all these factors. receive state financial support. During the research. Hence we identified the major characteristics of each country. generally from father to child. and France had five Pro Tour teams and one Professional Continental team. the influence of the organization mode and institutions varies between the three countries. Although Swiss cyclists have to finance their own training. 2001).sagepub. although the legal framework has been set up for a while in Belgium and France (1965). where institutions are more likely to actively fight against doping use and trafficking.
in France. They truly live for cycling. physiotherapists. In Belgium. support is seen to be highly present:
For the French. coaches or peers promoting doping products. massage therapists or physicians. young cyclists’ work groups can be open to other actors including physicians. (Professional. Swiss club networks are not as dense. Belgium)
Downloaded from irs. How can I say it? They are concerned about your future. Belgium is more like Switzerland but young cyclists are often selected from a bottom-up approach in teams through a rather dense and ranked network of clubs. because the teams have far greater means.sagepub. they do not know much about cycling. cyclists face a lack of specialized educational structures or sporting hubs such as there are in France. that he can do something other than cycle. more generally. There is a lot of money at stake. These significant differences are clearly identified by the cyclists. but they do not want to work too hard. whereas. first team model. As well. you have to do something. in France or Belgium. support and follow-up are perceived as less present: ‘The manager. and they make sure you are deeply committed to cycling. However.com by guest on August 6. This is not the case in Belgium. They have set up the obligation of having physiotherapists on the teams in France. receive less funding and are less organized. there are two paid employees as trainers’ (Swiss cyclist (U23)). when you stop cycling.Ohl et al. They make sure that you abandon everything for cycling. In France. They always count their hours. but it is to the advantage of the cyclist who manages relationships and seeks out a trainer or. their days in the year. and is the manager in the evening. the great advantage of not having supervision where we put everything into our studies is that the cyclist can always say he has degrees. 2013
. This may also be perceived as an advantage. They are very well paid. People there are really motivated. as stated by a young Swiss cyclist (U23) who thought the lack of a strong organization required him to get an education and. Some Belgian cyclists also pointed out another idea of professional work and of commitment based on a stereotype view of the French work mentality:
In France. (Professional. it’s good. they do not want to let you give up.
In France. to reduce the risks of failing in the exclusive professionalization in cycling:
What’s more. but they know that. first team model.
highly involved in supporting high-level athletes in all sports. Careers are consequently structured thanks to a selection in and a hierarchy between the clubs. It means that French and Belgian cyclists are more often related to organizations that collaborate with them to produce performances whereas the French-speaking Swiss have to organize by themselves to find any support. the educational facilities and the national structures. In Switzerland. in Switzerland. In less supervised French teams. be it management. In French-speaking Switzerland. medical or technical supervision. also giving them more autonomy to build their own work ecosystem. they do their 35 hours. he works there in a bike store. support is important. so they have people involved in the business end of cycling. Unlike Belgium. that is all they have. but you feel they are there chiefly to benefit from the system. the regional selections. you really feel that people are there for the money. in turn. France)
The follow-up is also reinforced through integration of trainers as well as technical or medical staff and psychologists specialized in preventing doping.
Young Swiss athletes feel the effects of this autonomy: ‘The thing with cycling is that the team never obliges anyone to train in a particular way. At a higher level. when their competition level has increased. Isolated cyclists are in contact with coaches or sports managers. preferring and justifying this approach to a more risky unsupervised use of doping products without medical advice (third team model). During the sports season. The others are integrated into structures and therefore followed and guided in all areas. 2009: 89).’ In the Belgian teams. and are not really supervised except during training camps at the start of the season. In the French teams.10
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Training and preparation
To better understand the effects of the interactions in the work group. and even more during racing stages.
