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Giro Aftermath- Ugly face of cycling(5 posts)

Giro Aftermath- Ugly face of cyclingLewis
Jan 28, 2002 8:31 PM
Biological warfare, you'd be forgiven for
calling it. A no-holds-barred ‘Apocalypse
Now' of blood boosters and stimulants. This
is the disturbing portrait of professional
cycling being painted by professor Dario
D'Ottavio, the chemical expert advising the
Florentine doping inquest ordered after police raids at the 2001 Giro d'Italia.

The first results of D'Ottavio's painstaking analyses of the 300-plus exhibits
seized at San Remo last June surpass even the most gloomy expectations;
they have unearthed quantities of illicitly acquired substances worthy of a
minor Colombian cartel.

D'Ottavio's first findings have been made known by Italian journalist Eugenio
Capodacqua. On his website Capodacqua reports that the
seizures made in San Remo intercepted what he calls a ‘mobile hospital,'
abundantly stocked with caffeine and corticoids, human growth hormone and
testosterone, plus the new, in-vogue evil, insulin.

Alongside these were a stimulant of follicular, and ovular development in
women, urofllitrophin; four separate samples of the asthma
antidote-cum-stimulant salbutamol; the liquid labelled Hemassist, and a whole
lorry-load of other products either explicitly banned by the UCI, or subject to
tight restrictions and requiring valid, pre-signed certification.

Added to this, is a blow-by-blow inventory of all products confiscated from
selected high-profile athletes. Jan Ullrich, Dario Frigo and Giuseppe Di Grande
are all singled out. In the case of Ullrich however, it's important to know that he
was apparently in possession of a number of products requiring medical
justification, and it's expected that a formal alibi will shortly be forthcoming.

Frigo, though, is attributed with a discarded syringe containing human growth
hormone, while Di Grande, so Capodacqua claims, will soon be asked to
explain why his personal stash contained no less that five prohibited drugs
including a blood diluter, insulin and ovular stimulant, urofilitrophin. Frigo is
already serving a six-month ban on the basis of his earlier confessions, though
this could now be extended beyond the original expiry date of March on the
strength of the HGH scoop. For the faded, former prodigy Di Grande,
meanwhile, a lengthy sentence could also await.

In the Italian Olympic Committee's ongoing questioning of riders, masseurs
and other implicated parties, Marco Pantani is another big fish caught in the
net. Pantani's ditched masseur Roberto Pregnolato has been interrogated by
judge Luigi Bocciolini in Florence, and contrary to what was first believed, it
seems possible that the Pirate himself could face fresh "sporting fraud"
accusations which could result in a three month to three year prison sentence.
On this occasion charges would relate to offences committed since the
passing of an Italian constitutional law on doping, unlike in the Torino trial
which absolved Pantani late last year.

According to Capodacqua, although Pantani had been in the clear in the
aftermath of the Giro raids, his involvement relates to an earlier drop-in by the
police at Montecatini Terme. It was here, say reports, just days prior to the
infamous scenes in San Remo, that a syringe suspected to contain insulin was
discovered in Pantani's hotel room.

These revelations are bound to increase on UCI president Hein Verbruggen to
speed research into tests to detect human growth hormone, insulin and above
all, Nesp, all currently untraceable.

Although the NAS left San Remo with renewed faith in the eradication of EPO,
it's souped-up successor, Nesp, according to one investigator, may already
have been in use at the Giro: "Our theory is that it comes from the outside:
they arrive, do the injection, and then they disappear," revealed the source.
Well, Procycling needs to up their circulation!cyclequip
Jan 29, 2002 3:03 AM
So does Capodaqua. Hence the typical journalistic license with dramatic headlines, speculation, innuendo and 'sources'. See how Ullrich gets dragged in first, then qualified. Naah, for some time now, Procycling has been our Moral Majority wannabe, bemoaning the 'fate' of pro cycling as if it were some latter day evil rearing it's ugly head. Not so. Drugs in sport (including cycling) have been around as long as drugs in society. Don't think one will disappear without the other. And who the hell are we to sit back sipping our drinks, puffing on a smoke as we criticise Ullrich for not passing Lance up the Ventoux. When the gladiators produce those superhuman feats we glory in their triumph - the thrill of seeing Pantani attack on a climb, or Museeuw go onto the attack into a brutal headwind over the pave - little concerned with what they go thru to give US our little thrills.
The article may well be sensationalism.Sintesi
Jan 29, 2002 8:23 AM
And let's face it these things tend to drag out forever with no real action seemingly done. I mean no one seems to go away for very long. But I don't think it is smug to ask athletes to not dope. It's cheating. If it is against the rules to dope then doping is cheating - that simple. Same reason there are all sorts of strictures on the types of cycles that are allowed or tactics that can be used, so that no competitor has an outright advantage. This keeps the contest sporting. You can question the morality, the rationality and equivocate all you want about the UCI's rules but the competitors agree to compete fairly under those rules when the sign on to race.

What would be your opinion, do you suppose, if you were a competitive, clean athlete and found out you barely lost to a lesser competitor simply because of blood boosting? You'd feel robbed, maybe bitter and wonder what's the point of trying. What if you don't want to dope? What if you are worried about your health? What are your options then? Quit or continue to lose. That is a lot of pressure on a young kid. Is that right?
Go ask your kid not to dope!cyclequip
Jan 29, 2002 9:59 PM
Me, I'm trying to teach mine that winning and losing isn't all that important - it's the taking part, right?
Come on! Alcohol and tobacco kill more ATHLETES every year than doping products ever did! While I don't condone doping I'm just tired of all the hype associated with doping in cycling when a) it's a sport doing more than any other to clean up it's sportsmen and b) there are more relevant issues we need to direct all these resources at. Direct all that energy at cleaning up the dope in schools FIRST, so when your kid gets older he might not be so inured to doping after watching his classmates shoot up at age 12 that he won't be tempted to, gosh, try some salbutamol to open up his asthmatic chest!
UnfortunateMel Erickson
Jan 29, 2002 8:42 AM
but probably just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, the publics demand for superhuman performances from their gladiators is part of the equation that fuels drug use in cycling but so are the performers egos, greed and quest for glory. I have long ago given up on the idea that drug use in cycling can be stopped. I still enjoy the drama of the Giro, Tour, etc. but for true inspiration I turn to the state road and mountain championships, etc. where the incentive to dabble in drugs is low. The most unfortunate thing is the bar continues to get lower and lower over time, witnessed by the number of high school athletes (albeit in higher profile sports like football) that are using performance enhancing drugs.