Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Great, but Sad Quote: Botero

From VeloNews:

...His career was cut short when his name was linked by Spanish media to the Puerto blood doping ring. Botero denied the allegations and he was later cleared following a probe by the Colombian cycling federation in late 2006, but he could never returned with a major European team.

“I was in the best moment of my career. I left with this regret. I didn’t even want to look for a team. I don’t know if I could have found a team, because I didn’t even look,” he said. “My best years were at Kelme. In Telekom I had a health problem due to a biopsy they did on my liver, which left with me a big hematoma that was slow to be absorbed.

I started to feel better at Phonak, above all at the Olympic Games in Athens. From June 2006 to February 2007, I couldn’t race because of Operación Puerto. After that, I’ve continued in Colombia. This all [cycling] ends, just like everything in life.


  1. Ahhhh, yes....good ol' Team Phonak. Poor Botero. I'm sure he was framed just like his teammates Tyler and Floyd. ;)

  2. Whooaaaaaa. Botero never tested positive for ANYTHING and he was CLEARED by the Colombian Cycling Federation for suspected involvement in Puerto. So he was never found guilty of anything to which he would have had to have responded by claiming a frame-up...

  3. Correct, as Joe stated he was cleared by the Cycling Federation. I really don't usually care about this subject too much, so I can only go by the facts. We can all speculate all we want, but that won't change matters. That's what happened, he was fully cleared. As far as Phonak being involved due to your mention of other riders, that would imply that Team BMC (which I believe has a lot of the same management) will have some problems. Allen Lim also involved then? It can go on and on. I'm not saying that just because someone is not found guilty of something, that perhaps he/she didn't do something wrong...but this is well in the realm of speculation, gossip and the world of make-belief. We simply don't know. Valverde's links are rather obvious, yet he continues to race. I know these issues are copmlicated and the shades of gray seem to go on and on forever. But Botero's case seems a bit more clear cut. Speculation can be fun I supppose, but I'd rather stick with what I know (some may say I'm burrying my head in the sand.) He was cleared, he's now retiring and he gave Colombia amazing victories. Botero will be missed.

  4. Correction: Botero has tested positive for high levels of testosterone back in the 90's. As you may or may not know, most 3rd world countries cycling federations protect their riders and don't crucify them like the US.
    I know riders who have won world championships who have tested positive and no one has heard anything about it.

  5. Denied. Quoting old

    "Botero cleared

    The suspicions that cyclist Santiago Botero was on the juice have been allayed by Spanish Doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes, who demonstrated that the rider’s high testosterone levels are natural in origin (horses are natural, aren't they?). The Colombian Cycling Federation accepted Dr. Fuentes’ explanation.

    Botero had been placed in a compromising position when four tests showed his testosterone level to be more than 6 nanograms, the maximum level for normal people. The levels detected in Botero were: 17, 28, 29 and 27(!) Due to these results, his team, Kelme-Costa Blanca, left him out of la Vuelta a España as a preventive measure and his case went to the Colombian Federation."

    [This is JP again] Hey - I'm not saying he didn't do it, but that's what the Colombian Cycling Federation said (that he didn't do it). So no Positive for Santi Botero. Viva Colombia! (And who would have known, reading that news blurb in 1999, just how famous Fuentes would become?!)

  6. Well, although he was later cleared (with the help of Fuentes of all people!!), the fact remains that he TESTED POSITIVE. The idea that the Colombian Cycling Federation embraced Fuentes' mumbo-jumbo is hardly surprising. What is surprising is that, given what we now know about Fuentes, anybody could resist laughing at the obvious conflict of interest in this case. Don't forget--Fuentes customers include cheaters like Ullrich, Basso, Jaksche, Hamilton, Scarponi, Heras, Bartoli, and countless others. Of course, it's possible that these riders only sought out Fuentes for advice and legal supplements...just like it's possible that men only visit brothels for a backrub. ;)

  7. Liggett, I dunno if you're a Botero-hater or what, but I'll keep defending him for as long as you keep knocking him. Even if he was guilty, he still beat the rap - just like Lance Armstrong did when he tested positive for corticoids and then mysteriously produced a back-dated TUE. No sanction.

    Guilt by association is an understandable declaration and you're entitled to that if you want. The same could go for Contador and everyone else supposedly linked to Fuentes. B/c in the absence of a confirmed positive dope test that was upheld by the rider's federation, a link to Fuentes is all you got ;-) As a friend said, "again we're in the land of speculation at the cost of someone's reputation."

