It's been widely reported this week that the 2015 British Junior 10 mile time trial champion, Gabriel Evans took EPO ahead of winning the afore mentioned title. He's since received a 4 year ban and apologised publicly.
For me what's most shocking about is this not just his age but as an amateur athlete how close i'm now getting to athletes that dope.
This same week, Andrew Hastings of Richardsons-Trek RT received a ban for testing positive for steroids in the national team time trial championships, a race i've competed in just two years ago. I recall seeing the UKADA at this event and thinking that it's great to see people at my level being tested. Turns out I was right!
But let's not let the reputation of cycling get tarnished too much. If amateur cycling is going down then amateur triathlon has to go down with it!
I stumbled across what at first was an amazing story today. It's a tale of 4 Danish brothers who all put in incredible Ironman times to all qualify for the world ironman championships in Kona, Hawaii.
At first I was excited to read that they all work full time and only train 8-10 hours per week. There's quotes from them about quality training, v02Max work and an interesting point about not getting as much benefit from a strong swim as a strong bike.
All queued up to write a blog about these amazing guys I discover that this month, the eldest of the brothers received a 4 year ban for a positive EPO test at the 2015 Ironman Copenhagen.
So the article i've quoted from 2013 was correct. You wouldn't expect three guys who all work full time and train 8 hours a week to go sub 9 for an Ironman. Unless they're cheating!
It's important to note that only the eldest brother has received a ban. The others are innocent until proven guilty however they all now have tarnished reputations by association.
Let's just put EPO into perspective for a moment. It's not like popping a pill, it's an intravenous drug. Can you imagine taking a needle to your own arm and pumping yourself full of an unmarked vial you bought off an unregulated website? That's just crazy!
My fear is that this is more widespread than we could possibly imagine. It's human nature to win at all costs and it seems more and more people are willing to take those risks in amateur sport. Until the cost of drugs testing significantly decreases then this will continue to be a problem.
Don't do drugs kids.
Danish age group athlete Thomas Lawaetz tested positive for EPO at the 2015 KMD IRONMAN Copenhagen and has received a 48-month sanction according to a press release by WTC