Even after Pouly’s Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen disqualification, doubts linger

Singha Infinite rider Peter Pouly was stripped of a third successive GC victory in Banyuwangi yesterday after race officials discovered the French-born resident of Chiang Rai had violated the UCI’s 6.8kg weight limit rule on the race’s final stage. But plenty of questions remain that may never be properly answered.
2016 Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen Mokhriz 3

Image: Mokhriz Aziz

It’s a great irony that Peter Pouly’s third attempt at overall victory in his favourite UCI2.2 Asia Tour race began with a blatant breach of UCI regulations and ended with enforcement of them.

After sailing through the race’s first three stages with relative anonymity, Pouly began yesterday’s final stage placed 5th on GC, ten seconds behind race leader Benjamin Prades (Team UKYO). Few would have picked a rider other than Pouly to win overall from this position, and that’s exactly what happened.

On the slopes of the final hors categorie climb to Paltuding Ijen, the 38-year old Frenchman moved clear of a group containing Prades, Jai Crawford (Kinan Cycling Team), Suryadi Dadi (Terengganu Cycling Team) and others who were fighting against the oppressive humidity and 35°C temperature. Before he popped, only Suryadi was able to briefly latch onto Pouly’s wheel.

Pouly moved on alone and put several minutes into his rivals. There was no reason for him to look over his shoulder as he rode into the final 200m corridor lined with cheering spectators – some may even have read about how in 2015 Pouly named his newborn son ‘Ijen’ after the spectacular crater-pocked mountain he adored – because he knew he was more than two minutes clear of his nearest competitor.

That trailing rider was an angry Crawford who, between gasps for oxygen, was imploring veteran UCI commissaire Martin Bruin to ensure Pouly went nowhere until his bike was checked. Like others, Crawford had seen the single-chainring-equipped Infinite road bike floating around in the convoy in previous days and viewed it with suspicion.

Crawford was right to be concerned. The news of Pouly’s disqualification (and that of his Singha Infinite Cycling Team) came at 18:30 via the ITDBI Commissaire’s Communique, following a long period of silence in which the provisional results were not ratified:

1 PENALTIES
UCI Regulations 12.1.040
a. Article 2.3 – use or presence of a bicycle that does not comply with article 1.3.010 (cf. art. 12.1.013bis)
Rider: disqualification; Team: disqualification
nbr. 1 POULY Peter UCI code FRA19770629 of SIC
nbr 2. FAST Konstantin UCI code RUS19760718 of SIC
nbr 3. MAGNAN Nicolas UCI code CAN19750613 of SIC
Manager TEO K. Y. Brandon of Team SINGHA INFINITE CYCLING TEAM

In what now appears to be a regrettable typo*, UCI article 12.0.013 (relating to technological fraud) was cited as the reason for Pouly’s disqualification, causing much confusion and speculation about the possibility that this was the first instance of a hidden motor being discovered in an Asia Tour race. A race representative later confirmed that regulation 12.0.019 (relating to the 6.8kg weight limit) was in fact the rule applied.

 

HOW IT WENT DOWN

About five minutes before the final stage got underway, Pouly and his two teammates rolled to the start line and began chatting to members of the Swiss Wellness team.

“Peter and his team pulled alongside us and started talking about my clinchers,” recalled Swiss Wellness rider Jesse Featonby, who, after a few minutes of discussion with Pouly, noticed a visible crack in the driveside seatstay of the Singha Infinite team leader’s bike.

“When I told Peter if he knew about it he looked incredibly shocked and pretty stressed as they were getting ready to count down. He and his team immediately clipped out and went back to the team car. It wasn’t until the end of the neutral zone that he came alongside me and thanked me for letting him know.”

The bike Pouly was now aboard was equipped with a 10-42 cassette, single 48T chainring and weighed 6.0^ kilograms. It had already been spotted by many riders in previous days atop the support car, but perhaps nobody believed it would see a minute of racing.

“It was clearly a very light bike,” says Crawford. “I talked to my team mates about it, but we didn’t say anything. Some other team directors saw it as well and let the commissaires know. We thought ‘that’s it, he won’t be so bold as to use that bike’. But then sure enough we rolled out in the neutral and I saw he had jumped off his regular bike onto that one.

“I rolled back to the commissaire to mention this and he said he would check it; but still in the back of my mind I knew that probably nothing would be done, because for years I’ve raced here against Iranians who just come and clean up races, you know, and anyone who understands cycling – or even people who have eyes and ears and can read – they know what’s going on. I wasn’t confident anything would be done.”

When the lead group reached the final climb, Pouly attacked and nobody could hang on to his wheel. Crawford immediately resigned himself to again being the bridesmaid.

2016 Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen Pouly stage 4

“My teammates had positioned me at the front of the group,” explains the 32-year Aussie who, in a particularly cruel 2009 season, finished second in three stage races: Langkawi, Tour de Korea and Jelajah Malaysia. “I wasn’t on Peter’s wheel and when he attacked he was going extremely quick. Everyone looked at him and thought ‘that’s impossible’. Suryadi maybe lasted less than a minute on his wheel and then blew to pieces. I chased, but at my own pace. Some guys came with me, and stayed with me for a bit, then I left them as well.