    As a point of clarification, I define "testing positive" as returning a urine sample w/ both A and B tests (+) for some banned substance; or a blood test revealing the same and upheld by a governing body - be it UCI, CAS, USADA, USA Cycling or the Colombian Cycling Federation. Maybe you're simply saying that to have "TESTED POSITIVE" Botero only needed to be suspected of testosterone doping - even though he was cleared of that charge and his doctor purported to show that SB's testosterone was naturally elevated. Semantics? I dunno.

    Because if I was describing the situation in writing, I would never put in print the statement "Santiago Botero tested positive for doping with testosterone." I would say that "Santiago Botero was suspected of having committed a doping violation after controls revealed on four occasions that his testosterone was at a level considered to be indicative of doping. However, subsequent testing by Botero's then-physician Dr. Fuentes revealed that the rider's testosterone was naturally elevated - a conclusion with which the Colombian Cycling Federation agreed. Botero was not sanctioned and he continued his career - never having been found guilty of committing any doping violation." (he didn't, did he? I mean, besides the four positives for too much T...)

  8. LOL! I'm not a Botero-hater at all. I just have to point out the absolute absurdity of this particular situation. It's laughable. Yes, you're right, thanks to the infamous Dr. Fuentes, who certainly didn't have a hidden agenda or a motive to mislead anybody (do you detect my sarcasm?), Botero "beat the rap" as you say, just like Lance...and OJ Simpson. ;) Joe, as someone who's been busted, as someone who knows the tricks of the trade as few others do, as someone who knows how easy it is for the overwhelming majority of dopers to get away with it over and over and over again, I'm surprised you're not as skeptical as I am about any of the guys associated with Fuentes, Conconi, Ferrari, et al. The old adage "where there's smoke, there's fire" rings true far more often than not. Still, I admire your sticking up for Botero--perhaps if he had you to explain his positive result, his defense would have a little more credibility. :)

  9. Dude, of course he did it. He just didn't get caught (like Lance didn't get caught). Almost, but not quite (saved by the bell!). Thus, you gotta give him his props and not go around shouting that he tested positive, when, in fact - as Lance would say - he was cleared of all accusations! ;)

  10. Phew! For a minute there, I was getting worried that someone may have slipped some Pot Belge into your Endurox. ;)

    Here's a puzzler that I'd like to get your take on. Why is Basso no longer the winner he was when he was a client of Fuentes? Surely Fuentes is not the only "preparatore" in Europe handling the top-tier cyclists.

  11. Why is Basso no longer the winner he was when he was a client of Fuentes?

    Biological Passport

  12. Doped or not, Botero was one hell of a strong rider. I was there that day at Redlands that you show in the picture (stage 2). He went to the hotel that night wearing all three jerseys. He was in the break all day, took all the sprints and mtn points, then rode away from the break when he decided he wanted to win. We were strung out for a while chasing his group and made up no ground. After the race, I talked to a Toyota United guy in the break with him (don't remember who), and he said to me, "Dude, he did 90% of the work, and still took off effortlessly when he wanted to us to be gone." Doped or not that day (I'm guessing a Tour polka dot winner doesn't need to dope to win Redlands), it showed the different class of rider it takes to ride at the D1 level. Throw dope in there, and those guys are extraterrestial. Have I heard that before, Mr. Basso?

  13. Anon, thanks for the first-hand/second-hand account of Botero's class. I think many folks fail to realize that to even ride at the D1/ProTour level the athlete must be super-human and genetically-gifted at birth. EPO turns donkey into race horse, sure, but only if the donkey was already capable of riding and finishing the Tour.

    Personally, I'm not satisfied to the end of Botero's career. I think the entire Post-OP cycling world has been grossly unfair, infected with hypocrisy and double-standards and one in which scapegoating and destroying riders' careers with unproven allegations came to be accepted as legitimate, necessary, normal activities.

    The end result is that someone like Ullrich is hounded out of the sport and retires, Botero packs off to Rock and then back to Colombia for his final races, Seveilla and that entire crew follow a similar road; Jörg Jaksche and Manolo Sainz are pariahs, but an entire group including Basso and Riis continue. Uggghh.

  14. Agreed about the double standard for guys like Botero vs. guys like Basso and how they finish their careers. Maybe it's where they were born?

  15. Cancer (no, not L.A.)29 January, 2010 19:23

    Guess I'd better start reading my Zodiac...


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