Doping affairs in cycling from 1980-1998
I have noticed that most of the press right now dont succeed, to report about Cyclings
doping problem in a broader perspective. Instead they tend to only hunt the personal
drama and simply want to kill a man like Riis, while they completely forget about the
context. What really is needed now, is serious reflection and understanding of the past
and present situation in cycling. In the latest 15 years I have with great interest followed
Cycling sport and collected info about the doping affairs. In this topic I will shortly report
about all the biggest doping affairs since 1980, so we dont forget about the doping
context in the past. I will try to make my text short and clear, and since all my sources
count several 100 links, I will not post them going a long. Finaly this post will also be
divided in 2 pieces, covering 1980-1998 and 1999-2007.
Here we go...
Doping programs facilitated by Governments in the 80s:
Blood doping was invented back in the late 70s, and in the 80s this method was used by
many of the professional riders. In example Italian rider Francesco Moser has admitted
using blood doping in 1983-1985. Only in 1986 IOC banned blood doping as an illegal
method. It was common for most riders in the 80s to dope with cortisone, testosterone
and amphetamine. There was a big driving force in the sport to keep on developing new
and better doping methods. In the 80s it was even common in certain countries with
“secret” founding by governments, to develop systematic doping programs for their top
athletes. When athletes competed at Olympics there was so much political prestige at
stake, that countries actively supported systematic doping. This form of doping of course
quickly migrated down to all levels in cycling. Italian doping scientist Sandro Donati was
at that time working as a national coach under CONI, and afterwords he revealed what
was going on Italy.
Today we know that systematic governmental doping was going on in Soviet Union,
USA, Eastern Germany (DDR), Italy and Finland. Recently we also learned, that the
national coaches in Western Germany was catching up with the other countries, by a
close doping collaboration with the doctors at Freiburg University from 1980-1990
(providing testosterone and anabolic steroids).
Italian Ferrara institute in the 80s (dr. Conconi and dr. Ferrari):
Probably the greatest reason of extreme doping in cycling. From 1980-1996 Conconi
carries out "scientific studies", where CONI pays him 3mio euro and secretly approves
use of blood doping, anabolic steroids (and later in 1993-1996 also EPO), on athletes in
several sports. Conconi makes deal with CONI in 1980 to “train” selected Italian athletes,
with blood doping ahead of OL 1984, and Fransesco Moser was blood doped in
1983-1985 as part of this program. In 1983-1996 Conconi was the personal doctor of
first Fignon and then Indurain, but so far no hard proofs has been found about their
potential doping use.
Another important doctor in Italian cycling was Michele Ferrari, who worked together
with Conconi as part of the doctor team around Moser in 1983. Ferrari became already in
1984 team doctor for Mosers cycling team “Gis Tuc-Lu”, and continued being a team
doctor in 1984-1994. In those years he facilitated to bring the doping science on a higher
level in Cycling. Ferrari stopped as team doctor for Gewiss Ballan in 1994, but only to
start up his own private practice, where he “prepared” many famous riders.
Era of EPO doping begins in 1989:
EPO was certified as medicine in 1989, but the French newspaper Le Monde reported
already at jan.1988, that it was obtainable at the black market as a product in test phase.
The Danish physician Søren Kragbak has reported, that in 1989 a Swedish medical
company had contacted the Danish Cycling Union, with the request to make a secret EPO
test study on selected riders. This was however rejected, since DCU considered it too
dangerous. Instead the test programme was allegedly run in collaboration with the
Swedish Cross Country team.
In 1988-1990 there was reports of 15 cycling riders that have died from improper use of
EPO: 9 from Netherland, 5 from Belgium and 1 from Germany. Among those we have
the deaths of Gerd Oosterbosch (TVM) in 1989, Patrice Bar (IOC-Tulip) in 1990 and of
Johannes Draaijer (PDM) in feb.1990. Few years later, there was all in all registered 20
riders and 7 Swedish orientation runners, who had passed away due to EPO. After the
first dangerous years, experience was gained about how to keep EPO consumption at a
level that didn’t kill you (and techniques was invented to help dillute your blood). Just to
reflect: The same story applies for use of amphetamines in 1949-1969, where a total
number of 14 riders died (Tom Simpson, Knud Enemark, etc.), before experience was
gained how to avoid the accute deaths. IOC banned EPO as an illegal substance in 1990,
but since no test existed until 2001, it became VERY FAST the most populair doping
product in cycling.
