My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Unidentified pills found in Riccò's home

Category: Cycling

Well, it's not just a black day for the sport of cycling, but a pitch-black day for Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team. I really feel sorry for them, and especially for Sergey Lagutin.

Already from the beginning, when the team said they would hire Riccardo Riccò, I said that I don't want the Italian to be near the fantastic Uzbek.

Yes, I can accept that people wanted to give him a second chance, but I was still worried.

Last week, Italian police searched the home of Riccardo Riccò and found around 50 unidentified tablets, according to Italian newspaper Leggo.

“I think it’s old news from a couple of weeks ago,” a member of Vacansoleil's team management said when talking to Cyclingnews today. “At this moment he’s at Franco-Belge and racing. I want to wait for a formal statement from the police or investigation in Italy before we do anything because at this time it’s just rumours but we’ll do what’s necessary. Until then he will race in Frano-Belge.”

Those pills may not be doping substances and hopefully they aren't. But the police found stimulants and cortisone at the home of Donato Cannone (Ceramica Flaminia) and Enrico Rossi of the same team was arrested in connection to the investigation named “Cobra-Red.

Enrico Rossi is the brother of Riccò's ex-girlfriend Vania Rossi, who tested positive for EPO CERA in January.

Black day for cycling as Mosquera tests positive

Category: Cycling & Doping

Now UCI has confirmed that Vuelta a España runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera and David Garcia Da Peña tested positive during the Spanish Grand Tour. WADA accredited laboratory in Köln found hydroxyethyl starch in their samples.

Both riders have requested an analyze of the B-sample, but such samples usually show the same thing.

The substance, hydroxyethyl starch increases the blood volume, allowing red blood cells to continue to deliver oxygen to the body. In other words, a substance that many dope-willing endurance athletes often seek.

The three doping cases today are obviously too sad. Today has truly been a black day for the sport of cycling. But it feels good to know that the anti-doping controls actually work.

This week, the World Championships are raced. Today's winner of the elite men's time trial, Fabian Cancellara, deserves more publicity. Instead, today will be remembered for this horridness.

Both riders risk to be barred from the sport for two years. But why did they dope?

The only explanation I can give, is that Xacobeo-Galicia has had trouble finding a new sponsor. The cyclists felt worried as they had to find a new squad but also felt obligated to help their team. Instead, they risk destroying the small chance that Xacobeo-Galicia had to continue.

“I’m dumbstruck. I’ve just been told and I’m surprised because in the team we are sure that this doping case is impossible. I’ve still not spoken with Ezequiel, but I will be trying to do so in the coming hours”, Xacobeo-Galicia's team manager Alvaro Pino said.

The 34-year-old Ezequiel Mosquera recently signed a two-year deal with Dutch squad Vacansoleil. Now the team will need a new rider, at least if Mosquera is suspended. If they don't hire someone else, it is likely that they won't race a Grand Tour next season, nor get ProTour status. And that would be too sad. I may be selfish, but I really want Sergey Lagutin to get the chance to race a Grand Tour again.

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Has Contador doped or not?

Category: Cycling & Doping

There are some other things to consider when it comes to Alberto Contador's positive dope test. The amount of clenbuterol found in his urine, for example.

The concentration found by the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml), which is 400 times less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA are required to detect.

In other words, there was almost no clenbuterol in his urine.

One of the doctors that Contador has talked to is Dr. Douwe de Boer who said "there are numerous documented cases of humans ingesting Clenbuterol accidentally by eating meat from animals that have been fed the substance to stimulate growth."

We should take the information with a grain of salt, as de Boer stand up for Contador himself. But still, the concentration is so low that it hardly can be detected anywhere else.

Had another laboratory had access to the same sample, there wouldn't be any talk about doping today. Sometimes so little is necessary for a disaster to happen.

Anyway, at the press conference Alberto Contador told about the meat accident. The organiser of the Vuelta a Castilla y León, José Luis López-Cerrón, brought some meat to the the team's chef, who made a dish of it and Contador ate it. Other riders had ate it as well, and was (in such case) contaminated too. But only one other rider was tested that day, Alexandre Vinokourov, who had an earlier dinner and didn't eat with them. According to Contador, of course. What do you think of that? Excuse or not?