Tested positive for the EPO in June 2019 and suspended for two years for doping, Marion Sicot will resume competition in a few weeks. Before that, the cyclist released a book, Friday September 10, in which she describes the gear that pushed her to destroy herself and betray her values on her own terms. Entitled Harassed, doped, but back!, it tells the dark hours crossed by the cyclist then her redemption.
Marion Sicot will try, on September 18, to beat the world record for the highest elevation gain in 24 hours at Alpe d’Huez. If the 29-year-old rider has managed to take on this personal challenge, it’s because she says she enjoys riding a bike again, two years after her positive EPO test.
However, the cyclist suffered for a long time in the saddle. Since the start of her career, Marion Sicot has not dared to try her luck in a breakaway, for fear of being caught. She’s also scared of bumping into the pack and falling. Quickly, she also developed eating disorders due to an obsession with her weight.
His dream ? Join a UCI team (the first international level). After an inconclusive experience in the Servetto-Footon team in 2015, she agrees to make financial sacrifices to join the Belgian team Doltcini-Van Eyck in 2018. Marion Sicot then pays all her travel and hotel expenses and is certain that she is the only girl on the team in this situation. Quickly, this experience turns into a nightmare. The French cyclist experiences a lack of consideration, a weariness of overtraining and less and less pleasure. Then in 2019, her sports director, Marc Bracke, asked her for photos in her underwear every week, under the pretext of monitoring her weight. For fear of no longer being aligned, Marion Sicot complies with the demands of her superior, except when he asks her to pose in a thong.
To get out of the harassment and hold of Marc Bracke, Marion Sicot wants to achieve great performances: “But by dint of being a team member, of working for others, of paying for it, of no longer taking any pleasure, of suffering the behavior of a sports director with whom I have reached a point of no return, I realizes that my situation has become unlivable. What should I do to have a minimum of respect, recognition from him? This is where the idea of taking a prohibited product is born in me “, she says in her book. She then opts for EPO, without inquiring or thinking about the consequences: “Either it works, I do a result and Marc will leave me alone, or I am tested positive and things stop on their own, I would have come out of this hell by force”.
– francetvsport (@francetvsport) March 8, 2020
Marion Sicot injects the doping product on her 27th birthday, June 24, 2019 and tested positive a few days later. Already sounded, it will take a second blow to morale when the case hits the press on September 20, 2019. “The worst day of my life”, she writes. Despite the support of family, friends, and students in the sports-studies section of a high school in the Indre, the cyclist locked herself in lies for several weeks before finding the strength to confess her taking EPO.
His therapy began after this confession and several media events helped him to assume his gesture. Early 2020, she agrees to testify in front of the Stage 2 cameras to recount the harassment she experienced. At the same time, the newspaper The world reports that Marc Bracke has asked several girls for photos, which allows Marion Sicot to relieve guilt.
Helped by her friends, she launches several sporting challenges during the first confinement, which help her to go up the slope: “I realize that I am not finished, that I still want to come back and regain the adrenaline of competitions”. Despite the slowness of the procedures, she went before the sanctions commission of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) at the end of 2020 and learned, in January 2021, that she was finally suspended for only two years, instead of four claimed by the instance. The tears of distress then give way to tears of joy.
Begun in 2020, the writing of this book has allowed Marion Sicot to put words on the ailments that gnaw at her. It is for her “an important project both for (his) therapy and (his) reconstruction and for the sharing of (his) lived experience”. During the 325 pages of the book, she sends an open letter to her future competitors, when she can resume at the end of the year, to ask their forgiveness but also to remind that she has paid her debt. Marion Sicot would like her testimony to alert to the reality of professional female cycling and to enable young cyclists not to repeat the same mistakes.
“Harassed, doped but back”, by Marion Sicot – edited by Blacklephant éditions –