PDM affair (1990-1992):
First police investigation of a team with systematic doping. Rumours that PDM in 86-89
used doping from dr. Jansen, was never proofed. But in feb.90 one of their riders on EPO,
dies of heart attack, and later in same year 2 riders retire with bad heart. The entire team
abandons in Tour De France 1991 with “health problems”, and in 1997 one of these
riders admit the abandon was because they all injected EPO that had not been properly
cooled. The scandal about the team was uncovered by the police, and became only known
by public in Nov.1997. Dr. Wim Sanders gets convicted in civil court for leading a
private doping network in 1990-1995. Pharmacist Jearndarme admits in 1997 his supply
of doping products to PDM (dr.Sanders and dr.Ryckaert), but further states that he also
supplied other teams in Italy, Netherlands, and Belgium (incl.Lotto). When PDM closed
down after 1992, most staff continued on Festina.
Convicted staff: Krikke (manager), Gisbers (sports director), 3 pharmacists (incl.
Jearndarme, old friend of Merckx+Anquetil+Gimondi)
5 convicted riders: Raul Alcala, Erik Breukink, Rudy Dhaenens, Sean Kelly, Danny
12 riders (no trial): Ampler, Boden, Den-Bakker, Earley, Jakobs, Kummer, H.Maier,
Raab, Van-Aert, Van-Petegem, Van-Poppel, Verhoeven
Conconi and Ferrara case (1993-1998):
Conconi and the Italian Ferrara institute received 2mio euro from IOC to develop an EPO
test. But this was a total waste of time and money, since no test was ever developed, and
as a matter of fact the money was instead used to finance EPO doping of riders. Conconi
started to dope cycling riders with EPO in 1993, where he selected 22 athletes to take part
of a so called “EPO research project” paid by IOC. The 22 athletes recieved frequently
EPO in 1993, and consisted of 15 riders: Allocchio, Barsotelli, Bontempi, Bugno,
Chiappucci, Chiesa, Fondriest, Ghirotto, Perini, Stephen Roche, Roscioli, Rossi, Rolf
Sørensen, Vanzella, Zen, 5 skiers: Albarello, De Zolt, Di Centa, Fauner, Vanzetta, and 2
runners: DaMilano, Scaunich. Italian long distance skiers was doped with hugh success in
1992+1994 (Italy gained 34 OL medals).
Investigation report about Conconi (where 21 riders and 7 doctors confessed the doping
practise), was filed by Donati in feb.1994, directly to CONIs president, but the report
mysteriously disappeared. In Oct.1996 an Italian journalist made the conclusions from
the report known to public, and this was the first time the public became aware of a big
doping scandal in Cycling. Within few days the disappeared report suddenly reappeared
again, but only in Oct.1998 the police made a raid on Ferrara. The Ferrara institute did in
1981-1998 blood analysis on 421 athletes, and received 3mio euro in financial support
from CONI. Despite of the legal case against Conconi, he was in 2000 still employed by
both UCI, CONI, and IOC. In 2001 Conconi was still president of the UCI medical
comission, with the responsibility to protect the riders health in Cycling!!! The Ferrara
court case ended in 2003 with no legal penalties, due to the case turning to old, and the
lack of an explicit doping law in Italy. Nevertheless the Italian court concluded, that
systematic EPO doping was going on for all riders at the teams Carrera and Gewiss
Ballan from 1993-1995. Furthermore the court concluded that Dr.Conconi, Dr.Grazzi,
Dr.Casoni and Dr.Ferrari was moral guilty of doping 66 riders, 14 skiers and 2 runners in
1993-1998. The names of implicated riders and athletes was revealed to the public in
1999, where a Gewiss Ballan soigneur further confirmed, that EPO indeed had been
administered from Ferrari and Casoni.
Dr.Ferrari was working at the Ferrara institute and operating as team doctor for Gewiss
Ballan in 1994. But in 1995 he left that job, and started up his own private practice,
where he continued to “prepare” many famous riders. There was a separate legal case
against Ferrari, since there was found more recent evidence against him in the police raid.