“It ended up just being me chasing him and his time gap continued to grow all the way up the climb, while I was riding away from the guys behind me. I’m not the best climber in the world but on my day I’m pretty good on that sort of climb. I was moving pretty well, but he was producing some power that’s for sure.”

2016 ITDBI stage 4 Jai Crawford bike

As Pouly rode away, Crawford was stewing; both from the heat and from anger. Within the final four kilometres of the race, he delivered a serve to the ear of commissaire Bruin.

“I was angry, especially in the last three or four kilometres of the climb, because I tried to communicate with the moto commissaire that they needed to get to him and take his bike immediately before they could do anything to it like add weights. Obviously you’re also in a lot of pain climbing a mountain like that and it’s very hot. Martin (Bruin) was on a motorbike and I think I may have gotten through to him when I was racing up the mountain full gas, yelling across to him to go and check number one’s bike. It might have sunk in that if this guy is so concerned, it might be worth actually checking.

“When I crossed the finish line, roughly two minutes after (Pouly) finished, I saw a commissaire and the first thing I said to them was ‘please check his bike’. I rolled up the road a little, grabbed a drink from my soigneur and sat down on the road – then I saw a commissaire get (Pouly’s) bike. To their credit, (the commissaires) were on it and they did what they needed to do.”

 

THE BIKE

Even before Pouly’s disqualification was made official, the Singha Infinite rider posted a cryptic message to his Facebook page. The tone was proud, reflective and defiant. It also appeared to seek to legitimise a sudden change of bikes.

Pouly FB

An hour following the official disqualification, Pouly published another post to Facebook:

“Today my bike was destroyed by 1 other team. I just realised this 1 minute before to start, I went to the car take another bike Infinite Pulse Team and of course I don’t have time to put it conform to the UCI rules. As well after 30k I noticed the stem of my bike was not lock and I need to go to the car for fix it.

“After the second guy cross the finish line, he immodestly came to ask me ‘where is your bike your bike have something inside’. Thanks you, make me so proud of myself man! To realize that the times that I spent for training is not wasted. LOL.

“All the team was disqualify because my bike was to light and only 1 chainring same as many bike especially the bike from the number 2 are to light as well. Cycling its folklore and fun.”

Pouly followed this up hours later with a third post, featuring a picture of the bike found to be in breach of UCI regulations. The picture was subsequently removed, but not before Cycling iQ had downloaded it.

When approached for his side of the story, Pouly first claimed via an exchange on Twitter that his was not the only bike in breach of the UCI regulations. In response to the question “how much did that bike weigh”, Pouly replied:

Pushed to give evidence of this, Pouly wrote in an email “Loic (Desriac) was racing for Kinan last year and the bike from Jai Crawford was too light – 6.2kg.”

“No, it’s not true,” responded Crawford, when informed of Pouly’s assertion.

Asked whether his bike had been weighed, Crawford replied “no my bike wasn’t weighed to my knowledge, but the commissaires are welcome to come and weigh it. It’s obviously the same as the photographs. I was using 50mm deep racing Fulcrums, which are a 1’400 gram wheelset, because my team only has one set of lighter climbing wheels and they were given to my Spanish teammate for the day. The bike that I raced yesterday would have been 7.2kg.”

Though he had already answered the question in an indirect way, Pouly continued to be evasive when asked to state whether or not he knew the actual weight of his bike. In an email Q&A with Cycling iQ on Sunday morning (a phone call wasn’t possible, apparently due to his phone not working in Indonesia) Pouly responded to the question indirectly again by saying “I don’t know, but UCI say 6.2kg.”

In some ways, such a response is acceptable. Many a pro cycling team mechanic has quipped that some riders care very little to know anything about the mechanical workings of their machines. But the truth is that Pouly knew his bike extremely well. In a March 2016 post called ‘My special last season’, Pouly wrote about the new race bike he built:

During my time off [CiQ: late 2015], I met regularly with my Manager (Tum Wisuth). We talked a lot about what was needed to be successful at Doi Inthanon – equipment, team, training etc. One of the most important factors was bike set-up. Last year, I used a 2 x 11 group-set (39 / 53t chain-rings with an 11 / 25t cassette), but this gave too much gear on the flat and not quite enough on the steep ramps. We decided that we needed to build a new bike with a very special gear set-up to suit this unique challenge.

The new bike was based around the Infinite Pulse Team carbon frame. The group-set was SRAM Red 1 x 11. Having just a single 48t chain-ring saved weight and its longer teeth allowed me to generate more torque through the drive-train. The 10 / 42t cassette (taken from SRAM’s mountain-bike range) delivered the full range needed for the fast flat lower sections as well as the steep ramps near the top. FSA provided the handle bar, stem and seat post, San Marco provided the saddle (Legera) and Look provided the pedals (KEO blade). Fully assembled, the bike weighed only 6.1 kilo!

The bike that Pouly alludes to in his post (below, left) was the same bike used at Banyuwangi Ijen (below, right).

 

FORCED TO CHOOSE?

