The Chris Froome salbutamol case | Episode 34 | 14 December 2017

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You’re listening to the cycling podcast
in association with Rapha Celebrating the Sport and producing the finest cycling
clothing since 2004 Hello my name’s Richard Moore I’m with
Lionel Birnie hello Richard and Daniel Friebe hello hello and we’ve we’ve
convened unexpectedly haven’t we weren’t gonna give you a regular podcast this
week but some big news in the world of cycling this week Team Lotto-NL Jumbo
have expelled three riders from their training camp for possessing
non-approved sleep medication. Did you see that. No? I did see that yeah but
it’s it’s maybe maybe a good day to bury bad news for Lotto NL Jumbo I don’t
know which three riders one who’s a Lobato for one Antoine Tollock and
Pascal in corn or angkeran so there you go a serious violation of a strict
regulations of the team but there has been other cycling news hasn’t there
this week in a similar vein no pun intended Chris
Froome reported adverse analytical finding from the Vuelta a Espana some
months ago now but it leaked and it was published in Lomond and The Guardian
this week on Wednesday Lionel can you just give us kind of
summary of what’s happened Chris Froome obviously won the Tour de France won the
Vuelta a españa and this case all centers around a test a urine sample
taken at the Vuelta after stage 18 to Santo toribio Dalia banner on September
the 7th Chris Froome has exercised induced asthma and uses the asthma
medication salbutamol which is permitted without a tue a therapeutic use
exemption but only up to a limit of one thousand six hundred micrograms in a
24-hour period so basically in layman’s terms that means Chris Froome and other
athletics competing in cycling canoes salbutamol
however in terms of the urine test the world anti-doping agency’s threshold for
sound Goethe mark is one thousand nanograms per milliliter and froome’s
tests on that particular day showed a concentration twice that of two thousand
and grams per milliliter now Richard you use the phrase adverse analytical
finding and that’s important because at the moment this is not a positive dope
test but it is something that Chris Froome and Team Sky have to
very seriously and it could result in a band there is precedent for that and we
will talk about that a little bit later on but we are currently in the position
where Chris Froome has to explain to the UCI how the elevated levels of
salbutamol got into that particular sample it is worth pointing out that
none of the other tests we gather at the moment taken at the Vuelta require any
extra explanation so Chris Froome has come out and said that this is not a
doping case as of course Team Sky and Chris Froome would say but coming on the
back all the controversy about the the tu E’s and Bradley Wiggins last year
this is another case where we are solidly in the middle of the gray areas
I would say indeed I guess one of the one of the questions that people have is
would we ever have known about this had the garden and Lamond not published the
story not gone to the UCI having been fed the information that this had
happened with froom froom himself has known since the the day of the world
time trial championship where of course he won a bronze medal behind Tom
Dumoulin which is which is remarkable and some of you will have listened this
week to our first French special of 2018 which with exquisite timing at home with
the frames Orla interviewed Michelle from iron
through Chris Froome and this episode was released just hours before this this
news broke but we spent you know three or four hours with them and Monaco on
October the 11th so a few weeks after this happened and they both appeared
very very relaxed I mean they didn’t seem to have a care in the world
and I always find it remarkable that athletes are able to I don’t know um
compartmentalize or certainly carry on as if as if nothing’s going on and and I
don’t know how frim has been able to do that this is a huge thing hanging over
him there was no guarantee that would be resolved but a lot of people
uncomfortable are they not with the fact that it’s
only been made public thanks to some journalists on those newspapers that is
true remember you said a lot of people are asking the question would we have
ever known probably we wouldn’t because sky had no intention
of releasing any information about this neither did the UCI although in these
cases the UCI are at liberty to confirm even allegation is put to them that a
writer has returned an adverse analytical finding they’re at liberty to
confirm the identity of the writer but they are under no obligation within
their kind of statutes their rules – of their own initiative announced that a
rider has had this happen to them which might make people uncomfortable I think
Tony Martin got slightly the wrong end of the stick and the Katusha rider Tony
Martin has come out and said that you know it’s he suggested that it’s wrong
or scandalous that Froome was able to carry on competing and that the this was
all happening behind the scenes in these cases that’s that’s perfectly legitimate
as I understand it what is interesting is that there has been no provisional
suspension of Chris Froome either by the team or the UCI the UCI don’t have to
suspend Chris Froome provisionally in these cases although it’s a positive a
and B sample that he’s returned already and but the team could have and why
would they have done that well if Chris for him does get banned his band will
start on the date of the announcement of the sanction in previous cases bands
have been backdated and they have started from the moment when the rider