He was convicted guilty in oct.2004 of “sporting fraud” and “doping prescription”, and
received life ban from FCI. In the “Ferrari network”, there was also 15 other persons
accused (pharmacists, physicians and team staff from Refin and Riso Scotti), while all
riders got “amnesty”. In example, both Giro-winner Tonkov(1996) and Gotti(1997) was
proved guilty of unnatural Hematocrite fluctuations when they won, but they was never
condemned. Fillippo Simeoni testified that team director Davide Boifava, was full aware
of the doping practice on Carrera in 1996. Riders in the special Ferrari case, all had
training tables with a secret *, symbolising an EPO injection. Armstrong was a client of
Ferrari in 1995-2004, but was not among the implicated riders in this giant legal case.
66 riders (93-98): Allocchio, Artunghi, Barsotelli, Bernhard, Bertolini, Berzin, Bobrik,
Bontempi, Bortolami, Bottaro, Brignoli, Bugno, Cavallini, Cenghialta, Checchin,
Chiappucci, Chiesa, Chiurato, Cipollini, Cobalchini, Convalle, De las Cuevas, Della-
Bianca, Dufaux, Escartin, Faresin, Fondriest, Frattini, Furlan, Ghirotto, Gotti, Kappes,
Livingston, E.Mazzoleni (96-98), A.Merckx, Miceli, Minali, Molinari, Mentheour, Moser
(83-85), Olano, Pantani, Perini, Pontoni, Pulnikov, Riis, S.Roche, Rominger, Roscioli,
Rossi, Santaromita, Savoldelli, Schiavina, Siboni, F.Simeoni(97), R.Sørensen, Tonkov,
Ugrumov, Vandenbroucke, Vanzella, Volpi, Zaina, Zanette, B.Zberg, Zen, Zülle.
14 skiers (85-98): Albarello, Barco, Chiaffoi, Clos, Confortola, De Zolt, Di Centa,
Fauner, Giulio, Polvara, Pulie, Vanzetta, Venturini, Walder.
2 runners (93-95): DaMilano, Scaunich.
MG-TechnoGym affair (1997):
In the giro 1997, team MG TechnoGym was caught doing systematic doping, when
police raided their team hotel and found a lot of doping products (among others EPO and
Synachten). At first, sports director Ferreti explained the products only was for his own
personal use, to gain more sexual strength. But later Soigneur Sarti admitted the doping
products was intended for “free use” of the riders on the team. Doping cases was never
started against any of the riders that all got amnesty, and the riders was even allowed to
complete the Giro. Not surprisingly the sponsor decided to leave the team, and it was
dissolved in nov.1997. Sports director Giancarlo Ferretti and soigneur Luigi Sarti
received a short suspension from FCI, on respectively 1 month and 9 month. Implicated
staff was all back in cycling only 1 year later: Ferretti=Riso Scotti (this team was later
accused of system doping in 1998 as part of the Ferrari network), Morrassut=soigneur at
Mapei (caught in 1999 of sending a hugh packet of amphetamines), Sarti=soigneur at
Cantina Tollo, and a mechanic was working at Amiga Chips (caught of leaving doping
trash in 1999).
Convicted staff: Ferreti (sports director), Sarti (soigneur), Morrassut (soigneur), and 1
18 riders at MG-TechnoGym in 1997: Baldato, Bartoli, Bertolini, Bettini, S.Casagrande,
Charriere, Coppolillo, Finco, Fontanelli, Lecchi, Loda, Nicoletti, Pistore, Santaromita,
Scinto, Gilberto Simoni, Tosatto.
Festina+TVM scandal:__Festina (1993-1998), TVM (98), Francaise De Jeux (98),
This hugh scandal was caused by a police raid during Tour de France 1998, where both
Festina and TVM was caught and convicted of systematic doping.
All Festina and TVM riders had to leave the race, and furthermore these 5 teams
voluntarily leaved the race “to protest against the police”: ONCE, Banesto, Kelme,
Vitalalicio Seguros and Riso Scotti. In the court case it was revealed, that Festina started
to experiment with doping in 1993, and in 1994-1998 the entire team was doped in an
organised system, managed by team staff. Soigneur Voet reported that during those years
only stagiaris and 3 certain riders was clean. In total that meant 50 guilty Festina riders!
