That’s French rider Clément Lhotellerie in the King of the Mountains jersey from the 2008 Paris-Nice. He won the jersey and finished 11th overall, days after his 22nd birthday. Other impressive results meant he joined Vacansoleil in 2009 and was labelled as the team’s leader for stage races.
Only it didn’t work out. He was caught by a doping control and subsequently fired by the team. Now cyclismag reports that he’s left French amateur squad VC Roubaix to join Belgian amateur club, the Pédale Saint-Martin in Tournai. Quite a fall.
Knee-deep in trouble?
The more serious aspect to this is the way allegations of a suspicious bio-passport dogged him, only for the rider to get busted for the low-tech methylhexanamine.
What is intriguing is the way he had a recurrent “knee injury”, something rumours attribute to a type of informal suspension. In other words it could be that his knee was functioning normally but he was kept away from the sport for other, perhaps darker, reasons.
I can’t claim any knowledge of the Lhotellerie case but have heard of other examples where riders who have been forced to rest not because of inflamed tendons but inflammatory anti-doping test results. These rumours are unsatisfying since suspicious riders should be tested, not rested. Worse, if the practice continues then honest injuries will be accompanied by suspicion.