or the team have suspended the writer or the rider has suspended him himself I
mean that happened last year with simon yates when he had what he also tested
positive for a an asthma medication that should have been justified by tue had
the tue but and they’d forgot to include it on the anti-doping former that they’d
forgot to specify the substance but he suspended himself straight away and
which was to his advantage later on because he’d effectively almost served
his band by the time the sanction was announced in chris frames case you know
we this might go on this whole process of him trying to explain why he’d gone
over the salbutamol threshold might go on for several months at which point
after several months the UCI might announce these Bandhan and you know you
look at the ates in the timeline you just kind of
speculate looking at previous cases how long a band could be if it was six
months for example or six months from yesterday was the 13th of June so
obviously just before the Tour de France and this case I don’t think it’s going
to be resolved in the next two weeks so if for example you see I announced in a
month that the Chris French band was going to be six months then he would not
be eligible to ride the Tour de France and another possibility
look again looking at how long these cases have taken in the past is that we
get to the Giro d’Italia next year the Tour de France next year and he’s still
not provisionally suspended by sky and he’s still not suspended by the UCI and
he can compete and start in those races and we obviously get we get a pretty
unsatisfactory situation like we’ve had in the past with Alberto Contador who
who rode a Judah Italia and won agility Italia with the threat of a ban hanging
over him and that ban was subsequently confirmed and he was stripped at the
results so I don’t think anyone really wants that to happen and this the the
Chris Froome and he’s he’s entourage have been given no clear timeline on how
long this process might take it could take weeks it could take months it’s I
mean the process not right in thinking that the process in the hands of rumen
his entourage is it’s up to him now to UM to demonstrate how it such elevated
quantities of salbutamol were in his body it’s not it’s a it’s kind of the
opposite of you know under strict liability with anti-doping case it was
positive tests and the athlete has to prove that there’s an assumption then of
guilt you know the athlete has to prove this is the opposite yeah that’s exactly
right ragin you know that the problem that rumors guys they’re as I understand
he has a quite a sort of strict regimen of when he takes his asthma medication
and different kind of levels of how much he needs to take and this is if you like
the sort of the top level of on that particular day he took the most he would
ever take but that was not the only day in the world was not the only day for
example last season or or in his career when he’s taken that amount of his
inhaler and but you’ve got this this huge
outlier this one result every other result we presume was under the
threshold miss one result which is way over the the limit but now he’s in the
position where he has to prove why that was it’s not enough to say to the UCI
world something must have something must have
gone wrong here either with the test or you know with my metabolism they have to
say what went wrong Skye or Tim Chris Froome have to prove what went wrong or
why it went wrong and you know where do you start with that they you know just
looking back at previous cases and we’ll talk later about the Alessandra Pataki
case I think and unless there’s they can provide a very very detailed explanation
of exactly why there was that amount of salbutamol in his urine it might not cut
any ice with with the UC ice doping tribunal should just point out going
back to the Vuelta and I remember well I arrived back on the race at chris room’s
press conference which was on the rest day the final rest day of the race and
you know there was a there was a bit of kind of gossip at the time about whether
or not Froome was was coughing more than normal and it does appear and certainly
in room and team skies initial reactions to this news becoming public they’re
saying that his asthma symptoms were worsening during that period and and
he’s important to point out that you know they have said that they increased
the the amount of salbutamol that Froome was taking in consultation with the team
sky doctor but they maintained through maintains that he didn’t exceed the
permitted dose you know the amount allowed by the world anti-doping
agency’s rules and so you’re absolutely right Daniel this is going to hinge on
that bit of science between taking the the dose of the medicine and the the
trace that shows up in a urine sample and and that will I suspect I don’t want
to sort of speculate on the science of this because well I’m not a scientist
I’m not a medic but it’s gonna hinge on you know how how the body absorbed and
processed the substance on that particular day and why the result was
different and and enough to trip the wire in this case and and not on the
other days so it’s going to be I would suggest and
you’re absolutely right a lengthy and and quite difficult case to get to the
bottom of another thing that’s worth pointing out line or perhaps is parallel
with the Simon Yates case different substances slightly different
circumstances however he was shown some clemency because it was acknowledged by
the UCI doping tribunal that there had been an error on the part of the doctor
the team doctor in question he’d forgotten to specify substance on the
