Even with the revelation today that Stuart O’Grady took EPO in 1998 before the Tour De France, I have to say that I’m sad to see him leave professional cycling. He was one of the few Australian cyclists in the European peleton when I was rediscovering cycling. It was an inspiration watching him and Neil Stephens mix it up in the big leagues, doing the whole gritty Aussie underdog thing.
I think there’s a lot more contemptible sporting people than doping cyclists – thugby league, for example, is full of drunken abusive assholes who are well known for bashing women and worse – but it’s sad to see the extent to which peer pressure and the fear of failure has touched a generation of cyclists. I don’t think there’s many left from that time who haven’t been found to have doped.
Still, I have to wonder at whether or not the Vance Report recommendations were followed. Was Stuart asked specifically whether or not he ever took EPO or any other performance-enhancing drug? Did he then lie, or was the team told and then
it decided not to do anything? Did it pass that information onto anti-doping authorities as recommended? Given how quickly the ASO has disassociated itself from O’Grady, you have to suspect that the information wasn’t widely known before now. More than drugs, lying and cover-ups damage the reputation of current
riders and teams.
Stuart, thanks for the memories and the inspiration and I hope you keep your Olympic medals. However, please don’t have anything more to do with professional cycling in any capacity for the good of Orica and the sport.
O’Grady Admits EPO Use Ahead Of 1998 Tour De France | Cyclingnews.com
Australian rider claims limited use of performance enhancing substance
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