Igor Kopse’s statement to the missed doping test

Copied from this Strava Activity.

(Anmerkung: Daniel Müller von Speed-ville.de hat sich die Mühe gemacht und große Teile dieses Statements auf Deutsch übersetzt).

After full 3 weeks now from King of the Lake time trial I am slowly starting to separate irational emotions from rational thinking, clearing my own mind and putting things into apropriate folders. Its for sure I couldn’t say anything for first two weeks, because I simply couldn’t think rational. I was almost paralised, going through state of shock and incredible deep shame at first, followed by a mix of shame and unbelivable frustration at second. And this is just an introduction into what will follow now on.

What happend?

I’ve refused to give a biological sample at doping control.

Before explaining anything, I had to emphicize following: I can’t mind anybody, in particular for all those I had sincere personal relationship, to look at me with a strong negative feelings from now on. There is no need for any belief. With my performances in last three years its completely natural, that most’s first association is; what is he eating, what is he helping with? I am not searching for any excuse or forgiving. And I’m no victim under any condition. Just a naive idiot at best. I am writting this because of a very strong need to talk my self out. Its because of consciense and because of easier living after. And because it matters to me, what image people I am close to, carries with them. Certainly I don’t want for somebody I care of, to look at me as a scum, with strong disgracefull feelings. And unfortunately I can’t explain entire mess to everybody I care individualy either.

How could this happen? How is it possible that I made such mistake? Damn, one week later I was suppose to attempt masters hour record at Manchester velodrome!

There is no doubt I was not right to start the race at King of the Lake. First because I was on drug that is on prohibited list and as second, because hard racing on the verge of illness one week before major event is a very risky game per-se. Should be taking a day off or an easy day at least, take drugs, drink tea and went into sauna instead of going on to the 1 hour all-out race. But, to the hell, I couldn’t resist going into Austria. I was working so hard for that stupid Manchester, and I was litteraly flying in last two months. And not just two months, entire season, even during winter, when on form I was flying like with wings. Skipping an event like King of the Lake, rather small and annonimous event in global terms, but event I was waiting so eagerly, partialy because of personal excitement, partialy because it has a very large significance in a process of preparation for the Hour a week later, was simply something I couldn’t do. Couldn’t resist temptation.

Entire story began in the week before King of the Lake event when something like a light cold starting to catching me. Nothing serious, just a tipical nausea, but certainly something I had to be very carrefull at. Something sauna ussualy corrects instantly. Then the devil started to have youngers when Gašper got ill. He got a high fever and I had to go with him to doctor because Helena was occupied in her job. I knew, solid week before Manchester, this is terrible idea, and I knew I should avoid contact with ill people and particulary avoid going into any crowded place high on bugs like doctors ordinary, because of danger of getting infected. Its always when you are on the peak, pushing body to the limit, that you are highly suspectible for catching any kind of infection. And so it was. Nothing serious with Gašper, tipical flu. Two days of high temperature, paracetamol and tea only, than things slowly goes into normal again. But the problem was few days later, on a friday, when I started to feeling weird. It might be, I was too anxious or to afraid of getting ill at that moment, so I started eating Daleron as a preventive measure in the early part of what might evolve into the cold or even a flu later. Daleron is over the counter available drug meant to releive simptoms of common cold or flu and it’s in our home pharmacy almost always present. Among pain releiving paracetamol, it contains „in competition“ prohibited pseudoefedrin which has strong vasoconstricting effect, causing less nasal mucosa excretion. Performance wise, pseudoefedrin is neuro stimulant, causing higher neural excitement. But I didn’t think then about getting advantage in the race. I don’t beleive I could go much harder with Daleron than without. My pain treshold is way too high. I could kill my self million times on an everyday training merely by thinking about future goal, not to speak about competition it self where I never had a problem with a motivation to go right to the limit. I dont need that. All I have from over-neural-exciting supplement (like 200mg caffeine pill in example) is, that I can’t sleep the following night. Same goes for pseudo efedrin. And then it comes saturday. My morning pulse was 50 instead of 40-43 in previous days. It was not eleveted enough to start panicing, but it was higher than normal. And usualy takes a day or two before any ilness, when your progresively raising HR indicates what is going to evolve. Thats where irational thinking begins. Shit, that’s no good. You have to do everything to prevent possible evolution of the flu. Thats where you step on, put into second gear, taking double Daleron right in the morning and another one midday. Thats also the moment I should clearly recognize the wrong doing of racing that day. But I didn’t. Despite being informed about possible doping control on the website of organizer days before event, and even despite I’ve seen on my own eyes NADA crew walking around before the start, I didn’t stop my self. That was my last chance to step of the bike and abandon the race. But the problem was, I simply didn’t feel like cheating or doing anything wrong. If I would do anything dirty I would run away like a rabbit at the very first smell of doping control. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I want it too much to race that trial, to test myself on a hour trial a week before the hour. Until I was asked to do doping control…

