Italian Judge: Cyclists Are “Scruple-less,” Cheat The System And Steal Low-Quality Drugs

  • Matt Rudnitsky

Today in unsurprising news, an Italian judge says that cycling’s enormous doping problem hasn’t improved of late. He gave a “rare interview” to the Italian Tuttobici magazine, and has the recap.

There’s nothing groundbreaking, but the interview shows how things are most certainly not getting better.

The judge, Benedetto Roberti, is a sage on the topic.

Roberti revealed his own passion for cycling, saying he has ridden numerous Gran Fondo events, where he has seen riders use cortisone suppositories as they line-up for the start. Roberti is a former military judge and angered the Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping investigators by refusing to share evidence he has collected during his meticulous investigations. His penal investigation is expected to be concluded in the New Year, with much of the evidence likely to emerge when a preliminary judge decides who should go on trial. Some evidence has already emerged as part of the USADA Reasoned Decision documentation that snared Lance Armstrong and lead to the UCI disqualifying him from his seven Tour de France victories.

“I’ve seen things that people can’t even imagine,” Roberti told Tuttobici, talking about doping in every level of cycling.

I’m not sure what “things that people can’t even imagine” means, but I guess that’s the point of the statement.

“Not all of cycling is bad but things aren’t looking good and believe me, nothing has changed. It’s not true that the situation has improved in the last few years. We’re dealing with scruple-less people who inject themselves with everything, without knowing what they’re doing: products stolen from hospitals, from Eastern countries without any guarantees on the quality.”

This isn’t talked about often; people usually talk about lying and cheating, but don’t consider issues of stealing and the ironic importance of drug quality. It’s pretty scary.

“Riders have recently told me that there are substances in use that can’t be found by anti-doping tests. One is Erythropoietin Z by Retacrit, it’s known as EPO Z. There’s a Chinese EPO that has been released, I don’t know its name but it can’t be found (in tests) and was definitely the queen of the Olympics. There’s also AICAR, that is brought in from the East as a powder and is apparently a kind of genetic doping. In simple terms, it helps reset muscle fibres after huge efforts. It can’t be found in anti-doping tests either.”

Again, not a huge shock. We know that the drugmakers are steps ahead of the testers, and that’s a pretty hard thing to stop. Cycling, as it currently stands, is pretty much screwed.