26 Apr April 26, 2010 by studio55 in News Standing 10k from the finish at last years World Championships, when I saw Vino come round the corner first, my heart deflated a little. Yes, he has served his ban, and with the current system, is fully deserving of a chance at victory. But like the supporters who ‘Booed’ him coming across the line as he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, it is hard to forget the blood doping headlines of the 2007 Tour de France, overshadowing worthy athletes performances. He is currently being held up to scorn, mainly because he was such a high profile rider at the time of his drug ban and people automatically, understandably remember the harm he did to our sports reputation. The key to the out poring of opinion against Vinokourov is the simple parallel: The higher the profile the rider caught doping – the greater the damage to the sport. If Manuel Vazquez Hueso, Caja sur (who was suspended today for taking EPO) ever return to the peloton- I doubt the ‘boos’ will be as loud. Still the big question: Should all crime be permitted to return to the sport? Life bans or a punishment to suit the crime? One factor that has totally been overlooked and Bike Pure believe should be a factor in both determining the length of ban and the permission to return – is the beneficial performance factors from prolonged use of drugs. For example, the use of EPO gives a rider the proven ability to train harder, for longer and quicken recovery. If training/racing is done also with an anabolic agent, this will also artificially build, advantageous lean, muscle mass. Even after a period of non drug use where the ‘hemo’ levels return to normal and the bodies natural hormone levels are restored: the doper’s body is left with muscles that are trained to work harder, for longer. Initial research has hypothesised that only a forced period of total inactivity would see these artificial gains reduced. It was common in the past, before out of competition testing, (and currently in countries where OCT is rare or avoidable) for riders to undertake a block of training, using drugs to improve performance and then return to competition with the drug trace dissipated, but the performance improvement retained. More investigation needs to be established to provide definitive, retained benefits/against timeline for diverse drugs, for our sport to have total fairness restored throughout the peloton.