I’ve recently been involved is a project that analyses human performance like never before and the results are displayed in a 152 page, one-off magazine which discusses and quantifies sports doping in a unique way. What it does specifically, is to show very candidly that the sport of cycling has had a long term problem with doping that extends way beyond Lance Armstrong and his lengthy career of denial.
In simple terms, the production team has studied competition results under very specific circumstances to establish reasonable or questionable performance, irrespective of the presence of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Some of the results are staggering. The magazine’s title: “NOT NORMAL? An insight into doping and the biggest 21 riders” tells you exactly what it’s about. (Which I thought was quite clever…)
My own determination to champion anti-doping at every turn, whether personally or through SKINS, has taken me on a bit of a crusade and this magazine is the latest chapter. As a fan, I can’t stand the thought of watching an event which may have a pre-determined result because one or several of the competitors is pumped full of drugs. And as a Chairman of a compression wear company, I want ANYONE wearing one of my garments to know that its properties for enhanced performance and recovery will be the only bit that makes the difference.
NOT NORMAL? is the result of a fascinating study which lays out the facts like never before. For example, Greg LeMond is considered as a true cycling legend but how do his performances REALLY stack up against the rest? Is Lance Armstrong the doping monster everyone now perceives, or is he just the most famous rider in an alarming list which proves cycling is in a mess – and other sports might be too?
My close friend and international cycling coach, Antoine Vayer, is the driving force for the project and his study of historic performances has produced the type of results no-one has ever seen before – until now.
Antoine’s ingenious method measures a competitor’s power output on mountain stages over a generation of competition and then analyses the comparative performance. The results are also used to make a comparison against the scientifically accepted natural limitations of the human body. He then categorises the information in a beautifully simple way by using a basic colour coding to simplify some mind-boggling results.
The conclusions reflect whether individual riders’ performances were ok (green) suspicious (yellow) miraculous (orange) or mutant (red).
Not every page is a Statto’s dream by the way. I’m proud to say there are some fantastic contributions from people such Greg LeMond himself, the incredibly well informed Head of Sport at the French newspaper Le Monde, Stephane Mandard, and also individual performance features on 21 of the world’s best riders from the last thirty odd years. Add to that an intriguing interview with David Howman, the Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) who discusses the UCI’s continued refusal to work with them on anti-doping and I reckon you’ve got a ripper of a read that’s both illuminating and alarming.
In today’s mad world, we’re constantly hearing of athletes failing drugs tests and about the dangerous “power” of Performance Enhancing Drugs but no-one ever quantifies the ‘benefits’. Until now, the sports-mad public has pretty much just accepted that there IS an advantage, that it IS wrong and that; “they should be doing more about it.”
If you get a chance to flick through NOT NORMAL?, I reckon you’ll recognise a world that is killing itself from the inside – in more ways than one – at which point you won’t think, but DEMAND that they do more about it.
I sincerely hope you do. The digital magazine can be purchased online at skins.net/notnormal and costs less than ten bucks – what a bargain!