As(s)tarloza Suspended — And So It Begins

Winner of Stage 16 of this year’s Tour, Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel, tested positive for EPO in an out of competition test on June 26. He ‘s been suspended from racing and will face a disciplinary hearing by the Spanish Cycling Federation. I’m sure he’ll request an analysis of his B-sample and then claim ignorance about how this all could have happened. The script is well ingrained in popped riders now.

On the day of his win Astarloza said “It’s the best day of my life.” I’m guessing today is right up there as one of his worst. It will be interesting to hear the backstory on this out of comp test. Was he being targeted via the blood passport program?

And the question that still needs to be answered: Why do these guys think they won’t get caught? I wouldn’t be surprised if today is the first day of a long month of drip, drip, drip doping news connected to the Tour. Then we have the 2008 Tour retro testing to look forward to in the fall.

Will any of the big names come out to condemn this or will the Omerta prevail.



Filed under Doping, Pro Cycling Antics, Tour De France

2 responses to “As(s)tarloza Suspended — And So It Begins

  1. aviewfromtheback

    The news this week in cycling and baseball only confirms what we already knew. Doping controls and punitive competition bans simply do not work. They only push doping further and further to the edge of the envelope where athletes are willing to put untested, unsafe drugs into their bodies. Further, the level playing field that doping supposedly tips in the users’ direction, never existed in the first place given the advantages afforded those with money or rich sponsors or both (i.e., better training, better coaching, better equipment.)

    Wouldn’t it be better if instead of worrying about who doped in the past and spending a ton of money trying to catch athletes using performances enhancing drugs if the focus where on reducing the harm associated with doping? Legalize the use of performance enhancing drugs and bringing it under medical supervision so that the athletes, who are going to use them anyway, are safer. The same four guys are going to have a shot at winning the Tour de France with or without the drugs, so what impact are tests and competition bans having anyway? The answer would be none.

    • thebikebreath

      I don’t buy it. We can’t just throw open the floodgates to a social class of super-athletes. Suppose your kid had some natural talent for cycling and wanted to try to go pro. Your first step would be to get him a doctor? I think we have to try to go the other way and clean up the sport. Lifetime bans for a first violation would be a good start. That said, the testing would have to be bulletproof so as not to generate any false positives. I think the bio passport is a good start as are Lemond’s suggestions for creating V02 profiles of riders as they enter the pro ranks.

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