Pouly claims his regular bike was checked by the Singha Infinite team mechanic on the morning of the last stage as the chainrings were being changed to compact ones. He alleges his bike “was broken between Saturday morning 7am to Saturday morning 8am, during the transfer from hotel to start. The organiser transported all the team bikes.”

If these events – the frame being damaged in the one hour that it was out of Pouly’s hands; the chance discovery of a crack minutes before the final stage; the fact a super light, purpose-built, climbing bike was the only replacement on hand – are to be taken at face value, then Pouly evidently had only two choices: continue the race, or withdraw – because he absolutely knew the spare bike was not UCI compliant.

In the end, he made the choice to break the rules in the hope he might get away with it. There were, after all, no weight checks performed whatsoever at this year’s Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen.

“Yes I know it (did not conform) to UCI weight, but again I have only two choices,” admitted Pouly in a follow-up email. “This bike was here in case we needed the frame or the handlebar or stem. I didn’t plan to use it. I took it because I wanted to compete, that’s all. I know it was wrong but I just wanna race.

“We train, my team worked 4 days for that. I won 2 times. My son, his name is Ijen. If you have side of humanity you will understand.”

To any reasonable person, it might seem a marvellous coincidence that Pouly’s regular bike broke and a 6.0kg bike was the only spare available on the very day when it was most needed. That a seasoned professional such as Pouly could not have foreseen to bring a UCI-compliant spare to Indonesia is at best a grave error of judgement and, at worst, a trait of someone who knows how to game a vulnerable system.

itdbi-peter-pouly-stage-1

 

LIGHT BIKE, DARKER PAST?

Pro cyclists spend an inordinate amount of time in close proximity to one another, so it’s inevitable that gossip and character assessments pollinate rapidly within the peloton. In the same way that the words ‘Tabriz Petrochemical Team’ triggers reaction, so does the name Peter Pouly. But why the raised eyebrows?

Amongst the first page of results likely to populate if you search the name Peter Pouly online will be reference to his 12 month doping ban in 2002 when he was a national-level mountain biker in France. Pouly gave his version of events to the Vicious Cycle blog in 2013:

“In the final kilometers of an MTB race I got a bug in my eye (not a wasp). It burned but I was able to finish the last 2-3 km. It became very swollen it hurt me quite a lot. The firefighters injected me with CELESTENE.

The following weekend I was tested and the substance was still in my urine. The prescription that I gave them didn’t authorize me to race. I was initially covered by the Federation (FFC) and for nearly a year I continued to ride and do training camps with the French National Team in preparation for the Olympics (Athens, 2004). I spoke with the Federation openly about these tests and that I was riding although I had been notified that I was suspended.

Then I don’t really know what happened, but there was a leak to the press and the Federation (FFC) turned their back on me right away and sanctioned me for having ridden while I was suspended.”

Before writing this article, Cycling iQ contacted several former and current pro cyclists who have raced alongside Peter Pouly to find out why, anecdotally, he was such a controversial figure. All made reference to Pouly’s past on-record doping and virtually all believed this was only the tip of the iceberg.

Crawford, a veteran of the UCI Asia Tour scene, offered a scathing assessment that was typical of the sentiment shared by his peers.

“Why would you want to have a guy like that in the race?,” he asks. “He doesn’t deserve it. Everyone feels the same way. I’ve been congratulated by so many people, so many directors and riders, because everyone feels the same way. They all saw what he was doing and they know his history, so the right thing has been done.

“I don’t speak with him and I don’t speak with riders like him,” responds Crawford, when asked whether he had spoken to Pouly. “I only know what I’ve read and from speaking to other riders, but also from his appearance. You get to know what riders look like when they’re doing certain things and, yeah, to me he carries that appearance. It’s purely my own opinion, and I don’t have any evidence to say he’s doing anything. But I know cycling, I’ve been a cyclist for a long time and it’s an opinion a lot of others share.”

Like many others who weighed in on the debate about Pouly’s actions on social media over the weekend, Crawford could only make educated guesses about his performances.

Cycling iQ has since been contacted by a former team mate who has offered a first-hand account of his time in Pouly’s camp but, due to the serious allegations he makes, that story will have to wait.

Pouly is due to retire this year and no doubt he would have wanted, perhaps even expected, his pro cycling palmarès to be iced with a final ITDBI victory. Instead, he has said he might be back next year in a team car. Or perhaps he won’t. One thing is certain though – this won’t be the last time we hear the name Peter Pouly.

*Cycling iQ reached out to three UCI commissaires who were at ITDBI for comment, but has so far not received any response. To date, only a representative from the organiser has said regulation 1.3.019 was applied and not 1.3.010. This article will be updated if and when any information is received to the contrary.

^originally reported as 6.1kg, but later confirmed by commissaires as weighing 6.0kg

UPDATE 17.05.2016: Cycling iQ received an email response from ITDBI Chief Commissaire, Majid Nasseri, which said “I would clarify for you that just Pouly’s bike was not comply with article 1.3.019 so commissaires’ panel disqualified him regarding article 12.1.040.2.2.”

