Tag Archives: doping

On Doping

I don’t tend to comment on doping in pro cycling, as there are other bloggers, writers and journalists that can do it far more insightfully. But I thought that these lines from The Prestige give an apt but oblique commentary.

The audience knows the truth- that the world is simple. Miserable. Solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second, you could make them wonder.

Then you got to see something very special… It was the looks on their faces.

Every magic trick consists of three parts, or acts… The first part is called the Pledge. You take something ordinary.

The second part is called the Turn. I take the ordinary something…and make it extraordinary.

But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough…

You have to bring it back.

Now you’re looking for the secret… But you won’t find it …because you don’t really want to know… …

    you want to be fooled


Or as The Race Radio puts it in his twitter bio: Pro Cycling is like sausage, I love it but I don’t want to know how it is made.

Vinokourov interview [translated]

Someone tweeted a link to this interview with Alexandre Vinokourov on a French pro cycling blog, so I thought I would have a go at translating it.

The interview was by Grégory Ienco of Cyclismerevue.eu. Posts are are tweeted at http://twitter.com/cyclismerevue. I hadn’t seen the blog before- to anyone who can read French, it looks pretty good.

vino cycling dopage "time trial"

Vinokourov: « I can win without doping too »

Who would have bet on Alexandre Vinokourov’s (Astana) second success at Ans? The Kazakh rider admits that he believed he could win before the start of la Doyenne. And he was right to hope that this victory allows him to prove things to his detractors. However, the argument has now started: Did Vino deserve this win after his two year suspension?

Alexandre, how did you feel crossing the finish line?
I felt a lot of emotion. Returning to la Doyenne five years after my win, and winning again, is more than a dream. For me, and for my team and Kazakhstan. After the Tour of Trentino, I told myself: why not win Liège-Bastogne-Liège? (or why can’t I win LBL?) and then I asked myself if I was going to be able to recover properly. I wanted to stay in bed. In the end, I gave it everything, and with my experience, that was enough.

Do you understand that people have lost confidence in you after the scandal that has affected you?
Today, I just showed the real Vinokourov. Vino, that’s class (sic). I have turned the page and from now on I’ll never go back. I can win without doping too and that’s the most important thing. I have been working since last year so that you, the journalists and the fans can have confidence in me again. This win is a revenge for me.

Other riders have returned to racing after a suspension, but haven’t done as well, and as quickly as you, What is your secret?
It’s just class. When you have it, it’s all right. Even at the Worlds and the Tour of Lombardy last year, I was ready. I had done specific work in the mountains and I had done rides of over seven hours. I never stopped training despite my suspension. Every person is different, but I truly wanted to come back.

Could it be said that you took this second Doyenne thanks to Alberto Contador, who thwarted the other favourites?
It’s not just because of him. The whole team helped me and without my teammates, it would be possible to win this type of race. Each rider deserves congratulations for his work. Contador was there in the final kilometres and I finished the work of my teammates.

Why did you train in Tenerife rather than Monaco, where you live? Is it due to the presence of Fuentes on the Spanish island?
In Monaco, I can work, but I have my family life. I love being with my children and I like to make the most of this time, but I still can’t go for long rides in the big passes like in Tenerife. In any case, I don’t work with Fuentes. Why would it be due to him that I go there? This season, there was nearly 25 riders there. They go there becuase this terrain doesn’t exist in Europe. That’s all. »

Do you condemn doping now?
Why would I say otherwise? Of course, it’s necessary to fight against doping. Some people still play with fire but you need to work to get anywhere. This is why I want to show what I can produce now. In 2007? I don’t want to go back there. I have done my two years of suspension. We’re here to talk about my win.

What are your dreams from now on?
I hope, after the Giro, to participate in the Tour de France and to win the yellow jersey with Contador. I will help him and support him. After that, I think that I will have won enough races. I would think about perhaps finishing my career. We will see after the Tour. But before [retiring], I would like to go to the time trial world championships to beat Fabian Cancellara. Even if his is unbeatable!

