What's Cool In Road Cycling

The Dopes Of 2002

Until money is no longer the waterline by which success is measured, we will have cheats, miscreants, and those who deem themselves above the law
deeply involved on our sport. The level of deception reached new lows this year during the Giro ‘d Italia when Stefano Garzelli was caught with Probenicid in his sample, and Gilberto Simoni popped for cocaine. Garzelli had so little Probenicid in his system that the former masking agent couldn’t have masked anything in the amounts necessary to boost performance. It is also a diuretic, and reports claim that a number of the team members as well as support staff had intestinal problems during the race, raising the possibility of sabotage. After all, what use could the team mechanics have for masking agents! Garzelli was given a lengthy ban, and his tearful departure from the Giro will remain a low point of the 2002 season.

Simoni’s story claimed a dentist had given a cocaine derivative to him during a routine procedure. An Italian dentist (who obviously never heard of Gilberto Simoni) at that! Later however, when the outrage in the press
made that excuse laughable, he came up with another one claiming the cocaine was an ingredient in imported throat drops. If so, why the deceit with providing a letter to support the dentist story? Didn’t he feel confident
in his innocence?

As far as Rumsas is concerned, do we need a man who would allow his wife to rot in a French jail cell involved in our sport? Again, if he is confident of his innocence, why not confront the French authorities? Guilty conscience? Excellent team doctors who would boost his blood as close as possible to the legal limit, and then blame the hematocrit increase on dehydration???? Explain something to me. How can it be, when every human performance article and training regimen ever written warns against the dangers of dehydration and its accompanying decrease in performance, that an athlete can increase his performance output while decreasing his hydration
level, all the while under the direction of supposedly competent team physicians???? Marco Pantani’s doctors said the same thing (dehydration), and we all know what happened to him.

People look at drugs as a way of “leveling the playing field”. Are we so low in character that we cannot accept that some people are more capable than others? What would happen if suddenly there are no drugs? Then the playing field IS level, and you still get hammered. The fact is that you need to work harder for what you want. I teach this to my 6 year old, who understands clearly. I may not be the greatest cyclist in the world, but I can sleep at night knowing that when I lose, I’ve lost to a better man.

Michael S. Marine

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