Sports medicine played an important role in the development and the use of PEDs (Waddington and Smith. by a narrow work group concentrating all the interactions of the young cyclist (first team model). as demonstrated by all previously revealed doping scandals. However. The French teams organize the medical follow-up. there are many different ways for them to interact with athletes. primarily consulting a general practitioner at the beginning then. becoming more individualized thereafter. the riders choose the kind of follow-up during the first steps of their career. there appears to be a greater variety of training than in other countries. team doctors and physiotherapists become more involved in following the cyclists. from training to health. and these reputations vary substantially. Some cyclists are supervised by official structures or doctors with ‘a good reputation’ (‘clean doctor’) while some others prefer to go to doctors who defend the need of a pharmacological supervision that can include the use of PEDs. professional cyclists generally train for between 25 and 30 hours a week. Training loads increase in all countries in accordance the level reached and the age of the rider. Like in Switzerland. The latter approach also considers elite or at least high-level cyclists as citizens who need specific care due to the hard conditions of their professional activity. Studying the interactions with physicians is thus important in understanding doping. In the Belgian teams. and medical and physical preparation. training is more collective during the winter or at the beginning of the season. the choice is based on the doctor’s reputation. The variations basically depend on the types of support and supervision provided to young cyclists.sagepub. For the professional riders. Physicians have always been very involved in allowing riders to dope. In Switzerland (third team model). Everyone is free to do his own thing. 2013
. Medical staffs are selected by the organizations in order to prevent ‘bad practices’. either alone or in groups. a sports physician. cyclists train relatively autonomously. the UCI organizes the same mandatory follow-ups for all athletes regardless of their nationality
Downloaded from irs. we have to take into account more qualitative elements that have a considerable influence on the way in which the cyclists learn the principles of their training.com by guest on August 6. especially because they sometimes legitimate the use of PEDs by giving a scientific caution and supervision. but they are often independent in their choices (second and third team models).
mainly dietary supplements. Former cyclists then often play a role in conveying this culture : ‘If I need advice. This invasive technique is seen as a prerequisite to entering the professional arena.4 Indeed. explaining that they adopt clear anti-doping attitudes. The way in which interactions with former athletes are reported varies as well. Y [another coach] is very ethical.Ohl et al. belonging to the MPCC. X is one of the best coaches around. third team model). He gave me advice on what to take of certain stuff. The other athletes demonstrated expertise and expressed beliefs very early about taking authorized products. Belgium). the work group overlaps the official team they belong to. needles were still used with authorized products even though certain teams.sagepub. This does not mean that all teams are treated equally. These practices nevertheless constitute a first step into the use of PEDs. but he will also give you something if you are strong. which are more common in France and Belgium. I can easily phone him’ (former professional cyclist involved in doping). So they report feeling freer to be in regular touch with former athletes.
Recovering to work
Cyclists are also workers who are expected by the working group to do their job. For these cyclists with lower supervision. In particular. the issue is not about the rightness or legality of the process. making the use of illegal products or methods easier later. but rather
Downloaded from irs. these tips are on drugs to be taken: ‘I know X.com by guest on August 6. who is professional. such as X [multivitamin product]. to resist the temptation of using doping products:
When he [a former professional] said I should go to X [a coach]. 2013
or place of residence. They often experience extreme fatigue. During the data collection period. in this way. exchange tips with their peers or.’ (Third team model)
Our interviewees perceived the way they are socialized to cycling as different. has thus developed. on the contrary. depending on the type of team they belong to. already supported the initiative of the UCI to limit the use of injections. you compensate or are adjusted in order to try to be the best you can be’ (physician. If you do. because it facilitates recovery and. A culture of using authorized products. I will give you two numbers. the issue of pharmacology came out later during the interviews. consequently paying particular attention to their health and recovery. he told me: ‘You choose X or Y. However. but you’ll have to pay. However. even in strong supportive teams: ‘The team doctor does a test and sees whether you have any deficiencies. He was the one who told me it was good’ (U23. injections are an important step in the learning of new norms regarding the use of the body in relation to pharmacology. as cyclists who are members of very structured teams often officially reject doping. is a kind of rite of passage. while the older riders seem to play a role in supplying doping products to the younger ones.
The use of authorized products
With the cyclists from the highly supervised teams (first type).
the permeability between teams should not be overlooked and could be the topic of a specific study. Some also expressed concerns about the possible long-term effects on their health:
I always told my father that I wanted a child and I always told him that I did not want a disabled child. 1998 ). Belgium)
Some expressed concerns about the potential negative consequences for the cyclists’ reputations or even the high cost. authorization of use for therapeutic purposes’ (Switzerland). Anyway. upon entering this career. a key factor in shaping discourses. strong supervision gave access to the current doping techniques.sagepub. as ‘converted’ they share the ‘illusion’ of the game (Bourdieu. first team model. 2013
. Cyclists from ‘affirmed values’ teams also express anti-doping attitudes and provide more detailed descriptions of the drug culture. among cyclists from teams with low supervision.
