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Di Luca: 90 per cent of riders in Giro d'Italia were doping

By:
Cycling News
Published:
January 21, 21:15,
Updated:
January 21, 20:11
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Danilo Di Luca was a late addition to the Vini Fantini team

Danilo Di Luca was a late addition to the Vini Fantini team

  • Danilo Di Luca was a late addition to the Vini Fantini team
  • Danilo Di Luca attended in the event
  • Danilo Di Luca wins in 2005

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Italian gives revealing interview

Six weeks on from being banned for life from sport, Italian Danilo Di Luca has given a revealing interview, to be aired Wednesday on Italia 1 television.

In the interview, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Di Luca states that 90 per cent of the 200 riders in the Giro d'Italia were doping, and that if 10 per cent are not, "that 10 percent don't care about the Giro d'Italia, they are preparing for other races and therefore not doping."

"It's impossible to finish in the top 10 in the Giro d'Italia and not dope."

The 38-year-old has twice served suspensions for doping: first as the result of the "Oil for Drugs" investigation, for which he received a three-month ban in 2007. Shortly after returning, Di Luca's urine samples at the 2007 Giro d'Italia turned up suspiciously absent of any hormones, leading to suspicions that he was using a substance to break down any traces of drugs in his urine.

He then tested positive for EPO CERA in 2009, after which he served a reduced 15-month suspension after cooperating with authorities.

Upon testing positive for EPO again ahead of the 2013 Giro d'Italia, he was sacked by Vini Fantini, and then in December given a lifetime expulsion from the sport for his offences.

Not surprisingly, Di Luca said, "The best thing would be to legalize drugs so the entire peloton is on a level playing field."

Di Luca, showing little remorse or regret for his actions, revealed that he first learned about doping when he was an amateur. "I was always a champion, and won often. Then, when I left the amateur ranks, riders who had raced with me a month before were a month later stronger than me."

He said that riders used to discuss doping openly, but due to recent scandals, there is much more secrecy. Riders are given advice from doctors, but must source their own doping products, unlike the days of team-sanctioned doping such as that at Festina or the US Postal Service team in the late 1990s.