Cycling iQ also learned from a separate source that revised stage 4 results were published on Sunday evening but circulated only to team Directors and the UCI. A full copy of these revised results can be found here. In summary, only Pouly remained retrospectively disqualified, while Magnan and Fast were both reinstated.

  • If we analyse PP’s behaviour there are striking similarities with a certain former TdF winner. I worked with psychology/psychiatry in my profession for many years before I retired and what I see are the same justifications, expressed in the same way. There is always a spin. There’s always other people “who are cheating too”. They finger good people (Jai Crawford in this case). These people NEVER take responsibility for their own actions. Such behaviour is labelled sociopathic. I live in Thailand and I am very close to this sport as I have been all my life. I was at the Master’s Tour of Chiang Mai last year (supposedly held under UCI regs): at the finish of the time trial up Doi Suthep PP was showing myself, and the scratch team I was managing, his super light bike. 6.1kg he told us. It’s the same bike as used in Indonesia. As I drove up Doi Suthep I witnessed a Singha team rider hanging on (by hand) to a red Songtaow (local taxi). I pointed this out to an official who laughed and walked away. Former team mates are also dubious about what happens within this team. One of the team officials is a Thai CA national coach who is also the organiser/owner of the Masters Tour. He has a past that would disqualify him from holding a national position in any non-Asian cycling federation. There are so many questions in Asia and it is vital that Cycling IQ keeps up the pressure. The UCI surely have sufficient funds to appoint a full-time non-Asian person to work with the cycling associations in SE Asia to try and resolve these many problems that are holding the sport back. Please ensure that Brian Cookson is aware of what is happening here.

  • Hipocrisy

    Fantastic article. As a 2-time Haute Route rider I know there are people who don’t welcome his appearance at the events…

  • Sam

    Let’s just say… I raced with PP at Haute Route 2015, he held 6.7w/kg for a 55 minute mountain time trial. Which is higher than Chris Froome. Not only did he cross the line waving at all the fans, he started interviews the second he got off the bike. The second-place getter (a pro from Sweden) collapsed after having finished 4 minutes slower.

    Also, he managed to beat a newt retired World Tour Pro who was racing with us and took second overall in GC over 7 days, by no less than 45minutes.

    His super human strength is jotted down to his “training” and big races not run by UCI invite him frequently, which I don’t understand because everyone knows the man has, and is doping and cheating to satisfy his monster ego.

    To me personally he asked if a product I was representing would fully sponsor him, to which I blatantly said no, it would expose him as a cheat.

    This man should not be allowed to race even non sanctioned races let alone UCI sanctioned races, that’s ridiculous.

    • Chrispinthecity

      I’m sorry but you are not on target! Freddy J doesn’t have anything like the same natural climbing talent as PP and having ridden with both, Freddy is very much part time now and never exactly made the big time plus he and Loic etc had just done HR Pyrenees week before. As for beating a retired ex pro, well that’s just it…they are retired and have stopped giving 100% in training. They come to these events to help with the profile etc. The events you mention, HR, Etape, marmotte etc are pure climbers events that would only suit a small fraction of the world tour peloton, especially the HR which is not reflective of any event a pro would race over 7 days.. Peter is a talent no doubt about it and I’ve ridden with and trained with him on numerous occasions. The guy lives like a monk and is incredibly focused on his riding. When you get to know him he is open about the dark period he was involved in and believe me a certain recent podium finisher in the TdF and someone in same cohort as him was also getting stuck in…those were the times. Wrong, of course, but young men often make stupid mistakes that they live to regret. I would stake an awful lot that he doesn’t mess with drugs any more. You can argue that the benefits live long in your body etc and I buy that, but your HR examples are weak and smack of poor anecdotes that don’t actually reflect the man in question.

      • “When you get to know him he is open about the dark period he was involved in…I would stake an awful lot that he doesn’t mess with drugs any more”

        What you’re suggesting is contrary to Pouly’s 2013 statement:
        VC: “Have you ever used performance enhancing drugs at, or leading up to, Haute Route?”
        PP: No, and I am a little disappointed that there is no testing.
        (From: https://viciouscycleblog.com/2013/09/06/peter-pouly-interview/)

        I’d be only too happy if you can point me to any published article where Pouly has elaborated on his alleged past drug use, other than stating he has never used PED’s. Your statement also implies that he has “messed with” drugs before. Feel free to expand on that also.

      • chrispinthecity

        Nah because you are a journo who has clearly made up your mind and looking to throw the chap under the bus without seeking to understand his background in detail! He has a past, so does the rest of the French MTB squad pre 2004 Athens selection and so does the majority of the wider pro cycling family at this time – this isn’t a surprise to anyone and the relevant authorities have held their equiries, published their reports and the wider cycling public know that the majority of the top results in pro cycling in that era should be taken with a heavy does of salt!

        In PP’s case, he came back to the sport after a long break post ban, because he eventually fell in love again with the freedom of just riding his bike and Thailand gave him a fresh perspective.