anti-doping form that Sam Yates was was allowed to take in this case nothing
I’ve heard read or seen suggest that team sky are going to throw a team
doctor under the bus as it were and suggest that Frome was giving the wrong
advice or the wrong dose by the doctor in that final week of the welter thereby
leading to him having a high concentration of salbutamol in his urine
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we’ve also just launched our Friends of the podcast a program for twenty
eighteen episode one is out the froome’s at home unmissable and we have got we’re
gonna actually release episode number two very very soon I think next week
early next week finals at the plant I think so yeah why
not why not yeah why not give people something of still for Christmas and
that’s gonna be look lunch with Matt white so we had lunch with matte white
recently in London and a very very candid discussion indeed over an hour
and I think it’s a really interesting listen covers his own career as a writer
and more recently as a sports director at Orica does he cover rich his own
positive test with four four so beautiful so I’ll be standing in 1998 he
does he got two months ban for that is that right
he certainly covers his doping in a lot of detail and and at the
jirô that he rode em in 1998 as well the judo won by Marco Pantani
is it’s really quite grisly times but fascinating and really a really good
lesson I think so that is released next week you can come a friend and podcaster
this cycling podcast com fair to say that her I think salbutamol was was the
very least of I mean amazing that he got done for salbutamol when with everything
else that was doing at the time but anyway um I guess we’re going to talk
about precedence aren’t we in this part you’ve been looking into that Daniel I
mean I contacted urine swart yesterday the sport scientists in South Africa is
involved in anti-doping in South Africa and he’s worked with Froome before of
course on the on the test they did in the lab a few years ago uh you know I
was keen to know the answers to basic questions is some beetle more
performance enhancing and if you’re taking Sabbath on for asthma it doesn’t
increase those bring extra benefits anyway to take other than buy inhaler
can it work in conjunction with any other drugs some of those answers became
clear yesterday it is listed in the wider code as a potential masking agent
but and it doesn’t seem to be any evidence of it being used as a masking
agent um Jeroen said that there have been a few studies of surely performance
enhancing effects but those are balanced by a whole bunch of studies that show no
benefit I mean the thing that struck him as most surprising really was the size
of the quantity of Sublett small in his system on that one particular day and
and for him has given interview today – or lotion we about about it all and he
has said that there have been no other occasions when he’s been over the
threshold for subu tamal in his career so one of the things we wondered was you
know has this happened before and we’ve not known about it you know his is it
quite a regular occurrence we don’t know he certainly says that he has never had
this happen before and that he’s never taken sabe su mo in any form other than
by inhaler it’s a really really curious one I mean
on the you know the the possibility of some strange reaction his body may be
dehydration whatever urine said it wasn’t dehydration but it’s the lack of
renal blood flow that can cause very calm
created urine that could perhaps and purchase a freak result like this but
again you know sky monitor their writers levels of dehydration very closely you
know there was a story a couple of years ago from have a room urine sample being
find outside a hotel door wasn’t there so they would know em you know certainly
daily at least daily the state of their writers hydration so they must have you
would think records of all that as well well just on that Ridge we were gonna
talk about precedence and one case that was very extensively documented was the
Alessandro Petacchi case in 2007 he had a similar sort of adverse analytical
finding slightly less I’ll be tomorrow in his system one thousand three hundred
and something nano grams as opposed to firms 2000 with the the threshold being
and one thousand and just on the the question of you know the concentration
in the urine one of the arguments that Pataki made he was originally absolved
and then that decision was he was absorbed by his own Federation and that
decision was contested by his National Olympic Committee
Ciccone and wada and and he’s defense team Pataki’s suggested that what should
have been taken into account was something called the specific urine
gravity your in specific gravity now this is very uncomfortable for me
because anything to do with toilet is always tough for me to talk about but
and that is basically the the ratio of water in the urine he was told or in the
summing up of the case when the decision was actually overturned and he did get a
ban that wada the water code only stipulates that
naturally the the specific urine gravity is only taken into account when the test
is for endogenous so naturally produce substances and that it couldn’t be taken
into account in in this case and I mean the wider point from that again is that
Chris Froome is going to have to the burden of proving his innocence is all
on him and his team that he’s not gonna get any help here
from the UCI in their anti-doping a tribunal and their scientific experts
it’s all it’s all down to him to prove that there was that amount of sublease
more in his urine for for good reason for a legitimate reason so if we look at
