The bottom line then, is that doping seems to work VERY WELL. It’s still difficult, if not impossible, to put an exact number to the benefit, though the data of Franke et al give a pretty good indication that it’s at least 15% in those power based sports. It may be slightly less for endurance based sports, like cycling. But as i wrote yesterday, there’s substantial evidence that hormone levels, particularly testosterone fall during the course of a race like the Tour. And so if Floyd Landis and others are using the drug, the benefit would come from defending this drop-off, which promotes recovery and hence allows them to maintain their form throughout the Tour. In theory then, the systematic use of drugs will have a large effect in cycling, not because it acutely boosts performance, but because it allows it to be maintained. Think of your own training – you always have good days and bad days. But what if I said that by using a drug, like testosterone, you could drastically reduce the number of bad days – that is what these drugs will do for cyclists.
5. Baseball (positive test results: percent) : Olympic baseball is certainly not at the center of the sport, especially since it was discontinued as an Olympic event after the 2008 Games. Still, baseball yielded one of the highest percentages of positive test results in the years before it was eliminated. And steroid use in Major League Baseball was almost certainly worse than in the Olympics (the MLB did not even have steroid testing with penalties until 2004 ). The tests have been strengthened since then, and the situation appears to be improving relative to the dark days of the 1990s and early 2000s. Just as the sport seemed to be turning the corner, however, it came to light in June that the league was seeking to suspend about 20 players, including stars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, for alleged involvement in a steroid ring.