Toni Colom has said that he hopes to return to pro racing when his two-year ban for EPO use ends in early June. He has also admitted that his positive test and subsequent ban turned his life upside down, but has, he believes, ended up making him a better person.
Speaking to Meta2Mil, Majorcan rider Colom revealed that he has spent the last two years getting a number of business projects off the ground, and has also been working with young riders in the Balearic Islands, specifically to warn them about the dangers of doping. “My life has been very different, but I’ve never stopped training and doing so with great intensity because cycling is my passion,” said the 32-year-old Spaniard.
As well as working on event organisation in Majorca, Colom has been involved in a business running weddings and also acting as an adviser to people undertaking a whole range of athletic challenges. Asked whether he is an ideal person to work with youngsters coming up through the sport, Colom replied: “I think I’m the best example they can have. I don’t hold back and can tell them exactly what it means to test positive. I can honestly say that I have suffered and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
Colom tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control undertaken in April 2009, soon after he had finished fifth overall at Paris-Nice having won the final stage. He had been targeted for additional controls based on information from his blood profile. He admitted he had spent a good deal trying to clear his name but is now committed to reaching an agreement with the UCI over the size of the fine that he has to pay to be able to compete again.
“It’s incredible how my life has changed. Katusha sent me a contract offering between 600,000-800,000 euros for two years. Five minutes later the UCI sent me an email notifying me of the positive test,” explained Colom.
Colom says that if he does get the chance to return to racing it will be as a new person. “What I have realised is that this positive test destroyed my life but has made me a better person,” he said. “I didn’t realise at the time but when I was riding I was surrounded by a group of arseholes. I’m sure if I’d signed that contract with Katusha I would have gone on a downward spiral of wasting money on stupid luxuries and that even in the best scenario would have been detrimental to me in the end."