wrinklyvet 7 months ago
He's now outside the tent, p i s s i ng in. But how much is he to be trusted?
wrinklyvet 7 months ago
(Lyndon B. Johnson)
jabike 7 months ago
Baseball said the same thing about Jose Canseco, who ended up for the most part was telling the truth about steroids in baseball. I'm not saying one should draw that comparison, just that's it's similar.
wrinklyvet 7 months ago
To be fair, though you may deduce what I may think, I haven't answered my question. It's a general question to be considered whatever your own beliefs on the pro cycling scene may be. Different people may reach different conclusions. If Di Luca wants to be believed he must produce credible evidence, chapter and verse, about what he knows and how and against whom. If he can't do any of these thinks his remarks are valueless and his motives are always to be weighed in the equation. The other alleged 10% who he is kind enough to pass as clean in this race won't thank him for this sweeping generalisation. He says they are not doing it only because they don't care about this race and implies they will do it for others. Basically he accuses every last one of doping. Every last one. There has to be an element of exaggeration. How large? I'm sorry people don't like my borrowing from Lyndon B. Johnson's saying, which has become a cliché. Actually I don't think they (who so far have thumbed it down) want to look with care at this pronouncement by Di Luca, which they prefer to accept without question as it conforms with their own preferred position. "But how much is he to be trusted?" is a legitimate query, surely.
wrinklyvet 7 months ago
Para 3 should read, "If he can't do any of these things.." Ooops
elapid 7 months ago
Probably as much as any other doper ... Landis and Hamilton immediately spring to mind, as do the plethora of other dopers who testified in USADA's reasoned decision against Armstrong. Can Landis and Hamilton not be trusted because they doped during their cycling career? On the contrary, by speaking out, these guys have done more than anyone else, certainly the UCI and the anti-doping authorities, in raising awareness of about doping in the peloton and hopefully being more able to combat doping now and in the future. It's early days for Di Luca - hopefully he will talk to CONI and reveal more specifics to support his general statements.
wrinklyvet 7 months ago
I agree with you that that's what he needs to do. I suppose he wanted his blaze of publicity first.
PJK1972 7 months ago
yep I expect a book out soon!
sbroaddus 7 months ago
to say that Landis and Hamilton have done more to raise awareness about doping than the anti-doping authorities is a bit of a stretch, no?! if it weren't for the anti-doping authorities those two would've never been caught in the first place.... it's not like they voluntarily confessed to doping!
Snitor 7 months ago
Well, Landis did. Anyway, they did not get to ride again, so the agencies were just the vehicle for the information, as were the interviews and books.
elapid 7 months ago
No, I don't think it is a stretch. The doping authorities will always be behind the athletes, so the antidoping authorities are almost always reacting rather than being proactive or preventative. The EPO test only came out in 2004 after more than a decade of rampant cheating; a test for HGH only came out last year and it still has a very small time frame in which HGH can be tested; and there is no test for autogenous blood transfusions yet. Where the likes of Landis and Hamilton have raised awareness is not doping within the peloton in general, but what doping products are being used, when they are being used, how they are being used, and how athletes are escaping detection. If more athletes speak out about these practices, then this raises awareness for the antidoping authorities about how to better identify dopers.
jabike 7 months ago
As he doesn't define appear to define doping he could be referring to not just what's on the banned list but what's not. Having said that, there is incredible freedom in not being credible. He can say what he wants, what he knows, even if he can't prove it. There are no repercussions. This is similar to how Canseco started, he made a brash statement about steroid use while he was a user (still is) which ultimately led to much better and more rigourous testing in MLB.
climb4fun 7 months ago
Exactly jabike. How many use inhalers?
maplethedog 7 months ago
Lyndon Baines Johnson was the worst president ever...ever!
Lance, remember Bassons? 7 months ago
Surely Nixon has a shout to that?
Tangled Tango 7 months ago
I'd propose that Bush junior has those two beat by a landslide.
climb4fun 7 months ago
Equal rights.Huh. Some of us are certainly more equal than the rest. Reagan must be near the top of that list. There must be a special list for Dubyuh.
runninboy 7 months ago
anyone who believes Reagan was not a good president either has a bad memory or was not alive during his term. Carter was probably the worst president ever. The Olympic boycott was stupid but even more ridiculous was his grain embargo which devastated the rural economy in the US. Even when the American farmer was declaring bankruptcy, Carter persisted with his ego driven policy. He ignored the fact that we were selling grain for pennies on the dollar to countries that resold it to Russia at a huge profit. Reagan saved what was left of the US farmer and farmland with soil conservation and better policy. If Carter was president you would be getting all your food from China. Check out the misery index Carter was over 16. that is twice as bad as Bush and the worst ever. Obama is only at 10. Reagan turned that around and brought it down to 12. I can't believe someone would say Reagan was bad, smh...
perfessor 7 months ago
