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Comment is back November 7, 2009

Posted by wetalkhablamos in cycling fans, drug abuse in sport, giro d'italia.

Nicky OrrPosted by Nicky Orr, co-editor, ChechuRubiera.info

If the story about Pereiro’s drug test in a Spanish restaurant is true, then something has gone badly wrong

I read with dismay the account of Oscar Pereiro’s random drug test in a restaurant in Santiago de Compostela.

Drug abuse in cycling – as in life –  is a degrading activity which inevitably hurts and humiliates. Teams, cyclists and fans suffer.

The authorities now take extraordinary measures to combat this abuse. Because – quite rightly – the cheats will and must be caught.

Yet, as a fan and a pen-friend, I don’t want Chechu to be violated as Oscar Pereiro seems to have been.

With his head and legs clearly visible to the restaurant’s customers behind the doors, Pereiro had to remove his trousers and underpants down to his ankles as the regulations demand, then take off his shirt and wash his hands so that he couldn’t manipulate the samples. Then he had to deliver the sample. That done, the testers carried out the blood testing procedure and put the samples in a mobile fridge they had carried into the restaurant.

What is missing in this ethical crusade is respect. The testers showed no respect for an athlete who has actually done nothing wrong. They showed little respect for his companions and the other diners either.

Sporting ethics is at the heart of the doping battle. But set aside respect for fellow human beings, and surely the battle is so much harder to win.

Giro d’Italia may start in Washington DC soon. It’s time the eco tifosi put their collective foot down

As globalisation of cycle racing has occured in recent years, the peloton has regularly criss-crossed the Atlantic and travelled en masse to the Far East and Australia.

We’ll never forget Chechu’s phenomenal climb on Mt. Hamilton in California  in February 2008 and this comment is not an attack on non-European racing.

However, we have to question the environmental cost.

At the start of this year, we decided to offset Chechu’s air travel to and from races in 2009 by making simple changes to our lives every day.

To kick it off with a certificate, we planted a couple of trees. Then we changed to A++ rated washing machine; installed an electricity cost monitor; composted; air-dryed clothes twice a week; cut down meat consumption; recycled paper and card, bottles, cans; recycled clothes; opted for paperless banking; painted with low VOC paint; used non toxic cleaning products; said no to plastic bags; pumped up tyres; turned off at the socket …

In January, Chechu flew long haul to Australia and we were already in deficit by 4,450kg. It didn’t get much better in February with his trip to California and by the end of April, the deficit was 617kg.

We were exhausted and, without serious help from other fans, we accepted that our goal simply wasn’t achievable.

So it wrankles when we read that Giro organisers want to fly the peloton to the USA.

In 2009, Team Astana required 16 team members at Tour Down Under. 18 teams travelled from Europe or USA. Assuming they had similar staffing, nearly 300 cyclists and support staff took long haul flights to Australia.

You can add the international media and photographers, team sponsors and manufacturers, and cycling’s officials. Plus a few fans, and it could add up to 500 long haul return flights.

Using a carbon calculator, return flights from Milan to Washington (business class) is 3,000kg x 500 peeps = 1.5million kg.

I think this enviromental cost is too high. Maybe it’s time to twitter Al Gore. I wonder if he speaks Italian.

Coincidentally, at the time of  this year’s TDU, Australia was suffering its worst drought in 1000 years, attributed to climate change. The water crisis crippled agriculture, environment, economy and culture.

Please note. This comment does not represent the opinions of Chechu Rubiera but is a discussion point written by the editorial team at ChechuRubiera.info. We welcome your responses below.



1. albertocontadornotebook - November 7, 2009

To me, the in-restaurant drug testing incident is so lacking in respect that it belongs in a completely different category using another vocabulary: sadism, voyeurism, perversity, exploitation, freak show.

The underlying hypocrisy is outrageous. The idea that cyclists are robbed of dignity in this fashion – as the system struggles for effectiveness and while true offenders in other sports are treated leniently – is outrageous.

This abuse on the human level is inexcusable. It will not bring about reform.

2. albertocontadornotebook - November 7, 2009

Giro start in America –


Eco concerns, plus a trans-Atlantic transfer? Terrible for the riders.


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