The release of Tyler Hamilton’s book, a summary of which is available on this link kindly supplied by James is almost certainly the basis for the charges bought about by the USAD and about to be released in their own right.
It gives me no pleasure in reading this as my old sport has been through the mill regards doping ever since almost its conception, and whether it can ever fully rid itself of the problem is to be seen.
I also have said enough of where I stand on the matter in the first post, but what this book states is what anybody who knows anything about cycling would believe, even if they did not want to. I’m not even going through the blindingly obvious again as those Armstrong supporters are just that supporters as in football club with a blind loyalty regardless of what is happening in front of them.
The one thing that I stated in that first post was no one could win clean if everyone else was doping – that is a fact of life. The one rider who is the oustanding example of that position was the great Raymond Poulidor whom everybody thought doped as everyone else did.
It is well documented he didn’t and the result was that, despite being the most outstanding athlete of his time on a bike, he became known as “the eternal second”. Five times in the TDF he finished in that position and in every race he faded as the race went on – he simply could not compete with the dopers, so anyone who thins Armstrong could finish ahead comfortably as he did of a doped field is quite frankly deluded, although that still makes him the best of a rather uneven level playing field.
I still do not believe that the general public have a clue how endemic doping has been in cycling, I alluded to it again in my first piece, but as a further example I have just finished reading the autobiography of Reg Harris still our greatest sprinter on the track who admitted to trying drugs but said they didn’t work for him, believable as certainly not all track riders took drugs as the drugs involved were very different from those for the endurance events on the road that have become synonymous with EPO and other blood changing/enhancing methods of doping.
He states how in the 1948 Olympics in London, when he arrived at the start line for the final of the sprint, his Italian opponent – a young nineteen year old – was carried from the dressing room to his bike. When he queried what was going on, his coach gave the sign of someone being injected, remember there was nothing illegal in drug use in those days.
He also goes on to say that the drugs being used included Benzedrine Strychnine and Heroin, taken as an injection or drops on the tongue. The idea was for a short term boost – remember this was before the advent of steroids.
I can verify the Olympic final scenario (by the way Harris failed to win that final ) as I was present in Paris in 1957 as a youngster to witness the world track championships at the old Parc des Princes track, when in the final of the pro sprint, the Italian Enzo Sacchi was carried to his bike on the start line in the final with the usual casual aside that he was saving energy. when all knew what was going on.
This time he lost.
What of course cycling and this case has opened up is a can of worms. Cycling is by far the most tested sport, with the most stringent testing. I believe that at the moment they are on top of it but where it all goes from here is not known for it’s difficult to believe other sports with less stringent doping controls and lax individual nations in administering those controls are not letting people through the net again.
I refer back to the Puerto affair and some nasty rumours that not all was well in Jamaica with little or no testing. Who knows what’s going on in some countries. Read the link and wait for the official report from USAD and make your own minds up. That link will also give an idea of what the sport is up against.