Since Sunday, there has been an inconvenient truth in the peloton. When the fans of the little queen barely pointed their eyes towards the Critérium du Dauphiné, other eyes of the peloton trailed towards the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Porte d’Auteuil. Rafael Nadal had just won a 14th title at Roland-Garros, a historic feat so awaited that the first questions were not so much about the scope of this new victory but about a possible last appearance of the Mallorcan on the clay of the capital city. A hypothesis, and a rumor of an exceptional press conference quickly swept away, before another debate takes place, much more corrosive. Nadal played the “anesthetized” foot, under the effect of injections of anti-inflammatories, the whole fortnight. It did not take less to sting some actors of the bike.
It all started with four words and two emojis. In response to our journalist Laurent Vergne’s Tweet, and the Spaniard’s statements to Eurosport – “It’s better that you don’t know” had replied “Rafa” to Barbara Schett on the number of injections received during the tournament -, Thibaut Pinot placed a first attack. “Today’s heroes” and ellipses tinged with irony.
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The Groupama-FDJ climber, who has already repeatedly spoken out against the use of any medication in cycling, has opened the door and the debate. Placing the words cycling, doping, or even adding Spain to them in the same sentence has given rise to all sorts of reactions, some frankly nauseating, in recent hours. But from these few words from Pinot emerges the ground swell of a latent malaise.
Perhaps the question is not so much whether the taking of these drugs by Rafael Nadal to fight the Müller-Weiss syndrome should be considered doping. Sports physicians around the world have been struggling with this consideration for many years. And above all, beyond whether his right is good or not, Nadal has – until proven otherwise – broken any rule of world tennis.
“What Nadal did would have been impossible on the bike, and I find that normalensures the 14th of the last Giro. If we are sick or injured, we don’t run, we don’t compete, that seems like common sense to me. If a cyclist does the same thing, it’s already forbidden, but even if it weren’t, everyone would fall on him calling him doped because there is such a cultural background, such shots attached to the bike.”
“Is it worth continuing? He gave enough”
The wishful thinking of uniform regulations
The Movement for Credible Cycling – which includes half of the World Tour teams, including Groupama-FDJ and Cofidis – aims to go a little further still with an even more drastic moral code (including a ban on controversial ketones). As Guillaume Martin points out in L’Equipe, the only catch of a “tablet to be better“like paracetamol bothers him. So putting two nerves to sleep with painkillers… Everyone sees their “grey zone” at their doorstep. For some, treatment is already too much. does not improve performance.
To remedy this, there are many theories. The most implacable, on paper at least, would be the establishment of international and undifferentiated regulations depending on the sport. To put on an equal footing all the protagonists of the world of sport, Guillaume Martin “pleads” for that. A wish, a dream even as it seems difficult, if not impossible, to get everyone to agree on a common base. The recent examples of Nadal, Ibrahimovic or even the practices of the major leagues across the Atlantic bear witness to this. The NBA or the NFL set anti-doping regulations with their own players and do not report to the World Anti-Doping Agency or even to the American anti-doping agency, USAda.
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