One year ago Daryl Impey was basking in the yellow jersey, now he’s announced a positive A and B test for banned substance probenicid. It’s normally a treatment for gout because, to keep it simple, it slows the kidneys from filtering stuff from your blood out to the urine. So it’s handy as a “masking agent”, a rider abusing steroids might use it to retain the anabolic substance in their body for longer and stop it getting into a urine sample. However the mask is obviously very detectable that either Impey’s prodigiously stupid or there’s a genuine explanation somewhere.
There are questions for others too. It took 137 days between giving the sample to notifying Impey, a long delay. Apparently it’s explained by “the unfortunate passing of a key staff member at the doping control laboratory in Bloemfontein in March 2014 also affected the standard turn around time of presenting the final result of the samples from the SA Road” championships. So staff issues rather than anything political.
South African Winner
Impey’s A and B sample findings means there’s little way out for him although the tests are only evidence, it’s for a hearing to determine the “anti-doping violation”. But with both samples showing the prohibited substance a ban is looming. If so he’ll be stripped of the stage win in the Bayern Rundfahrt as all results following the anti-doping rule violation are disqualified. A small irony is the second placed rider that day in Bavaria is a fellow South African, Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg of Giant-Shimano.
Now for another tale of doping irony. Diego Ulissi’s provisionally suspended following a megadose of asthma medicine salbutamol in an A-sample from the Giro. This time the test took less than a month. His father named him Diego after the footballer Diego Maradona… who tested positive for an asthma medicine in the 1994 World Cup.
I’ve had a few messages asking whether the spate of doping stories is related to the Tour de France, perhaps even a push to discredit the sport and gain maximum publicity? Au contraire. Take the Impey case if anyone wanted to hit the sport and get maximum publicity they’d wait until he’d started the Tour de France and perp-walked out of the race. As for Kreuziger it could be co-incidence but it does suit everyone to address the passport case before the Tour de France so that again he’s not withdrawn mid-race. If you want to know what’s discrediting the sport it’s not testing agencies, it’s anyone using banned substances.
The Planche des Belles Filles chalet has burned down. A fire broke out at the weekend and the only building at the top has been destroyed. It’s thought to be an accident and should have no impact on the Tour de France’s stage finish as the building was not going to be used by the race, although its owners now miss the bonanza of food and drink sales on the day.
Tour of Yorkshire
The Tour de France seems guaranteed a warm welcome of the nicer kind this weekend in Yorkshire. The only worry is that the visiting is fleeting, the race will flash past. But ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire, the regional tourist promotion agency are planning to create new stage race, the Tour of Yorkshire. The plan is to put it on the calendar from 1-3 May 2015, subject to the UCI’s approval. Following the Olympics there’s the one day “Ride London” race in August and now the British calendar expands with another stage race in the wake of the Tour.
From rose to rosa now. All the talk is of the Tour but don’t forget the Giro Rosa or to give it the full name, the Giro d’Italia Femminile. The women’s Giro d’Italia is a 10 day stage race, so much more than the exhibition criterium “La Course” offered by ASO on the Champs Elysées. A challenging route, a big field and now even the website is working. The race’s only problem is that it competes against the Tour. It does get good TV coverage in Italy but what if it was in August, the perfect remedy for the post-Tour blues? Maybe but it’s for women’s racing to act as a substitute.
Building materials supply chain BigMat is dumping the Continental team BigMat-Auber. The team’s existed for years with the support of a Paris suburb and BigMat but the business is switching allegiance to sponsor the French national federation, it’s likely to feature on the national kit as a sponsor. Handy for Rio but it leaves the road team high and dry?
French “Team Sky” Update
Remember those plans for a French “Team Sky” with the national federation building a dossier to present a national team to potential sponsors? You could be forgiven if you’d forgotten. The plans have not got very far and there’s nothing in the pipeline either for 2015 or beyond.
Cofidis in the World Tour?
How about a fourth French team in the World Tour? Cofidis are closing to signing Nacer Bouhanni while also having a clear out of their more established names. The likes of Rein Taaramäe, Christophe Le Mevel and Jérôme Coppel are on high salaries but have few results. It could be an agents delight as the team looks to rebuild, all while Belkin and Giant-Shimano are uncertain to remain in the peloton. If there are 17 teams in the World Tour Cofidis could move up but they’d probably only incur expenses because with Bouhanni they’d be a sure-fire wildcard invite anyway.
Donations, Caps and Socks
Work is ongoing for socks and caps, there’s design, specification and more before manufacture. This site has sponsorship for July but beyond this the tip jar might appear in August and with it some news on the gear.