A few doping cases are finally making their way through the system. Why is it taking so long and what type of message does it send to the cycling fan?
isn't a health hazard. The Italian prosecutor goes on to say that doping products are continually evolving and there's no way for anti-doping authorities to keep up. This is a very slippery slope. If we return to the days of when riders who were over a 50% hematocrit level and faced a two week "health check" suspension I fully expect climbing records of every Grand Tour mountain stage to be smashed. And also riders dropping dead from a myriad of health issues.
Fast forward a year and the same Italian prosecutor has had a change of heart.
Talking at an anti-doping conference in Italy Torri told the AP, "When I began with CONI (in 2006) the situation was dramatic. Today I can say that there has been a monumental change." Wow, that must have been a hell of a year to go from him saying that anti-doping efforts are only catching a small amount to now saying, "interest in doping has lessened."
He claims the big change is due to riders' associations not turning the other way and harsher sentences are being handed out for offenses. Torri goes on to pat himself on the back by saying that drug use in the professional peloton has lessened due to his efforts. However, my favorite quote from the Italian prosecutor is that doping in the amateur ranks has become a problem and that, "they (amateur athletes) do anything to win a salami in ridiculous races." To put your health at risk for a salami? It must be really good stuff.
Italy isn't the only place having issues with amateur racing. Here in the States another master category racer was sanctioned - this time for refusing to take an out-of-competition test. This racer is 63 years-old so you have to wonder why USADA bothered to test him. If you believe the cycling forums he was bragging about how he was doping, so someone picked up the phone and tipped off the authorities. If I was a family member I'd be concerned that this was a sign of an onset of Alzheimer's as this sounds crazy! This is something I learned way back in elementary school - if you're going to cheat, keep it to yourself. Or at the minimum only tell your fellow cheaters.
While Torri believes things are looking up in the battle against doping the World Anti-Doping Agency's David Howman might disagree. In an interview with the Associated Foreign Press Howman said, "Do you think that we have the science to track those who dope in a sophisticated manner? Personally, I don't think we do." Ouch!
The general director says that EPO continues to be the drug of choice for endurance athletes by micro-dosing it. Injecting small amounts is enough to get a bit of an athletic performance boost, but low enough to fly under the radar.
Howman states that according to Interpol there's more money being made in the trafficking of performance enhancing drugs than heroin! According to CNN the heroin trade is a 65 billion dollar market. I'll be honest -