Young cyclists and doping issues
A variety of views on doping following the type of cycling teams. I would not want it on my conscience that it was my fault for messing around with substances. According to the cyclists. among us [U23 cyclists] there are those who talk about how to get around the controls. while today it seems to have a deterrent effect on reported attitudes. Thus we observe an inversion of the effects of sports and medical supervision on reported attitudes.com by guest on August 6. The relationship between cycling and doping is impossible to avoid for young cyclists. sometimes condemning doping or developing an unclear discourse characterized by recurrent references to how cyclists circumvent the regulations: ‘Now. (Professional. The cyclist does not necessarily directly adopt the norms of his group but the selection by teams corresponds to socialization models.12
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the fact of turning these actions into innocuous actions. It may thus also contribute to change the perception about these products. The diverse techniques used to prepare the body come with a highly varied discussion on doping. the less convinced the expressed attitudes. In the 1990s. Finally. beliefs and perhaps also practices of doping in the three countries. for them. which makes complex doping techniques prohibitive. shifting the norms about the use of drugs and about the attention paid to the body. while. the many controls they face and the efforts made by the cycling world have not changed anything: their image is still associated with doping. The image of the cyclist profession. facing an outwardly deteriorated image. All the members of ‘strongly supportive’ teams expressed anti-doping views. The type of team the cyclist integrates with strongly determines the discourses on doping. if I had one. Learning the profession also means. So these young cyclists suffer from a dissonant professional
Downloaded from irs. Discourses on doping need to be contextualized within the highly tarnished professional identity cyclists have had to face since the repeated scandals which have discredited the elite cycling over the past few years. Some champions still receive support even if they are suspected of doping5 but the increasing feeling among young cyclists is that their job has a deteriorated image. the views are more diverse. for example. However. Having a very clear position against doping has become very common but the lower the supervision.
The issue is no longer the gap between the two generations. The repeated scandals and intensified control activities. it means that those willing to take drugs need to build their own network. Contacts with former cyclists are frequently reported as well as contacts with physicians with a higher tolerance for drug use. 1957). Everyone expresses the unfairness of being considered as the heirs of the doping culture of former athletes. seemingly more independent of the cycling teams.6 This explains why. they do not report it as
Downloaded from irs. cyclists are overseen by official organizations linked to federations or clubs committed to fighting against doping. in this type of team (especially in France or Belgium). 2013
. most of the cyclists declare that they engage themselves in a new ‘clean’ culture. and consequently the most stigmatized one (Jennings and Sambrook. 2009). Exchanges between cyclists on the topic are regular and the cyclists make great use of the Internet as source information.Ohl et al. a cautious pharmacological culture is reported. ideal-type. deploring the lack of prevention but also pointing out the limitations to their freedom. and because their trainers and physicians do not promote drugs. but rather the normalization of the profession versus other sports professions. 2000).com by guest on August 6. The reported attitudes towards doping and the culture of drugs vary depending on the three supervision styles that we have identified. as young cyclists are rather isolated from former cyclists who were accustomed to doping practices. However. In the ‘strongly supportive’ teams. The injustice would be justified by the fact that cycling is the most controlled sport. On the contrary. which allows minimizing its deviancy (Sykes and Matza. These cyclists are more critical of the fight against doping and consider it as strictly repressive. Changes in the perception and use of products. A drug culture dependent on the work group organization. These young cyclists foster socialization between peers. model. declare that they strive to improve a highly tarnished image by effecting better behaviour and express agreement for the institutional work deployed to fight doping and change the culture of cycling.