In 1998 Zülle and “the Spanish masseur” introduced “Ferrari methods” to some riders at
the Festina team, but soigneur Voet and doctor Ryckaert asked riders to avoid this, and
just stick with the administered doping program on the team. Zülle admitted to have
received systematic doping on both ONCE in 1995-1997 and Festina in 1998. ONCE
doctor Nicolas Terrados was by the way arrested with some “light” doping products
during Tour de France 1998, indicating that ONCE had continued systematic doping use
in 1998. ONCE manager Manolo Saiz, refused the accusations as pure nonsense, and as
Zülle withdrew his confession about systematic doping at ONCE, ultimately no team
staff from ONCE was ever convicted. Later on in 2002 dr.Terrados again made his name
famous, but this time because he administered the EPO product NESP to cross country
skier Johan Mühlegg.
Francaise De Jeux also had their soigneur Jeff D’hont implicated in the Festina affair, and
Jeff D’Hont was convicted 9 month prison for assisting riders with dope. Even though a
journalist found doping trash in the hotel rooms where D’hont treated the riders from
Francaise De Jeux, this never had any consequence upon staff or riders on this team.
Regarding the riders from TVM and Festina, they wouldn’t admit in the start, but the
court then paid for some special doping tests, that was done on their test samples from
Tour de France, and by those new advanced test methods, they were able to proof the
existence of EPO and testosterone in their samples. Ultimately all 9 Festina Tour riders
admitted their doping use, while the TVM riders never admitted.
9 Festina Tour-riders tested positive (all got suspended): Brochard, Dufaux, P.Herve,
A.Meier, C.Moreau, Rous, N.Stephens, Virenque, Zülle.
9 out of 12 TVM riders tested positive (never suspended): Blijlevens, Hoffman, Knaven,
Lafis, Oetsjakov, Roux, Van-Dijck, Van-Petegem, Voskamp.
5 Festina staff convicted: Roussel (manager), Voet (soigneur), Dalibot (soigneur),
Ryckaert (doctor), Chabiron (logistic)
3 TVM staff convicted: Priem (director), Moors (soigneur), Mikhailov (doctor)
41 Festina riders from 1994-1998 accused by Voet (never convicted): Arenas, Bagot,
Belli, Bortolami, Boscardin, Bouvard, Cepele, Chiotti, Finco, Garcia-casas, Goubert,
Hall, Henry, J.Hernandez, Hodge, Jeker, Kivilev, Koerts, Korff, Laukka, Laurent,
Lebreton, Leblanc, Lezaun, Lino, E.Magnien, Martin, Medan, Michaelsen, Perez-Font,
Pinero, D.Plaza, Robin, Tebaldi, Teyssier, Torres-Toledano, Uriarte, Van-Lancker, Van-
Poppel, Vermote, Wust.
Team Telekom affair (1995-1998)
In May 2007 more than 7 Telekom riders has confessed to have used EPO in those
years: Aldag, Bölts, Dietz, Henn, Holm, Riis, and Zabel. The 2 doctors from the Freiburg
University: Dr. Andreas Schmidt and Dr. Lothar Heinrich, has admitted to make the
doping products available for the riders. We are still waiting for the former team manager
Godefrot to announce his part of the story. The revelations was all started by the former
soigneur Jeff D’hont, that alleged doping was going on from 1992-1998 at Telekom.
Doping affairs in cycling from 1999-2007
Hope you find the stories interesting. Here you have the second part covering the years
Doping network in Belgium managed by Georges Mouton (1999)
Police did a house search in apr.1999. Mouton was suspected to have in his charge at
least 40 doping “dossiers”. Among them a dozen German professional cyclists. This case
was for some reason never solved, and the identity of involved riders was never
published. However, the secretary of Mouton revealed that different riders frequently
visited the doctor, and that there was a storage with the doping products near his clinic.
The police didn’t succeed to find the doping storage. In 1999 these Danish riders was
using Mouton as their doctor: Braikia, Johansen, Kyneb, Michael S.Nielsen, Piil, Skelde
and N.Sørensen. Some of the other clients was riders like Abdoujabarov, Dierckxens and
Streel. After the doping revelations, all Danish riders immediately broke contact to
Mouton, and has stated that they didn’t knew about Moutons doping storage. So far, we
can only give them the benefit of doubt.
