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The 5 Worst Cycling Cheaters

While Lance Armstrong trolls us all with douchey photos, let’s look at some other horrible two-wheeled cheats.


Photo Via Mobli

Lance Armstrong trolled the internet this weekend, tweeting the above photo of himself with all his Tour de France yellow jerseys. The intended message was clear: You took my medals, but fuck you anyway – I’m Lance Armstrong! As dickish as this move is, it’s hardly the first time cheaters have, in fact, prospered in the sport. Cycling and the Tour de France actually have a very long history of cheats and scandals: Let’s see how Armstrong stacks up against his fellow flim-flammers.


Photo: Roger Viollet / Getty Images

1. Maurice Garin
The 1904 Tour de France was of major note because it featured more phony moments than the floors of the Republican and Democratic conventions combined. Garin became the chief cheater of the race when officials discovered that he had actually traveled most of the race not by bike, but by train. Considering the likely high quality of service on a train in 1905, chances are he not only got to cross the finish line, but his luggage was probably waiting for him when he got there.

Was He Worse Than Lance?
Definitely. Despite all of Lance’s faults and misdeeds, he actually traveled the entire route on his bike. Sure, most of what was powering it was human-growth hormone and some kind of stimulant that ranchers use on bulls to keep them awake after endless breeding sessions, but, come on, he was still technically on a bicycle.


Photos: Allsport Hulton / Archive

2. Francis and Henri Pélissier
The advent of chemically enhanced biology may be relatively recent, but that doesn’t mean doping wasn’t possible in the early days of the sport. Hell, the fans alone needed all sorts of cocaine pep-pills and heroin-laced hard candies just to stay awake and watch it. These two cycling brothers, however, entered the 1923 Tour de France with more substances coursing through their bloodstreams than Courtney Love at a going-away-to-rehab party. Not only did they use everything from cocaine to chloroform to improve their performance, but they also bragged about it to a reporter after quitting the race over a different scandal involving jerseys.

Were They Worse Than Lance?
This one really depends on whether you think it’s worse to brag about your crimes, or to defiantly continue insisting they’re false accusations. We’re going with…maybe?



3. Hippolyte Aucouturier
Some athletes pride themselves on delivering the most pure athletic performance they can by abstaining from substances that even flirt with the line of illegality. Aucouturier could have proudly held his head high knowing that he didn’t use any such substances to cheat: Instead, in 1905, he attached a wire from his bike to a car that pulled him easily through several stages. The year before that, he just jumped on the train. Much more honorable!

Was He Worse Than Lance?
For sure. Again, Lance may have relied on his steroid-soaked muscles, but technically his bike was still being moved by his own legs. The substance being abused by Aucouturier was called “gasoline,” and it’s definitely a bigger cheat move than steroids. 


Photo: Jack Claassen

4. Michel Pollentier
This Tour de France racer also did drugs to give himself an extra edge in the race, but when it came time to take the test, it was clear he didn’t take intelligence-enhancing steroids. Filling a condom with a very good friend’s urine (after all, would a mere acquaintance let you borrow their bodily fluids?), he tried to sneak it into the testing area by squeezing it into the test cup through a long tube running underneath his clothing. Incredibly, he wouldn’t even have gotten caught if not for that fact that another tester was trying to do the same thing, and his “spillage” gave both of them away.

Was He Worse Than Lance?
Nah. At least Pollentier didn’t store bags of his own personal fluids in his fridge the way Armstrong did with his own clean blood like it was a leftover Steak-Umm (which, by the way, has the same nutritional value as eating Lance Armstrong’s tainted blood).


Photo: Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images

5. Philip Hindes
The 2012 Summer Olympics not only had a plague of disqualified candidates who couldn’t provide a clean sample, but also a plague of athletes who threw games on purpose to help their chances. The scandal over China’s badminton team alone prompted a wave of outrage from the fans, most of whom were actually just upset to learn that badminton is an Olympic sport. Britain’s speed cycling team took home a record number of gold medals, but one of the teammates ratted out Hindes by claiming that he deliberately fell during a race to make up for a poor start and give them another fighting chance. The International Olympic Committee refused to investigate the matter and actually let the medals stand.

Was He Worse Than Lance?
Way worse. Armstrong had to give up his seven Tour de France wins, his million-dollar endorsement deal with Nike, and the charity he helped found to raise money for cancer research. Hindes would have to give up a body part at the very least to compete with that.

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, reporter, humorist come and a big fan of dodgeball athlete Peter La Fleur. He can be found on the web at www.DannyGallagher.net.

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