…than the information found its way to the brain. Shit, your sample will be positive. Oh dear, you will test positive! You will 100% return a positive test. And thats the start of slow realization what has actualy just happend. Of a realization how serious situation was. And in the following 3 hours you slowly realizes full spectrum of consequences that will follow…Should I pee? If I do, I will be positive, thats for sure. It would mean I would count a doping violation regardles any medical reason, since I wasn’t at doctor. I would imediatelly become a doper. It would also mean, even if I could explain the reason for PE presence, they would delete any (possible) result week later. It would be a scandal of a national range, probably getting into the all main media. And I would be forever marked as someone who doped. Someone who achieved what he achieved with cheating, not several years of continous hard work, dedication and meticousely following any possible legal and ethical aspect of physical evolution. No matter what you do, once you score a positive test, you will be immediately discredited. And this discreditation is deep and permanent. If on the other side I refuse to give a simple, I would score a very serious doping rule violation. By any mean, it means immediate disqualification from competitive sport and highest possible sanction. Even higher than with adverse analitycal finding. It means I would do a „suicide“ in terms of competitive sport. It any case it would also mean a suicide in terms of personal integrity and credibility. Sport is not like other fields of living. Like in a traffic for example: I am relatively calm driver, generaly respecting the rules in traffic and trying to maintain basic culture. I dont drink alcohol at all. Can’t remember when I did drink a large normal beer at last. I did drink one Radler after Franja win this year and i didnt drive. Yet if I would make a mistake and refuse to do an alko test at police inspection, I would be suspended out of traffic immediately, with licence take-away and high paycheck to pay. Yet, despite scoring a very serious traffic violation, I wouldn’t be recognized as somebody who is an alcoholic driver. Sport, cycling in particular, is different. Any mistake, any violation, any slightest doping related issue, means permanent discreditation. And its not about competitive implications that would hurt me. I was wanting to end competitive career anyway. The way I adressed the sport was psycologicaly to unsustainable. Its about loss of personal integrity and public credibility, thats what hurts. That matters. Thats disaster.

At the end, after some 4h of hesitation, I decided to end things with refusal. I had to choose between two equaly disastrous options, but I decided to end without any positive test. I rather end with a violation than as a positive. I’ve bin tested 6 times. Always on my peak, always after best performances, always marking the ticket with allowance to use my sample for future scientific researches if needed. In 2014, after my first really sky high performance of 431W at Ljubljana worlds championships time trial I was even happy to be tested (https://www.instagram.com/p/sXFxp-OM8f/). And i was tested twice withinn three days then. But this time I refused it because I simply didn’t want a positive. I don’t want any substance, any method marked there by my name.

Right after that, I got the next punishment. All that stress, physiological and psychological was naturally too much. The body was pushed over the edge and very next day I was allready down with a tipical flu developing after. Irony, haven’t had a flu for probably 4 years up until. Just few minor colds and a food poisoning here and there. But thats marginal. Thats the least. What matters is what hurts much more in it will hurt for quite some time more.

I have decided to upload that file from time trial. I couldn’t opened it for a week after. Might be wrong here, but I beleive it wasn’t affected significantly by the drug. I was indeed faster than in previous two years (385W in 2014, 378W in 2015 and 396W in 2016) but to my beleive its was more the matter of doing things right to be on a good day (liver and muscular glycogen concentration, hydration, eating timing, pacing strategy, etc..) Anyway, if this has to be doped performance, here it is. I am opened for discussion about biological plausability.

At the end, I would like to apologize once again to the organizers for doing them a whole mess on the event and after. Its one of the best cycling events for any enthusiastic cyclist you can find in this part of Europe. Not just in organizational terms, but also in terms of course beauty and grandiousness. In particular, I am terribly sorry for Wolfgang Götschhofer, who should be winning that day and who, as a local rider, was stripped for proper crowning and publicity that evening. I should disqualify myself right there after signing to chaperon. But I couldn’t. I was litteraly paralised by shame and fear of mear thought of any doping related issue then.

I want to emphacize once again that by no means I feel as a victim here, and I don’t search for any excuse nor a pity. I feel now more like dissapointed over my own stupidity and naivness. The rules are clear and the line was visible. It was me, not the system, who crossed that line. And now is time to take my responcibilty.