LONGO, CONTADOR, VIRENQUE, FEAR NOT FOR ALL IS FORGIVEN

I thought I was done with writing about doping, thought I’d run out of energy for all that, but then this pops up and those juices just started flowing again. Immediately disappointed by Longo’s appearance at the Tour, my mind then goes to Contador sat on the back of a moto giving us updates on GCN+, and others such as Richard Virenque, the former pro deeply implicated in the Festina affair who said “Yes, I did dope” then said, a little Bill Clitonesque, that ‘I never did it intentionally.”

Anyway, let’s start with Longo. Here’s a tweet from Joe Papp, who, if you don’t know is a former pro turned dope dealer to cyclists, who, well, read on:

I wrote about this back in 2013, and you can read the whole article here, but here’s what I said about Jeannie when all this came out:

‘… her husband gets busted after being named by dope-dealer Joe Papp as one of his customers. Seems that Longo’s husband [Ciprelli] was buying EPO from the American, dope that Papp said he was told was intended for Longo.

In early 2012 Ciprelli was charged with the importation of the banned substance EPO, on which he is said to have spent 15,000 euros on 15 purchases in 2007.

But do not fear, it was all apparently intended for him to help him recover from a cycling injury. That is some costly rehab.

No charges were brought against Longo, but she is seeking 1.1 million euro in damages from the AFLD [French Anti-Doping] for her damaged reputation.’

Lovely woman. Longo was also banned for one month in 1987 after testing positive for ephedrine after a 3km world record attempt, a whole 28 days of no racing, imagine that. In 2002 it was reported that Longo had missed three doping tests but that she escaped sanction because the AFLD forgot to tell her she was liable to be tested that year.

And then, imagine my shock to realise I feel the same way as Joe Papp. She gets invited to the Tour de France Feminines and no one blinks an eye? I’ll bet American legend Inga Thompson did, who was also invited and has little love for Longo, having raced against her and seen changes in her form circa 1987 that raised not just one but both eyebrows. Inga was at this year’s Tour too as an invited guest.

Why the heck was Longo invited? Well, cycling has quite the history with forgetting the past. Look at the long line of dopers who retired from racing only to be ushered straight into top jobs managing pro cycling teams.

And take a look at Alberto Contador, who is now a commentator on GCN+ and Eurosport, standing (or sitting) in at the recent Tour for Bradley Wiggins on a moto as it rides up and down the peloton.

Yes, there was the ‘steak thing ‘ in 2010 when clenbuterol was found in his system and he blamed a contaminated Spanish steak, and let’s see what Wiki says about that:

There was some scepticism of Contador’s claim that contaminated meat was to blame. In 2008 and 2009, only one animal sample came back positive for clenbuterol out of 83,203 animal samples tested by EU member nations. Out of 19,431 animal tests in Spain over the same period, there were no samples that came back positive for clenbuterol.

That whole affair was dragged out interminably and ended up with Contador being stripped of his 2010 Tour title, as well as the 2011 Giro title (that’s the mess of this system, a rider still rides even if the authorities have proof he has dope in his system). Ultimately CAS decided, on 6 February 2012, that ‘Contador [was] guilty of accidental ingestion of the prohibited substance Clenbuterol.’

Then there’s the comedy that was Operation Puerto, and now I’m reminded why I stopped writing about doping because the tendrils run deep and long and every time you want to make a point on this subject you have to go long to even attempt to try to convince the supporters of these people that their love and respect may be misplaced, but you can read all about that in Conty’s Wiki page here.

In a nutshell, he denied that any of the bags of blood found in a lab with the initials A.C. on them were his, then refused to take a DNA test to prove they weren’t, and then some other….. yeah just read that Wiki page.

And he’s on TV, working. Oh and people pay to ride his bikes.

Then there’s Virenque, who doped, cried, retired, then got a job commentating on French Eurosport, a job that’s been paying his bills since 2005.

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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