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  1. #1
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    Tomac on MTB Racing & Doping

    From time to time I'll look at tomac.com to see what Johnny is up to and fantasize about my fantasy bike. This time I found something rather interesting.

    On the Ask Johnny page, a reader asks of there was doping in profiessional mountian bike racing when he was active.

    Tomac reposnds:


    I will keep this very complicated subject a bit short and sweet. Doper suck and they are cheaters. They take the easy way out and what good is a win if it is not real. Early XC mountain bike racing was clean, but it changed in the early to mid 1990s in my opinion. When I was road racing as a pro in Europe in 1990 and 1991, I knew it was not on the level, so I left that sport and went back to full time mountain bike racing. Then it crept into mountain bike racing which sucked, but at least mountain bike racing was a bit technical and you can't dope up skills. I was never really all the tempted because I made a moral decision not to do it early on. Once I decided that, I just did the work and did the best with what I had.

  2. #2
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Interesting to hear from Tomac. Really, at this point, I am convinced that in any pro sport, where an athlete can benefit from not getting as winded as easily, you will find the likes of EPO etc..

    PEDs have made their way into nearly everything from soccer to MMA and everything in between.

  3. #3
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    Roel Paulissen, former marathon world champ, is the last guy caught doping in MTB racing that I remember.

    Cannondale Boots World Marathon Champ Paulissen for Doping - VeloNews.com

  4. #4
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    Tomac on MTB Racing & Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    Roel Paulissen, former marathon world champ, is the last guy caught doping in MTB racing that I remember.

    Cannondale Boots World Marathon Champ Paulissen for Doping - VeloNews.com
    There's some more recent ones too:

    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Doping-...ment-2013.html

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/...nfesses_144237

  5. #5
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Hmm...doping in the DH scene. So, yeh, clearly it exists in pro xc. Lol. Sucks, but it is what it is...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racnad View Post
    Tomac reposnds:
    I will keep this very complicated subject a bit short and sweet. Doper suck and they are cheaters. They take the easy way out and what good is a win if it is not real. Early XC mountain bike racing was clean, but it changed in the early to mid 1990s in my opinion. When I was road racing as a pro in Europe in 1990 and 1991, I knew it was not on the level, so I left that sport and went back to full time mountain bike racing.
    Raises the question as to what was going on at Motorola during those years that made Johnny T. leave.

  7. #7
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    Where's the Missy Giove link?

    jk

  8. #8
    What could go wrong ...
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    I used to ride to Win ... Now I ride to Grin

    While my guitar gently weeps, my bike sits there mocking me

  9. #9
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    What I'm saying may be controversial, but here it is. When I first started riding and doing NORBA races - 1989-1992, I found the professional class racers to be a bunch of mostly Americans or Canadians who were fun approachable guys & gals you could enjoy a beer with after the races. Starting around 1993 I noticed an increasing number of Europeans who seemed more aloof and non-social, took racing more seriously and took many of the top finishing slots - except for Mammoth - which most of them skipped because it was "too high" - as if mountain biking belonged only in lower mountains. Is Johnny referring to Europeans who imported some of the more unsavory parts of European cycling culture?

  10. #10
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    Lance Armstrong as victim of corrupt "European cycling culture"! That makes a good story.

    Personally, because of all the doping I'm not interested at all in professional or elite level sports. Not even the XC world cup. I rode elite amateur in my younger years. I've seen too much myself that there could be a fair competition. But of course, this was only corrupt Europe.

    Very good friends of mine rode the TransAlp two weeks ago. Though they were only midpack I followed their stage results every day. This was more entertaining than watching the freak show TdF.

  11. #11
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    I recently got into it about the #europro thing with an australian friend who's a big fan of the TDF. Cheating or not, Americans have had pretty good representation in the Tour in the past 20 years. The Tour de France, from its very beginnings, has been involved with cheating. Strychnine, cocaine, getting a ride in a car...

