Who, what, why?
Dopeology is a website about doping in European professional road cycling between 1980 and the present day. This website isn't about shaming or judging people and there's nothing here that can't already be found elsewhere in reputable published media. The only truly novel aspect of Dopeology is that it collects on a single website thousands of reports and articles derived from hundreds of sources, almost all of them online.
Dopeology references an enormous volume of research and reporting done over the last three decades and offers just a hint of the extraordinary creative, legal, administrative and financial resources consumed by the doping phenomenon in a relatively small, closely integrated sport.
The first edition of the website appeared in late 2011 and represents probably the first systematic attempt to document and cross-reference reported doping in pro cycling. This second edition dates from July 2016 and incorporates some of the recent advances in web technologies, while the basic structure of Dopeology remains largely unchanged.
A lot of people have inspired, shaped and amended bits of the Dopeology project. I've singled out a few in the Thanks section below but there are many others out there. As for me, I'm a cyclist and cycling fan rather than an anonymous eminence grise with an inside track on the dirt! If you contact me via the Contact page, you will usually get a reply. I'm happy to receive questions, media enquiries or corrections. However, I am unable to respond to requests for database dumps or custom reports. Apart from contact via the Dopeology website, I can often be found in cycling discussions (doping and non-doping) at Velorooms.com.
A word of thanks for all the support received from users, colleagues and friends in the development, testing and maintenance of Dopeology.
E for tolerating a slow second version; J for enthusiasm, infinite patience and the third natural form; Catalin - for services rendered to SQL, Oncle Luc for kind comments; Velorooms.com: Dim, AG, JSG and members; Andy Smith for scientific contributions; Cyclingnews.com Clinic users: Fearless Greg Lemond / Doefnix, Dr Maserati, Mrs John Murphy, Stingray34 and others (needless to say, this website is not affiliated with Cyclingnews.com ;-))
Just a few picks from a big list of journos, publications and sources: Paul Kimmage for being the first and the last man standing, Susan Westemeyer, Daniel Benson at Cyclingnews.com, Cyclisme-dopage.com, Procycling.no for asking the blunt questions, Shane Stokes of CyclingTips, Hans Vandeweghe, Stéphane Mandard of Le Monde, JP de Mondenard, L'Equipe, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Het Nieuwsblad, Gazet van Antwerpen, Le Soir, El Mundo Deportivo, El País, Record, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, NOS, NRC, Guardian, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ESPN, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine and many others … if I overlooked anyone, let me know!
Dopeology depends entirely on its sources. Data integrity is carefully maintained according to the following principles:
Any sort of historical narrative in a data collection risks editorialisation or bias. Every attempt has been made to achieve economy by minimising narrative texts to no more than a few words per incident and providing links to a variety of sources instead.
While providing information, Dopeology makes no judgements about individuals or organisations and focuses on events rather than outcomes. For example, acquittals and negative B tests are recorded with the same fidelity and factual interest as any positive test or criminal conviction.
Dopeology data is based on factual reporting from reputable media. Reputable media have a responsibility to properly research and publish the facts on which Dopeology data is based. If these media fail to do so, then the individual(s) harmed can take appropriate action, otherwise the published report must stand as fact.
- Version 1.7, 26 April 2017
This section discusses the business rules used to log incidents on Dopeology. These business rules may change over time to improve data integrity or reflect changes to the global situation on doping.
To qualify as a new record in Dopeology, the proposed incident (and therefore its associated people, teams and products) should satisfy all of the terms of the inquiry:
A topology of doping (1) in European (2) professional (3) road cycling (4) 1980-present (5)
Therefore the proposed incident should:
- Consist of event(s) clearly related to doping
- Involve individuals and teams active in Europe
- Target the senior professional peloton
- Affect road cycling as a discipline
- Occur within the specified time period
All of the above must be documented by at least one reputable source in published media, preferably available online.
Examples which do not meet these criteria:
- Financial irregularities (unless these contain clear evidence of doping-related activities)
- Sporting fraud involving the use of battery-powered motors
- Individuals exclusively active in Latin America or Asia
- Juniors, U23 and amateur riders, even if they subsequently obtain a professional contract (unless the proposed incident occurs while they are active as stagiaires)
- Individuals active in mountain biking, cyclo-cross or triathlon at the time of the proposed incident
- Where the proposed incident occurred in 1979
Users should also acquaint themselves with the labels used to categorise data:
An individual or group publicly describes their passive or active involvement in doping-related incidents, typically in press interviews, biographies or legal proceedings, sometimes years after the events described.