identity due to these contradictions between the internal legitimacy of the issue and the external stigmatization. at least not formally.sagepub. The vertical transmission of the pharmacological culture does not occur as openly. Although former cyclists describe doping practices as being very widespread. their view on drugs is often a discourse mirroring their need for social acceptability. They therefore strongly support the increasing law enforcement. This is more a classic case of shifting norms. If the collectively organized doping culture of the 1990s seems to have largely evolved and maybe disappeared. regardless of team or country. The socialization process by peers does not concern doping or the pharmacological culture. The other cyclists do not hold exactly the same views and sometimes express doubts about the relevance of promoting an anti-doping policy. which results in the development of good knowledge about the use of legal and illegal products. as well as the moral and occasionally also legal condemnation of doping have consequently decreased its legitimacy and probably also the prevalence of doping practices among those riding in a team of our first. the knowledge about legal and illegal pharmacological practices is still very present. The anti-doping regime is far from being uncontroversial (Hanstad and Loland. So even if they are not completely convinced that using drugs is not a part of the job.
The reliability of the collected data is thus crucial. Primary socializations. As we show.com by guest on August 6. This research also opens perspectives on the analysis of doping and prevention policies. It was an interesting way to understand how the socialization process influences the athletes’ reported attitudes. However. We identify relations between the socialization process within the teams and report attitudes on drugs and doping. For example. used anti-doping rhetoric during interviews. We tried to avoid these difficulties while analysing doping indirectly when questioning their ordinary work. but there are a lot of instances of suspicion of doping use by other cyclists. on both cultural and financial aspects (e. especially because doping is a very sensitive topic. relations between the ‘social drama’ of each team and the attitudes toward doping are multifaceted. Most of our interviewees said they do not have access to them. states or federations? Many questions also arise concerning prevention policies.
Doping is usually treated as a moral dilemma. Collecting empirical material is complex. cyclists describe abuse in the area of Authorization of Use for Therapeutic Purposes as the main entry to doping.g. The other forms of doping are deemed too complex or expensive. The lack of favourable supervision and professional instability appear now to be the most important risk factors for doping use. This primarily involves an inappropriate use of cortisone. In less supervised teams. When cyclists evoke doping. successes. it is very difficult to deal with all these parameters when collecting the data. 2013
. Are sponsors putting on pressure? What is the pressure for? Is it short-term or mid-term? Do they have incomes through airtime? What is the influence of expectations of other organizations. especially at the professional level. and reserved only for professional cyclists. are finances used to improve the follow-up or only to pay cyclists’ salaries and for their equipment?) We need to have a better understanding of coach.sagepub. it means understanding their financial and symbolical constraints. difficulties and fatigue certainly play a role. they perceive it much more than before as a personal choice which is nevertheless not systematically disapproved of by the whole team. However. There is a need to collect more information on the organization of work within the teams. 1969). Using the ‘social drama of work’ as a theoretical framework allows us to develop hypotheses for further research on doping. Most of them are based on the wish to convince young athletes that doping is immoral and unhealthy. which it certainly is.
Downloaded from irs. from a sociological point of view. even those involved in doping. We focused on a key period of the socialization process and observed how the various teams play a role in this process through their organization of work. We also need to better understand how teams interact with the other members of the ‘drama’. In most cases they tried to keep their illegal practices hidden while trying to present an image of good management of their self (Goffman. However. Self-presentation was less at stake when analysing practices. the question is more one of understanding how social norms are constructed. knowledge and judgments in relation to the organization of work within the teams. This is why we try to show how the socialization process shapes the social norms that guide young cyclists’ ‘morality’. physician and staff interactions at work.14
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very common among young athletes. Sport organizations and athletes.
pressure. health-care. the Secretary of State of Sports.
1. etc. offers a completely different coherence. at least in a large European country that has signed an agreement and recognized the international anti-doping code. it does not exclude the use of legal products. 2.
Conflict of interest
There is no conflict of interest.wada-ama. and to change. followed by Pro Continental. one should involve all the actors of the social drama to question.Ohl et al.
The WADA did not intervene in any way in this study. the ICU has put in place a ‘noneedle policy’ (VéloWorld. said that he had never seen that: ‘It has been ten years that I have focused on doping in different sports and I have never been faced with such political interference in a sporting affair. Funding
This work was supported by the WADA (http://www.