"I can't believe someone would say Reagan was bad," I was born 1953...he was terrible.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich competed in all those TDFs and never failed a drug test and then you consider all the guys who DID get caught, it was a "who's who" of the rest of the top riders. While I doubt EVERYONE doped, with the evidence that is now available, it's far more plausible that it's closer to 90% than ZERO. It's part of the culture and while I'm not a "lance apologist," I am more resolute than ever that he should be treated no worse than all the other guys who doped in their racing careers. Di Luca got nailed two previous times and kept shoving that needle in his arm and getting back on his bike. It would be one thing if he had never got caught and thought he was invincible, but he got caught... got caught AGAIN... and knowing they would be watching him more than others, kept on doing it. That speaks as much about the cycling culture and the belief that you can't win without dope as his stupidity.
cantpedal 7 months ago
except Jose fully confessed his own PED use.
jabike 7 months ago
True, I think he more bragged about it then confessed though. Ha. Di Luca has essentially confessed as well. Again not mirrors of each other, just very similar.
Stalky 7 months ago
It's a fair question. I'd like to hear more proof from him though. More meat. Let's have it.
Jester 7 months ago
The issue at this point is the psychology of the sport. Di Luca dopes. Di Luca doesn't win a race - assumes all in front of him must also dope. I don't dope, and I beat Di Luca. I have no chance to win that battle and neither does the sport. Enough people that aren't winning are doping, which simply continues the process - others ahead of them "must be dopers", because no way they can win without the additional help (in the minds of the dopers). The sport is in a do-loop, and will not change unless a radical shift in policy occurs (allow some amount of EPO in the blood to even the playing field, change the sport to a true team-based sport, etc).
elapid 7 months ago
EPO will not level the playing field. Take two riders, one with a normal hematocrit of 35% and another with a normal hematocrit of 40%. They both take EPO to boost their hematocrit to 50%. The first rider has a 30% increase in his hematocrit, and hence his oxygen-carrying capacity, while the second rider only has a 20% increase in his hematocrit. This is why arguments that all dopers were competing on a level playing field are incorrect. Then you introduce other variables such as a neo pro not being able to afford EPO or a doctor while the likes of Armstrong were able to afford $100K+ a year for a sophisticated doping program. Doping will never be a level playing field with the type of products that are available and the difference in what riders are paid and are able to afford.
Jamie Taylor 7 months ago
Spot on. Some people have a naturally high Hematocrit. Therefore any drug taking would have only a minor effect, but someone with a lower Hematocrit could have massive increase in performace.Allowing doping does not level the playing field at all. The only way the field is level is no doping in sport....
HeadPack 7 months ago
How do hematocrit levels of non-dopers affect their performance? Couldn't it be someone with naturally higher levels performs better? If so, 50% in one person would equal 50% in another as regards endurance.
Jester 7 months ago
I don't disagree, @Elapid. I believe they need a radical shift in the sport though, as "prohibition" is not working, didn't work 20 years ago, didn't work 50 years ago, won't work 50 years from today. Maybe the better approach is to simply make Pro biking a TRUE team sport, takes the emphasis and thus the need for doping off of the individual. You still get to cheer for your favorite rider, but it's team Sky or BMC that you have to pull for as no one individual "wins".
boombastic 7 months ago
there is no reason why whe should not trust in his statement, especially after latest scamndal in norwegian anti doping agency. "Have we all fallen for The Great Doping Bluff in the war against drugs cheats?"-google it
Chrono 7 months ago
There is every reason you should not trust him, as he's obviously an unrepentant cheat after getting a lifetime ban with plenty motivation to try to make out he's done nothing wrong. As to whether doping is that prevalent - well that's another question, but as to whether DiLuca is a trustworthy man . . . emm, I'd say that's very, very easy to answer, & the answer is No. "The best thing would be to legalize drugs so the entire peloton is on a level playing field." No Danilo, the best thing would be people like you get lost.
boombastic 7 months ago
i agree with you that the best thing is to say get lost to dopers, but still i think that he is right about the extent of doping in modern cycling. he said exactly what the norwegian anti-doping boss has said. the doping is everywhere and everyone just pretend to fight with it.
Chrono 7 months ago
Tobh personally if I agreed with DiLuca that 100% of cyclists are dopers, then I wouldn't be paying any attention to such sport. I'd have no interest in watching in the slightest. And for that reason I quit any interest in pro-cycling for a decade or more until last season - not that this means I returned to a credible sport, but one I hope has improved ery significantly. If I come to believe as you do that every single cyclist is a doper, then I'll fill my life with other things.
The Chicken 7 months ago
Chrono, mate, I think you should fill your life with other things.
Chrono 7 months ago
The Chicken, I've no problem doing that. Find it pretty pathetic though of people content to spend their time interested in a sport they believe is absolutely corrupted. Is there really so little else to do in life?
FrogMan 7 months ago
