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

I feel so sorry for you

Category: Cycling & Doping, Olympic Games, Sport

There are a couple of different ways to find the dopers. Often the ways are called anti-doping controls or biological passport. Sometimes someone starts wondering if there may be something wrong with an athlete and suddenly this person will undergo many controls in a short period of time. Perhaps the person is caught, perhaps not.

When David Millar won the world time trial championship in the year 2003, I knew that he was doped. I could see that he didn't smile, he wasn't happy, everything about him told me that he was ashamed and disgusted. It took a little while, but suddenly he was involved in a doping story that ended with him confessing to having used doping and was banned for some years. Today he is a completely different person.

Since then, many years have passed, but the doped athlete's shame can still be seen in their faces and movements. Yesterday I saw a Russian athlete who had won Olympic gold medal in hurdles the day before and I could only shake my head and silently beg her, in front of the TV, "please, go and admit it.". She has doped, cheated, and I'm 101% sure about it. There is no way this woman had raced clean.

Believe it or not, athletes are human beings. They know when they've done wrong. And really,, it is difficult to lie. Even for mythomaniacs and other people who live. I have all the sympathy for athletes who take doping substances to improve performance, most likely I would have thought of it myself, but it's very seldom that doped athletes are proud of their decision to cheat. Almost everybody are ashamed. I'm pretty sure many of them would like to be caught and have a reason to stop, but for it's not that simple. When athletes get to a certain age or stage of life, at least that is my feeling, they decide to talk about it. They do no longer want to be ashamed of what they have done.

Today, the anti-doping controls work well, although they could be better, but hopefully the controls today and in the future, can help reduce the number of former athletes who walk around with secrets in the future.

China's second appeal against team sprint relegation

Category: Cycling, Olympic Games

Gong JinjieThe Chinese cycling team isn't to happy with the women’s sprint team being relegated from the gold medal to silver at the Olympic Games and they have now sent a second letter of appeal to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The first appeal was rejected last Friday.

Gong Jinjie (pictured) and Guo Shuang appeared to have won the gold on the first night of track competition in the velodrome, finishing 0.179 seconds quicker than the German riders Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte in the final, but were later relegated to silver for a botched exchange.

The Chinese had already celebrated their victory lap and the Germans had gone off to do their interviews. When it was time for the prize ceremony, Vogel and Welte were cleaned up before they received their first gold medals.

The exchange line was difficult to see while racing and that seems to be the reason why the Chinese team (but also Great Britain and some other countries) has problems with going outside the zone. 

Will Cavendish return to track racing for 2016 Olympics?

Category: Cycling, Olympic Games

Mark CavendishMark Cavendish may return to track racing for the 2016 Games in Rio. The British rider has competed in two consecutive Games but has missed out on a medal on both occasions. Maybe in four years time, he will be ready to win a medal.

But to do so, he may need to sideline his road ambitions. Yesterday, the British team won gold and set a world record in the team pursuit. Now he wants to be part of it too.

"After seeing it last night, absolutely," Cavendish said.

"Training is hard. It's monotonous but that's what you've got to do in most sports to get Olympic gold. I watched the guys and saw the camaraderie between them. They live together, they've grown as a unit and I looked last night and I thought I want to be part of it again. I've been texting with the boys, I've been speaking with the coaches this morning and I wouldn't say it's past us to return to the track, maybe in 2016."

The road race course in Rio de Janeiro is not expected to be sprinter-friendly, and he may not get many more chances of winning an Olympic medal.

"We'll have to see, the road race doesn't suit me in 2016 anyway. It's not going to be a flat race around Rio. I'd love an Olympic gold and I'd love to share that with guys I've grown up with. So I'd really like to push for a spot in 2016 on the track."

s an endurance athlete Cavendish would have the option of aiming at either team pursuit or the omnium. However it's the pursuit that appears to be Cavendish's first preference, although he is well aware that any chance of selection would rest on him dedicating his training to specific track requirements.

"I'd like to be part of the team, part of the team pursuit. I thrive working with others people, gaining trust and working towards something like that."

Great Britain team pursuit coach Dan Hunt told Cyclingnews that Cavendish will have to work hard on the velodrome, and do less job on the road if he wants to be part of the team.

"He's always welcome. I think that Cav might be interested in riding a world championships, maybe he wants to do to it for Rio, but again team pursuit is a specialist event and it requires a commitment and one that takes you away from the road for a certain amount of time. If anybody is prepared to make that commitment, any British rider, then I would be prepared to say yes and to run them through to Rio."