the previous cases and you mentioned Alessandro Petacchi there Daniel that
was back in 2007 wasn’t it a test taken at the Giro d’Italia where he won
several stages initially he was stripped of those wins and then reinstated and
then the Court of Arbitration for sport finally upheld a decision and he was
stripped officially of those of those victories um a more recent case another
Italian writer Diego you lecie again during the Giro d’Italia this time in
2014 elevated levels of cell buta more again not as high as Chris rooms
I don’t think and he was suspended for nine months and stripped of results from
that period so obviously if Chris Froome and Team Sky can’t demonstrate that they
didn’t exceed the dose then we could be looking at a similar scenario couldn’t
we one thing I think the best pointing out here is there in there was quite a
big change in the way the UCI administers its doping cases in January
of 2015 when the the body’s deciding on the sanctions for athletes an effective
lease of processing the cases up until that point there were the national
federations in every country and that’s one of the reasons I think why you had
so much variation between the sanctions and that were given to different riders
I mean at least he got nine months in the end but he was he had a Swiss
license and it was the Swiss sanctioning body I’m not sure whether it’s there
it’s the Cycling Federation or the Olympic Committee but he he got his
sanctions there from Switzerland and with Pataki it was Italy and so forth
since January 2015 is the you see eyes anti-doping tribunal that decides on all
of the sanctions now the UCI didn’t appeal the Lisi decision they didn’t
appeal to the Court of Arbitration for sport which suggests that they were
roughly broadly in agreement with the sanction there
strikes me as being a fairly similar case the lis seek a similar quantity of
salbutamol what will be different is that you would think that sky and firm
will have I’m going to say better lawyers on the case but they’ll have
more robust kind of legal machinery behind this and the other big difference
was the lamprey leases team suspended him provisionally straight away so again
he was he ended up in the advantageous position where whereby he had served
most was banned by the time that he was actually sort of found guilty as it were
and he didn’t try to contest the decision he didn’t go to the Court of
Arbitration for sport Eve the UCR does ban Froome and he decides that he does
want to go to the Court of Arbitration for sport and there I think again he’s
in he’s in a bit of an invidious position because Court of Arbitration
for sport uses a lot it will basis a lot of its decisions on precedence and
there’s one very very clear precedent that they’ve got with Pataki and again
looking through his case it doesn’t make particularly comfortable reading for
frame I wouldn’t suggest all of which makes it it’s so surprising that for him
as a appeared at least from the outside to have been able to go about his
business with a relaxed mind and you know only only last week or two weeks
ago he confirmed that he was going to the the giro d’italia
next year within a video and you know he certainly seems to be in business as
usual and training his training New York at the moment and planning for next year
and as though he appeared quite unperturbed by and unconcern that there
would be a punishment and a ban that that’s that strikes a lot of people as
odd I think I mean without straying into areas of speculation and trying to
trying to second-guess somebody’s mindset I mean it could be explained by
two things one as daniel said you know that they wouldn’t have necessarily had
an expectation that this would be made public and secondly you know chris
froome he’s got asthma exercise induced asthma how he describes it he
has taken us out buta milk for a long time we have think back to the tour of
Roman D a few years ago when this you know he was he was riding in the front
group and the TV cameras picked him up taking a puff on his inhaler that was a
kind of almost a watershed moment certainly in terms of public perception
because a lot of people thought well hang on a minute what’s going on here
and and I certainly learned a lot about you know asthma drugs and asthma in
sport as a result of that my initial reaction was that this just looks this
just looks terrible and then of course people working within sport saying well
you know do we have do we create a place where asthmatics cannot compete in sport
and that would be hugely damaging for a large number of people and so you know
that was a when this kind of whole complex area first certainly crossed my
mind anyway because prior to that my perception had been wow you know
everyone who’s a registered asthmatic in sport you know that the cynic in me
would say this is crazy I mean how are all these asthmatics among the greatest
sports people in the world and so that was something that certainly changed my
perceptions of this but now we are in a position where you know Chris Froome
obviously feels that he has done absolutely nothing wrong
but the certainly the reporting is gives us a very different impression I mean
that the headline on the BBC six o’clock news was as clear as day Chris Froome
has failed a drugs test and you know we can argue about the semantics of that
but that is a situation that we’re in and that is how it looks and in terms of
this fight it’s certainly not going to get any clearer anytime soon I suspect
it will get it will get more difficult to understand before we reach a
conclusion and get to an answer just just a little bit on that why not it was
