Tuesday, 10 July 2012
2012 Tour de France: doping comes to the fore on the rest day
Very sadly on a day when it's a great opportunity to celebrate and look back on the performances of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and other stars in this year's Tour de France, doping has again reared its ugly head on several fronts.
French rider Rémy Di Grégorio (Cofidis) was arrested by French police at his hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse on suspicion of being involved in doping and is now in police custody in Marseille for questioning. After yesterday's time trial Di Grégorio was lying 35th – 18.70 minutes down. The police investigation started last June, so it is not clear whether Di Grégorio was arrested for past offences or whether he continued to dope while on this year's Tour. There are suggestions that a call to a dealer may have been intercepted by the police. Di Grégorio has been suspended by Cofidis and will be fired if he has been involved in doping. Di Grégorio previously rode for Astana. Cofidis will be staying in the race.
Meanwhile the Lance Armstrong case continues to make waves. Yesterday Armstrong's lawyers tried without to stop the USADA action:
Lance Armstrong has launched a legal action against USADA. Story here.
The Judge dismissed Armstong's action but he may file again within 20 days. Story here. Judge threw out the case as an over-long rant (80 pages).
Today the USADA has announced the imposition of life-time bans on Dr Michele Ferrari, Dr Luis Garcia del Mora and José Marti for their anti-doping rule violations in the United States Postal Service (USPS) Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy. Details here.
The USADA's announcement also says that: 'The other respondents in this case have either asked for and been granted a five-day extension to complete their response, or have requested to move forward with an arbitration hearing'. The others involved in the case are Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, currently team manager of RadioShack, and Pedro Celaya, RadioShack's team doctor.
I hope and trust that cycling has indeed been cleaned up and turned a corner and that Di Grégorio is an isolated rider who does not understand that the sport has changed.