Contents of vial that fell from rider's pocket during Paris-Roubaix prove innocent

Testing reveals no prohibited substances in white powder handed into UK Anti-Doping by fan

by Simon_MacMichael   July 1, 2014  

London 2012 Anti-Doping Laboratory (picture credit LOCOG)

A vial found on the roadside following a crash at Paris-Roubaix in April by a British cycling fan and handed into UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) for analysis has turned out to have contained no banned substances.

Mike Brampton said at the time that the container had fallen from the pocket of a rider during a crash, and while he declined to disclose the cyclist’s identity, he said he did have photographs showing who it was.

The white powder discovered in the vial was tested by the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses (LAD), who said in a report disclosed today that “it has been possible to highlight the presence of ibuprofen, caffeine, theophylline and quinine,” and that “none of those substances is part of the WADA prohibited list.”

It added: “No doping substance could be detected in the white powder transferred by the UCI”.

Nicole Sapstead, director of operations at UKAD, said: “A member of the public, and by consequence the Report Doping in Sport hotline, played an integral role in ensuring that this information was passed on to the appropriate authorities to be properly investigated.

“We applaud all those who recognised that this was the most appropriate action to take in the pursuit of clean sport.

“UK Anti-Doping acted quickly, working closely with our partners at the CADF [Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation] and UCI, and we hope that fans are reassured that anti-doping organisations are collaborating on a global level to deter and detect suspicions of doping.

“Anyone with concerns, no matter what your involvement in sport, should use this as a case study and speak out by visiting www.reportdoping.com.”

UCI President Brian Cookson added: “This case is the perfect example of how good collaboration between National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADO), the CADF and the UCI makes our anti-doping programme as robust and efficient as possible. I would like to thank UK Anti-Doping for its collaboration with the CADF and the UCI in this case.”

After finding the vial during the race, Mr Brampton said: “Basically the crash happened and then they all got up and the soigneur pushed the rider away.

“I’d already spotted the vial, as had others. It was actually pointed out to the soigneur who sort of shrugged his shoulders as if to say ‘nothing to do with me’.

“I’d rather not say who was involved or where exactly it happened but it was roughly halfway through the race between cobbled sections, not on a cobbled section itself.

“It will absolutely be possible to pinpoint who the vial belongs to. I have 34 in-sequence photographs from about 15ft away, pin sharp. In one of them you can actually see the vial falling from the rider’s pocket.

"Though there is one shot missing which is of me picking up the vial – that is because the voiture balai [broom wagon] was about to run me over and obscured the shot,” he added.

25 user comments

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Did anyone seriously think a rider would take a banned substance out on the road with him?
How was he going to take it during a (televised) race? Nip into some bushes during a lull in the action and shoot it up?

posted by Some Fella [740 posts]
1st July 2014 - 23:06

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Some Fella wrote:
Did anyone seriously think a rider would take a banned substance out on the road with him?
How was he going to take it during a (televised) race? Nip into some bushes during a lull in the action and shoot it up?

Or load it into some sort of inhaler?

DER DER DEEERRRR!!!

I expect the internetz will have Brailsford's face pulled off by tomorrow to reveal that he is in fact Old Man Withers from the closed down arcade with him yelling "And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you pesky kids..."

Although when I was thinking about this before as I always think of a 'vial' being glass, but then I'd expect them to state 'glass vial' if it was glass, so what sort of containers can be classed as a vial?

posted by farrell [1388 posts]
1st July 2014 - 23:21

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Well I don't know what theophylline and quinine are. No doubt someone will be along shortly to tell us that this cocktail of non-banned substances can build muscle that would only otherwise be possible by going back in time to genetically modify the rider in question while still in the womb. So that will be a certain D Brailsford again.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3071 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 8:46

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Some Fella wrote:
Did anyone seriously think a rider would take a banned substance out on the road with him?

I dunno. There stills seems to be the odd idiot taking drugs that easily tested for then being surprised when they get a positive test. You may over estimate the intelligence!
Quote:

How was he going to take it during a (televised) race? Nip into some bushes during a lull in the action and shoot it up?

