Cycling UK » doping Cycling info - advice and tips Tue, 17 Dec 2013 18:15:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Contador Tests Positive Thu, 30 Sep 2010 07:05:41 +0000 It has been reported Alberto Contador tested positive for the banned stimulant  clenbuterol. A World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab in Cologne, Germany, found a “very small concentration” of clenbuterol in Contador’s urine sample on July 21 at the Tour, according to a statement from the UCI.

Rather confusingly, the cycling organisation  reported that:

” the amount was “400 time(s) less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA must be able to detect,” .

Contador’s publicist suggested it must have come from food contamination.

The UCI have suspended Contador and say they need “further scientific investigation before any conclusion could be drawn”.

Whatever happens it is a great disappointment for cycling. If nothing else there will be lengthy disputes and arguments. If it was from food contamination, it is the greatest misfortune it should end up in the food of the yellow jersey champion. The scale of contamination suggests it may be a possibility. If it is because Contador was doping, then it is good that the test results caught it. Though if you’re going to dope, why take so little in a race you know you will be tested heavily in?

I don’t know what to make of it. There’s an article here at Cycling News about the possibility of Food contamination


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Lance Armstrong and Paul Kimmage Fri, 20 Feb 2009 15:29:21 +0000 I have great respect for Paul Kimmage. He was one of the first professional cyclists to ‘lift the lid’ and speak about the culture of doping. For his efforts he was widely condemned and ostracised by the procycling community who closed ranks and denied doping was a problem. It’s taken innumerable doping scandals, failed dope tests, and admissions by champion cyclists for cycling to admit what everyone knew but was reluctant to say. In fact, Paul Kimmage’s revelations in a rough ride seemed relatively mild compared to the industrial and scientific doping levels of the 1990s and 2000s.

The re-emergence of Lance Armstrong on the pro scene has re-awakened many of these old issues. It has been exacerbated by the return of many failed dopers back into the peleton. I can’t hide by sense of disappointment that so many cyclists convicted of cheating have been welcomed back into the peleton as if they had just made an ‘honest mistake’. The problem is that failed dope tests are just the tip of the iceburg, we had so many confessions from cyclists who never failed dope tests (e.g. Bjanne Riis, David Miller) that the limitations of doping controls are still relevant.

Following Paul Kimmage’s questioning of Lance Armstrong at the recent tour of California, he has been getting a tough time in the American Media. It seems the American media have little time for awkward questions. But, this isn’t just a cycling issue, it can also be seen in the attitude to doping in sports like baseball and American football.

Everyone is a mixture of good and bad and Lance Armstrong has definitely done some good things. But, on the issue of doping, he has always disappointed me. Be it chasing down Fillipo Simeoni, working with Michael Ferrari or his acceptance of dopers and dislike of those who tried to get rid of doping.

Lance Armstrong and doping

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Should Astana and Contador Ride the Tour De France? Wed, 27 Feb 2008 15:34:12 +0000 Professional cycling has more than its fair share of disputes and debates within its own ranks. The current big issue is between the UCI and the organisers of other big races like the Tour de France.

ASO (Amaury Sports Organisation) who organise races like the Tour de France and Paris-Nice, want to be able to have the freedom to select and invite teams to their races. The UCI wants all these races to be incorporated into their ProTour, this would give the UCI the final say in which teams are allowed to enter.

Recently, ASO announced that Astana would not be invited to this year’s tour after a string of negative dope tests, including Alexandre Vinokourov. ASO argue they want the Tour de France to have a clean image and banning teams with a bad history of doping is essential for people to believe in the integrity of the Tour.

In the past cycling authorities were all too willing to welcome dopers back into the Tour. One immediately thinks of how quickly Richard Virenque was welcomed back into the peloton. It was argued that the cycling authorities were not serious about trying to prevent doping. There was a lot of truth in this allegation, so it is good that now teams with a history of doping are being excluded. It acts as a powerful incentive for team managements to try and avoid doping in their own ranks.

HOwever, the UCI counter by saying that it is unfair that cyclists, who have not failed a doping test, like Contador are prevented from riding. They argue it is a case of the innocent being punished for the crimes of others. Astana also claim they have tried to clean up the team by removing doctors at the centre of doping allegations.

Furthermore the UCI claim that the ASO have been inconsistent allowing Cofidis to come back despite a negative doping test.

It’s a tricky decision. I tend to favour ASO; Astana didn’t just have one negative doping test, but several. However, if Astana have made serious attempts to clean up the team then maybe the decision is a little harsh.

