Sunday, October 01, 2006

Doping in Cross?

The approach of fall and the arrival of CX season have finally started to ease the sting of this summer's doping scandals. Ah, cyclocross... so pure, so elemental, so unspoiled... right? I wish...

Cyclocross has had an uneasy relationship with doping for years. Back in the opening days of the EPO era in the early 90's, when "dope" usually meant amphetamines and nobody had heard of EPO, some of the earliest cases of European riders dying unexpectedly in their sleep, later attributed to overuse of EPO, were Belgian 'cross riders.

Throughout the '90's leading riders on the pro circuit drew comments for their "extraterrestrial" performances and telltale signs of 'roid rage. And then last year, the whole thing blew open when two of the world's top 'crossers, 3-time world champion Mario deClercq and Belgian star Ben Berden were both banned for dope, Berden for taking EPO and deClercq for participating in an infamous cycling dope ring that also netted champion roadie Johan Museeuw.

Some doper apologists have said that the extreme difficulty of cycling events such as the Tour De France drives some riders closer to dope. (Though I got a laugh out of the quip by Christian Prudhomme, new director of the Tour: "After the positive test of Justin Gatlin nobody had the idea to shorten the 100 meters, did they?!")

If the "it's too tough" argument justifies dope, what can we expect of 'cross, the toughest hour in cycling? Berden famously commented prior to his conviction that the only reason he wasn't winning was the other guys "have a better medical program."

After this year's disaster on the road circuit I think the UCI has got to be taking a hard look at tougher dope controls in 'cross before the sport suffers its own meltdown. Following Berden's positive result the title sponsor of the SuperPrestige circuit, Karcher Group, threatened to pull its sponsorship in disgust. Look for ethics codes and surprise raids just like the road circuit.

And if you think doping is a problem isolated only to those big time races over in Europe, remember even our own little road scene over here has seen its share of doping convictions among domestic road pros. Here's hoping the same won't be seen in 'cross...

41 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry! but i know for sure that a couple of local racers have used illegal products to get a edge. this info was verified by a girlfriend of the racer and EPO was one of the products used.

It is pretty weak to want to win a race so bad that someone would cheat to get a edge!

But the person who cheats is the only person who has to deal with the fact that they needed this edge to be at the front.

It would be nice if we had some local tests to make sure that little cheats cant pull off illegal usage of some products.

And to all the riders who just race their best without cheating, keep up the good work!

2:03 PM  
Blogger Hooptie said...

If someone is doping locally, they must suck pretty bad. Our local scene is fast...but dope fast? I dont think so. If you need to dope to do well locally, you are not going to make it very far. Give up now.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually the guy doped and won locally and then went on and won nationally, and not in the senior group, older group, but they know that it took assistance to post those wins!

I heard the cheating also caused mental issues from the individual and a break up of the relationship due to lie's and dis-honesty!

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people who make accusations conceal the persons name as if they are protecting them? Are they worried that by bringing things to the surface their own name would be tarnished? Why don't they just come out with the names so we can get on with racing without wondering who is on the dope?

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever. If a guy wants to dope around here then it's an ego stroking exercise. Stuff like EPO and roids can't be healthy long term. Anyone taking those for local bragging rights or masters national glory needs their head checked!

11:22 AM  
Blogger Dave Carr said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Dave Carr said...

As the author and editor I strongly suggest you do NOT use any names here. That kind of individual accusation is not appropriate in this forum. However just the fact that there are local riders who may have "used" is a little disturbing.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

yowza ... touchy subject here.

I really, REALLY hate to think that we're going to start tossing out rumors about folks. If a guy or gal gets busted in a drug test ... then we've got some grounds to say they're doping. But otherwise, there really is nothing but rumor.

And folks ... rumor gets you in a shitload of trouble. Cuz eventually, that barrel turns around and points back at you. So please, let's not throw out rumor and speculation.

That said, let's definitely, DEFINITELY take strong stances on the doping issues. Let's support racers like the Benny Jack-Maniac who proclaim loudly and clearly that they race clean.

Because clean racers are dope.

ah well ... what the hell do i know. i'm still trying to find that perfect bottle of zin ... and taking my sweet time in pursuit of it.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

oh ... signed michael hernanadork

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is no rumor! So do not say that it is just a rumor. I saw the photos and the intake schedules and the medical records of purchased stuff. I am not going to throw out any names, but it was done! You can try and downplay it, but it was done! No way to deny that!

You try and make light of things like this and you are just weak or guilty yourself!

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post. There was no rumor about anyone because no names were mentioned. Just some info for everyone to consider. We all have to make the choice of right or wrong ourselves. Even if there were tests some people would make it thru the screen. And if a test is wrong it could implicate someone when there was a mistake. But if someone has information then it should be out. I agree with Frankie A. and I agree with reporting information. This is 2006 and you can run but you cant hide.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

weak?

