Earlier this week, the International Cycling Union announced it would not appeal the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to bar Lance Armstrong from the sport for life. Those connected to Indiana University’s Little 500 bike race say Armstrong’s doping does not mean amateur racers should be tested.
In the end, drug testing is not what built the case against Armstrong. Instead it was anecdotal evidence from many athletes within the sport. IU sport management professor Galen Clavio says that is because those who use performance-enhancing drugs are more innovative than testers.
“One of the big problems with the Anti-doping Agency, with cycling, with baseball, is that the chemistry and science is always four or five years ahead of the testing,” he says.
IU Cycling Club advisor Jordan Bailey says Armstrong’s choices are not surprising, but disappointing.
“I think that’s it’s fair to say within the cycling community that it’s a huge disappointment, especially this college generation because they grew up watching Lance,” Bailey says.
Little 500 cyclist Sam Harbinson is a member of the Cutters, a team that won the race five years in a row, from 2007 to 2011. He says he has experienced the pressures to perform as an athlete, but says that the inner drive and team responsibilities are what motivates him.
“If you did dope, I don’t think the wins would be as awesome,” Harbinson says.
Harbinson adds professional cyclists feel economic pressures not felt by Little 500 riders.
Since the race is an intramural competition for amateurs, riders and organizers say adding drug testing is unlikely.