Predictions for professional cycling in 2010: the bad news

I was going to go with top 10 at the Tour de France 2009 but that ruled out some of the more interesting stories that could develop this season, notably the question of whether BMC Racing Team can get the big race invites with their roster.

  • At least one doping ring will appear on the radar then sit temptingly on the horizon without ever unloading its cargo fully to the public.

Wada already seems to be wrestling with the finer details of “blood-spinning” or “platelet plasma therapy” but the fact remains that autologous blood doping remains difficult to detect and that there is no ratified test for it at present.

More salient is that the Italian Olympic authorities, Coni, have started to make inroads into the networks in Italy, as evidenced by the case of Gianni Da Ros. As anti-doping bodies gain more judicial powers, it’s only logical that they will be more able to act against doping as a form of fraud.

Following a similar theme…

  • At least one rider with previous direct connection (in the form of ban or other prosecution) to doping will face sanction by a governing body after their name once again crops up in an investigation or as a result of a routine anti-doping control.

It stands to reason that this is likely given the number of riders connected to previous scandals or who have served bans who are riding in the top two tiers of the sport (Protour and Pro Continental teams if we want to be narrow about it).

If you’re the type of person who likes to keep lists as aide memoire then you’ll probably already have scribbled Vinokourov, Kashechkin, Sella and Ricco in your notes as short odds with the bookies given their profile. But beyond them, there’s a mangrove of dubious riders who have either stepped back from the limelight into scenes where controls are less rigorous or been pushed back as far as riding the Gran Fondo circuit.

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