Amateur New York Racers Caught Doping–Again

By Jen Benepe, August 3, 2012

The NY Times ran a story about two amateur riders who won their age categories in this year’s New York Gran Fondo who tested positive for banned substances.

David Anthony, 45, of New York and Gabriele Guarini, 50, of Italy recorded positive tests after winning their respective age groups at the Gran Fondo, a 100-mile race between Manhattan and Bear Mountain.

Both riders have been stripped of their wins. Gran Fondo organizer Uli Fluhme reacted with surprise. David Walsh, a writer who implicated but never presented evidence that Lance Armstrong doped for years in his book “From Lance to Landis,”, made a convincing case that cheating with banned substances is almost a cultural institution in Italy.

And so it seems it might be also in New York.

Anthony, 45, admitted the use of synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) after testing positive as the result of a sample collected on May 20, 2012 after the Gran Fondo was completed.

The use of EPO is prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic Movement Testing and the International Cycling Union (UCI) Anti-Doping Rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List, said the US Anti Doping Agency in a statement.

Anthony’s two-year period of ineligibility, began on July 9, 2012 the date he accepted a provisional suspension.

“We know that the win-at-all-costs culture in sport today creates an environment where the temptation to cheat affects all levels of competition, said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “We appreciate Mr. Anthony being honest and accepting responsibility for his actions.”

Team leader of the BH-Comedy amateur team, Andy Shen kicked Anthony off the team, and commented that other riders who saw his performance “weren’t surprised,” that he had used banned substances.

Although the NY Times article gives us the distinct impression it is the first time that New York based amateurs have been caught for doping, it isn’t. It’s just the first time that the NY Times is paying any attention to it.

Actually this kind of low-level, “huh?” doping has been going on for a long time–as long as we can remember being part of privy to the New York racing scene.

Why it was 5 years ago that Jared Bunde was kicked off the Mengoni Team for allegedly doping–caught because of the amount of women’s fertility drugs in his system, drugs that are often used to mask more important performance enhancers.

A pall was cast over the scene then, but it doesn’t seem to have helped much in cleaning out the ranks.

Notably, many other riders in the past 10 years–their names will go unrepeated here–have lost their entire winnings in amateur races due to testing positive for banned drugs.

One reader on the NY Velocity site with the tag “Keano Saddlesore” wrote a mini list of names–which we can say for sure is incomplete, just to give you an  idea of who’s been caught (forget about who’s doing it–we’re talking about testing positive:)

Bunde, Lisban, Papp, Floyd, etc. I never knew what it was like to be young, fast, talented. I was never good enough to need the extra 5 to 10% through drugs.

Just for those who don’t know, that’s Jared Bunde (GS Mengoni), Lisban Quintero (Foundation) and Joe Papp.  Papp was accused of distributing banned substances made in China through the Internet, and many of those allegedly made their way to New York based amateur teams.

And that is not the whole list. According to some on the NY Velocity site, Bunde and Quintero made off easy and their teams were not vilified. But Bh Comedy has been trashed as if there were no tomorrow. Among the other trash talk,  “Downtube” wrote:

DA is the biggest asshole, pussyface around
Mr. Shen seems to hold double standards, but has managed the crisis with some dignity
NYC amateur racing appears to be a big, over-financed joke (with all the type-A, business dicks playing their ego-fueled, little monopoly on wheels)
Some folks are out of bounds on this site (oddly enough, business-types)
BH-Comedy Central will never live this down (Foundation Mengoni appear to get a free pass)

Despite all the talk, on the site that serves mostly as a local bashing board for cyclists in the 600-member plus Century Road Racing Club, one of the oldest and largest racing clubs in the United States, the culture of doping doesn’t seem to be waning much with this latest news.

Among other topics, some club members vilified David Sommerville, who rides for his own team, for contacting USA Cycling to discover the results of David Anthony’s tests. Despite the rancor he engendered by learning–then leaking the information to other club members before the BH Comedy Team had to deal with it, he acted like a journalist pursuing a lead.

But the news didn’t fit well with some members who seem to be supporting a double standard.

Wrote Mehdi on NY Velocity in response to the news about Anthony,

“A Pro doping = unethical
A Cat 4 doping = pathological (+ unethical)

At least a pro has actual reasons to dope: win bonuses, better team/contract next year, etc.”

Really?  So it’s okay for a pro but not for an amateur? Sorry, but we actually see it the other way around. An amateur gets little or nothing for their wins, and simply risks their own life–cancer–health complications–for small glory.

Whereas a pro gets cold, hard cash, lucrative contracts in some cases, worldwide recognition, and above all, more money than most of us can make in a lifetime.

We also see the doping and continuous lying by the likes of pros Floyd Landis, pathological in the extreme.

Still what we find most disturbing about this entire thing are all the comments by fellow riders of Anthony, half of whom could also be doping.

But under cover–and never on the winner’s podium, you would never know that.

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