        He was asked to do the inaugural HR because he is mates with the organisers as they all worked for the ASO together when he stopped riding post ban in the early 2000s. They new he had started riding his bike for leisure again and so they asked him to take part in 2011 as a favour as they wanted someone to give them feedback on the parcours and to ‘make the race’. He trained hard as he didn’t want to embarrass himself and because he lives in Thailand he had a fantastic winter of great weather so achieved a good condition by the European summer. I don’t doubt that he wanted to expunge some of the regret and frustration that lingered from actions in his youth by proving to himself he could achieve a high level clean. He fell in love with the event (as his passion is going uphill) and so agreed to return etc…so far no one of his climbing pedigree has actually raced the HR against him and he has said his toughest competitor was actually Emma Pooley in 2012, herself an excellent climber. You hear lots of jealous mutterings by amateur guys in the HR peloton but not a single one has bothered to get to know him and just repeat the same old tired ‘stories’. PP doesn’t have to go in to granular detail about his past to a journo so just chooses to let his legs do the talking. leave the bloke alone or fly and see him and live with him for a bit so you can actually getting to know him as a person rather than lobbing grenades from behind your keyboard with nuggets from amped up competitors who have just been ‘wronged’. For instance What did Wes S expect when he asked (in French no less haha) the weight of PP’s bike mid stage 4 in Ijen….’between you and me Wes, this bike is under the UCI limit but my other one is knackered so I’m going to muller your team mate on this one’. Or the more likely In the heat of battle ‘it’s “6.8kg’. It was stupid of PP to ride that day as he would of course have known that it wasn’t sporting and I’m disappointed he didn’t pull the pin. the bloke like everyone else had travelled a long way and just wants to race and new he had a realistic shot at winning so it’s a difficult situation to step away from. God knows what happened to his other bike but let the UCI do their job. If I’m wrong and he has sunk back in to the PED world, I will be the first to punch him in the face but I don’t believe for a minute he has done.

      • Thanks for your reply, but I’d ask you to re-read my comment to better understand what I’m asking.

        You are implying (“dark period”, “if…he has sunk back in to the PED world”) that Pouly has previously and knowingly used performance enhancing drugs. He has denied this. I’m asking you to prove that he has – logically, is that the response of someone who has made up his mind?

      • chrispinthecity

        i don’t sit there over coffee with a tape recording running because i am not a journo, but when you get to know him as a friend after a time he opens up about his life. Some things are too complicated for him to actually put out there as it is not just about PP but what happened in a wider system he was part of pre 2004 and frankly he did his ban and wants to move on and leave that shitty episode behind. He was young, stupid etc…but I truly believe that if you got to know him you would realise he is a reformed character and actually a very nice bloke.

    • chrispinthecity

      Sam – just to debunk your 6.7w/kg for 55 minute claim. Had a look at Peter’s data for said TT. He averaged 351w for 40 minutes and 7 seconds. He was racing at 61-62kg giving a 5.66-5.75 w/kg range (which is mid to upper domestic pro standard). His lowest ever racing weight was 57 kg so even if we work on that number we are looking at 6.15 w/kg which would put him at International class but by no means top of the tree with Froome, Quintana, Contador et al. Best to stick to the facts eh?!

  • tristan

    Article totalement à charge car c’est un coureur français. Auriez-vous écrit le même article si un australien aurait gagné ? JE NE CROIS PAS !

    • Loose translation: “the article is completely subjective because it is a French rider. Would you have written the same article if an Australian won? I do not believe it!”

      Hi Tristan, it may surprise you to learn I don’t live in Australia, and I’m not an Australian citizen.

      Here are the facts, in case you missed them in the above article:
      – Pouly knowingly took a lightweight spare bicycle to Indonesia when his sponsor could easily have supplied him with a UCI-legal bike (I’ve seen pictures of his Infinite bicycle collection, it’s quite impressive – I doubt asking for an additional bike would have caused the sponsor much angst).
      – Pouly used that UCI-illegal bike in a UCI race, and he admitted he knew this (see above)
      – Pouly has served a 12-month ban after a non-approved substance was detected during a race control

      Furthermore, I have been contacted by a former team mate of Pouly’s who makes serious allegations that I will be investigating and seeking to authenticate further, prior to determining whether or not they should be either made public or, just as likely, forwarded to the relevant authorities.

      You’re welcome to alert me to any factual errors in the article but, until now, it has received many thousands of views from across the world and not one person has contacted me citing a false claim.

      Thank you, Cam.

    • Tristan: I have posted many comments about this. I am not Australian. I am half-French and half Polish. Those of us close to the ground and close to former team mates know the truth.

  • Phil

    I know Peter well and have done for a long time, unlike the writers in this comments section who think they know him just because they participated in the same race. I have ridden, trained, raced, lived, eaten and just hung out with him very often in Thailand. He does not take any banned substances and he is not a cheat. He is very strong because he uses very effective and efficient training methods that he has mostly developed himself and shared with me and other riders who care to listen. There is a lot of jealousy in cycling, and lot of guys who can’t handle that someone else is simply much better than them.

    • Thanks for your comment Phil. As written above, Pouly’s peers can only make “educated guesses” on the issue of whether or not he has used, or continues to use, banned substances other than that found in 2002.