No ... weak is being some cowardly person who anonymously shouts out that somebody is using banned substances. And you say you've seen "photos and the intake schedules and the medical records of purchased stuff" ... well, then why don't you go on record that this is the case and file a complaint with USAC (yes, you can do such a thing)?

Shouting out that someone is doping casts a net of rumor and speculation ... able to be interpreted against ANYONE.

If you feel so strongly, take a stance and publicly put yourself forward against doping in racing, like I do.

And lastly, you write: "You try and make light of things like this and you are just weak or guilty yourself!"

... guilty myself? weak? Read the link above and then strap on a pair of balls and come forward with your information to USAC. Actually DO something to fight doping in cycling. Otherwise, you're just a coward's voice tinly echoing out of the forest.

signed,
michael hernandez

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! Some folks really take this personal and get all fired up when it was just some information provided. Always remember where there is smoke there is fire......

And I think it is good some people provide information anonymously, then they dont have to deal with bullies like the last post.



And thanks for whoever wrote the anonymous post to provide topic references.

I think we need to look at the Frankie Andreau situation, and learn that eventually things come out when cheating takes place.

It can be kept hidden for a long time but sooner or later the truth comes out.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

F.Y.I. A complaint was filed with USAC and the investigation is pending. And all pertinent info on this situation is being reviewd and the perpetrator will most likely have to deal with their transgressions.

So actually something was done positively to fight doping in cycling by this action! Instead of shouting off like some preacher in this forum like others.

Here is to everyone racing on a level playing field!

12:37 PM  
Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

well then, shut my mouth.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Velo Bella said...

you're such a bully

...cracking me up.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Velo Bella said...

I should keep my mouth shut as I have a race to plan, but as usual, I can't help myself. Plus I feel obligated to squash any rumors before they start, even if they are just babble rumors (no offense Dave and John, the babble is great, really ;))

As the ex girlfriend of a local masters national champion who did NOT dope to win those events, I only have this to add:

The local cx scene, and the pool of its local masters national champions, is so small, we should exercise responsible judgement in how such information is presented.

Additionally, we should exercise judgement in how such information is interpreted.

thats all...

now, if you want to see real cheating, come out to Surf City and race some Limbo cross.

Sabine

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow who said anything about past national champions?? The reference was to a racer who won some national rated races and has also been winning some national road races and was actually caught doping on the road, so the investigation had also expanded to cyclocross races too. There was no masters national championship mentioned or won here. We in the North West dont take doping lightlty and the investigation hopefully will put a bad impression on anyone who wants to dope! As far as antyhing that your rambling about I think you have taken this topic personally when it was not even about a northern calif. racer, but a North West racer with a past history of doping.

Funny how people took this post as if it was regarding their affairs??

Our Portland races have grown over the years and I really think that cycling is becoming more clean as people learn not to make stupid choices!

3:30 PM  
Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

i had no idea IQ was inversely proportional to latitude.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Velo Bella said...

oops! Did I assume that local = Northern CA/NV on the Nothern CA/NV cyclocross forum? My bad.

And then did I assume it was cyclocross when the forum is CYCLOCROSS babble and the post ended with the author stating "Here's hoping the same won't be seen in 'cross..."? Oops my bad again.

(I do admit to my bad in thinking older was Masters...cuz those guys are so old. So mea culpa on that one)

And judging from the person who came up to me today and asked "did xx really dope?" I was not the only person who made this unfathomable leap. And I felt compelled to say something before others thought the same.

Such misunderstandings is exactly why I stated that we have to present such information with care. Seems a simple enough request anyway. Make with it whatever you want.

Sabine

4:21 PM  
Blogger funkdaddy said...

Hooptie really summed it up in comment #2.

BTW, Anon, it is preposterous to think that local events could ever support doping controls. If some dork can afford to take EPO to win a Velo Bella race, he can have it - it's a net loss anyhow.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANOMY - I am guessing
1) you are slow
2) and have never been accused of doping by other slow, bitter riders.

If you had you would know it is hurtful and only makes the accused want to rip the legs off everyone (without dope of course). So until you can present CLEAR!! FACTS and not hearsay, keep it to yourself.

From your post it is not even CLEAR whether said doper is a winning cross racer or other discipline. If it is not cross why do you write it here- to fire us up?!?!? Sounds like you are making broad generalizations that are very misleading. Therefore I think anything that comes out of your mouth probably stinks of excrement. Say clearly what you mean or shut the f@#$ up!

4:28 PM  
Blogger Velo Bella said...

FD - Are you saying that winning some delicious Gizdich pie is not worth the EPO?

You might have an argument from some on that one.

urp.

Sabine

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way to guarantee a level playing field is to stop testing. Doping controls always lag doping technology. Someone will always choose to use every available advantage to win. Let athletes decide what risks they want to take in pursuit of the podium. Stop the moralizing about what people do to their own bodies.