Pantani's Giro Scandal (1999)
The winner of Tour De France 1998, was during the Giro 1999 again showing up as the
strongest rider. But just as he was about to win the Giro, he gets excluded from the race
due to a Hematocrit value higher than 50%. In 1997 this hematocrit limit had been
decided by UCI to simply protect the health of the competing riders, and was not the
same as a positive doping test. But a later test done on the stored samples, indeed proofed
that Pantani had been using EPO.
Armstrong's Tour Scandal (1999 and perhaps 2000-2005)
In 2005 a French laboratorium conducted EPO analysis on some frozen urine samples
from Tour de France 1998 and 1999. They found 40 positive tests out of 70 from the
1998 Tour, while they had 12 positive tests out of 70 from the 1999 Tour. This analysis
tells a lot about the dissemination of EPO those days, and indicate that actually we had
some sort of improvement in 1999. The interesting part is, that among the 12 positive
tests from 1999, one managed to identify that 6 tests originated from Armstrong. But UCI
decided not to start a doping case against him, simply because the legal regulation didn’t
allow them to use down-frozen urine samples, as evidence in future doping cases.
In autumn 2006, the two US Postel riders Andreu and Livingston admitted to have used
EPO during Tour de France 1999 (but as stated in all recent rider confessions, they didn’t
knew if Armstrong or other teammates was doing the same). There has been several
circumstantial evidence about a continued doping use of Armstrong in 2000-2005, but
never some hard core evidence. In connection with Tour De France 2005, two of
Armstrongs former teammates Andreu and Vaugthers was doing a mutual chat over the
internet, that was intercepted by Andreu’s wife and later published. The chat incriminates
Armstrong a lot, and Vaughters has tried to downplay his words as being only gossip.
In the chat, Vaughter's mentioned that he in 2000, after his shift from US Postel to Credit
Agricole, was completely surprised about their clean conditions. He states: "Moreau
never had a hematokrit over 39! So all the stories Armstrong kept on telling us about
dirty business in Europe turned out to be one big lie”. Vaughters also mentioned that he
just had talked to Landis about how they do the stuff today, and Landis mentioned that it
was the same substances like in the 90s, but that now it was made in a lot more advanced
way, in order to be able to cheat UCI's doping tests. Landis furthermore reported to him,
that Discovery in 2004 removed blood from riders after Dauphine Libere, and then
reinjected it on the first rest day during Tour de France. The blood was kept cool in
boxes, and transported the last way in France by some motorbikes.
Nigrelli-Brescia doping affair (1996-1999)
In 2000 the Italian police discovered a doping network in Brescia. 18 person was
accused, and the network was managed by the Lampre coach Nigrelli(who also works as
pharmacist). Nigrelli supplied a lot of doping products and also a special EPO-masking
product. The Italian U23 coach and local cycling teams from Brescia was frequent
customers of Nigrelli. There was 9 professional riders implicated in this affair, all
working at Mapei or Lampre.
9 riders (Mapei/Lampre): Ballerini, Belli, Bramati, Bugno, Missaglia, Piccoli, Serpellini,
Giro Blitz at San Remo (2001)
Italian police did during the Giro 2001, a giant raid at hotels where the riders was staying.
86 persons was caught with “doping products”, but most of the persons could show a
medical exemption for the products. The Italian court did a narrow invistigation of all 86
persons, and ended up with a list where they accused 26 guilty riders (15 got a
suspension) and 10 guilty staff members (1 got a suspension). If we look at the 36
accused according to their team we have this list:
Mercatone Uno: 6 riders and 7 staff
Liquigas: 6 riders and 2 staff.
Panaria, Alexia and Banesto: All 3 teams had 2 riders implicated.
Taconi, Telekom, Fassa Bortolo, Bonjour, Alesio, Lampre, Saeco, Mapei: All 8 teams
had 1 rider implicated
Kelme: 1 staff
All in all there was 14 implicated teams among the 20 that participated in the Giro. No
doubt that Mercatone Uno was taking the biggest part in this scandal. From this team, all
6 implicated riders (including Pantani) got suspended one way or the other. Among the 7
staff members, it all ended with Pantanis personal soigneur Pregnolato taking all the
blame, and therefore he was the only one of the staff to get punished (he both received a
suspension and was jailed).
