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"Doping Scandal Rocks Tour"
June 30, 2006 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Big news in the cycling world. Favorites Basso, Ullrich out of the Tour de France. Should make for an interesting July.
posted by dizzycow (53 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Looks like Lance got out just in time.
posted by ChasFile at 6:52 AM on June 30, 2006


Golly. Wow.
Cyclingnews. Velonews.

I wonder if Basso's in danger of losing his Giro win, now.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:55 AM on June 30, 2006


I'm sure Barry Bonds is involved somehow.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:05 AM on June 30, 2006


I look forward to this event all year and now it's just been shat all over. Man.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:07 AM on June 30, 2006


For some reason I have this unshakeable image in my head of Phil Hartman with no arms.
posted by norm at 7:10 AM on June 30, 2006




Looks like Lance got out just in time.
Nobody from Discovery is implicated, though, are they? Near as I can tell this is all centered around one doctor, who, as far as I know, didn't have any relation with Lance or any of the other disco guys.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:24 AM on June 30, 2006


Lance isn't implicated in this particular set of allegations, but he continues to have his own problems.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:26 AM on June 30, 2006


So it has nothing to do with Lance Armstrong threatening to kill Greg LeMond?

Curiouser and curiouser
posted by Flashman at 7:29 AM on June 30, 2006


Lance "I never took performance enhancing drugs"" Armstrong? Christ he has the American media so enamored over his 7-in-a-row TDF wins, and cancer survivor story, that no interviewer during his media tour this week pressed him on his own past use of growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, steroids and testosterone.
posted by jaimev at 7:34 AM on June 30, 2006


zut alors - touche, m_b
posted by Flashman at 7:36 AM on June 30, 2006


Wolfdog,

I don't think there's reason to despair, this simply opens things up a little bit more. I would have liked to see those guys race, but I'll be happy watching those who do start.
posted by OmieWise at 7:40 AM on June 30, 2006


man, poor jan ullrich.

for the last 7 years the guy's been hands down better in the tour than everyone else in cycling except for one dude. the mind reels to think how many tours he might have pulled down if not for armstrong.

if i were him i'd be pretty pissed off at life right now.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 7:43 AM on June 30, 2006


I'm glad all of these accusations are freshly timed perfectly for the start of le Tour. Nice timing, eh?

As for Operación Puerto, this is a sad day, which blows the 1998 Tour start (where a team car was found with illegal and controlled substances) right away.

Look at the new odds composite: Alejandro Valverde (ILL) 6.4/1; but don't count out the Americans: Floyd Landis (Pho), George Hincapie (Dis), and David Zabriskie (CSC).
posted by plemeljr at 7:48 AM on June 30, 2006


Doh! Double post!

Oh well - a good place to check out additional news about the Tour is the TdF Blog.
posted by plemeljr at 7:49 AM on June 30, 2006


With this rate of attrition, I might have to get my old Chopper out to make up the numbers.
posted by brighton at 7:50 AM on June 30, 2006


I'd say Leipheimer'd be favored ahead of Hincapie and Zabriskie as far as GC. Savoldelli and Popovych are the most likely leaders for Discovery - I expect they'll sort that out as they go - and I don't think anyone really has any idea how they're going to handle themselves in a tour where they can't use their patented all-for-one approach.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:52 AM on June 30, 2006


at this point, cycling has become a bit of a joke, really. the IOC might as well use the sport as giant experiment -- erase all kind of anti-doping laws, only for cycling, sit back for three (or better yet, five) years and see what happens. at this point, it's not about being clean or not, it's about being one step ahead of the laws.

these guys want to kill themselves, OK. at least they'll enjoy their wins and medals quietly, and we'll enjoy some superhuman performances (I still remember Moser's Giro in 1984, when on the last leg in Verona he was about to destroy the hour record su strada)
posted by matteo at 7:54 AM on June 30, 2006


Do these guys have collectible bracelets? 'Cause if not, fuck 'em.
posted by NationalKato at 7:58 AM on June 30, 2006


Maybe I'm alone in saying this, but it bugs me that these guys have been tossed basically because -- as far as I can tell -- their names show up on some list somewhere. They didn't fail a blood test, didn't get the usual due process, did they? (But by all means, someone correct me if I'm wrong.)

What happens if it comes out in a month that these were false accusations?
posted by dseaton at 7:58 AM on June 30, 2006


ps. plemeljr: Look at the new odds composite: Alejandro Valverde (ILL) 6.4/1; but don't count out the Americans: Floyd Landis (Pho), George Hincapie (Dis), and David Zabriskie (CSC).

You don't mention Vinokourov, and he doesn't get quite the odds that Valverde does, but I think you gotta figure he's way up in the mix. I mean, especially given the situation with Astana-Würth, he's going to be seriously chasing a win.
posted by dseaton at 8:03 AM on June 30, 2006


if i were a betting man i'd put my money on vinokourov, but the velonews article makes it sound like he might get booted too.

also, is that betting site giving top odds to floyd landis?

FLOYD LANDIS?



what the hell? i've got 10:1 on bob roll!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 8:05 AM on June 30, 2006


Cycling, of course, has always had a long history of doping. In this case, the riders were ejected for being associated with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, who apparently kept coded notebooks detailing the doping regime provided for the riders named. It wasn't long ago that in addition to EPO, steroids and steroid-masking agents, testosterone, and human growth hormone, riders routinely received doses of "pot belge," a ballistic compound of cocaine, caffeine, heroin, and cortisone. That'll get you going in the morning.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:07 AM on June 30, 2006


... has always had a long history ... That's some inartful prose, ain't it?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:11 AM on June 30, 2006


I'd say Leipheimer'd be favored ahead of Hincapie and Zabriskie as far as GC.

