Bernal: Reputation of Colombians affected by doping cases
Tour de France winner Egan Bernal says his reputation has been damaged by a spate of recent doping cases in Colombia.
Bernal made headlines in Colombia a couple of weeks ago when comments made in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde were read as a criticism of the Colombian Cycling Federation and its anti-doping efforts.
“I would be unable to say if it was one or 100,” Bernal replied when asked how many times he’d been tested in Colombia this year. When it was suggested it would be closer to 100, he said: “I don’t have the figure in my head.”
Egan Bernal beim Sieg der Tour de France 2019Getty Images
“It seemed I was criticising the federation, but no, the federation is doing good work,” he said.
Egan Bernal bei der Streckenpräsentation der Tour de France 2020Getty Images
And while Bernal insists his home country is “improving” when it comes to the fight for clean cycling, he thinks the image of Colombians has been affected by what has happened.
“It’s difficult for us. Our image, as Colombians in general, is being affected by what has happened,” Bernal told Cyclingnews.
Indeed, this year has seen Tour de France stage winner Jarlinson Pantano test positive for EPO, while Manzana Postobon, a team with a vocal anti-doping stance, folded in May after Wilmar Paredes tested positive for EPO and Juan Jose Amador for Boldenone. Alexis Camacho and former Tinkoff-Saxo rider Edward Beltran were the latest to go positive on the domestic circuit last month. Two years ago, the country’s flagship race was marred by a spate of eight positive tests for CERA.
“It’s improving, it’s improving. There are still doping cases and positive tests, but not just in Colombia – in a lot of other places, too,” added Bernal.
“If positives are coming out in Colombia, it’s because they’re carrying out anti-doping tests. What more can the federation do? It simply has to carry on testing and riders need to become more aware.