September 29, 2020

Cyclist Marta Bastianelli Uses Benfluorex Unaware of Similarities to Banned Substance

Italian cyclist Marta Bastianelli tested positive for a banned stimulant. She tested positive for the diet drug fenfluramine in a doping control conducted by the International Cycling Union (UCI) at the “Under-23 World Championships” in Verbania, Italy on July 5, 2008.

Bastianelli claims she never knowingly ingested a banned substance. She admitted to her obsession with weight control stating “I wanted to lose weight, like any girl.” She consulted with her doctor to find weight loss products that were not on the WADA banned substance list. Her doctor prescribed the drug Benfluorex. Benfluorex is an anti-diabetic drug that improves insulin sensitivity and glycemic control; as such it is often prescribed for weight loss. Benfluorex is not on the WADA banned substance list but it is structurally similar to Fenfluramine (which is listed) [Read more…]

Cyclist Tammy Thomas Convicted of Perjury; Second Career Destroyed

Cyclist Tammy Thomas has been convicted on three counts of making false statements (perjury) and one count of obstruction of justice. She was acquitted of two counts of perjury (“Cyclist convicted of perjury in BALCO case,” April 4).

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Thomas faces a sentence that likely would range from probation to about two or three years in federal prison for the perjury convictions.

Thomas was specifically accused of lying to the grand jury about using steroids and obtaining performance enhancing drugs from Illinois chemist Patrick Arnold, a key Balco figure who pleaded guilty to manufacturing designer steroids and providing them to elite athletes through the now-defunct Peninsula laboratory.

Tammy Thomas already received a lifetime ban from competitive cycling for doping violations several years. This effectively ended her career as a cyclist. The conviction for perjury in the government’s case against Thomas may have effectively ended the pursuit of a second career as an attorney (“Tammy Thomas found guilty of perjury,” April 4).

“I already had one career taken away from me,” she yelled. “Look me in the eye. You can’t do it.”

Thomas then turned to a prosecutor and shouted, “Look me in the eye …. You like to destroy people’s lives.”

 The government has succeeded in its unstated goal of making an example of an athlete using steroids. Is this justice served?