A 90-year-old cyclist who was stripped of his world record after a failed drugs test has questioned the wisdom of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s decision.
Usada admitted that Carl Grove’s failed test was probably due to his inadvertent consumption of contaminated meat but said that it still had to issue him with a public warning, the least serious punishment available.
Grove told the Associated Press this week that he believes taxpayers’ money would be better spent on catching more serious offenders. “Us old guys are kind of like peanuts. I think that they’re wasting their time,” he said. “What can I gain at 90 years old doing drugs? Tell me, I just don’t know. So I think that somewhere there ought to be a cutoff and they ought to zero in on the stuff that is done for money reasons or whatever it may be. But I think after 65 or 70, you know, they ought to just give up.”
Grove tested positive for epitrenbolone, a metabolite of banned substance trenbolon, at July’s US Masters Track National Championships, where he won the the 90-94 age group sprint title.
The former United States Navy Band saxophonist, who played for US presidents during his time in the armed forces, said the decision had initially hurt him.
“I was really kind of down for a while. But I’m over it,” Grove said. “I wanted to be an inspiration, if possible. I worked like a real horse to do it. They struck me from the records. I don’t really care about that too much. The thing that I really, really care about is that I wanted to be a sterling, totally clean person in front of people that knew about me.
“It looked like I had not been an honest person to a lot of people. I guess I was kind of worried about what did other people think, you know? Then, I began to think, ‘Well, some of them will believe me and some of them won’t.’ I guess that’s just the way it is.”
Carl Grove in action at the 2018 USA Cycling Masters Track Nationals. Photograph: Kathy Watts/AP
Grove, whose mother and father lived to 105 and 97 respectively, says he is determined to continue his cycling career. His next goal is the world record for the distance ridden in an hour in the 90-95 age bracket. The current mark was set in 2017 by France’s Rene Gaillard, who covered 29.278km (18 miles).
“Sometimes, I ride in the morning and it’s a beautiful sunrise. I’m alive. I’m looking. I’m looking around. I’m feeling good. I’m so happy,” he said. “I’ve got so many gold medals and ribbons and stuff, and that doesn’t count. What counts is getting out there and doing the best I can do and show people what they can do.”
Grove will turn 91 on 13 July.