    I consider Peter Sagan to be an honorary American. He likes us, and acts in a way typical of our spirit. He's actually a junior champion MTBer. I enjoyed watching him take the green jersey and I think he's got a chance to wear yellow into Paris one day.

    I think the World Cup XC guys are pretty cool. The Olympic XC race was awesome; what the UCI designates as acceptable for the World Cup XC courses is really good; it was tried and failed in the USA, but they should try again! ProXCT sucks, especially Sea Otter.


    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    Lance Armstrong as victim of corrupt "European cycling culture"! That makes a good story.

    Personally, because of all the doping I'm not interested at all in professional or elite level sports. Not even the XC world cup. I rode elite amateur in my younger years. I've seen too much myself that there could be a fair competition. But of course, this was only corrupt Europe.

    Very good friends of mine rode the TransAlp two weeks ago. Though they were only midpack I followed their stage results every day. This was more entertaining than watching the freak show TdF.

  12. #12
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    Tomac on MTB Racing & Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by Racnad View Post
    Is Johnny referring to Europeans who imported some of the more unsavory parts of European cycling culture?
    It is an interesting one. I think it's maybe more a comment about money flowing into the sport, professionalism, and what that brings with it, the pressure to win and sustain your livelihood at any cost. In the 1990s there was no test for EPO at all, plus even less likelihood of being drug tested in mountain biking than road racing. Very little chance of being caught and a guaranteed advantage is a hard offer to resist, especially if you believe your competitors are doing the same. The limited testing possibly being why there are fewer failed tests in mountain biking than road racing.

    http://www.economist.com/news/scienc...hletes-dilemma

    In european road racing doping has been evident from the beginning of the sport, well before EPO was invented. You've had continuation from one era to the next also - the ex pros who doped as racers go on to become managers, coaches, sports administrators, journalists and commentators, which is very corrosive as it results in the omerta that there is currently. When so many are invested in the system, with the authorities and sponsors either complicit or turning a blind eye, it's hard to genuinely change that.

    Verbruggen takes a dim view
    "Hein Verbruggen, president of the UCI has criticised Rooks and co. for their recent confessions, especially as they were made years after the fact. Verbruggen believed that they would have a negative impact on aspiring cyclists, and commented that this "cannot bring any good and it makes those riding clean feel guilty. They are giving the impression that doping practices were structured in their teams.

    "A rider is the first one responsible of his doping. They could have said: no to doping. About these three riders, another Dutch rider told me that if they were ethical they would return the prizes they won thanks to doping".

    He does hold optimism that the current hematocrit "controls" are working, and that the attitude is changing within the peloton. However, there is still a long way to go, as evidenced by the current trials in Italy."
    cyclingnews.com January 6 2000

    http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/resul...jan6news.shtml

    The spin is that it's different now, but that's exactly what was said in 1999 too.

    Watch this Eurosport documentary from the 2013 Tour de France, note the comments throughout and then lookup who Richard Virenque is and what he did.

    http://conquertheroad.eurosport.com/ride.php

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/988095.stm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festina_affair

    Mountain biking doesn't exist in a vacuum. An example of the crossover of ideas between road racing and mountain biking would be Gert Jan Theunisse. Gert Jan Theunisse was a Dutch professional road racer who failed three drug tests, retiring in 1995 due to heart trouble before becoming a mountain bike coach. He trained successful riders such as multiple mountain bike World Champion Marga Fullana (who failed a test for EPO in 2010), mountain bike World Champion Filip Meirhaeghe (who failed a test for EPO in 2004), 1996 mountain bike Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens and became manager of the Specialized mountain bike team in 1997.

    EPO use and heart problems
    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/200...cling.cycling1

    http://web.archive.org/web/200910271...10a/uk/mtb.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gert-Jan_Theunisse

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filip_Meirhaeghe

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/...nfesses_144237

    When it comes to how personable an individual is that's no guarantee either way. There are plenty of people who you could easily be friends with normally that have been caught doping. As individuals I'm sure they're often nice people.

