What's Cool In Road Cycling

Squinzi: “Doping was a Battle and I’ve Lost”

– Reported by Ciclismo.it –

“I’ve felt that it was a battle, and doping has won”. After 9 years in the cycling world, Giorgio Squinzi, patron of Mapei explains in an interview with the French journal Le Monde the motives behind his departure from cycling: “I’ve tried in every way possible to fight this evil, I’ve tried to rescue cycling and give it back its credibility and integrity, but I’ve lost. This sport is irreversibly impregnated with the culture of doping, from professionals to amateurs. Mapei promoted a new ethic, but the public hasn’t understood. I had a poll taken with the general public and asked: which is the team that has done the most in the battle against doping? The answer depressed me: Mercatone Uno of Marco Pantani and Festina were before us! It was a total delusion”.

“When I arrived in this world (of cycling) I understood nothing – adds Squinzi – and I’ve come to understand the reality. I want to underline the fact that after Tony Rominger’s win in the Giro 1995 Mapei hasn’t won a three week stage race. Now, I believe that the grand stage races are the deification of hematocrit doping. I have trust in my racers that have won prestigious one-day races such as Liege-Bastogne-Liege or Paris-Roubaix because they’ve had a low hematocrit count that has excluded all doubt”.

And when did Squinzi decide exactly that he was going to leave the sport? “The 30th of May, the night of the stage to Folgaria at the last Giro. The Italian police, always concerned with creating a spectacle in their interventions, busted into our hotel rooms only to get a hold of our medical dossiers. The pictures were seen on the American news channel CNN. Many foreign clients didn’t understand and called to ask what was happening. Mapei was a victim of a deep hatred”.

In his nine years, what was the strongest emotion? “The first victory in Paris-Roubaix, with Franco Ballerini in ‘95. The biggest disillusion was, however, never winning the Tour de France”.

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