Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ain't Dat Dope?

A very interesting item in VeloNews featuring an interview with nouveau celebrity bad-boy Bernard Kohl suits my mood today. It's a gray, drippy, cool day, and I'm feeling reflective at best. I'm also taking the week off riding in order to let my body and attitude do some regenerating. Time off training, as healthy as it is, tends make me a bit melancholy. But I had a much better spring than I expected, and it's time to pay the piper -- before he sends the collection boys with the brass knuckles around. I overtrained once, and I plan never to repeat that experience.

Which leaves me surfing the web for interesting reading like this interview. I've been slighly out of the loop with Kohl, but apparently he's been in a National-Enquirer-style tell-all mood for the better part of a year. I don't mind; I think the cycling world really need a dose of reality. As long-time Velophoriacs know, I take a realpolitik view of doping. I would love to have it eliminated from every sport, but I'm pretty sure it's never going to happen. And yet, we have to keep trying to rub it out... it's a slighly absurd co-dependent relationship that's probably never going to change. I posted on this almost exactly one year ago, and am sorry to say that I still feel very good about that post; it's one of my faves.

In VeloNews piece (which itself is about an interview in L'Equipe), Kohl lays out every detail of what he took, when and how. It's sobering (sorry; can't resist a bad pun). He says blood boosting was the only doping he took a chance on during last year's tour. Now, don't get the wrong idea: The caffeine, pseudo-ephedrine, painkillers, EPO, human growth hormones, and insulin -- that was all leading up to July. I mean, why take chances?

He also says that the new Biological Passport program is a farce. It has"...fallen short, and perhaps even aided the more nefarious members of the peloton.
'The top riders are so good at doping that they know what they need to do to keep their blood levels stable to escape targeting,' he said. 'In fact, the UCI has shown us the levels of riders who failed tests. We used that as a reference to follow. The passport has almost helped us.'"

This is exactly what I discuss in that original doping post, referred to above. If you haven't read it before, perhaps now -- a month before the biggest bike race in the world begins again -- would be a good moment to do a little reflecting. You don't need cool, rainy weather like we've got here -- that's just a starting point.

I'm no less a fan of cycling than I ever was. We just have to swallow the fact that life is messy, and then move on.

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