actually the the door feeling around through Normandy where he was sorry yes
he photographed using the inhaler just on that on the use of an inhaler in the
race this was something that a game was in Pataki’s defense that on a particular
day when he tested positive he tried to use his inhaler do
during the race and his defense team speculated that he could have I don’t
really know how this would happen I’ve never used an inhaler but he could have
swallowed some of the medication instead of inhaled it as you normally would and
they also said that not enough attention was paid in the arbitration of this case
due to inhalation technique which could have a big effect on the amount of sub
use one in someone’s urine and but again this was thrown out this was not
accepted it was the the Court of Arbitration for sport panel accepted
that this might have happened but it was ultimately still Pataki’s fault and he
bore strict liability on the subject of the prevalence of asthmatics in sport
and especially in your tomber exercising just ask my I’ve never been too
surprised about that it strikes me that and you hear all the time that
professional athletes contrary to the the myth that they are you know perfect
specimens in an incredible health all the time they’re there on the on the on
the brink of illness and injury all the time and you know and the I mentioned
earlier when we were chatting that you know football is more likely to have
cruciate ligament injuries and general members of population it strikes me that
the stress and the strain that athletes are putting their lungs under means that
there will be a greater incidence of exercise induced asthma in in elite
athletes and I think it’s it’s right about 20 percent isn’t it of awfully
athletes have asthma of some kind and and to me that that sort of makes sense
I think yeah and Chris Froome has used an inhaler since he was a teenager long
before he became an elite and professional athlete so you know it’s a
like I say it’s an uncomfortable area because the last thing we really want to
be saying is that certain medical conditions are prohibit you from taking
part in elite sport so it’s a it’s a very tricky case and I think really went
in the final analysis our colleague Francois Thomas oh who always makes the
point that that doping in sport is a legal matter rather
than a than an ethical or moral one and that the facts will decide the limit has
been exceeded and the precedent is there as Daniel says and it will be up to
Chris Froome and Team Sky to argue their way to avoiding a suspension I suspect
you were living a secret life you were and you had to hide things from loved
ones and had to hide things from from mates at home or because it’s certainly
not socially acceptable to use performance-enhancing drugs and I think
for me the biggest liberating factor I think when I deep confessed end of 2012
there I was really thrown under the bus by the train media which is fine I take
full responsibility for what I did but I was the first Australian in any of those
sports who actually did say they were involved in any any kind of doping so it
was a big story because Australians are very very our moral standards with sport
is very very high so murders here in the UK that yeah doping and spam
professional school or elite sport should not and ever mix and I think
Australians in general we’re very ignorant really to the fact that
professional sport can not always be a healthy place where there’s people able
to make lots of money there’s people willing to take risks unfortunately a
human nature I was in the back page of the biggest newspaper in Australia with
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the code C p8u g20 thank you to them Lionel you mentioned Francois Tom Izzo I
mean this is it’s so murky this is so lacking in clarity and you know the
public and the media they like their doping stories to be very black or white
similar to to the the perception that you know people are either good or evil
and we like things to be simple and this certainly isn’t simple but
Francois Thomas or our colleague does have a great way of cutting through the
the BS at times doesn’t in to quote his tweet this morning and he has said this
about a million times doping is not about morals it’s not
about health it’s not even about performance enhancement it’s about
respecting rules did Chris Froome break rules in the past TV cases no this time
yes that’s a good way of – bringing some some clarity whether you agree or not
Francois has been always very firm in that view that doping is not a moral
issue it’s a legal issue and it’s about it’s about the rules and and about you
know applying the rules and under his strict interpretation it would appear
that Chris Froome whether he gained any kind of performance advantage or not has
transgressed the rules well yeah rich but it’s also written in
the rules that Froome has the right of kind of reply and indeed defense before
he receives any kind of sanction and penalty I mean everyone is of course at
liberty to feel what they want about this but I think you do have to bear in
mind that as Francois says the current anti-doping system is based on legality
not ethics I mean the only thing that matters here material is the UCI was
judgment on the case and in whatever happens after that as regards appeals
but just to bear that out sky and free might actually end up on the right side
of the sort of ethical divide here but the wrong side of it legally I mean
that’s exactly what happened with Pataki in the their summing up and the Court of
Arbitration for sport panel said that they were satisfied he