Where this kind of statement forms part of evidence given in court or arbitration proceedings, the incident is logged as an admission statement rather than hearing evidence, since the latter is concerned with testimony that does not directly inculpate the witness.
Valid only in respect of the individual or group that makes it. Others mentioned as part of an admission statement will not be logged unless there is sufficient information from available from other independent sources to generate a new incident record.
Appeal against sanction
A procedural appeal made by an individual or group against a criminal, civil or disciplinary sanction.
Note that it is the appeal per se rather than the outcome that Dopeology records, meaning that any possible outcome - an acquittal or an upholding, diminution or extension of an earlier decision - is equally valid under this type.
When an individual or group of individuals arrested on suspicion or evidence proper of a criminal act involving doping.
The incident will be recorded whether or not the subject of the arrest is subsequently released without charge since the issue of guilt is not relevant to the incident itself.
Where an individual or group of individuals is convicted of a criminal offence by a court of law.
The expulsion or subsequent disqualification of an individual or group of individuals from a professional cycle race in situ for the express reason of involvement or suspected involvement in a doping-related incident.
In practice, this incident type tends to be overlooked where the situation evolves into another type of incident, so it is only applicable when no other category of incident occurred before or after.
Evidence concerning doping given by an individual or individuals during a legal or quasilegal procedure. Where that evidence contains a personal admission of doping-related activities, it becomes an admission statement instead.
An ongoing or completed criminal or disiplinary investigation into doping-related activities. Once again, details of the outcome may be provided but these do not alter the recording of the incident itself.
The referral of an individual or individuals to medical authorities for reasons of symptoms, injury or death occurring as a result of doping-related activities. If this type of incident evolves into another type then this latter will usually be recorded instead.
Similar to a temporary suspension except where the length of the prohibition from involvement in professional cycling is permanent.
A verifiable, official positive blood or urine test conducted in- or out-of-competition during the contiguous career of an individual in the domain of European professional road cycling.
An anti-doping test typically results in two samples, the latter of which (the B-sample) will be opened and tested if the former (A-sample) returns a positive result for a particular substance. A-positives followed by subsequent B-negatives are still recorded.
Technical information on dope control procedures can be found at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) website.
A temporary prohibition from involvement in any aspect in the domain of professional cycling, not only competition. A temporary suspension may be fixed during the course of contractual, legal or disciplinary proceedings.
Termination of contract
Where an individual's contract with an organisation involved in professional cycling is terminated as a result of alleged or actual involvement in doping-related activities.
The specific circumstances leading to the termination of contract need not necessarily be publicly known, only that doping-related activities are cited and the assumption is that the organisation is not acting capriciously.
This incident type is not recorded if another, more specific type is applicable and the termination of contract is only corollary to the reported events.
A doping-related, usually procedural infraction, for which the offending party incurs a relatively minor penalty. Examples of violations are failures to report in the whereabouts programme and elevated haematocrit results.
Good writer? Knowledgeable about European pro road cycling? Not squeamish about doping? Dopeology needs your contributions!
I'm looking for short summaries in the same style as the Clenbuterol listing.
You can suggest your own topic (not necessarily scientific ;-)) or, if you dig the science and you see a listing in Products without a description already, you can submit one of those.
Items should contain 250-500 words in English. No payment is offered but credit will be given below all published items. Please note the Creative Commons licence will also apply to your work.
Don't worry if English isn't your first language - I will edit the item for you.
Remember that Dopeology is a reference site. Contributions should concern (recent) history, analysis and descriptions rather than critiques, editorials or opinions.
Interested? Make contact via the website. You should include a title and a one-line synopsis of what you intend to contribute.
As the founder and administrator of Dopeology, I reserve at all times the right to reject any contributions or edit them with the consent of the author.
- 15 May 2017 / Version 2.1
- Support for metadata with new Related subsection
- HTTPS SSL/TLS secure certificate
- 30 June 2016 / Version 2.0
- Major update
- 13 May 2016 / Version 1.7
- Minor updates to quick find functionality, typography. Revision of Home, About, Statistics and Podium pages.
- 18 March 2013 / Version 1.6
- Published the Podium
- 30 October 2011 / Version 1.5
- Release with search functionality
- 08 October 2011 / Version 1.0
- First public release, with incident methodology version 1.0
If you'd like to know more about how Dopeology was made, see Making of …