who cares if someone is taking drugs? cycling is pedaling a bike, that's it
sbroaddus 7 months ago
I'm with you Chrono, cycling is certainly getting cleaner, and the know-it-all cynics that keep telling us everyone dopes do the sport absolutely no good whatsoever. The "everyone dopes" crowd hopefully has zero influence on any up and coming young cyclists, because it is that kind of attitude that convinces people that they need to dope to keep up.
boombastic 7 months ago
which de facto means that you should keep yourself away from all sport disciples. every single one is infected to the bone. cycling is not worse nor better. you have utmost right to not trust di luca, but not trusting mads drange is quite different story. he is the credible person who knows what's going on behind curtains.
Taxus4a 7 months ago
Why should we believe a cheater talking about another people? He is more likely liying that telling the truth for that reason, butr anyway O know he is lying.
boombastic 7 months ago
remember hamilton? he was a cheater too
WilGirod'Italia 7 months ago
Chrono, what has happened in cycling recently which has made you change your mind about cycling compared to the previous 10 years? I think doping has always been in cycling, as in many other sports. And it will always be.
runninboy 7 months ago
Doping does not have to be in cycling. If they introduced post testing and made it financially dangerous to dope it would disappear. If there is a 99 percent chance of getting caught and you have to payback not only all the money you made but more and lose your livlihood that would put a stop to it. Imagine you are an upcoming rider, you are quite confident and talented. You think you have a good chance of doing well, but know if you dope you might win, but you will most certainly be caught and lose everything you own and be kicked out of the sport. You would most certainly take your chances without drugs.
climb4fun 7 months ago
Sadly, runninboy - money ain't everything. They dope on the Tuesday evening hammerfest and there aren't even socks up for grabs. Weakminded egotistical narcissists with no self esteem define winning in their own way.
PCM Geek 7 months ago
I agree with Di Luca too. He's telling the truth like it is and like everybody suspects. You don't fly up the side of a mountain like these guys do without something extra in the tank. It's humanly impossible to keep doing that day after day for 3 weeks at a time. So let them all dope if they want to, make it legal then this crazy doping argument can finally end once and for all. Its the same with the so called "war on drugs" the US and most other countries are waging. That war was lost before it ever began and so is this war on dope in cycling and other sports.
Max Headwind 7 months ago
Nothing can justify doping in any era if even one rider was trying to win clean! And even if every one was doping, who was taking better or more drugs? I think people are finally starting to realize that Lance did not have the character or physical make up of a champion and yet still won/stole 7 TDF. Greg LeMond describes Lance as "Not even a top thirty rider". So clearly even if everyone dopes it is never a level playing field, it is a science where money and risk determine the level of your advantage. Lance gave himself Cancer. And of all the guys that came forward which ones left the sport happy. The sport is littered with personal tragedies showing with doping there simply are no winners in the long run. It's time to amend the rule with crushing financial penalties and retesting going on for decades. So dopers know sooner or later the constantly improving knowledge and testing will catch them and they will lose everything. But as long as an athlete can be convicted of cheating his entire career and still walk away with countless millions we will continue to see riders test the limits of current testing.
Chrono 7 months ago
Too right on the penalties. Rather than a self-justifying amoral cheat like DiLuca getting media airtime & probably having plenty in the bank, by now in world sport things should have changed to the point this is a serious criminal offence for fraud & DiLuca is facing the real likelihood of jail.
runninboy 7 months ago
exactly right!. People forget talented riders have alot of confidence as young men. You figure no one can stop you, but it is the dopers that make you doubt, If the penalty is crushing ,say, loss of all salary, sponsorship, as well as punitive damages and banned for life, AND combine that with holding of samples for ten years post testing, no young rider would dare dope. Put it this way, if you are a young successful rider getting results, would you dope to get on the podium when you know those ahead of you who are cheating will definitely be caught? And if you yourself dope, you will lose all you own and have no way to make a living? Penalize hard enough, allow post testing and doping will succumb to the talented riders.
maxmartin 7 months ago
We need more people to tell the truth, if we really want to clean the sports. Riding as fast as if not faster than LA, while claiming the sport is much cleaner than before. It is just disgusting.
Taxus4a 7 months ago
it is this the truth?? I know it is not. Pur the truth in a best position to him? NO, so, he lies for something.
TheBean 7 months ago
One can choose to be disgusted by these facts, or find them humorous.
TheCycleSeen 7 months ago
He hasn't told any truth. He's thrown out a few numbers with absolutely nothing to back it up with. 90% of the people commenting on this article are criminals. I've no evidence of that, but it's true I tell ya.
GreaseMonster 7 months ago
Okay let's say he's telling the truth, out of everyone that was doping (90% of the field according to him) he and his team mate were the only idiots to get caught, what does that say about them?
