LeMond - 'Doping will be the death of cycling'

UCI will name and shame riders next week

by Tom Henry   June 12, 2009  

Greg Lemond gives Lance the big stare

World champion rider Greg LeMond has predicted the end of cycling as an Olympic sport because of the on-going row over doping.

LeMond, 47, told a sports conference in Coventry that cycling is on a “slow death march” and that widespread doping might damage the sport’s reputation permanently.

“In 20 years,” he said, “drugs will have damaged cycling so much that it mightn’t be at the Olympics.”

LeMond’s comments come as the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that next week it will name and shame riders who may have fallen foul of its stringent ‘biological passport’ testing.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said: “Following a meeting of experts in Geneva last week, the UCI has decided to start disciplinary actions against a certain number of riders on the basis of evidence taken from their biological passports.

"They will be informed early next week, we will inform their teams and national federations and then we will make a public statement, naming the riders. The process has already started."

Earlier this week, Spain's Antonio Colom received a provisional suspension for testing positive for the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin). The UCI said that Colom had been tested due to information gleaned from his biological passport.

LeMond was the first American to win the tour, back in 1986, and in all took the title three times. At the Play The Game conference at Coventry University, he said that Tour riders were "lab rats" for doping doctors, and claimed that deaths and suicides in the sport "are on the rise" as a result of doping.

LeMond said he was lucky that his genes alone helped him reach three Tour titles, but added: "Had I got into the sport a little later, say 1993, 1994, I don’t know what I would have done. Drugs in cycling corrupts even the good people . . . doctors, managers and officials are the one corrupting riders. The only ones paying the price are the athletes."

 

10 user comments

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Greg is a nut job. He's right about the nineties. And Marco Pantani was a lab rat for Italian doctors for most of his career. But how can he claim that deaths and suicides in the sport are on the rise? To start with I'm sure that there aren't enough deaths and suicides in cycling to make a statistically significant case.

I think cycling has turned the corner. Mark Cavendish was tested 64 times in 2008! With that level of testing, if you are doping, then you are going to be detected at some point.

We just need the weak links in cycling, such as Spain where they have furiously tried to ignore Operation Puerto, to be fixed.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1332 posts]
12th June 2009 - 14:30

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His presentation is worth watching in full, if you've time;

http://www.playthegame.org/conferences/play-the-game-2009/on-demand-stre...

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"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [418 posts]
12th June 2009 - 14:36

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cat1commuter wrote:

I think cycling has turned the corner. Mark Cavendish was tested 64 times in 2008! With that level of testing, if you are doping, then you are going to be detected at some point.

You should read what Bernhard Kohl says about all the tests he passed.

Quote:
As he had already confessed earlier, Kohl had two litres of his own blood available for re-injection at the Tour, of which he used 1.5 litres. "Nothing else," he said. "Too many surprise controls. No testosterone patch, nothing, except caffeine, pseudo-ephedrine and some analgesics. EPO, growth hormone, insulin - I took that before [the Tour], not during the race."
Quote:

The International Cycling Union 's (UCI) biological passport failed prevent Kohl from practicing blood doping on a regular basis during his career, he said. "The top riders are so professional in their doping that they know very well they have to keep their blood values stable not to be detected. The UCI sent us the values resulting from the controls: we thus referred to those to mark the next ones. In a way, the passport almost helped us."
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2009/jun09/jun09news2

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"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [418 posts]
12th June 2009 - 14:42

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Thanks John you don't always need to link to cyclingnews - those quotes are all on here too http://road.cc/content/news/4807-dope-test-catches-spaniard-kohl-claims-... Smile

As for Kohl while there is something in what he says if he was so clever and professional how come he got caught?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
12th June 2009 - 14:47

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The point I was trying to make is that you can't avoid all the controls all the time. Bernard Kohl was caught.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1332 posts]
12th June 2009 - 14:47

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Took a long time to get caught, think how many tests he past as well.

posted by Alankk [121 posts]
12th June 2009 - 17:03

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They introduced a test for CERA, he got caught. The UCI weren't in charge of doping control which probably helped too.

That's the point of the pasport isn't it, you can't test for something if there is no test, but if it is having an effect you can spot the effect.

All that said, it seems to me that Lemond has a very valid point about basing these measurements on stuff that you can't change like VO2 max. And people may mock him, but he was right about Armstrong's 'independent testing program' lots of other people probably thought similar things but he was the only one with the balls to get up and say it to Armstrong's face.

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posted by Denzil Dexter [140 posts]
12th June 2009 - 21:17

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Greg Lemond was a "Hero of the week" last year after his showing at Interbike http://road.cc/content/news/471-heroes-week-better-late-never there's a link to the Fredcast interview with him which is really interesting.

Hopefully the UCI's biological passport system will work, we'll start finding out on Monday, but I can't help wondering if Lemond's approach wouldn't provide a much simpler method of achieving the same thing.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
12th June 2009 - 22:58

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The interview with Armtrong & Lemond from last year is well worth watching. I'm reading Bad Blood at the moment and a key theme of that book is how Lance alienates and intimidates anyone who questions him before steering back to his good works.

As for having 'turned a corner' I want to believe that again. But I believed cycling had turned a corner after Festina and then I believed it again after Landis.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
13th June 2009 - 13:00

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Watched the "Play The Game" speech. Can't say it has changed my opinion much. It did remind me how much I enjoyed watching Greg in the Tour de France.

He really does have a thing about Lance and the UCI doesn't he?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1332 posts]
13th June 2009 - 13:17

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