Sit deep in the bunch, tip pills down throat. Was probably a domestique at some mid-ranking team, not a front runner, so far less chance of being on camera constantly.

posted by Al__S [511 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 8:52

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Hoping to get some sort of placebo effect? Take these tablets they are in the development stage but they will make you go faster for longer!

posted by Charles_Hunter [73 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 9:00

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Mr Brampton should be congratulated on not revealing the identity of the rider in question and starting a witch hunt Applause

That could have really ruined someones year

posted by buckulus [3 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 9:23

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notfastenough wrote:
Well I don't know what theophylline and quinine are..

According to the book on my desk, theophylline is used to treat acute asthma, and quinine is for malaria or nocturnal leg cramps.

posted by rjw [45 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 9:26

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Although none of these substances are banned it does seem wrong combining them. It sounds a little like ECA stack. This is Ephedrine , Caffeine and Aspirin. Apparently these legal over the counter cocktail can mimic amphetamines.

Quinine is a strange one. I'm interested how this interacts with the other substances. I use quinine to help with cramps in hot weather but was originally used to help guard against malaria.

The substance that should be setting alarm bells going is theophylline. This substance is similar to Salbutamol and Clenbuterol. One is banned and other is take by Kenyans before a big climb to open up the lungs.

The WADA and the UCI need to look in to this and MUST ask the rider who was using this why he was using this? With an open investigate!!

posted by troj [5 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 9:27

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buckulus wrote:
Mr Brampton should be congratulated on not revealing the identity of the rider in question and starting a witch hunt Applause

That could have really ruined someones year

Very much so, it was all done the right way around.

My money's on it being just an energy drink which the rider preferred which is not provided by their energy drink sponsor.

Shut up legs.

posted by rapid4 [6 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 9:30

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troj wrote:
Although none of these substances are banned it does seem wrong combining them.

I have little time for those who dope. However, "seems wrong" strikes me as the wrong standard to apply unless we are having a witch hunt.

Also, I know nothing about the chap who "found" the vial. Surprisingly convenient discovery. Where I come it was often the guys in the volunteer fire brigade who started the bush fires.

posted by surly_by_name [141 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 9:38

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Quinine is or certainly used to be present in tonic water.

posted by Guido [28 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 9:42

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"Seems wrong to combine them" - you could do this inadvertently any day of the week (shot of coffee, tonic water and maybe you're needing something for the period pains..), this could be viewed as either being wrong or being clever about what you're eating. Just because these things are in powdered form doesn't mean they're instantly naughty. Of course this depends on moral standing, but it's not illegal, so case closed.

I'm glad he wasn't identified, he's innocent and we should leave it at that.

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [542 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 10:12

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Incidentally, for those 'concerned' about the Theophylline - according to wikipedia it's actually found in quite high levels in cocoa beans, and also in tea.

Essentially it's an energy drink, with some anti inflammatory properties. No biggy.

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [542 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 10:53

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So, treatment asthma and tropical diseases?

Has to be Froome then innit?

What do you mean he wasn't even racing? Since when did truth get in the way of a bit of rider bashing?

posted by farrell [1388 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 10:59

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The thing is that it is a known fact amongst people who race bikes (at least here in Belgium) that many people in bike races take a combination of (legal) painkillers and caffeine.

In a way it's a legal interpretation of the 'pot belge' idea. You take a product to numb the pain which induces some drowsiness and combine it with something that increases your alertness.
One of the downside with painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen is that it thins the blood -which when used in large doses can be a problem in case of a crash. This is another reason why the combination with caffeine is "beneficial" as it thickens the blood.

Apparently, according to a bike-racing friend of mine who does not use this combo, racers taking 6 dafalgans (the 1000mg version) and copious amounts of caffeine pills are not a rare occurance.
So while being legal, one has to question the practice nevertheless. And there's no use in pinpointing any one racer in the peleton as this cocktail is very widely used.

posted by dgmtc [1 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 11:20

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farrell wrote:
So, treatment asthma and tropical diseases?

Has to be Froome then innit?

What do you mean he wasn't even racing? Since when did truth get in the way of a bit of rider bashing?

OH YEAH!