      I would suggest that neither you, nor anybody else apart from Peter himself, is in a position to submit indisputable facts either way at this time.

      • Phil

        Your hypocrisy and bias is astounding. Terrible qualities for a reporter.

        Firstly you write:

        ‘I would suggest that neither you, nor anybody else apart from Peter himself, is in a position to submit indisputable facts either way at this time’

        Then you write:

        ‘I have been contacted by a former team mate of Pouly’s who makes serious allegations that I will be investigating and seeking to authenticate further, prior to determining whether or not they should be either made public or, just as likely, forwarded to the relevant authorities’.

        So why would you listen to and ‘seek to authenticate’ statements from Takei, a disgruntled former team mate? Of course he is going to give you a negative perspective, mostly made up of course. At the same time you dismiss statements from people like me and others who do actually know the reality.

      • Firstly Phil, all comments/views, including yours, are being published here freely and without moderation. ie, everyone who wants to have their voice heard on this issue has the opportunity.

        Why would I listed to statements from former team mates? Because that’s my job!

        Saying “you know the reality” and assuming that is sufficient to shut down discussion might be neat, but it’s wholly inadequate as proof.

        You’re saying, definitively, that Pouly is not a cheat. Please point me to the part where I say that he is.

    • Omerta

      “He is very strong because he uses very effective and efficient training methods that he has mostly developed himself”

      Jesus, wake up! So this random guy has a much more efficient training method than anyone else has ever thought of! The Omertà is strong with this one!

      • Phil

        Yes, that’s right Omerta. He trains much more effectively and efficiently than anyone else I know. As I have said already his methods are not a secret. Peter is very open with everybody and he will share his past and knowledge with anyone who asks. As others have said he is also very disciplined and dedicated and lives almost like a monk in Thailand.

  • Omertà

    Come on! A 38 year old former doper climbing with enough power to win a GT easily.

    It’s just not credible. And if he is now clean, it makes me wonder why he bothered with doping in the first place.

    • chrispinthecity

      your post displays a lack of understanding of the context here. For example…JC Peraud…same age, same MTB Athens squad as PP, podium in TDF in late thirties…

      In terms of why he bothered in the first place, well ask the French Federation DS’s who explained to young lads in their early 20’s how ‘to prepare’ if they wanted to keep up with riders from other nations. There was then a wholesale change in approach in French cycling post Virenque etc and pre 2004 Olympics that in the long run will be good for French cycling (think Pinot etc) but put them in the wilderness in terms of road victories for years.

      • You seem very supportive of PP.

      • Omerta

        Tell me, how does a clean 38 year old man, on a two-bit team produce more power than top-level pros who win GTs?

        Forget all other context, how is it possible?

      • chrispinthecity

        Omerta – ‘enough power to win a GT easily’…naive! It is entirely possible he would be up there on HC days and summit finishes but he wouldn’t ‘win easily’ or for that matter even win the overall. As a young man he tested better, physiologically speaking, than JC Peraud who went on to top out at 3rd. His is a talent massively unfulfilled and his current ‘two bit team’ is irrelevant. The guy took the wrong path, lost what would have been a top level cycling career as a result and rediscovered the joy of cycling for fun years later having sunk in to a deep hole that took courage, determination and intelligence to dig himself out of.

      • Omerta

        Naive!? The man is 38, is performing better than ever and is capable of pumping out huge watts which would put him near the top of world cycling.

        It’s just not believable from an age/physiological perspective – let alone give PP’s past history. Comparing him to anyone else is moot also – we’re talking about PP and PP alone. He doped and wouldn’t admit and is now seeking to blame others for using a bike he knew was outside the regulations.

  • chrispinthecity

    Horner, Peraud, Voigt, Tossato all World Tour level at 38 or above….’not believable from an age/physiological perspective’…well those lads seem to cope. There is also a big advantage in being ‘fresh’ both physically and mentally as normally by late 30s a pro has been training/racing hard for 20 years and most i know say it is the head that says no more long before the body. It is clear from your comments that you are not an athlete. and the ‘huge watts’ comment is funny as they are not actually that big compared to say Tony Martin. what makes the difference is w/kg and in this regard PP is incredibly disciplined in what he eats, has a jockey like height but with naturally powerful legs and is skeletal up top when in condition. He was also blessed with a very high VO2 max, all perfect ingredients for going up hill fast. His MTB skills mean he is also a superb descender. And comparison is not moot at all it is central to context and you possibly understanding the naive nature of your comments

    • Omertà

      All those guys you listed – bastions for clean cycling ay – hahaha!

      Enjoy living with your head in the sand. As for comparison – over 30 athletes busted today. Sochi Olympic drug testing an absolute joke. Heart ‘disease’ prevalent among elite athletes a few months ago. It’s all around you, just open your eyes…

      • Chrispinthecity

        Point me to the bit I said they were clean?! I would bet my house they doped in the 90s early 00’s but I suspect they were clean towards the end of their careers. I’m passionately against doping but I also prefer to get to know someone and to try and understand the circumstances behind actions rather than just sitting their getting hysterical. I agree that there are systemic problems across other sports particularly football and athletics but the power and money involved are greater do things have been suppressed for longer. Cycling is actually at the vanguard of tackling doping

  • Karma Police

    I was riding some of the route same with him. And from his power data that show in Strava I don’t think he’s the honest guy.

