January 11, 2013
It had to happen – enduro gets its very own, Fisher Price-style, ‘my first doping scandal’.
It concerns an unnamed, French-licensed rider who tested positive for prohibited masking agent hydrochlorothiazide during the Megavalanche on Reunion Island in November 2011. The rider received a six-month suspension effective from 20th September 2012, so will be free to race again as of 20th March this year.
So a short ban which neatly ends just as the new season begins, for a rider who maintains their anonymity? Seems rather lenient to us but nothing about it is particularly surprising, either – with the bike industry’s hopes pinned on enduro as the saviour of racing (whether or not it actually needed rescuing in the first place), it was inevitable that doping would appear here, too. After all, even the brightest newest thing isn’t going to stay bright and new for very long when podium placings and sponsorship dollars are still the end game.
As your mum said when you got caught smoking outside the sixth form common room – we’re not angry, we’re just disappointed…