Hugh Pritchard, Biathlete

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Hugh Pritchard
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June 2002
3 June, London

The first race of the roller-ski season always used to be a 30km on the flat course at Eelmoor, but this year something new: a 1 hour race on the much more interesting 1 mile cycle circuit at Hayes.

A blistering hot day, with quite a strong wind, the leading pack off the start was me, Peter Moysey, Alan Eason, and, from the past, Jeremy Knight (who used to win all the British races until his retirement 5 years ago). Jeremy lasted 3 laps, and I put on a burst after 30' that dropped Alan. At 45' another burst put me well ahead of Peter, but I eased off, and he caught me again at 58', just in time for my finishing burst.

On a different note, it was good to see that the IOC has acted on the Austrian skiers who left blood transfusion equipment in their accommodation at the Olympics. See the IOC press release and article on Sportserver. Good that the coach and chiropractor were also banned, but curious that the Austrian team doctor was not banned: that encourages a 'head-in-the-sand' approach to individuals' doping.

WADA has also just announced a protocol for differentiating doping cheats from some inadvertent victims of the fight against doping - sportserver article. While there is obviously sense in having only genuinely performance-enhancing drugs on the list, there are also plenty of non-performance-enhancers that disguise cheating, and it is easy enough to say that you only took an over-the-counter cold remedy when in fact you injected stimulants. I think it is impossible to reliably distinguish inadvertent from deliberate drug-taking.