Oct 3 2005
It used to be that if you wanted to bust someone for doping, you just kinda barged into their hotel room at like 3am and rifled through their bags until you found something illegal. But this tended to annoy riders, and led to many protests. This in turn was deemed bad for the sport, as it infuriated fans, who have shown time and time again that they don’t really care who is and isn’t on drugs. Plus, it was easy enough for teams to sidestep this method of dope control by simply keeping incriminating substances out of their hotel rooms. This is not to say police haven’t kept trying…
More recently, a new method, perhaps made most famous by l’Equipe, but originally formulated by washed-up heros from sports where anti-doping is taken about as seriously as the Bavarian drinking age, has emerged. Wait for a competitor’s retirement, than cast out unprovable allegations. The fans have their hero, the haters can say “I told you so,” the athlete can deny everything with no repercussions, WADA looks extra-vigilant for catching people even after they’ve left the sport; really, everyone is a winner.
But then someone’s gotta ruin it. Now, sure, places like Italy have made sport doping against the law, but the Italian legal system is like…well, the Italian legal system. Just look at the friggin’ Parmalat case. But this latest bit of doping news comes from Belgium, where papers detailing the charges filed in the Landuyt affair were published in Het Laatste Nieuws (though Aransep may be hard to come by, there’s apparently no shortage of vowels in Northern Belgium). Though some of the charges seem a bit trumped up (“performing medical procedures like taking blood pressure, measuring iron, and giving shots without having the right diploma”), it could end up being significantly more serious for Classics great Johan Museeuw than the 2-year, post-retirement “gentleman’s suspension” he is currently serving. If he does face criminal charges, or even a lifetime ban from professional cycling, he should at least be able to land a job as a backup singer for Weezer.