The story about Liquigas was a bit different, because their hotel was not raided the same
way. Instead the police had tapped their phones and made some video surveillance. But
for a strange reason CONI decided not to suspend any from this team, even though the
circumstantial evidence was strong. The famous Liquigas rider Ivan Gotti, however got
jailed for 5 months by the Italian police, because during the Giro 2001, his father was
every day driving behind the peleton in his car, with a trunk full of multiple doping
products. Again we had a situation, where it was obvious that the “doping car” was used
by all riders from Liquigas, but where Ivan Gotti chose to step forward and take all the
blame, and thereby rescued his other teammates and staff for troubles.
5 riders (suspension+prison): Brignoli (mer), Di-Grande (tac), Elli (tel), Frigo (fas),
10 riders (suspension): mer=De-Paoli, Forconi, Mondini, Pantani, Siboni, alx=P.Herve,
Magnani, pan=Figueras, bon=Lelarge, als=Leoni.
5 riders (not suspended): Lastras (ban), Missaglia (lmp), U.Osa (ban), Padrnos (sae),
6 riders on Liquigas (not suspended): Casarotto, Faresin, Ferrigato, Gotti (5m prison due
to doping in family car), Honchar, Rebellin.
10 implicated staff: Mercatone Uno=Pregnolato, (Andalo, Marchi, Olivieri, Pierantoni,
Pizzini, Settembrini), Kelme=F.Fernandez, Liquigas=Barro, Morosov
Garzelli's and Simoni's Giro scandal (2002)
Both riders was fighting for the podium and overall victory in the Giro 2002, but are
suddenly excluded from the race because of 2 positive antidoping tests. Garzelli received
a suspension on 9 months, while Simoni never got suspended. Somehow Simoni
succeeded to convince CONI, that his positive test for cocain, was only because he had
eaten some special imported sweets from his ant in Columbia, that for some unfortunate
reason had happened to contain small amounts of cocain!
Operation Bike (2002)
Again the Italian police succeeded to uncover a doping network, where 27 persons got
accused. From this number there was 9 professional cycling riders, where we had 6 males
and 3 females. The doping network was managed by Locatelli (sports director at the
Belgian Landbouwkredit –placed that time in 1.division), and Dazzani (sports director at
team2002 –a big team in women cycling ). They administered doping products like
NESP+GH+IGF, and in male cycling there was 4 clients from the Italian team Panaria
and 2 clients from the Belgian team Landbouwkredit.
6 riders accused from Landbouwkredit/Panaria: Anza, Chesini, Figueras, Perfetto,
Rumsas scandal (2002-2003)
In 2002, Rumsas finished 3rd in Tour de France. But unfortunately his wife was arrested
by French police, because she was driving a car loaded with multiple doping products
(EPO, GH, testosterone, etc). Rumsas claimed the doping was not mend for him, but
instead needed by a sick member in his family. Due to lack of proofs Rumsas was not
suspended, and he participated next year in the Giro 2003, where he this time finished
nr.6. But “unfortunately” Rumsas turned in a test sample positive for EPO. Rumsas was
immediately fired by his team Lampre, and has never again returned to a professional
Museeuw-Landuyt affair (2000-2003)
Landuyt was a veterinarian doctor in Belgium, who operated a doping network with 7
clients: 4 professional riders and 3 amateur riders. The network further consisted of
soigneur Versele and 2 doping couriers. They where all convicted guilty by a Belgian
court. The implicated riders often communicated with the doctor via SMS, and they
consumed doping products like NESP (special EPO variant) and testosterone. Museeuw
kept on denying his use of doping, until in 2007 where he finally admitted to have used
EPO. Museeuw however continues to claim, that it only happened in his “latest years” as
7 riders convicted: M.De-Clercq, Museeuw, Peers, J.Planckaert, and 3 amateurs.
Cofidis affair (2001-2004)
The Cofidis affair was discovered in 2004. Soigneur Madejak traded dope, drugs and
sexual medicine to many of the riders on the team during the years 2001-2004, while
manager Bondue and doctor Menuet fully accepted that practise. Both the manager,
doctor and soigneur was fired immediately from the team, and the 7 implicated riders on
the team was all suspended. Outside of the Cofidis staff, also a supplier
named Kozlitine and 1 pharmacist was punished with jail sentence.