    For example.

    The famous Skylane route his power is very high, av 367 W for 32 minute but speed is much slower than most of the KOMS, only 43.3km/h (He used very new SRM which should be accurate, not only he intended to calibrate the wrong way)

    The Inthanon KOM Event this year, Feb.(Same bike used in this event) he didn’t used the power meter. (Normally he’s very obcessed with power. He had used it even on his mountain bike.)

    • Chrispinthecity

      Karma Police – you evidently have a very rudimentary understanding of how to analyse power data!

      Re The KOM event the whole point for PP was to get up in sub 2 hrs. When you know the course and you are riding solely for time the most important thing is to have made a mental note (sometimes just notes on your stem) of marker points along the way as to where you need to be to stay on schedule. Power info goes out the window as for a large chunk you are actually sat in your team mates wheels enjoying a draft. To get sub 2 hrs you need everything in your favour eg favourable wind conditions, strong team mates and clearly a bike that is as light as possible. Carrying an SRM in this instance is dead weight. A lot of guys I know when they enter hill climbs (that have no UCI bike weight rules) remove bar tape, one of the two chain rings, sometimes some of the unrequired cassette rings, bottle cages, power meters etc.

      Although it may seem that 367w for 32 minutes is v.high to you, I can assure you it is not. Most of my team are plus of 360w FTP and range in weight from mid 60kgs to 80kg.

      It can be tough for an amateur athlete to get their head round some of the numbers that a top climber that PP puts out when the road goes up, but with the right natural physical advantages, the right diet and training and above all consistency it is possible to achieve a very high level a handful of times a year. The main benefit of PEDs (when talking to those that indulged) was to allow them to maintain that level in far more of an even line, thereby keeping up with demands of racing week in week out and also to remove the fragility which comes with being right on the edge (condition wise) as an endurance athlete.

      • Omerta

        I think the point lots of people [myself included], is that PP is just not very honest or believable.

        His 2013 interview linked above, he sought to blame the TUE rather than admitting his doping. This article highlights he sought to blame the organisation for breaking his bike and then making excuses for riding equipment ‘out of regulation’.

        PP is an adult and just needs to admit his mistakes. As he is seemingly unable to do so, it makes it very hard to believe that his athletic performance is any more believable.

        • chrispinthecity

          Omerta – the irony here is that the 2002 ‘doping’ infraction was indeed as described and he had stopped messing with PEDs prior to 2002 after the French Federation made it clear that all riders on the Olympic squad had to be 100% clean. When the cock up occurred (with the treatment for the sting) he effectively got thrown under the bus by his own federation (ironically one that just last year asked him to race for them again!) because a journo (who didn’t have a name) had become aware that a rider on the MTB Olympic squad (Absalon, Pouly, Peraud and another guy i forget) had a question mark against their name and was under investigation. The FF didn’t want to disrupt the run up to the Olympics or have any more bad press and by this stage had done a complete about turn in how they handled such matters (commendably so in relation to the speed of other nations) so they banned him. He obviously felt aggrieved and confused having been part of a set up that had previously turned a blind eye and then getting banned when he had actually stopped PEDs sometime prior. Years later, he came to realise that it was a justice of sorts but it still rankles him given that other major names in the sport didn’t get their ‘justice’ and went on to Gold medals etc.

          It is highly possible that someone from either the org or another team set up broke his bike out of some misguided attempt to issue ‘justice’. There are a number of guys out there like Lee ‘Jesus’ Rodgers who cannot bear to be on the same stretch of tarmac as PP or anyone else with a doping past!

          • Omerta

            All of this is obfuscation – the facts are PP:
            i) Was caught riding with banned drugs in his system – doping
            ii) Was caught riding with an ‘illegal’ bike – DQd.

            Everything else is just an excuse – he needs to man up and admit his fault – not lay it on others. If he didn’t dope go to CAS and fight it. And bring along a legal second bike. It really isn’t difficult.

      • It is very unlikely that a member of another team broke his bike. That just doesn’t happen. It seems that you want to defend the events that happened at all costs. I agree that the PeD discussion is a diversion from the real issues but it seems that many people, including ex-team mates, seem to think that not all is on the level and they have used this issue to bring these questions into the equation. My interest and point is strictly limited to the general cheating that goes on in SE Asia, which includes cheating by organisers, commissaires, team managers and some Associations. I also have an interest in psychology and the way people defend their position when they have been accused of cheating. It seems all the responses by PP and those that defend him seem to attempt to divert the ‘blame’ to outside factors. In this case you can’t do this. There are no excuses for two gross violations: 1. Claiming a 4th member of the team who was not at the race and then actively colluding with the organisers to put this person’s name on the result sheet as a DNF. There is no excuse for this. 2. Taking a bike that he knew was under the legal limit to a UCI Asia Tour race. No point in taking it if you had no intention of using it. OK, In my experience there is at least one other person within the Singha Camp who has a history of bending the rules although I do not know if he was in Indonesia. In defence of PP bending rules in this way is quite normal in SEAsia cycling circles. I’ve seen it so many times. The reason it didn’t work this time was because someone from another team was fed up of seeing rules broken in race after race by various officials and riders (not referring to PP). So we don’t need discussion about PeDs (for or against) because this clouds the real issues. I want to see change in SEAsia and have asked the UCI on many occasions to get involved. Perhaps these events will serve as a catalyst for some real action. If so, PP would have done SE Asia cycling a great favour.