Underlying all this is the ongoing dispute between the UCI and organizer’s of the Tour de France over control of races. ASO are keen to hang onto their privileges of organizing races. The UCI are threatening to remove UCI sanction for the upcoming Paris Nice race.

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Paul Kimmage and the Doping Issue Thu, 21 Feb 2008 19:19:17 +0000 I often wonder how I would have responded, if I had ever become a professional cyclist in an era of doping. I think my response would have been a mixture of despair, anger and defiance. To be honest, I’m glad I never had a career when the majority of the competitors were trying to find the best way to dope.

Paul Kimmage was one young aspiring cyclist who chronicles the nature of doping in cycling. If your interested in understanding the doping culture of procycling I do recommend Paul Kimmage’s book – A rough ride

There is an interesting interview with Paul Kimmage here at Cycling Weekly.

There is an undoubted bitterness about the way he has been treated by the cycling authorities. Yet, I feel this bitterness is borne out of an unjust treatment. In a way I admire, Kimmage a lot because he was willing to swim against the tide and speak out against the culture of doping. He is of the impression that he failed to change cycling.

I was naive and idealistic: I thought it would change the world, I really did. It really hurt that nothing came of it. And now I think the sport is really paying for that.

Although that is true in some regard. It is often necessary for someone to speak out and make the first efforts to raise awareness of the issue. Even though Kimmage and others were largely ignored, they did break the wall of silence. I believe this was an important first step for changing the culture of cycling.

We’re Fed up With Doping

Any cycling fan, must get pretty fed up with the constant stories of doping. A cycling fan (and also non cyclists) may say something like

  1. What’s the problem if everyone is doing it?
  2. It’s not just cycling, there are other sports as well.
  3. Who cares if they are doping, I just want to enjoy the cycling and appreciate the winners

But, from a personal perspective, if a sport is mired in doping I wouldn’t want to enter it. Why should I risk my health mental and physical because the sport has no interest in being clean and fair?

The interesting thing is how much Kimmage has, in a way, been vindicated by recent events. When Kimmage first came out and talked of the culture of doping, it was common to ignore him. But, now so many doping admissions and negative dope tests have shown that a culture of doping was prevalent in cycling. As Kimmage said himself, it is interesting that the current UCI president said, 8 year ago ‘Kimmage was bad for cycling’ and now, of course, Pat McQuaid is committed to an anti doping programme.

Book CoverRough Ride by Paul Kimmage at

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Greg LeMond Optimistic about Cycling’s Future Mon, 18 Feb 2008 20:57:54 +0000 I recently read this article about Greg LeMond and his hopes for the future of procycling

“Cycling is falling apart at the seams,” LeMond said. “It could take years to revive. I think it can, but only through drastic changes.”

I thought it was a fair assessment. True, cycling has been through some very turbulent  times, with many of the top riders being implicated in doping scandals. However, the difference is that now cycling is actually trying to stop doping. In the past, it was all too common for the UCI and ‘cycling authorities’ to sweep the issue under the carpet. Furthermore, anyone who spoke out against doping was immediately sidelined and forced out of the peloton.

To get an insight into the mindset of professional cycling and doping, I recommend reading Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride. Since his retirement, in the late 80s, I think the doping scene got even worse. If you have the stomach try reading Wily Voets ‘Breaking the Chain’ about the Festina era.

However, my feeling is that there are more ‘clean cyclists’ now than at any other time in the history of procycling. There is increasing evidence that teams and sponsors will not tolerate doping scandals. In the past it was argued doping was encouraged by sponsors eager for victories. But, now sponsors are realising that professional cycling can all to easily lead to negative advertising. (Personally, I couldn’t buy a Festina watch, without the constant reminder of the doping scandal)

With the Astana team being kept out of the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia it is a sign that doping scandals are a serious problem. In the past, look how easily dopers were assimilated back into the peloton.

I will never forgive the way Richard Virenque was welcomed back into the peloton after the most pathetic punishment and despite taking industrial quantities of drugs and being a serial lier.

Perhaps a cynic will say I am being overly optimistic. But, maybe, the tide is turning and the future of procycling will, if not drug free, at least be regulated by bodies who are actually trying to stop the menace of doping. – Something that didn’t happen in the past.

I was really shocked to hear that Greg Lemond was allegedly blackmailed by the Lawyer of Floyd Landis. According to the article it is said that in Landis’ court case the lawyer threatened to make public (previously private) revelations that Lemond was the victim of sex abuse; this, just because he didn’t want to testify in favour of Landis.

In my view Lemond is the real hero of American cycling.

