All riders should be asked the same tough questions, not just selected individuals

I’m not opposed to anyone and everyone being quizzed about doping. Why shouldn’t pro riders be asked awkward questions? The problem comes when one team or certain individuals are singled out for special treatment, as seems to be the case with Sky, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins.

A couple of years ago, Sir Brad famously lost his temper in a press conference when he was repeatedly asked to justify his form, and then, 12 months ago, it seemed that Froome was asked nothing else.

“It’s been a challenge, but it’s understandable,” said Froome in reaction to the deluge of doping questions last year. “Whoever was going to be in this yellow jersey was going to come under the same amount of scrutiny, and I can understand that.”

Fair enough, Sky should be asked tough questions, but why should Nibali be let off the hook? He’s every bit as dominant as Froome was 12 months ago, but there doesn’t seem the same appetite to question his performances.

General manager of Nibali’s Astana team is the notorious Alexandre Vinokourov, who failed a dope test in the 2007 Tour. Nibali’s team-mate Michele Scarponi was suspended for blood doping, and his directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli was Marco Pantani’s former team manager.

None of these facts mean that Nibali is a doper, but the set-up at Astana is the polar opposite of Team Sky’s zero-tolerance approach.

At the very least, Nibali should be subject to equal scrutiny, not less.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • ian franklin

    Sad? Yes sad that you are allowed to libel Nibbles in this way. Sad that CW allows this libel. Sad that you can go around accusing people without proof. Sad that your comment was not moderated.

  • ytulauratambien

    I really like how everybody assumes everyone at the top is a cheat and a doper, a part from Armstrong (*the biggest of them all and a bully*), who instead needs to be understood and justified and is the biggest legend and bla, bla, bla. Come on people, get a grip!

  • gh

    Were you drunk when you wrote that?

    He wouldn’t have been that far ahead without Froome and Contador crashing out.

    Also the spread of times to number six is similar to last year – it’s just that positions 2 and 3 are lagging well behind Nibali.

    If you factor out the time he gained on the cobbles through adept racing then he hasn’t won by much more than Froome, who deliberately lost time on the Champs-Elysees last year to cross the line with his team mates.

    You are sad.

  • Peddler

    But a year ago a lot of the questions about Sky seemed to be prompted by other teams worried about their dominance. Nibali is a convenient return to the status quo.

    But a lot of ordinary fans doubt him because of that Vino connection. Journalists might not have asked him abut doping often enough but the doubts remains in the minds of people beyond the complacency of the press room.

  • Pee Bee

    Having read the above article I then read an article on another cycling website which seems to contradict what is written here.

    “Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has answered every question asked of him on the road at this Tour de France, and in his post-stage press conferences, too, he has engaged with doping questions at greater length than some of his predecessors in the maillot jaune.”

    Who does one believe?

  • Clean and mean

    He is 7 minutes up. He is doping. I think people’s desire to forget Armstrong has them looking at this tour with rose glasses.

    I actually think in the top 10. He is likely the one who is the dirtiest. Everyone else is behaving at a human level. He is not.

    There have been some very clear indications of wattages that can be done clean and what is suspicious. I’d guess he is beyond even the grey area cadel Evans was at when he won.


  • Ben Alexander

    I agree but i think that the Lance Armstrong issue has faded to the back of many people’s mins and is less of an issue, maybe because the sport is slowly cleaned up and its less of an issue.

  • I would suggest that it is because this “slog it to the top” form of racing has become the status quo. We are not seeing something radically different to the past few, cleaner, years so maybe the appetite for iconoclasm, along with the suspicion, has waned?