7 implicated Cofidis riders (all got suspended): Clain, Gaumont, Lelli, Majewski, Millar,
Operation Oil for Drugs (2004)
Dr. Carlos Santuccione, was in the 90s an employee at the Ferrara Institute. But he was
caught of being involved in a heavy doping case in the start of the 90s, and therefore was
suspended by CONI from 1995-2000. Even though he had a dirty past, many famous
riders still was choosing to consult him as their private doctor. In 2004 the Italian police
was making phone and video surveillance upon him as part of their operation “Oil for
Drugs”. Thereby they discovered he was managing a new large Italian doping network,
together with Dr.Giustarini, and with great help from Balestri (a doping courier)
and Camerini (a man working at FCI). The following persons are now implicated in a
court case: 15 riders, 77 amateur-riders, 7 athletes, 2 doctors, 5 pharmacists, 9 soigneurs,
and 9 sports directors.
The evidence against the riders consists mostly of phone conversations about ordering
doping, and about getting info on how to consume products correct, so the doping control
wont catch them. Regarding the riders Di Luca and Eddy Mazzoleni, some transcripts of
their phone calls has already been printed, and it looks very clear that they at least in
2004 did some doping violations. The case in civil court, has for some reason been
halted, so the implicated still waits for their case to begin. In May 2007 CONI recieved
the court report on 14000 pages, and has now started an official investigation. During
giro 2007 surprise tests was done on Di Luca, Mazzoleni, Simoni and Ricco. CONI
expects to finalize their investigation in autumn 2007.
15 riders (caught by doing phone calls about doping): E.Mazzoleni, Di Luca, Spezialetti,
Scirea, Galletti, Sacchi, Muraglia, S.Masciarelli, R.Marzoli, (Cedroni, A.Masciarelli,
Operation Puerto (2002-2006)
UCI noticed in 2003 a large number of suspicious blood profiles among Spanish riders,
and riders who rode for Spanish teams. National authorities and sport federations was
alerted. This led to an enquiry by Spanish police, where an international doping network
was dismantled in May 2006. So far it looks like 8 persons had been identified to running
the network, with a total of 49 riders accused (mostly centred around the two
teams Kelme andLiberty Seguros). The man in charge of the network was Dr. Eufamenio
Fuentes (the former team doctor of ONCE and Kelme). The network presumably
cooperated with other doping networks in Belgium, Germany and Italy, and the
investigation is still ongoing.
The Operation Puerto investigation was allready launched with the Kelme affair in 2004.
The former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano, made accusations about Kelme performing
organised team doping in the period 2001-2003. This accusation had serious
consequences upon Kelme. In 2004 Kelme lost both their invitation to the Giro and Tour
de France, and when ProTour licenses was granted at the end of season, UCI didn’t want
them to be part of the ProTour!
Right now we have also learned, that the Vuelta scandals in 2004 and 2005 was deeply
connected to Operation Puerto. In 2004 both Phonak ridersHamilton and Perez was
suspended after testing positive for homologous blood doping in the Vuelta. The blood
doping was carried out by the Fuentes network. Phonak had earlier hired the former
Kelme manager Alvaro Pino to be one of the sports directors with the responsibility to
take care of the Spanish races and Spanish riders during season. After the scandal in
2004, Phonak immediately fired Pino from the team. In 2005 the Vuelta was won by
the Liberty Seguros rider Heras, but shortly after the race he was disqualified, due to a
positive EPO test. This EPO was also administered via the Fuentes network, and later we
found out that the Liberty Seguros manager Manolo Saiz, indeed was an integrated part
of this network.
We also have to remember the possible connection to the Italian Operation Athena, where
investigators believe we have some of the same doping suppliers from Operation Puerto.
This police operation was done in 2005, and discovered a doping network in Italy.
Operation Athena was mostly a network centred around training gyms, that provided
doping to amateurs in Italy. A number of mobile phones was tapped, and so far the Italian
public prosecuter has announced that there for sure will be charges against the Liquigas
rider Luca Paolini. Finaly it also seems like we have another famous Italian rider
involved Eddy Mazzoleni. Mazzolenis fiancé Elisa Basso was trading a doping product
via her mobile, during Tour de France 2005 (but of course the product could also “just”
have been mend for her brother Ivan Basso)!
