Tuesday 24 January 2012

In for a penny....

We've all heard the phrase "the innocence of youth" but a doping case just announced in France has shown how that innocence, or possibly naivety, can become a cause for major guilt.

The French Cycling Federation  has just handed down a three-year suspension to 19-year-old Alexandre Dougnier, a young third category rider. Dougnier tested positive for no less than 12 different banned substances last year. The local AC Boulogne-Billancourt club rider, was unexpectedly tested on May 17, after a race in Aubervilliers.

According to the Federation, his urine sample contained traces of the following substances: 3'HydroxyStanozolol, 16B-HydroxyStanozolol, 4B-HydroxyStanozolol, 4-Meyhylhexaneamine, Prednisone, Prednisolone, Oxandrolone, Epioxandrolone, Tuaminoheptane, Triamcinolone Acetonide, 6B-HydroxyMethandienone and 17-Epiméthandienone.

The youngster wasn't provisionally suspended until August 18, a full three months after the test, so the ban dates from then meaning he can't race until August 18, 2014.

While the sheer number of substances makes this an almost farcical story, coming as it does in the wake of the Gregory Bauge case  it makes you wonder if French cycling's much vaunted no doping culture is starting to come apart at the seams. Dougnier was only racing at a local level but ACBB is a big club with a big reputation. Was he playing the system or was it playing him?

The report doesn't give any details of how much of each substance was in his sample, or how they all got into his system. Do they all occur in one product or was this guy on a cocktail of  medicines? If so, where did he get them? In my mind that is a question worth answering but, unfortunately, current anti-doping procedures are only geared to finding out the what and how much questions. To really get to grips with doping, and to protect young men like Dougnier from themselves, does the process need to start  investigating the how and who issues too?

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