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Doping Ban Bites as Heras Retires Mon, 31 Dec 2007 15:42:03 +0000 After serving a two year doping ban, for failed drugs test, Roberto Heras has decided to quit professional cycling. It appears the main reason is that he is unable to join a pro cycling team and therefore, is unable to get sufficient renumeration. Heras complains:

“I still don’t understand the code of ethics and why ProTour teams can’t hire a rider who like me has served his ban. Other top riders will have to quit the peloton because they can’t find a team.”

Personally, I’m glad that doping bans have been getting more stringent. A Two year ban for organised cheating is insufficient. By making it 4 years for protour teams it acts as a greater disincentive to cheat. Also, it helps to maintain cycling’s credibility. When you get known dopers warmly welcomed back into the peloton, it makes a mockery of all those affirmations to ”rid cycling of doping forever’

When Richard Virenque came back to the pro peloton after consuming industrial quantities of drugs and lying about his use, I really lost a lot of faith in pro cycling. There are numerous other examples as well. But, that’s my opinion make the dopers suffer. (I wish they would confiscate all the prize money as well.)

Heras was a triple winner of the Vuelta a Espagne. He was a teammate of Lance Armstrong during the 2001-03 season, riding for US postals. He failed a test for EPO during the time trial stage of the 2005 Vuelta a Espagne. Heras did unexpectedly well in the time trial, losing by only a second. Heras challenged the test, but, it was later upheld.

Heras’s team Liberty Seguros had a turbulent history with a couple of other riders also revealing suspiciously high levels of hematocrit – possible evidence of EPO use.

  • Heras tests positive 
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T-Mobile to End Cycling Sponsorship Wed, 28 Nov 2007 18:43:43 +0000 It was no great surprise as T Mobile had been threatening it for a few week, but, Today, T Mobile announced they were cutting there involvement in professional cycling.

“We arrived at this decision to separate our brand from further exposure from doping in sport and cycling specifically.”

T Mobile has been involved in professional cycling since 1991. During those years it has often been at the heart of professional cycling and its trademark magenta jerseys have often been a key factor in the major races. In recent years, T-Mobile has been the team of German star Jan Ullrich. Jan won the Tour de France once, but, then spent many years in the shadow of Lance Armstrong. Since compelling evidence has been created around doping and Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile have sought to find an exit strategy. Their decision was made easier through admissions by former team members of EPO use in the 1990s.

The team will continue next year under the sponsorship of High Road Sports

T-mobile decision at Cycling News

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2007 Cycling Doping Scandals Sun, 11 Nov 2007 10:05:22 +0000 2007 has been another torrid year for professional cycling. Doping scandals have continued to engulf the sport, with many of the top riders being embroiled in a seemingly endless series of scandals.

The Tour de France was overshadowed by the race leader Michael Rasmussen being withdrawn on the suspicion of lying about his wheareabouts. Other big Cycling doping scandals include:

  • Admissions by Patrick Sinkewitz of T Mobile
  • Blood doping Alexandr Vinokourov of Kazakhstan (after miraculous recovery in time trial stage). Vinokourov fell under suspicion for working with notorious doctor Michele Ferrari. But, this was the first time Vinokourov failed a doping test
  • Tyler Hamilton (recently served a 2 year ban for a similar offence
  • Admissions by Bjarne Riss he won the Tour de France under the influence of EPO
  • On going investigations as part of Operacion Puerto – This Spanish investigation implicated many top riders such as Jan Ulrich and Ivan Basso
  • Floyd Landis unsuccessful in attempts to clear his name following his doping test failure
  • Christian Moreni and Bjorn Leukemans

Tour de France doping scandals 2007

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Michael Rasmussen lies about Tour de France Sun, 11 Nov 2007 09:56:13 +0000 Michael Rasmussen has admitted that he lied about his whereabouts before the Tour de France. Anti doping officials are able to carry out random doping tests out of competition. They could not find Michael Rasmussen in Europe, where he said he was. In fact he was in Mexico. Michael Rasmussen said it was for ‘personal reasons’. However, in the modern climate of doping in cycling many feel that this is as bad as an admission of failing a doping test.

Pat McQuaid, the president of cycling’s world governing body the UCI, told Danish television that Michael Rasmussen had no place in the sport after lying before the Tour de France.

Michael Rasmussen was withdrawn from the Tour de France, when he was in a commanding postion of leading the race and wearing the yellow jersey. His withdrawal was a major blow for the race, but, it would have been even more embarrassing for a cyclist with a bad reputation to win the race.

Michael Rasmussen is a former King of the Mountains and World Mountain Bike Champion

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