Doping in decline so technology now matters: Vaughters

Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:19am EST
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By Julien Pretot

MALLORCA, Spain (Reuters) - Years of scepticism toward scientific and technological innovation have been wiped out recently as cycling has been recovering from major drugs scandals, according to former professional rider and now team manager Jonathan Vaughters.

American Vaughters, a former team mate of Lance Armstrong's who admitted to doping during his career, launched Slipstream Sports in 2005 and Garmin-Chipotle -- now Cannondale-Garmin after a merger with the Italian team. They started in the elite in 2008 on a strong anti-doping stance.

A pro racer from 1994-2003, the 41-year-old Vaughters has seen the worst in cycling, but also experienced from the inside the fight against doping, which took a major turn in 2008 when the International Cycling Union (UCI) introduced the biological passport.

The focus could then turn on to innovation to gain an advantage over rival teams.

"When I started racing I had a SRM (a power-measuring device), I was one of the firs with Stefano Della Santa and (Greg) LeMond, it was three guys in the peloton who had a SRM," Vaughters told Reuters at a Cannondale-Garmin training camp.

"Now it's standard that everyone measures power.

"In 2008 with David Millar we did lot of wind-tunnel testing we had fast equipment, we had a big advantage. Nowadays that advantage is gone," he said.

All teams now measure power and look to take the edge through minor gains on positioning, suits and bikes.   Continued...

Garmin-Cervelo team manager Jonathan Vaughters (2nd R) celebrates on the podium with riders after they won the team time trial second stage of the Tour de France in Les Essarts July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse