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A Sentence That Should Strike Fear Into the Heart of Every Doping Cyclist

From an Associated Press report out of Rome:

Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso admitted involvement in the Spanish doping scandal and is cooperating with sports authorities.

CyclingIt is hard to overestimate the value of a cooperating witness. Think of the damage, e.g., that Sammy Gravano did to John Gotti and the rest of the Gambino crime family. If someone of Basso’s stature is really cooperating with the authorities, I have a feeling that the cycling landscape vis-a-vis doping is about to change very substantially.

It has certainly taken a while. Consider this excerpt from a Q&A with the former star cyclist Philippe Gaumont, who cooperated with authorities after being indicted in the famous Cofidis case. This interview was published in the French newspaper Le Monde — more than three years ago:

Q: What about surprise controls?

A: They are not surprises! They take place at the training or race locations: so you can easily be prepared to make sure you will not be positive. All the pros know that when they take doping products, they have to base themselves on their arrival date at the training or race locations in order to calculate when they have to stop taking them.

For EPO, for example, we all know that, by injection, it remains only three days in the urines. So you just have to stop the treatment 3 days before the arrival at the race or training location to get away with it, while the effect of blood oxygenation lasts for 10 days after the intake.

Therefore a rider, who has a 7 days break between two races, can “refuel” with EPO immediately after the first race and will stop 3 days before the arrival date at the next one. For the ones who have the Tour de France has main objective, they generally stop all competition two weeks before the Tour and they disappear in order to refuel with EPO to arrive for the departure with an hematocrit close to 50%.