BMC Racing's Thomas Frei would have continued to dope
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Sunday, May 2, 2010

BMC Racing's Thomas Frei would have continued to dope

by VeloNation Press at 2:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping

Thomas FreiThe 25-year-old Thomas Frei was caught for EPO doping last week. The then BMC Rider was immediately fired from the team following his admission.  He recently gave an open interview to the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung, in which he talked about how he started doping and who was behind it.
Frei admitted that he wasn't very professional about keeping it secret, with his supplier, his closest friends and his siblings all knowing about it. "Professionals are those where even the wife doesn't know about it. But I couldn't do that, it would have torn me apart," he said.
The Swiss rider also said that the scene has become very careful. "I assure you that I never witnessed a boss asking me to dope - but I also never witnessed that a rider was asked why he was going so fast all of a sudden."
Frei is certain that team-organized doping is a thing of the past and it is up to the individual. But many riders are exposed early to the temptations. "In Italy or Spain, the pros ask the young riders what new stuff is on the market. And in Austria there were cyclists who started doping when they were still in school."
Frei started out under an almost perfect scenario, in the amateur team of Kurt Bürgi, known for his anti-doping standpoint. "Kurt gave us every article about dopers. In the beginning this worked for me." When he turned pro, he was still clean. He even rejected the legal stuff, like injecting vitamins, nutrients, magnesium.
But when everybody is doing it, doing the step into illegality is small. "At some point the doctor gives you an injection and you start with it." Frei never saw anybody dope and only knew from a handful that they were using illegal substances. "But others you could hear it from the way they talked."
When admitting to doping among colleagues, conversations became easier. "They talk with you about dosage. A microdose of 500 units EPO is detectable for eight hours, stuff like that."
Frei insists that you can be clean making it to the professionals. "But at some point you want to be more than just a domestique," he said about why he eventually started taking EPO.
He feels relieved now that the hiding is over. "It may sound silly, but once you start with doping , the only way to stop is to get caught." He was already promised a better contract for the future. "Of course I would have continued to dope. The money was calling, everybody is equal there."
Frei said he took the risk on his own. He found out where to obtain EPO, which is not as easy anymore. "In the 1990's you could get it in Spanish drug stores, but today that does not work anymore." His source was from outside the cycling circle.
Frei is still unsure whether to name the source or not. "I have to think about it. My coach says that the case  is only over when I name my supplier. Maybe he is right." But Frei added that there was a promise to the supplier that they couldn't name each other in case one gets caught.
He wasn't even sure if the supplier had other clients. "I have been a pro for four years, and I still don't quite get it, to be honest. I really don't know how this sport works."

While most will appreciate Frei's willingness to talk frankly about his circumstances, but many would agree with the assertion that the case is not truly over until the supplier is named.  Without knowing who his supplier is, the cycle of doping will continue for others damaging other sports, if not cycling.


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