Marta Bastianelli steroidsAnother rider tested positive for performance-enhancing drug. That’s nothing new. In fact, that does not constitute news in the world of cycling. Now, if that’s another way around – a rider winning a tournament without using performance boosters – that would be an eye-popping news.

From the Virgin Media:

World road race champion Marta Bastianelli has failed a doping test, the Italian cycling federation confirmed on Monday.

The Italian rider tested positive for illegal stimulant flenfluramine following a drug test on July 5 at the European under-23 championship in Verbania.

The sample will now be sent for a counter-analysis.

It is expected Bastianelli will be replaced for the Olympic Games.

Gianni Petrucci, president of  the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) was damning of Bastianelli, saying she had “betrayed” her colleagues.

Betrayed? We think that’s such a strong word to use. You see, cycling and performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids and erythropoietin (EPO), are inseparable tandem. Remember the Festina Affair?

The Festina Affair took place in Tour de France 1998 in Ireland where a string of investigations and reluctant confessions exposed a systematic and massive doping activity by those high-paid professional cyclists. It is so called because it started from the discovery of cache of doping paraphernalia in a vehicle belonging to the Festina team then snowballed to other participating teams. Investigators found several hundred grams of anabolic steroids, EPO, syringes – you name it, the Festina Team got it.

The Festina Affair gave birth to the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Big Brother of the doping world.  That’s why now John Fahey fulfils a crusading role internationally rather an obscure government post in Australia. And that’s why now competitive athletes blame Bruno Roussel, et al., for the inception of WADA – the bane of their profession.

“If the analysis is confirmed we will be inflexible. Marta Bastianelli has betrayed CONI, the federation and the world of cycling,” he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“We will also have to weigh up the eventual damage to the image of Italian sport, seeing as she had already signed the contract all Azzurri athletes heading to Beijing had to sign.”

The president of the Italian cycling federation, Renato Di Rocco, was less harsh in his view of the outcome, and revealed the federation would request more tests.

“She has been incredibly naive,” said Di Rocco. “She has tested positive for flenfluramine, which is a component in diet products. She only eats salad.

“Now we will immediately call for a counter-analysis. But the problem is not only the Olympics, which she as world champion was obviously due to take part in. The problem is for her image and for that of cycling.”

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