wasn’t achieved but that ultimately didn’t matter and a rule of strict
liability applied yeah again though in terms of the rules I mean the rules are
there to kind of parallel tracks to it on there there’s the the dosage that
you’re not allowed to exceed which is sixteen hundred micrograms and then
there is the psalm the the trace of the substance in a urine sample which is not
allowed to exceed a thousand nanograms per milliliter so and obviously people
who know far far more about it than us have drawn up that rule based on yeah I
would assume you know a huge a large number of cases and I’ve come up with
those parameters for good reason and so it could well be as you rightly say
Daniel Chris Froome may not have exceeded the dose permitted and and
that’s what he says and yet his sample exceeds the permitted Trace allowed in a
sample so there is a real sort of complexity to this that he could well
have stuck within the rules and yet has fallen outside of the rules when when
when you come to sort of evaluate things at the other end so it’s not a not a
simple case and it’s not going to be a simple one to resolve I wouldn’t have
thought no and how on earth can conspire explain again not suggest that they up
the dose to illegal levels but they’re in the difficult position where they
have to explain why every other day or even even on days when he took the same
amount of this the substance that he’s allowed to take and he was under the
threshold and suddenly he was he was over it and he was he was double the
limit and you know they’re gonna submit a lot of documentation over the next few
weeks I think but and I think the last resort in these cases is something
called farm pharmacokinetic testing or pharmacokinetic testing whereby and the
rider will be possibly even in egg alert the UCI headquarters now undergo series
of tests and they’ll try to recreate the conditions he was he was riding in at
that time but you know I imagine that that will be very different very
difficult to replicate you know the exact weather conditions
and that the state of fatigue and so forth and so forth at the end or in the
third week of a Grand Tour and as I say I think that it is a last resort for
Froome and sky and they probably won’t want it to go that far and even if it
does go that far I would sort of suggest they’re in a pretty bad position just to
contradict Francois but who says it’s not about performance enhancement but
you know for most of us doping equals performance enhancement it’s about
trying to get an unfair advantage and and that is central to this as well you
know with the salbutamol have given him an unfair advantage
would he have deliberately taken more of it to try and gain an unfair advantage
and it doesn’t stack up and well my argument about that is always the same I
mean if you’re it’s and this is where it’s so difficult when it comes to a
medical condition I mean let’s take a completely unrelated it’s you you know
if you have a if you have a knee injury and you can’t bend your knee and then
you can take a you know cortisone and then suddenly can bend your knee and one
on the one hand that is restoring your knee to full extension and and
what-have-you and restoring you back to to health so you can carry on cycling on
the other hand it’s enhancing your performance from a position where you
can’t even pedal to enabling your performance it’s enabling your
performance of course it’s enabling yeah okay
that’s the gray area rather isn’t that so that is the gray area isn’t it
because enabling it that and that is the kind of a holy grail of all sports
people isn’t it and we’ve said this so many times on the podcast the Holy Grail
is to be able to compete at their top level every day and they kind of know
intuitive intuitively and in this area ear of a sports science they know down
to the numbers what their maximum performance is and anything that
compromises that performance whether it be illness or injury or what-have-you
is almost seen as kind of like well that’s that’s inhibiting me and and that
is holding me back and of course there’s a flipside to that the great
contradiction of the Grand Tours is that the whole purpose of it is who comes
through the best who survives the best who is almost a lot you know the last
man standing who can cope with the adversity
and make a test of health at Essex I’ve said many times but the related point is
the the ease with which some buta more can be detected and urine
so if rim had deliberately overdosed on salbutamol he would have done so knowing
that he was going to be tested and knowing that that as urine said that it
would be found it would be in his in his words career suicide
that’s what doesn’t doesn’t make sense no it strikes me as a very contentious
issue the whole salbutamol issue and something that might well be revised on
the back of her what is going to be a very high-profile case like this one I
mean even going back to the mid nineties and with Miguel Indurain when he had an
adverse I think it was called a positive test back then when they called it
positive test for salbutamol in the Tour de Noirs and the UCI rules said that
salbutamol weren’t there wasn’t banned and then the French Federation rules has
said that it was and that was very contentious again and it seems to me to
be a bit of a murky area so what does it mean for Team Sky Lionel ah it’s very
difficult for Team Sky I mean of all the teams that that would face yes they are
the best equipped probably to to answer the case I mean we talked a bit about
Diego you Lee Seon lamprey you know a smaller team would perhaps not have the
financial legal and wherewithal to take this all the way which you imagine just
