July 01, 2009
Does Charly Wegelius' mom work for WADA?
I'm really sorry to see Thomas Dekker turn up positive. There had been suspicion about him, especially when his team left him off their Tour squad last year based on his blood test results, but along with Robert Gesink, he was one of the big hopes for Dutch cycling.
There still remains a possibility that Dekker will be exonerated. The UCI released the news, as has become its custom, after Dekker's “A” sample tested positive. They will now test a 2nd sample collected at the same time, and Dekker faces a ban if that “B” sample also tests positive. If that's the case, they've got him dead to rights, and he deserves the 2-year suspension he would almost certainly face.
I wanted to focus on the timing of the announcement, however. This sample is one that was collected in December 2007, and officials retested it because a) they didn't like the looks of Dekker's biological passport numbers for the last two seasons, and b) they have newer tests that can identify more forms of EPO (including CERA, presumably).
I can't tell for certain when the followup test was conducted. I seem to remember seeing “May,” but can't find confirmation. So why are we hearing about a test whose results are usually back in around 3 weeks 6 weeks later? It's almost like the anti-doping officials were looking for a reason to send a message in advance of some big event. Also, if you could wait 6 weeks, why not wait until you have the “B” sample results?
There may be perfectly valid reasons these results have come out now, just 3 days before the Tour start, but I think testers owe it to fans, teams, and riders to provide some assurances that results will always be reported consistently (and I would prefer waiting for the “B” sample, but consistency is paramount) and expeditiously.
Oh, the headline -- Silence-Lotto will be bringing Charly Wegelius to the Tour to fill Dekker's shoes.
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