49 accused riders: Alonso, Andrle, Baranowski, Basso, Beloki, Bernabéu, Blanco,
Bonilla, Botero, Cabello, Caruso, Casero, Cherro, A.Davis, Edo, D.Etxebarria,
I.G.Galdeano, Gomis, J.E.Gutierrez, J.I.Gutierrez, Hamilton, Heras, Hernandez, Hruska,
Jaksche, E.Jimenez, Latasa, Lloret, Mancebo, Martinez, Muñoz, Nozal, Olmo, A.Osa,
U.Osa, Santiago Perez, R.Plaza, Pascual-Llorente, Pascual-rodriguez, A.Quesada,
C.Quesada, N.Ribeiro, Scarponi, Serrano, Sevilla, Ullrich, Vicioso, Zaballa, Zarate.
The Landis scandal (2006)
Shortly after Landis had won Tour de France in 2006, it was revealed that he had given a
positive doping test for testosterone. There was many weird excuses from Landis, where
he among others tried to explain that the positive screening test was most likely false,
simply because he before giving the test sample drank some whiskey and at the same
time was very dehydrated, which should explain why the test was out of balance. As an
alternative explanation, Landis also made up a conspiracy theory, that the French lab was
making up the test solely to hunt down the American riders. During Tour de France
Landis was tested 8 times, and ultimately the lab conducted the more accurate IRMS test
on all these samples. By the IRMS test they proofed synthetic testosterone in 5 of them.
The judgment on Landis will get published in July 2007, and we can expect the decision
to get appealed to CAS, with a final judgment in September 2007.
Sadly enough, UCI still refuse to use the more accurate IRMS test instead of the
screening test in the antidoping fight, simply because they consider it too expensive (it
cost an additional $400 per sample tested, and for a race like Tour de France the expenses
for 70 samples will be $28.000). The doping expert Rasmus Damsgaard has stated, that
the UCI screening test on urine samples is close to worthless, and that riders who want to
keep under the radar will have no problem, unless they suddenly make a foolish mistake.
So apparently the chance of a testosterone doped Landis testing positive during Tour de
France was very low, and it required a mistake from Landis to be discovered by the radar.
The mistake was done, and Landis was caught. But what about those who succeeded to
keep under the radar? UCI certainly needs to improve on this matter!
Statistic of riders on GT podiums
This statistic is only made to enlight you about the past GT problem in cycling, while it
doesnt really reflects how the riders possibly competes today. Once a rider has been
involved in just a single doping offence, he will be written in blue, and count in this
statistic during his entire career. The statistic can be used to conclude, that it is currently
difficult to find a champion, that hasnt at least one time in his career, been caught up by a
Giro podium in 1993-2006:__Podium-riders (19/24)=79%, and Winners (9/11)=82%
24 podium riders: Indurain (Conconi client), Ugrumov, Chiapucci, Berzin, Pantani,
Rominger, Tonkov, Zaina, Olano, Gotti, Guerini, Savoldelli, Simoni (positive test 2002),
Garzelli (positive test 2002), Casagrande (positive test 1994), Unai Osa,
Hamilton, Caucchioli, Popovych (suspected in OP), Cunego (Cecchini client), Gonchar,
Rujano (positive test 2003), Basso, J.E. Gutierrez.
Tour de France podium in 1994-2006:__Podium-riders (14/17)=82%, and Winners
17 podium riders: Indurain (Conconi client), Ugrumov, Pantani, Zülle, Riis, Ullrich,
Virenque, Julich (accused of EPO use in 1998, by his teammate Gaumont), Armstrong,
Escartin, Beloki, Rumsas, Vinokorouv (positive test 2007), Klöden, Basso, Landis,
Pereiro (suspected in OP).
Vuelta podium in 1996-2006:__Podium-riders (19/22)=86%, and Winners
22 podium riders: Zülle, Dufaux, Rominger, Escartin, Olano, Jose Maria Jiminez
(positive caffeine test 1994), Ullrich, I.G.Galdeano, Heras, Casero, Tonkov,
Sevilla, Leipheimer, Aitor Gonzalez (positive test 2005), Nozal, Valverde (implicated in
OP), Santiago Perez, Mancebo, Menchov, Sastre,Vinokorouv (positive test 2007),
Kaschechkin (positive test 2007).