Bassons C (2000) Positif. I think that Spain has a real problem with doping. the standards of practitioners and the boundaries perceived between what is allowed and what is not are not necessarily those of the WADA. Indeed. The team ranking in the ICU classifications is as follows: the Pro Tour level is the highest. Observing an interaction process. no. we are explicitly referring to the standards of the World AntiDoping Agency. Continental. Probably aware of the change in standards on using needles. I find it absolutely incredible and scandalous that the head of the government himself allows himself to enter into a debate asking Contador to be cleared. we note that the use of needles is supported by the ICU for controlled blood tests to check health and to monitor doping. This comes through as a rejection of certain products. The U23 (ICU Nations Cup under 23) is an age sub-category within the Elite group. within the team and between the teams and other organizations and actors. Elites and the amateur teams at different levels. When we use the word ‘doping’. how they shape cyclists’ bodies and moralities through discourses. even if Mr Lissavetzky. follow-up.org/en/Education-Awareness/ Social-Science/Funded-Research-Projects/). Paris: Editions Stock. conversely. Swisscycling).
Downloaded from irs. 2). 5. we are looking at the broader culture of drug consumption and techniques without necessarily differentiating between legal and illegal use.
reasoning on an individual level is not very relevant.’ (RFI-CYCLISME/DOPAGE – article published on Wednesday. Damien Ressiot. 6. training. 4. 16 February 2011). However. Source: Jahresbericht/Rapport annuel 2009. To deter the cyclists from using doping.com by guest on August 6. We only have to think about the case of Contador. When we use the term ‘pharmacological practices’ or ‘enhancing drugs’. competitions. 3. 2013
. disagrees with this. However. June 2011.sagepub. a doping specialist for the French journal L’Equipe. 67. p.
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. Available at: http://www. team coordinate. pp. a few tips Trainer selected by the team 3. American Sociological Review 22: 664–670. members are under scrutiny 2. Epub ahead of print 23 August 2011. Suaud C (1974) Contribution à une sociologie de la vocation: destin religieux et projet scolaire. 18–55. ‘Strongly supportive’ team Strict selection of cyclists that takes into account their reputation and their history High supervision.
Appendix 1 Three types of cyclist team Based on the data collected.com by guest on August 6. three team models’ organization differences and relations with discourses:
Work group members Recruitment process General organization and relation with managers and coaches 1. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 45(2): 187–198. London: Routledge. 2nd ed. 67: 2.asp?MenuId=MTk3Nw&ObjTypeCode=FILE&type=FILE&id =NzA4NTI&LangId=2 Verroken M (1996) Drug use and abuse in sport. ‘Individual organization mode’ team Selection of cyclists that does not really take into account history Little supervision. London: E & FN Spon. VéloWorld. Revue française de sociologie 15(1): 75–111. Waddington I and Smith A (2009) An Introduction to Drugs in Sport. Psychotropes 8(3–4): 89–99. ‘resourceful’ model Distant relation with trainer Self-organization dominant Private physician and trainer with various backgrounds Contacts with former athletes
Constant medical follow-up with the trainer Structure limiting contact with former athletes or the presence of former athletes who have adopted clear antidoping stances
Medical follow-up proposed by team (as well as private ones) Occasional contacts with former athletes
Downloaded from irs. In: Mottram DR (ed.
giving the idea that there is some tolerance to doping. probably rarer than other teams after entering structure Low probability of doping if they stay in this type of team. possible consumption in relation with regular links with own networks
Relation to doping
Hypothesis on possibilities of doping
Before becoming part of the structure. ‘Individual organization mode’ team
Strong anti-doping conviction within the organization Purist view of cyclists. possible confrontations regarding doping issues. some (rare) do not seem opposed to it
Anti-doping message not clear Good knowledge of authorized drugs Vacillating views. but not out of the question (on an individual basis)
Possible confrontations with doping before and after integration in the professional team Doping possible more on an individual basis. (Continued)
Work group members Discourses on drugs Work group discourses doping Cyclist perception on drugs and doping
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1.18 Appendix 1. networks not excluded but weak ties
Downloaded from irs. ‘Strongly supportive’ team
.com by guest on August 6. ‘Affirmed values’ team
3. no clear disapproval Contacts and possible doping after integration into the professional team Possible doping but not systematic. extremely against drugs and doping
Anti-doping conviction within the organization Open to authorized drugs View opposed to doping.