Krakow - Poland - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)  pictured during Tour de Pologne 2015 stage - 7 from  Krakow - Krakow - ITT - Time Trial Individual - photoIlario Biondi/RB//Cor Vos © 2015
  • donncha

    Meh. Hard to care about any Russian athlete at the moment given the revelations coming out of the country. See today’s New York Times for the latest. Being done for steroids as a teenager doesn’t really inspire confidence that he’s a beacon of cleanliness either.

    • mzungu

      Some carefully chosen and prob well rehearsed words there.. Not “I am a clean rider now”, but “I’m a different rider now”. Not about a lesson learned, but about “forgetting” about it. LOL

      • David9482

        Exactly, so many past dopers always used very carefully selected words when discussing doping. Lance, Barry Bonds, McGwire, Chris Colabello, Jan Ulrich, Alberto Contador, etc.

    • Thanks for the tip off about the NYT article, it’s really interesting! For those who care – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/13/sports/russia-doping-sochi-olympics-2014.html

      • MattHurst

        Fascinating

  • Chuck6421

    In my mind this is worse than mecha-doping. He’s permanently tainted. He’s permanently benefited from medi-doping. Long after the muscle-building effects have worn off and he can be declared “clean”, he can continue as an improved athlete as long as he sustains it.
    As revolting as the idea is of motorizing a racing bicycle is, it’s a gross error in judgement that has no lasting effects.

    This disparity in reactions shows how acceptable medi-doping has become.

    • Mark Blackwell

      I agree… to me mechanical doping is about stupidity and desperation. It’s not as insidious and sneaky as medical doping, mostly because I just don’t see how anyone could expect to get away with it longer term. If Cancellara really did use a motorized bike, someone… a mechanic, a soigneur, a team helper… would eventually tell the tale and he’d be a complete laughing stock (a rich one, no doubt, but still a laughing stock)

    • David9482

      Absolutely, Ilnur Zakarin used heavy steroids during his formative years and he’ll always have the effects in his physiology. I wouldn’t be surprised if his doping during his teenage years has a much stronger long-term effect than if he was clean until he was a full adult and then used for a few years only.

  • claude cat

    I feel uneasy given his background and history. I seriously hope I’m wrong though.

    • David9482

      Even if you are wrong and he’s completely clean right now, he used heavy steroids during his teenage years, and the physiological effect will benefit him for the next 2-decades. Essentially, none of his future performances will be clean because he stacked the deck long before he got to the World Tour!

  • Mark Blackwell

    It must take enormous strength of character to resist the temptation to dope… *years* spent wondering whether those other guys in the bunch are doing something illegal, but still not doing it yourself. I don’t think I’d manage it… this guy hasn’t either. Makes it hard to admire him.

  • JasonM

    This must be rather sh!tting racing against guys like this knowing that research is starting to show there is “huge difference” in the muscles long after the taking of anabolic steroids has stopped compared to those who have never doped.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/athletics/29510575

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p028373p

  • jules

    ridiculous

  • Vanilla_Thrilla

    As well as some favourites to cheer for, it’s always good to have some villains to cheer against. As the last of the previous doping generation near retirement (Valverde, Contador, etc) I guess as another cheating doping Russian athlete this guy will fit the bill as a ‘heel’ for the coming years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heel_(professional_wrestling)

  • David9482

    We’ll see if the Russian dream comes true in Rio – as it stands they won’t be allowed to compete! This is a rider who’s formative years were spent taking heavy ‘roids, and since then he was part of one of the best doping programs in history (which may or may not still be in place)!

    • LaszloZoltan

      the russian “dream” is a nightmare- I hope they will awaken soon

    • Nomad

      And guess who else might miss the party at Rio? Try the Kenyans:

      A reported *41* doping postives since 2011 and allegations of bribery & corruption. (“Kenya faces fresh anti-doping crisis following surprise Wada move.” Dan Roan/BBC Sport Athletics/051216).

      The Russian story has created a lot of “OMG” moments for many people, but this doping problem is happening almost everywhere. And cycling always seems to get the most public scrutiny when doping has been going on right before our eyes with the world’s best distance runners. Aside from the doping postives, Kenya is not part of the ABP, so we have no idea how many of their performances could have been involving blood manupulation.

      Consider this: If a culture of altitude natives born and raised in the Great Rift Valley with a predispostion for distance running feel the need to dope, I don’t think any culture/country is immune from the temptation of using PEDs.

      • Derek Maher

        Hi Nomad the Kenyan athletes have been let off the hook by the Olympic committee. The games apparently cannot afford to ban two top nations despite the best efforts of WADA. Maybe WADA would have won if the NYT had written an article on Kenyan alleged doping practices.

  • Derek Maher

    Looking forward to following IInur Zakarins progress as for his past error well he has served his suspension which ended in 2014 Some 6 years since he was suspended I think his natural talent will see him reach the top.
    Regarding the NYT article. They have written nothing but anti Russian rants either political or sporting for the past 4 years so I have little faith in anything that paper prints.

    • Nomad

      The article I read from the NYT seems to be quoting off the 323 page WADA report of the state-sponsored doping program in Russia. The other major media outlets are also reporting off of the same WADA report.

      The situation at Sochi is like some kind of a spy movie with the KGB impersonating lab engineers, hidden compartments used to exchange samples, threats & coercion, etc. And if you compare Russia’s medal count from Vancouver (15/6th) to Sochi (33/1st), it looks like they literally “stole” the 2014 Winter Olympics…I guess that’s called the 4 year plan to better chemical engineering?