maxmartin 7 months ago
they hired a bad doctor, should spend big bucks to hire Leinders lol
kevinzamora 7 months ago
That applying enough drug to be comptetitive and yet not get caught is a very delicate matter with a high risk of messing up? Look at the races' parcours, the speeds these guys average, the way they climb, and be realistic... As long as we keep this format which demands super human efforts and the presure on the victory stays so big no GTs will be won cleanly...
GuyIncognito 7 months ago
'I was always a champion'. Sure you were. Aldo Sassi said it best. Basso is a natural engine on drugs, Di Luca is just on drugs.
Chromking 7 months ago
He should tell anything he knows before it's too late. No more postponements, please.
TheBean 7 months ago
Most dopers aren't tattlers. LA was such a jerk that others overcame their hesitation and ratted him out. DiLuca stands nothing to gain by naming names.
durgadas 7 months ago
Always hard to know how to take this. What he says could be true, and the implication of that was that he just isn't very good at doping and keeping it quiet. It could be that he's a narcissist (he's Italian, so a successful Italian cyclist is like a demi-god in Italy, so that's likely), like other successful cyclists- or is he a storm crow? Nice words GuyIncognito- nice quote.
Taxus4a 7 months ago
He is a narcisist that dont want or dont believe most of cyclist now dont dope. He just want to say he is not differente, but yes, he is... and It is very bad for cycling that Yellow fluo is on the Giro despite clean teams as MTN Qubeka. I know a lot of clean riders, they will answer him.
Diogo Santos 7 months ago
I believe hes telling the truth. I think that presently the majority of cyclists still dope. The problem about the whole argument of legalizing certain doping substances is the following: (i) theres a danger to the cyclist's health, (ii) it doesnt generate a leveled playing field, since difference individuals react differently to different drugs and because not everyone has the same access to the same drugs, (iii) even if it created a leveled playing field, still there would be cyclists who would use other drgus which were more efficient, since initially there is a leveled playing field if all cyclists were clean. Thus, in conclusion anyway you put it doping is cheating, even if everybody is doing it.
elapid 7 months ago
+1. Like Landis and Hamilton before him, I think he is telling the truth because it makes more sense than the opposite. I definitely agree with (ii). This is the ultimate fallacy of LA's (and Di Luca's) argument regarding doping - there is no level playing field. What riders are able to afford (doctors and drugs) and their individual response to certain drugs, especially either EPO and/or blood transfusions, there is no possibility of a level playing field, even more so when doping is done on systematically team-wide compared to an individual rider doping.
Matic Robic 7 months ago
If we look at it your way, there is also no level playing field if none of them were dopers, why? As do certain riders respond differently to EPO they also respond differently to training and have a different level of maximum possible performance (all predefined by genetics). There would never be a level playing field.
Chrono 7 months ago
It's a contradiction to say you believe he's telling the truth &in that the majority of cyclists are doping. He says 100% of them are doping - the only reason they're not doping in one race is they're in training to win another one later. For him to be telling the truth means every single pro-cyclist is a doper. If otoh you find this a ridiculous generalisation & disagree with it, then you think he's lying, or very free and easy with 'truth'..
Snitor 7 months ago
He said the ones riding the Giro. Maybe Diogo was not talking about WT level.
Diogo Santos 7 months ago
Majority of cyclists and 90% of cyclists in the Giro, or even in worldwide level doesnt seem a contradiction. Did you prefer I said almost every cyclist? I believe that too.
TheCycleSeen 7 months ago
If you believe that the majority still dope then there isn't a level playing field anyway. And if you believe the majority STILL dope after everything the sport has put you through, why are you still watching it?
Diogo Santos 7 months ago
Because I enjoy the sport and the effort that the athletes put into it, and because of what it fundamentally means, that you can overcome your own limits. Thats doesnt change by the fact that the cyclists are doping.
Diogo Santos 7 months ago
Just to add, my comment only states that I refuse to believe in the illusion that nowadays the sport is clean.
leftbehind 7 months ago
He's a bit contradictory. He states 90% of the riders were doping, but then says that riders are no longer openly talking about doping. If they aren't talking about it, how would he know how many riders are doping? Also, his statement that it is impossible to finish in the top 10 without doping is rather ridiculous. If none of the riders were doping, there would be 10 non-doping riders in the top 10.
Alpe73 7 months ago
"If none of the riders were doping, there would be 10 non-doping riders in the top 10." Google "Athlete's Dilemma: Economist"
BoneheadForHeros 7 months ago
D is telling the truth + or - 10% is only an approximation.
wrinklyvet 7 months ago
I think "that 10 percent don't care about the Giro d'Italia, they are preparing for other races and therefore not doping" means they will do it some other time. You can move the percentages up and down but he actually accuses 100% of doping in either this race or another.
KatoMiler 7 months ago
"When u got nothin', u got nothin' to lose." Bob Dylan. A la Tyler Hamilton… a la David Millar… The real truth is just starting to come out…..
climb4fun 7 months ago
Yes BFH I believe he was being generous.