    Nationality is the other one to beware of. There are many examples of Americans, British, Canadians, Australians etc who have been caught doping. European cycling culture has issues but the American "win at all costs" sporting culture is hardly pure as driven snow. If some aspects were imported they were pushing at an open door and the same omerta is still evident. This MTBR article for example dates from 17 May 2013:

    http://reviews.mtbr.com/ride-report-...ncapie-and-bmc

    Contrast that glowing language with the USADA reasoned decision document sections on George Hincapie's career.

    http://d3epuodzu3wuis.cloudfront.net...edDecision.pdf

    Edit: Relevant links added.
    Last edited by WR304; 07-30-2013 at 03:17 PM.

  13. #13
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    Tomac on MTB Racing & Doping

    To continue my previous post:

    In the above article another name mentioned is Bas van Dooren, who rode for the same Specialized mountain bike team also. He tested positive for EPO at the mountain bike World Championships in 2002.

    http://ftp.cyclingnews.com/news/?id=...ov02/nov15news

    Another notable mountain bike doper from the same era would be the 1999 mountain bike World Champion Michael Rasmussen, later thrown off the Tour de France for doping whilst in the lead.

    http://www.4bikes.org/1999-cross-cou...admits-doping/

    There is also the 1996 mountain bike World Champion Jerome Chiotti (formerly a rider for the disgraced Festina watches road team, see the Richard Virenque links in my earlier post), who famously handed his jersey and medal over to Thomas Frischnecht in 2000 after admitting to using EPO to win.

    http://www.mbaction.com/Main/News/LE...ECHT-3433.aspx

    .

  14. #14
    zrm
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    Hard to imagine any US domestic pros doping. They can't afford it.

  15. #15
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    Tomac on MTB Racing & Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Hard to imagine any US domestic pros doping. They can't afford it.
    Have you heard of Joe Papp?

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/...-epohgh_105463

    Edit: Rock Racing is a good case study too:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/mo...ticle-1.180813
    Last edited by WR304; 07-31-2013 at 12:45 PM.

  16. #16
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    So are Schurter, Absalon, or Kulhavy doping? Was Burry Stander doping before his death? What is the point of all of these hearsay gossip about World Cup XC and talk of what happened 10 years ago, unless you want to get into specifics?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Hard to imagine any US domestic pros doping. They can't afford it.
    Ive known cat2 and cat3 roadies who've doped...

  18. #18
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    Uhm... Lance Armstrong?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racnad View Post
    Uhm... Lance Armstrong?
    Domestic pro is one who races solely within the U.S.

  20. #20
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    I for one would love to see Joe Papp's client list. As a Vet Cat 1 in Colorado,I often wonder how the winners of my class are as fast as the Pros.

  21. #21
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wishful Tomcat View Post
    Domestic pro is one who races solely within the U.S.
    Most of our US pros who end up racing in Europe were at one time domestics. Also, if your team provides the drugs, you don't have to "pay" for it. Plenty of US domestic pros have doped imo. In fact, wasn't Chris Carmichael somewhat responsible for getting our young US cyclists to dope?

  22. #22
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    Re: Tomac on MTB Racing & Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    Also, if your team provides the drugs, you don't have to "pay" for it.
    Classified as "medical expenses".

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Hard to imagine any US domestic pros doping. They can't afford it.
    Huh?

    I've raced against several convicted dopers on the road. Hell, one of the guys who went pro from my team, Kirk O'Bee, has been busted TWICE, and is serving a lifetime ban from racing.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    Also, if your team provides the drugs, you don't have to "pay" for it.
    Not to mention there's actually few levels in doping. Top one is expensive, crap you get on bottom (it still works... sometimes, but it's more dangerous for your health and you have much more chances to test positive) is relatively cheap. And with nowadays Internet and world wide shipping, it's not so hard to get your hands to some questionable cheap stuff

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