March 24, 2017
There is a drug that pervades the peloton like no other. Almost every single rider administers it to themselves, usually several times a day. Cyclists are totally addicted to the extent that they can’t even fathom going for a training ride without taking it – sometimes a double dose, maybe even a triple.
But this drug has no need for omertà. This drug is legal. This drug is caffeine.
Caffeine can reduce fatigue, improve muscle contractibility and increase the time it takes to reach an exhausted state. It provides enough performance enhancement that it is currently being monitored by WADA as a substance which might be subject to abuse. We once saw a rider revolt during the 1998 Tour de France because of the indignities suffered by dopers being investigated. That protest largely consisted of the peloton sitting in the middle of a road. If WADA decided to ban caffeine, then we’d really see what a rider revolt looks like.