Brailsfords obvs made a cocktail for the Sky lads to nail and it must be a synthesis of an illegal drug MASKED as caffeine - they must have got it from Ibiza in the offseason because they can't possibly be that good through training or proper recovery. My mate from a magazine in Asia that's about motorsport but has a column about cycling who knows the girlfriend of Portes schoolfriend from 20 years ago say's they're all on it all the time. Must be dodgy, how else can they pay for all that Rapha kit, something to do with the mafia blates!!! Tongue

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [542 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 11:23

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It seems that this isn't actually a doping offence and it's right that there isn't a name-and-shame going on.

It is also important that the anti-doping agencies know what people are using that isn't on the banned list.

Racing on a concentrated cocktail of legal painkillers, asthma medication, cramp medication and stimulants doesn't sound quite like "clean sport" to most people I suspect.

posted by BigDummy [284 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 11:30

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troj wrote:

The WADA and the UCI need to look in to this and MUST ask the rider who was using this why he was using this? With an open investigate!!

Why? If they are not banned substances, and riders are permitted to take them, then it's not really their concern.

posted by dp24 [182 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 11:56

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if its not banned its not an issue. simple. the moment you start going into the morality of taking anything that isn't banned then where do you draw the line? should any of us chug an espresso or slurp a high 5 sports drink.

Any sport especially physical and or endurance, not just cycling will have people taking whatever is not banned, its the way of the world.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [280 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 13:17

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From wikipedia:
The main actions of theophylline involve:
.... increasing heart muscle contractility and efficiency....

Thinking

posted by jamtartman [32 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 16:00

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jamtartman wrote:
From wikipedia:
The main actions of theophylline involve:
.... increasing heart muscle contractility and efficiency....

Thinking

That's very selective, it can also induce seizures and diarrhea as well as anti inflammatory effects (like that of iburprofen) and can be found in tea.

On its own it's not necessarily the sort of thing you would want to pump yourself full of as an athlete, you certainly wouldn't want to unnecessarily put your heart rate up when doing hours worth of a tour stage or race. After a quick Google it looks like research has been done (which is why the likes of WADA have come to the conclusions they have..) on whether or not it's actually beneficial to athletes and research, on the face of it, appears conclusive in the view that it's not.

Quit the chinstroking and move on dude. Impey's been done for something illegal, there's something to talk about. Smile

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Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [542 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 16:25

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Gosh. This comments section is more tiresome than the original one that brought up the story (to whichever poster above I think the guy who found the vial was a vet or dentist).

I'm guessing whatever came from the rider was something along the lines of a legal pep pill - pro plus.

This certainly isn't the way a rider dopes.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1110 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 22:33

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mooleur wrote:
Incidentally, for those 'concerned' about the Theophylline - according to wikipedia it's actually found in quite high levels in cocoa beans, and also in tea.

Essentially it's an energy drink, with some anti inflammatory properties. No biggy.

Tea and cocoa are also full of caffine.

posted by earth [71 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 13:05

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mooleur wrote:
farrell wrote:
So, treatment asthma and tropical diseases?

Has to be Froome then innit?

What do you mean he wasn't even racing? Since when did truth get in the way of a bit of rider bashing?

OH YEAH!

Brailsfords obvs made a cocktail for the Sky lads to nail and it must be a synthesis of an illegal drug MASKED as caffeine - they must have got it from Ibiza in the offseason because they can't possibly be that good through training or proper recovery. My mate from a magazine in Asia that's about motorsport but has a column about cycling who knows the girlfriend of Portes schoolfriend from 20 years ago say's they're all on it all the time. Must be dodgy, how else can they pay for all that Rapha kit, something to do with the mafia blates!!! Tongue

Here's a Sky conspiracy-theorist fundamentalist who originally said this was likely..........nothing more than a legal finish bottle, and guess what, I didn't connect it to Sky either!

You pro-Sky guys seem to have a big hang-up, having to mention them in any thread. And if there are no anti-Sky comments to deal with, you make up exaggerated scenarios to have a little chuckle at (don't leave your day-job - comedy is not your thing!)

Very strange behaviour.

posted by daddyELVIS [386 posts]
4th July 2014 - 7:56

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i find it rather funny and its obviously hit a nerve with you because you replied when you weren't even mentioned, which is funnier again Rolling On The Floor

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2696 posts]
4th July 2014 - 8:29

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