News and views from Martial Saugy
The director of the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses (LAD), Martial Saugy, uses test tubes to track down cheats. A towering figure in the small world of the fight against doping, this 54-year-old native of Broye no longer watches sport like he used to.
“I can no longer watch a Russian win a middle-distance race without being suspicious.” For Martial Saugy, the director of the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses in Epalinges, the rising number of doping cases has gradually extinguished the sacred flame of this sports fan. “I wasn’t saying this in 2002-2003, I thought that we could be effective, but the abuses have continued and scandals have erupted. As the years pass, I take less and less pleasure in following cycle races.” This rather gloomy assessment does, however, still harbour some glimmers of hope: “I can be inspired by a runner like Bekele.” And despite the refinement of doping techniques, the 54-year-old Broyard has no intention of abandoning a fight that has rapidly become a calling: “Researching biological traces and developing new methods of analysis are the things I enjoy and the rules I will defend. And the work has evolved: ten years ago no one would have thought about collaborating with the pharmaceuticals industry, whereas today we conduct a good deal of research jointly. Ethical argument plays its part to perfection.”
“I am a representative of Lausanne to the outside world”
Not an ayatollah
Seen by senior authorities and the public as guarantors of truth, laboratories for doping analyses, especially the one in Lausanne, more or less play the role of executioner: “And that suits everyone,” says Martial Saugy smoothly. “Lawyers want to know our conclusions and federations congratulate us on our work whenever we discover an anomaly but, on the other hand, they’ll say that we are “hurting” sport with our findings. So we never blow our own trumpet. And when a positive result is announced, it has to be done in front of the authorities and the media.” And, asked whether this rigid, all-knowing approach rubs off in private: “On the whole I’m not excessively rigid. And I’m not an ayatollah when it comes to my work. To me, anyone can make a mistake and I would find it hard to do my job under pain of death for example.”
Views of Lake Geneva
The son of a farmer from Broye, Martial Saugy may have spent a good part of his life in a white coat, but he has also swept the streets of Lausanne in an orange uniform: ”I worked for the local authority during my studies. I used to live in La Bourdonnette near the university.” A student in plant biology, Martial Saugy has incorporated the fight against doping without knowing all the secrets: ”When Lausanne submitted its candidacy for the O.G. a laboratory had to be set up. I came back from Montreal in 88 and the lab opened on 1st January 1990.” It is a laboratory known for the accuracy of its analyses: ”I am a representative of Lausanne to the outside world. That means something to people.” Lausanne is a town that Martial Saugy adores: ”I remember from the time when I used to sweep up that there are lots of little districts. And then this magnificent campus. And of course that hillside with views of Lake Geneva.” As for going out, the former student remembers the Bavaria at the top of Petit-Chêne and the Café Romand a few metres further on in Saint-François Square: ”I have a certain loyalty to this area,” he concludes with a smile.
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