Sunday 20 February 2011

Doping Directeurs

At a time when our beloved sport seems to have some sort of self destruct mechanism inbuilt, those of us who want to see the back of the dopers, and the never ending stories about the dopers, are growing more and more frustrated by the inconsistencies we see everywhere we look.

We read every day of teams that seem to go out of their way to hire the worst of the worst (step forward Astana, Vacansoleil, Androni Giocattoli and Christina Watches). Do they really believe that no publicity is bad publicity? We see federations that profess to be doing everything they can to clean up the sport and yet they can't bring themselves to apply the rules to the biggest names/earners. And we see teams falling over themselves to proclaim their zero tolerance strategies, while at the same time their management teams are packed with ex dopers.

I hadn't though much about the last issue until I read recently that the erstwhile Saxo Bank, and now Team Leopard, DS, Kim Andersen, was handed a life ban for repeated doping in 1987. On reading up more about his case I then discovered that, having wriggled out of the life ban on a technicality, he was subsequently caught again, in 1992. On that occassion he suffered no more than being fired from his team!

I have mulled over this article for a while, trying to decide what angle to take and how I can express my absolute frustration that a man with a history like that can not only still be working in the sport but is in fact leading the biggest team on the planet and is poised to bask in all of the reflected glory that will bring.

I can't find the words so I've decided to let the facts speak for themselves. With a bit of googling I've put together a list that I think stands as an indictment of the UCI strategy of hammering (some) riders while those who pull the strings escape the scrutiny they might deserve.

So, for the sake of transparency, here is a list of current WorldTour team staff who have been tested positive or admitted doping during their riding careers.

Euskaltel - Euskadi:

Igor GONZALEZ DE GALDEANO ARANZABAL (General Manager), six-month ban for Salbutamol in the 2002 Tour de France and 2002 Midi Libre. This was a ban in France only. The UCI reckoned he had a medical cert so didn't ban him, even though reports at the time suggested he exceeded the allowed dose. Also implicated in Puerto affair.
Alvaro GONZALEZ DE GALDEANO ARANZABAL (Team Manager), served a 7 month suspension for Nandrolone in 2000.


Rolf ALDAG (General Manager), admitted using EPO from 1995 to 1999
Brian HOLM (Team Manager), admitted using EPO twice in 1996 at Team Telekom

Pro Team Astana:

Laurenzo LAPAGE (Ass. Team Manager), disqualified and fined for a positive test for Ephedrine at the 2002 Ghent Six. Claimed it was contained in a food supplement.

Quickstep Cycling Team:

Marco VELO (Team Manager), disqualified from the 2001 Italian National Time Trial Championships for a Lidocaine positive

Saxo Bank Sungard:

Bjarne RIIS (Team Manager), admitted using EPO, growth hormone and cortisone for five years, from 1993 to 1998, including when he "won" the 1996 Tour
Fabrizio GUIDI (Ass. Team Manager), tested positive for EPO at the 2005 HEWCyclassics but his B sample was negative so he was cleared.

Sky Procycling:

Sean YATES (Team Manager) reportedly tested positive in 1989 at the Torhout-Werchter stage race. I can't find out the substance or what his sanction was, if any.

Team Leopard-Trek:

Kim ANDERSEN (Team Manager), as above given a lifetime ban after the 1987 Tour de Limousin later reduced. Positive again in 1992.

I have found references to several others. As these are only allegations or reports of investigations underway it's not appropriate to mention them here.

Sources: The Internet Anti-Doping Database, BBC, Cycling News, Le Soir

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