December 28, 2006
Interesting story at Cyclingnews.com of a rider (Rachel Dard, by name) caught out in several ways – back in the old days- 1976 in fact. He was apparently cheating by doping, then cheating the test by swapping urine, then cheating by pressuring the doctor to let him off by destroying his report. Upon realising he hadn’t completed the job thoroughly enough he chased said doctor and pressured him again to destroy the empty vials, only to come undone when the doctor finally spilled the beans anyway. Now one must wonder exactly how many got away with it. Plenty, one suspects. But these were days before EPO, so we are talking (presumably) of steroids, cortisone and amphetamines.
Not good, certainly, and even in the amateur ranks it was common enough to know of this sort of thing. Drinks that were “special” and only for a given rider – laced with brandy or whatever alcohol they preferred, to be used prior to the sprint… although what effect that may have had is difficult to judge – maybe the effect was in their head? Or bananas with amphetamines for that lift you need, or think you need, just before a sprint or major climb. And the ever-present No-doze tabs. It can’t have been just me hearing these stories, or watching riders throwing tantrums when they got the “wrong” banana… can it?