from the way that room and sky have set out initially I mean that Daniel makes a
great point they haven’t you know they haven’t suspended Chris Froome or said –
he won’t you know they will carry on as normal
while this case goes on in the background and so in terms of the the
team best equipped to to deal with this sky are probably the best team equipped
to deal with it and but in terms of perception and you know the public image
of the team I think already we’ve seen on social media people who think that
sky stray over the lines and you know use the previous cases at the Bradley
weekend tue even Sergio Henao and the the biological passport discrepancies or
irregularities that had to then be researched and and then he now was
cleared and returned to racing you know there’s a for some people there is a
kind of a greater pattern here and I think that I don’t blame people for
looking at this and joining all these cases together and thinking it’s just
you know it’s just it’s just kind of the cost of doing business for Team Sky but
you made a great point Daniel before we start recording when we were chatting
about this about you know that when it ever anything like this comes up with
Team Sky we always we have we hold them to a higher standard and that’s perhaps
their own fault but we probably have to move beyond that at some point well
again it’s this issue rich of I mean I again I don’t I don’t claim that anyone
should should react or feel a certain way about any of this so I just know
that from from my point of view and from our point of view as people have been
covering this for a very long time now and it’s difficult to get to het het up
when you’ve come from an error in the conferral world when people were talking
about you know doing three blood bags in a tour de france and EPO and and so
forth and so forth it’s quite difficult to wring your hands about an asthma
medication and also you kind of brutalized you just you know you know
that teams come and go riders come and go IRA’s come and go but the whole
circus sort of it rolls on and i suppose as part of that when Team Sky launched
and when they made all these grandiose promises about being very clean and very
transparent and I suppose people may be like you and I and took that less
seriously than the kind of general sports media or general fan who would
who had not been watching cycling so closely for you know the previous decade
or two decades and you know we and also very quickly within a year two years sky
sort of transitioned in my eyes and in the way they behave
in everything about them into a normal team they were no longer although if
they ever had been this team that came onto the scene in the same weather for
example slipstream did and making transparency and being clean and never
having any kind of issue of this nature there USP but but some people obviously
do still consider them to have made that promise and to and some people still
obviously hold them to that promise I think we kind of moved from a maybe this
is optimistic or naive perhaps but we’ve moved from a doping model to a medical
model haven’t we correct and granites it’s not you know pressure sport is
highly medicalised and that might inevitably bring athletes
close to that that line um you know this is a whole other other debate with which
we’ve had them quite often and know that we’ll have it again and but I think that
the at the moment the the murkiness of this the fact that it’s not likely to be
resolved anytime soon leaves us all feeling pretty uncomfortable and
especially if we if we go to the Giro next year and Chris Froome Isaiah and
the cases is unresolved really echoes of 2011 when Contador was in the same
situation and you know went to the Giro won the Giro went the Tour de France and
all these all these results all these performances were eventually and wiped
from the record books and we don’t want that situation again but it’s with a
sense of dread that we we can sort of anticipate it I think just as a last
word rich again you know the point about legality not morality is is a valid one
unfortunately this is a we live in a kind of adult world and this is and it’s
a complicated it’s very complicated sport and these are complicated rules
and and you know the our reactions to it almost have to mirror how nuanced these
cases are and you know when I see things like yesterday reactance IR that I’m
done with professional cycling that’s it for me well and I think if you if you do
react in that way you’re going to continue to be upset if you do keep
watching it because you know these cases are going to come and go
again like I said teams are gonna come and go IRA’s are gonna come and go
disciplinary cases are gonna come and go and then you have to have a pretty thick
skin to follow this sport you do shall we leave it there we’ll we’ll be back
next week Lionel thank you very much thanks Richie are we gonna put the
castle a podcast out at any point or is that has that got to go next week next
week castle a castle a for Christmas and well I knows how many nanograms of duck
fat for in liners loss is way over the Royal over that yeah I mean wasn’t
measured in Nano grams is measured in points Daniel yeah we’ve got Castle in
next week and also the matte white episode which they were on this subject
of these different eras and how things have changed is really interesting too
so I recommend that and for your Christmas listening we’ve got an episode
of the cycling podcast behmen are coming out next week as well so busy week and
but for the moment thank you very much Daniel thank you thank you Lionel thank
you Rick you

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