Amid his Astana team's recent spate of doping positives, Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali brands dopers as 'stupid'
“Today we have a biological passport, regular doping control, race controls,” Nibali said in an interview with The Guardian.
“If you are doping, you will be caught. Even if the technique of doping can be advanced, you will still be caught in another four years. It makes me laugh. Risking and cheating today is for stupid people.”
Nibali spoke to the newspaper ahead of Wednesday’s news that a fourth rider from the team, Victor Okishev, tested positive for doping. The 20 year-old races for the Astana’s third division feeder team, but his failed steroid test made headlines regardless after three other cases.
Both of Iglinskiy brothers, Maxim and Valentin, failed EPO tests this autumn. Maxim helped Nibali win the Tour in July and in 2012, won Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic solo by catching and passing Nibali, then with team Liquigas.
Ilya Davidenok raced on the third division team, but his positive case – the team’s third in two months – drew sharp criticism. Cycling’s governing body, the UCI called the doping scandal “an extremely serious situation” that reflects poorly on the Kazakh team and its management.
The four cases, all Kazakh riders, also draw questions about Nibali’s Tour de France win, especially since Maxim Iglinskiy helped win the 2014 title. Nibali said that he is angry about his “stupid” and former team-mate.
“He was not part of my training team. I have a training team of seven and he was never part of it. The two other members of the team are chosen at the last minute. They are like a filler,” continued Nibali.
“Apart from the obvious reaction – anger – my main feeling was that this was unbelievably stupid. It did not make any sense. He had just renewed his contract. He did not have a massive goal to chase.”
Nibali explained that he did not speak to Maxim Iglinskiy after the positive case because he “disappeared”. He considers Maxim’s and Valentin’s Iglinskiy cases as one since they are brothers. The others, from the continental team, are different.
“This guy [Davidenok] is not from our team. Astana has a satellite team of youngsters. It’s a completely different team. I dug up a little info on him because I didn’t even know who he was.”
The 30-year-old Sicilian raced at Okishev’s side in the Tour of Almaty, where they could have talked. Okishev was already on borrowed time since his positive test stemmed from a control on May 29, when he won the Asian Cycling Championships time trial.
“The great things we’re trying to achieve can be jeopardised by a single rider,” Nibali added. “That’s why it’s so upsetting. One mistake can ruin so much. But I believe cycling is the cleanest sport because of all the doping controls.”
The UCI may have the final say when it announces the teams who will race in the first division WorldTour in 2015. An announcement should come as soon as next week.
More on Astana’s doping crisis
Continental Team Astana rider Victor Okishev fails test for anabolic androgenic steroids in May
Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali reacted to the recent doping cases in his Astana team by saying they are “ugly”…
Astana’s place in the WorldTour looks under threat as the UCI ask the Licence Commission to review the team’s management…