Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dogged again by scandal

It seems that doping in cycling is never going to go away. The scandal of taking drugs to boost performance hangs like a cloud over the Tour year after year. Most recently, Alberto Contador was banned from taking part after testing positive for Clenbuterol and of course Lance Armstrong faces an enquiry in America which is determined to ban him and take away all of his Tour wins including the proceeds.

Now we read that the the French cyclist Rémy Di Gregorio, who rides for Cofidis, has been detained for questioning by the French police in Marseille. This follows investigations last year about his involvement into trafficking banned substances. Police conducted a dawn raid on the hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse where the team are staying and arrested Di Gregorio along with two others.

Cofidis have reacted quickly by suspending the rider as a matter of precaution. You will recall that the team withdrew from the 2007 Tour when Christian Mernis failed an anti-doping test during the race. This time, they are confident that this is an isolated incident and will there fore continue with the Tour. They say, if the allegations are true then Di Gregorio will be sacked on the spot.  

The recent history of doping dates back to the 2006 Tour when Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were withdrawn for their connections with the Spanish police investigation Operation Puerto. In the same year Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone after the race.

A year later the holder of the yellow jersey, Michael Rasmussen, was withdrawn by his Robank team for his failure to explain a series of missed drugs tests, while Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping and Christian Moreni for testosterone.

The following year King of the Mountains jersey winner Bernard Kohl from Austria tested positive for a form of EPO.

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