      • Karma Police

        If you know the Skylane course(100% flat), you’ll know that 367 W for his weight(and not riding alone) should be much faster than AV 43.3 km/h.(and most of people that ride faster than him used less watt)

        And for Inthanon KOM he didn’t have to used heavy SRMs. There are many option to choose Ex. Stages which is very light. And It’s very important race he’ll sure want to show his power. (Except there’s something about the bike that cannot be shown)

      • NotANewGuy

        Um, I’m 100% sure that you do not know what PEDs in cycling actually do.

      • chrispinthecity

        NOTANEWGUY – I am 100% sure that upon re-reading I did not make myself clear. I should have pointed out that different PEDs are obviously intended to have different outcomes and therefore one would have to know whether an athlete was taking a cocktail of PEDs which could have the effect of turning them from a very good to an excellent rider or perhaps taking something very specific (to perhaps aid recovery and therefore increase the volume of race days) but from a background of already being a top performer with excellent natural physiological advantages.

  • the last sentence is the first time you’ve said anything I can agree with this whole conversation… must annoy you that you can’t accuse me of sour grapes here as I beat Pouly fair and square… at least I know for sure one of us was riding fair.

    • chrispinthecity

      Lee – I have no problem with your bold outspoken approach – i often enjoy your insight and perspective although on occasion find them slightly off. I really do believe though that to understand the problem of doping in sport it is first important to gain context and to try and understand the background to each individual case. I wish it was as simple as to say that a young man in the 90’s who wanted to be a pro cyclist should not have done PEDs (full stop) but most know it is not as black and white as that although i accept in your world it was. It may be to you and I and that could be how we were raised, guided and our values etc…but some people don’t arrive at that point of realising how wrong it was until after the mistake has been made. Rather than constant vilification for the rest of their life it is far better to discuss the issue, show them the error of their decision and support them to take the right path rather than effectively giving them a life sentence.

      Of course you can point to extreme cases (Lance being an example) and that is why you need to look at each scenario individually. As i said before, if he is doing PEDs now I would be the first to tell him he was an idiot and break contact but I don’t believe he is.

      And know it doesn’t annoy me that you beat him – chapeau!

      Omerta – see above.

      Karma Police – you have not factored wind, whether he was sat on the front, whether his SRM was not calibrated correctly (i have three on different bikes and one regularly gives me erroneous data). And know I don’t think ‘there was something on the bike that couldn’t be shown’ because you are effectively insinuating a motor and I have ridden numerous times with Peter (side by side) and felt the pain his legs (only) have inflicted on mine and believe me there was no motor!

  • I just wonder : does a weight difference of less than a kg (6.0kg instead of 6.8kg) make such a huge difference of performance ? Because I have the impression by reading the article that it was like Pouly was riding with an engine, as he was destroying the field.

    • Actually his bike was sub-5kg.

      • Chrispinthecity

        that is completely made up!

  • @espaguetisyagua

    Super reporting and an interesting read even for someone not tuned in to the Asian racing scene. Can’t ask for any more than that!

  • Dave Dale

    Here is latest scandal of Peter , due to ride the world MTB champs in France he withdrew stating injury then the next day was named on live French TV in a doping scandal.
    I can’t say it’s true or false but yet again his name is mentioned live on TV
    In Thailand he is seen as a God
    ‘http://www.europe1.fr/sport/bernard-sainz-denonce-une-orchestration-de-la-part-de-cash-investigation-2785456

    • Honest Amateur

      He is not seen as a god by all in Thailand; it is firmly split between those who do, and do not know about him.

      Peter recently rode as a guest VIP rider in a local amateur race here in Thailand. He was reluctantly allowed to ride in the open cat last minute. Now the rules state you can’t draft different cats (i.e. age groupers 30-39 etc). Peter was VIP (the only one) and was under strict instructions to stay at the back of the bunch and not interfere with the open race.
      However when the first meaningful break of 3 riders took off, he jumped on. Now I was in the bunch with an ex-team mate of Peter’s (another story there!) and he said the riders in break should be disqualified. At some stage in the race Peter left the breakaway and joined his girlfriend in the ladies race. I saw him towing his girlfriend; so now he has influenced the ladies race too (she got on the podium).

      Anyway the open break stuck and this of course caused a fallout amongst some of teams. However we were all in agreement that Peter Pouly was not welcome at that race.

      So to answer Dave Dale, his popularity is split in Thailand. The problem is his coaching is quite good and I know a few friends who use him. When I ask about him, most reply with “well he is a nice really guy”…

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