I have translated this myself, so I could discuss it with people, but I did not have permission. I hope you’ll either discuss the comments here, or in French over at www.cyclismerevue.eu. If you want to reuse the information, it’s only right that you reference www.cyclismerevue.eu.

I take a few things from this interview: Vino seems a little more willing to confront the doping issue but still glosses over the past quite a lot. His comments about thinking he could win the race and his inherent class as a rider belie an arrogance that has turned many fans against him, but that is also the hallmark of a winner. He also fully expects to get a ride in the Tour.

Ricardo Ricco poll: 84% dislike, 16% like

Ricardo Ricco’s comments on Cyclingnews raised a few hackles today.

Asked, though, whether he thinks that he can redeem himself in the eyes and affections of fans in Italy and abroad, Riccò appeared optimistic.

“I know it’ll be difficult but I’m confident,” he said. “The results of the tests that I’ve done on my bike have been good. Let’s see when I come back. In the main, I’ll concentrate on what I have to do on the road. That’s what counts really. If I start winning again, people won’t even remember what happened to me – the same thing that happened to lots of other riders.

The fact that he doesn’t apologise to the fans for cheating them, show any remorse or put in any work to redeem himself or rebuild his reputation grates with me. I was debating this with @John_the_Monkey who posed the question: “Is he disliked?” So I decided to conduct a poll.

At time of writing, a majority – 84% – disliked, and a minority – 16% – liked, from 98 responses. Fairly predictable, despite my attempt to word the question as neutrally as possible. Many of the comments on twitter were pretty angry, such as those from pmshires, Steve_ST, Stumpyrider and mycyclingfan: bastard, venomous, abhorrent, arrogance, taking the pissa and ‘life ban‘ were mentioned.

More interesting was @John_the_Monkey’s doubt that he will apologise: he’s far too sure of himself to worry about what we think. This squares with Ricco’s pompousness in evading the contrite, remorseful attitude and the willingness to make amends that have set a former dope cheat such as David Millar apart.

Then @sprintingforsigns pointed the flaws in my black/white poll: disliking or liking the guy is not the same question as do you want to see him back as a convicted doper. The 2 don’t necessary go hand in hand.

He has come back from a dope ban and shown contempt for the whole sport by pretending nothing happened, similar to riders such as Vinokourov and Rasmussen. I was surprised that 16% voted ‘like’ and would like to see more comments and justification from this side of the fence.

PS: today was a good twitter day, to quote Stuart Cosgrove I revelled in the thrill of getting noticed somewhat.

Irish Champion, an Anti-Drugs org, and copyright issues

Irish Champion Dan Martin- Garmin Chipotle rider and Bike-Pure affiliated rider

The pic above was taken on the 2008 tour of Britain, about half way up the Mennock Pass. Steve Cummings attacked the yellow jersey, and Geoffroy Lequatre, Dan Martin and others are pictured trying to stay in touch with him. Cummings was later reeled in on the other side of the hill, while Edvald Boassen Hagen (2009’s Gent-Wevelgem winner) won the stage at Drumlanrig Castle.

A not-for-profit anti-doping organisation, Bike Pure, contacted me through Flickr, asking permission to use the image for Dan Martin, their supported rider, and I said OK, cos I thought it was a good cause. No £££ in it for me, but they gave me appropriate credit on the Dan Martin gallery on their site.

Changing the subject momentarily, an online bicycle shop Chain Reaction Cycles, send out a weekly email promoting products, offers, etc. You know the style. A few weeks back, I got an email about about ‘rolling back prices on wheels’…

The link to Bike-Pure about half way down the email has a pic of Garmin rider Dan Martin in it- wait a minute, that’s my pic!

From misc

I posted about this on the forum of my local bike club, and got a few sympathetic replies, and then Andy at Bike Pure noticed my grumble. He got in contact with me and offered take it up on my behalf with CRC. As yet still no response from them though.


I will keep you ‘posted’