Former Slovenian professional, Tadej Valjavec, has opened a hotel, the Villa Triglav, which has been dubbed by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, The Grand Hotel Doping.
The reason they have given the hotel this name is not only because Valjavec has customised the rooms to replicate the atmospheric conditions at 4,000 metres of altitude, but also due to his links with Michele Ferrari.
The use of altitude tents is not illegal under WADA rules, but it has been banned in Italy. According to La Repubblica, Valjavec restored the building at a reported cost of €100,000, and installed a hypoxic tent that would replicate conditions at between 4 and 5,000 metres of altitude.
The use of hypoxic tents is quite commonly used by athletes with centres having been built around the world. The first residential altitude facility in Ireland at the University of Limerick, is commonly used by rugby players and other sportspeople.
Valjavec raced professionally from 2000 to 2013, and amongst his best results were 8th overall in the 2009 Giro d’Italia and 10th in the 2008 Tour de France. He was also linked with Michele Ferrari during his career and in 2010, his name was released as being one of several riders under investigation by the UCI for “irregular blood values”.
Valjavec told the newspaper, “When I opened Villa Triglav, Ferrari came here, saw the establishment, and paid me compliments.”
He also outlined the benefits. “I can adjust the percentage of oxygen in any room,” saying that it stimulates the body’s production of red blood cells, and therefore its ability to convey oxygen to the muscles.
“In some parts of the world this is doping, in others is isn’t. The federations pretend not to see it, so everyone does it,”