Archive for Doping

Oscar, say it ain’t so.

Following the long awaited confession of Boogerd to ten years of doping at Rabobank the great Oscar Freire must be now in the frame.  If Oscar’s three rainbow jerseys are shown to be stained that will be the end for me as a fan. I was roadside for all three wins and his first win at Verona was perhaps the best moment of my time as a fan. As the group swung to the left and Oscar opened a gap on the right all the Italians walked out of the bar! By the time Oscar crossed the line we had the tele to ourselves!

I am still clinging to the hope that Oscar was so good at what he did best he didn’t need to dope. Popping up in Flanders in early March and in October for the Worlds with plenty of rest for his dodgy back during the remainder of the season maybe allowed him to win clean. Let’s hope so.

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David Walsh, scourge of dopers, not.

Is there anyone tougher on dopers in cycling than David Walsh? His hard-hitting pieces in the Sunday Times are legendary. Lance Armstrong has nightmares about this valiant crusader against drug cheats. But it wasn’t always so, particularly if, like Walsh, you come from the Emerald Isle. This is what he wrote in 1984.

It really has not been much of a week- end for Kelly. On the day before the race he had made an important  call to his base in Vilvoorde, near Brussels. The second examination of his urine sample after Paris-Brussels had taken place on that Friday morning and the rider had to telephone for the result which had been transmitted to Vilvoorde.

The news was “positive”, Kelly had believed that the second examination would clear him. Now he had a problem and it was one of an official nature. As he went to sign on that Friday afternoon in Milan he was besieged by interrogating journalists. It was with perfect tranquility that he pleaded his innocence and said he was confident he would have the “positive” verdict rescinded.

It was said he had taken Stimul, a drug which achieved a certain infamy in 1977 when Merckx, Maertens and Pollentier were alleged to have used it as an aid. Seven years later other professionals were disbelieving that one of their number would take this drug. Robert Millar said said: “Stimul is years out of date”.

Kelly would remind people that in Paris-Brussels he got into a break of four, eight km from the finish and could only finish third.

Forever loyal to his Irish friend, Stephen Roche said that it was a tragedy what they were trying to do to Kelly. ” I know he was not positive. He has been a superman this season and this is what they are trying to do to him.” Roche offered the view that the doctors were to blame-“always trying to pin something on the rider”.

To others Kelly would mention that he had been to over 25 medical controls this season, that he had been negative… 

And so it goes on , pathetic excuse after pathetic excuse. Walsh even threw in Armstrong’s “I am the most tested athlete on the planet” defence, well twenty five tests anyhow. This load of old bollocks would make me sick even if Walsh hadn’t built a career on fighting the good fight against dopers but given his remorseless attacks on later miscreants my disgust is limitless.  

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Send Ricco to the moon!

It is difficult to find anything encouraging in the Ricco affair but the reaction of other riders provides a glimmer of hope. This is what they had to say;

Colleagues condemn Ricco on Twitter

  • Manuel Quinziato: “Goodbye Riccardo! We will not miss it!”
  • Paul Martens: “This confirms my view: once a cheater, always a cheater. The penalties for doping should be heavier.”

  • Greg Henderson: “Caught, Ricco. We will miss you. Like a hole in our heads.”

Cancellara: “They should send him to the moon”

Also in the Tour of Qatar nobody condones the conduct of Riccardo Ricco.

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Ricco’s compatriots Giovanni Visconti and Filippo Pozzato agree: “The damage causes to cycling by Ricco is huge.”

“Everything has its limits. It is clear that Ricco has far exceeded that,” says Visconti too.

Eddy Merckx heaved a deep sigh and Leif Hoste says he was not surprised. “I just hope that the public can distinguish between an exceptional case and the majority that it is playing fair.”

Valerio Piva, team manager at HTC, also responded. “Ricco is a sick man. He does not deserve another chance anymore.”



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