    • David9482

      * Natural ability that was significantly aided through strong steroids during the young man’s development.

      The effects of his youthful steroid use will never go away, therefore we’ll sadly never see his pure natural talent. It really is a shame. This is a fact, and you can’t debate it. I haven’t read the NYT article, so please don’t get this confused with that aspect of your statement.

  • LaszloZoltan

    russian cycling hope or cycling dope ? given the current revelations in the news, it certainly appears to be the latter.

  • winkybiker

    The phenomenon of cheats being allowed to continue in the sport is outrageous. Announce immediately that any positive test will be an automatic and permanent ban from the sport in any capacity. Nothing retrospective, but just set the rules very clearly going forward. Make the consequences of cheating perfectly clear. This isn’t some human rights issue that requires subtlety or nuance. The brand and commercial marketability of pro-cycling has been severely damaged by drug cheats. There is just no reason to allow it to continue. We won’t miss these people. We don’t owe them a job. They can work for a living like the rest of us. There will still be races, racers, winners and heroes. More-so, in fact.

    • StryderHells

      Not only are dopers allowed to continue to make a living out of cycling but are celebrated by the media and fans

      • winkybiker

        Past dopers played to a set of “rules” that need to change. The consequences for cheating need to be raised for the future of the sport.

  • Il_falcone

    Only the usual holier-than-thou guys around here? Go play dream-cycling on your play stations. This is the real thing and it’s run by real people. And those – with the execption of you guys, of course – make mistakes. When they have paid for it they can come back. Those are the rules. You don’t like the rules? Well just go and play dream … or set up your own cleanest of the clean sports cycling league. And because only guys like you will be allowed to take part in you won’t even need doping controls, right?

    • jules

      being cynical about dopers makes you ‘holier-than-thou’?

      I don’t think people are upset he’s back, so much as suspicious he hasn’t changed

      • donncha

        Exactly.

        Sure, he has served his time and therefore has a right to compete. However, I just don’t really care if he does well and refuse to get excited about an “up and coming talent” when he’s a known doper, riding for a team who almost got kicked out of the WT for having too many dopers and from a country that is running a state-sponsored doping program, going so far as to build a shadow anti-doping lab and including the involvement of the KGB! It’s 1970s/80s GDR & USSR all over again.

        It’s not about being “holier-than-thou”, but if this guy is the future of cycling, we’re fucked.

      • Il_falcone

        Yes, that pretty much shows an attitude which I don’t know an even better description for. You call him a doper because he was once convicted for doping. So, you want to be called a liar because you certainly lied at least once?
        Applying double standards is what most of you guys do here and that’s defining for holier-than-thou.

        • jules

          we’re all liars. no, I don’t want to be called a liar though. I’ll bet he doesn’t want to be called a doper.

          but if you are a duck with an identity crisis, it’s in your interests not to waddle around and quack like a duck.

  • Nomad

    Judging by most of the comments here, you would have thought this youngster had just tested positive or that the UCI had opened a passport case against him.

    Zakarin can’t win for losing: If he improves from last year’s 24th in the Giro to say a top 10, top 8, critics will conveniently use his past doping positive against him. If, OTH, he bombs out and doesn’t do so good, critics will say he’s overrated, no GT potential, a future domestique, etc.

    And if Valverde pulls off a Giro win I can’t imagine how skeptical the comments will be.

    • Il_falcone

      I’m certain you can pretty accurately imagine the comments if Valverde wins.
      My motto is always that the best should win, but I have a slight bias for Valverde. Not only because he’s such an accomplished rider who really lives his passion. But also because he still does it despite his age and all the hatred he faces especially in anglosaxian countries. He doesn’t seem to need much exterior encouragement to keep performing on the highest level.

      • jules

        he certainly has not let age slow him down

    • Saeba R.

      Yep. I can’t understand how people can show such obvious bias and not realise? Poor kid. I can’t imagine the choices he faced early in life… Yet we are all very forgiving to many of the westerners who were done in the past…

  • J Evans

    For once, it would be nice to read a rider who has cheated say ‘Yes, I cheated, here’s how it happened’. Give the full story and the questions might – might – stop. Obfuscate and they won’t.

    • StryderHells

      Danilo Di Luca! He explained how he cheated and is also proud of it

      • David9482

        Would be good to see a current athlete repent and also explain to the public what happened. Would add a lot to their credibility moving forward.

  • Derek Maher

    Excellent chance of IInur taking the pink jersey in tomorrows Giro stage TT. Looking forward to that hilly battle against the clock.

  • campirecord

    You are not going to Rio kiddo…

    • Dave

      My hope is that nobody will be going to Rio.

      As bad as the Russian doping program is for sport, it’s nothing compared to the organisation of the Rio Olympics. If the games must go ahead, the sports must be dispersed to different venues around the world.

      This model should then be formally adopted for all future iterations of the Olympics – the whole concept will be much more sustainable and less beholden to corporate interests if the ‘host city’ would just have a handful of the sports (always the marathon, plus another 3-4 sports which can be contested at existing venues) and the medal ceremonies for the placegetters in the other events held around the world.

      • campirecord

        Agreed

  • parmijo

    Ilnur is a very good rider but has horrible bike handling as seen in the Stage 9 time trial. His upper body is moving all over the place. He wiggles and wobbles all the time. His lines through corners are not smooth. But we also see him wobbling when just climbing. Maybe he can improve his bike handling skills.

  • Lperdido

    Tends to suck wheels… don’t like his racing style one bit

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