4:51 PM  
Blogger funkdaddy said...

VB

No amount of dope will wrest that pie from the hands of the Jacques-Mayniac that wins it...word on the street is that Ben has his eye on the pie...

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoever dopes is a dope! and im going for a velo bella pie to mix together with my cccx strawberries and i will be the one with the best result. no dope involved.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that so many are worried or scared or upset about providing any names when, in the end, whether it's a rumor or whether its a positive drug test twice (ala floyd) people are still gonna believe what they want to believe in the face of proof or not.Some people are idiots and some people are always gonna cheat whether it's pro cycling or tiddlywinks. I haven't won any cross races lately, but I;m not worried about who beat me and if they were clean or not. You race as fast as you can and you have fun, and who cares if someone out there is cheating?

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funkdaddy,
Are you "doin' it" with Ben or do you just have a major crush on him?

8:49 AM  
Blogger velogirl said...

Doping controls at local cross races? Can you even imagine it? That $30 entry fee would rocket to $100 to pay for it.

"Here, could you please go into one of our two blue rooms and pee into this cup? No, we don't have any gatorade to get you going, but here's some Moose Drool from the TWW guys. And BTW, the USADA rep will be going in with you --- them's the rules. It's a little tight in there so you might just want to drop your shorts out here first."

Dude, lighten up. Instigate some fun up in Portland. Or have your compadres in Oregon already gotten sick of you?

ps -- I'd dope for pie!!!!

9:44 AM  
Blogger Dave Carr said...

I don't know, I'm sure the Bellas could come up with a creative and entertaining dope control center for surf city ... you know, dental chair, disco ball, bead curtain, attractive technicians in pink fur-lined lab coat, etc. Could be a profit center.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeh, I like Dave Carr's idea! I would show up for that control several times per race!

Hmmmm...

I like that thought - me and the wife can role play now.....thanks for the idea Dave :)!!!

sick I know

11:21 AM  
Blogger funkdaddy said...

To anonymous posters that sling insults: you are cowardly wussbags. I did not delete your comment because the above is obvious to everyone except, apparently, yourself. You contribute nothing to this conversation.

PS I have a great deal of respect for all our local heros and heroines, and sincerely I hope that comes across in our frequent site updates.

-John Funke

12:10 PM  
Blogger Velo Bella said...

this thread is spiraling out of control

except for the disco ball in the pee room part

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VB,
Does that mean you might role play too????

Oh, wait, am I at the wrong forum (like the guy who posted the originating thread)????????

2:00 PM  
Blogger maleonardphi said...

Hey VeloGirl, get your hands off our moosedrool! We don't hand that stuff out to just anyone you know. Only people that are faster than us. Reverse secret doping. Except not so secret.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous blackmarket racing said...

I interpreted this the same way Sabine did: it was insinuated that it was a masters racer, that it was NorCal, and it was cyclocross. I think we are all on pretty much the same page here- we are, more or less, against doping, especially in our own "house." I hope that no one is keeping quiet about it just because of potential "bullies" though. Any one that can positively point the finger with hard proof will have the support of most of us, if I am interpreting the theme correctly. To anyone doping right now in NorCal cyclocross: when you wake up in the morning, what do you see in the mirror? What do you tell yourself to make it all OK? I really want to know.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee,
i remember being threatened with bodily harm at a cx race for saying something wrong to a certain master cyclist's ex-gf. I just chalked it up to 'roid rage.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i remember being threatened with bodily harm at a cx race for saying something wrong to a certain master cyclist's ex-gf. I just chalked it up to 'roid rage."

Dear slow and bitter,
See now that is the kind of generalization that is destructive and just makes people who read it want to take your seat off, leave the post and force you to ride wash-board rutted fields until you want to crawl back into your mother's womb. Thus making the world a better place.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow it took only 15 minutes for some guy who thinks he is tuff to respond to the previous post!

I think the world would be a better place if people were not so bitter and defensive.

It is easy to see some folks out there are guilty and act out in a violent manner.

just look at the last post....... that person will shove the guy in his mothers womb!!!!!

That is pretty disgusting and shows to me the persons true character and disposition.

I have a baby and it really shows me some peoples horrible ways if they are making threats like that.

Anyone that would write something like that is most likely the dope who would use dope.

And remember you are all slow.... when compared to Sven Nis.

And the guy who wrote that last post is not only slow that way, but slow mentally too.

12:40 PM  
Blogger singlespeedguy said...

OK, ok, enough is enough. When it comes to all of us, I am the slowest and dopyest. There I admitted it. I have been called a dope by plenty of women. Now let's just move on kids.

3:36 PM  
Blogger funkdaddy said...

I am disabling further comments on this post...if you can't say something nice (or at least constructive)...say nothing...

5:49 PM  

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