Doping in XC Worlds: Jenny Copnall on Twitter

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With the extent of Russia’s doping programme exposed, many will be wondering at the culture that created such endemic and systematic doping. Pro XC Racer Jenny Copnall, who previously commented on the state of affairs at British Cycling, has once again taken to Twitter to share her views – this time on doping.

She starts out with suggesting that the rot sets in when the emphasis is on winning…

…and goes on to suggest that Britain, through UK Sport, is heading down the elitist route:

Oh hang on, maybe we’re already well down that road?

Hmm…we wonder who she’s talking about?

And the impact of cheats in the sport? Well, when athletes are measured on their results, and up against the cheats, the clean can look poor in comparison:

The suggestion here seems to be that the late night stairs exercise is linked to doping. Perhaps an attempt to work off something in their system? Or an attempt to keep EPO thickened blood moving? Jenny admits that she was clueless at the time:

Jenny reckons it’s not just long term funding chances that are affected when you’re measured against cheats – there was another unintended consequence of this particular cheat:

Whether it’s your cheating rivals ruining your funding chances, your cheating team mates getting your whole country banned (well, maybe), doping is not like E-Bikes – everyone agrees it is A Bad Thing. Opinion however is more divided on whether the perpetrators are ‘Bad People Who Should Have Said No’ or ‘Victims Of A System’, and whether they should be banned for life, or can be rehabilitated. Whatever your view, it seems that the powers that be have decided that in the case of Russia there can be no excuses, and many Russian athletes will not take part in the Olympics – clean or not. But with funding streams focused on elite sport, are other countries at risk of encouraging doping, inadvertently if not systematically?

Hannah Dobson

Hannah came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. Having worked in policy and project management roles at the Scottish Parliament and in local government, Hannah had organisational skills that SIngletrack needed. She also likes bikes, and likes to write.

Hannah likes all bikes, but especially unusual ones. If it’s a bit odd, or a bit niche, or made of metal, she’s probably going to get excited. If it gets her down some steep stuff, all the better. She’ll give most things a go once, she tries not to say no to anything on a bike, unless she really thinks it’s going to hurt. She’s pretty good with steri-strips.

More than bikes, Hannah likes what bikes do. She thinks that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments.

Hannah tries to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

Comments (3)

    I’m (unfortunately) sure it is out there, as Jenny says, if it’s all about results and people’s need to have them, then some will crack under the pressure. It’s a shame that sport does this to young and probably also naive people, who feel they can’t say no. It doesn’t matter what the sport is either, cheating just isn’t cool and the people pushing the drugs need to be dealt with in the strongest ways possible: prison maybe a good deterrent?

    I’d never really considered all consequences of doping for the clean riders until reading this. I’d always imagined that the dopers hopefully got found out, which in turn gave way to the 1st clean riders getting the posthumous upgrades in the results sheet. (albeit once the cheering crowds, media attention, related subsequent sponsorship and perhaps non-bike industry product endorsement chances have long gone) which is all bad enough. But when you consider the old WCPP rule of only podium contenders can get an entry to the race, well, then those people’s short careers are over before they start.
    “you’ve got to be in it to win it” seems pretty relevant here – if there were 3 or more people doping in your race, you’d have a very slim chance of getting to compete due to said selection process, and therefore no way of getting podium results on the day or later on when the positive doping results came to light. All pretty sad. Good on you, Jenny, for speaking out. I guess you have had your dreams crushed and have nothing to lose by doing so.

    Pretty depressing really.

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