Tour du Dopage: Confessions of doping professional cyclists in a modern work environment
journal contributionposted on 16.04.2015, 08:55 by Charlotte V. L. Smith
Despite widespread condemnation of drug use in sport, recent flurries of riders’ confessions have emphasized the normalization and omnipresence of doping within cycling. This has particularly occurred since the Festina affair in 1998, and Lance Armstrong’s confession about drug use in 2012. Whilst there is an array of reasons for cyclists’ doping, little is known about how this is understood in relation to their performances. This paper addresses this by analyzing 112 doping cyclists’ confessions, adopting an interactionist perspective on deviance and a position of ‘sport as work’. Findings show how doping is legitimated by cyclists on three levels of their performance. These include maintaining their performance to themselves, presenting their performance to their team and supporting the grand spectacle of cycling. It is concluded that doping becomes a form of ‘performance egoism’ that allows cyclists to legitimate their performances.