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'Cycling is a dirty world and it will stay that way forever'
By Andrew Hood
An unnamed retired Italian sprinter insists that cycling has lost the war on doping and that no one can win major three-week races like the Giro d’Italia without resorting to banned performance-enhancing practices.
La Gazzetta dello Sport ran the candid interview with the ex-pro, now retired for five seasons who won “six major races” during his career at the elite level. He now works as a carpenter, but didn’t want his name to be published in the story.
“Do I know a racer that wins clean? None. No one can win the Giro without doping. I don’t believe it’s possible,” he said in La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Cycling is a dirty world and it will stay that way forever.”
The interview came in Italy’s largest sports daily as cycling tries to come with the grips of a string of doping scandals that threaten to derail the legitimacy of the sport.
Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’ pending counter-analysis for unusual levels of testosterone and the ongoing “Operación Puerto” doping investigation in Spain have shed new light on the fight against doping in cycling.
According to cycling’s newest “Deep Throat,” doping is entrenched at the highest levels of the sport.
“When you arrive at a team, they tell you, ‘The thing is like this, this is the reality. If you want to race, you’ll need help,” he said. “I didn’t need a trainer. The team got me everything I needed.”
The interview was similar to a series of stories with Jesús Manzano, an ex-pro who gave lengthy interviews with the Spanish daily AS two years ago. Manzano put his name and face with the reports, but received payment for the interviews.
The Gazzetta interview with the ex-sprinter outlined his doping program, using EPO, human growth hormones and testosterone capsules.
“I took EPO every three days for a month and (human growth hormones) every two days to increase my muscular mass. I also took capsules of testosterone, that way I could train longer and better,” he described. “For EPO, I used injections for insulin with the minimum doses and I introduced it myself subcutaneous. I did the shots myself. If I had to do the bad things, I preferred to do them to myself. I also took vitamins, sugar and Creatine intravenously.”
The ex-pro refused to blame the teams and the cycling culture in general and said the blame lies with the racers themselves.
“Riders dope themselves to have less fatigue, but also to win. You can ride 70,000km a year and win nothing. If you ride with just ‘bread and water,’ you can maintain your form just one or two months at maximum,” he said.