I'm not sure why, but Leipheimer seems to be largely ignored by the mainstream American press.
posted by Slothrup at 8:17 AM on June 30, 2006


Because he's spent most of his years riding for Euro teams.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:18 AM on June 30, 2006


I thought it was going to be a Basso win for sure. I guess Landis is going to be king this year.
posted by mathowie at 8:48 AM on June 30, 2006


Director of UCI, Pat McQuaid, says other sports involved. "You must bear in mind also that this isn't just a problem of cycling. We have got this list from the authorities in Spain because we forced the issues; pressure came from the UCI and the French Ministry as well that we wanted this list before the Tour de France. There are other sports people from other sports involved this affair as well, and in time their names will also come out... I have been told that athletics, basketball, tennis and football are involved in this. Those details will all emerge over time."
posted by WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot at 8:55 AM on June 30, 2006


Maybe I'm alone in saying this, but it bugs me that these guys have been tossed basically because -- as far as I can tell -- their names show up on some list somewhere. They didn't fail a blood test, didn't get the usual due process, did they? (But by all means, someone correct me if I'm wrong.)

At this point, with EPO and HGH testing as primitive as it is, a list is probably better proof than a vial of blood.

Remember those two Greek runners who were kicked out of the Olympics for not contributing a drug test (they said they were in an "accident?") Some have thought it was just a convenient excuse for the IOC and WADA to drop them, because they were connected to Victor Conte and BALCO.

What happens if it comes out in a month that these were false accusations?

Well, they're screwed. But the Tour is within its right to toss people who have the even the slightest whiff of doping. Baseball was this way for years with gambling, suspending a manager for just talking to a known bookie, putting Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays for working as celebrity greeters at a casino (they never set foot on the gaming floor).

Why didn't they do this to Lance Armstrong? My guess is money.
posted by dw at 8:59 AM on June 30, 2006


Well, Vino's chances look even more grim now, his Astaná squad looks to be down to only 4 members, when UCI requires 6 for a grand tour - Vino might be gone also due to no teammates. I wouldn't rule out Popovych (Dis) either, but I agree that Disco's "cover all the bases" strategy weakens their overall strength; Johan Bruyneel better have kickin' plan for which rider to support when.
posted by plemeljr at 9:04 AM on June 30, 2006


It should be noted that it isn't the Tour that booted these riders - it was the team directors. Discovery's Johan Bruyneel: "We had all the directors get together in a room prior to the official Tour de France directors meeting at 1030. We all had the official documents in our possession. We talked a little bit about it, and actually we actually just agreed on what we had been discussing yesterday. #1 it's a very serious case which is damaging to the sport and even to the teams who are not involved in this. And we agreed that we had to make a decision as a group of teams and not have to wait for a decision from the UCI, or the ASO… it was better that we ourselves stood up and take responsibility."

Nobody from Team Discovery is implicated.
posted by WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot at 9:05 AM on June 30, 2006


Nicely done.
posted by beerbajay at 9:20 AM on June 30, 2006


These guys should take up baseball.
posted by Nelson at 9:28 AM on June 30, 2006


Actually, the UCI told the riders on the list they must sign a form declaring they were not involved in doping and, should the UCI find further evidence to implicate them, they would be pulled during the Tour. The teams are protecting their chances by withdrawing the riders beforehand. By the way, there were vials - bags even - of blood found with rider's names on them - a few in code. This is a shock and the timing sucks.
posted by rotifer at 10:42 AM on June 30, 2006


Yeesh. Its like the week or so before Masters golf tournament and hearing that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were booted.
posted by Atreides at 11:08 AM on June 30, 2006


I can assure you that Phil Mickelson isn't taking any drugs to increase his physical fitness.

And I guess Lance is now the Bill Clinton of cycling--blame him for everything that's wrong with the sport now that he's gone.

I dunno. Maybe he was doping. But he didn't get caught. If he was, he's a dickweed who surrounded himself with the right people. That's better than just being a dickweed I guess.

And he tapped Sheryl Crow. Surely that means something?
posted by bardic at 11:20 AM on June 30, 2006


Mefi dope allegers: it's irresponsible of yourself and to metafilter to make claims however subtle against people who have not admitted anything, and are for now, innocent, is it not?
posted by uni verse at 11:30 AM on June 30, 2006


.
posted by drezdn at 12:02 PM on June 30, 2006


One would think that, if doping and drug use were confined to just a few riders, the clean riders would be very quick to speak out against them. But the fact that Lance, for example, hasn't said anything about the fact that both the second and third place riders in last year's tour were (allegedly) doping, or that Simoni's tantrum during the Giro didn't include doping as one of his crazy accusations against Basso, speaks volumes.

Honestly, the silence of Lance and other supposedly "clean" cyclists in the face of constant positive drug tests, police raids, and even admissions of guilt by their fellow competitors is the most damning evidence that the use of doping and performance-enhancing drugs is widely accepted, if not universal, within the professional peloton.
posted by peptide at 12:13 PM on June 30, 2006


Oh and so much for Vino.
posted by peptide at 12:20 PM on June 30, 2006


what a stunner. looks like the worlds fastest mennonite is going to have a clear shot at the podium. i wouldn't be surprised at all if leipheimer and even danielson join him in the top ten, despite azevedo being given the #1 for the disco boys.
posted by the painkiller at 12:44 PM on June 30, 2006


Cross referencing the velonews list of implicated riders with wikipedia's lists of standings for the last seven Tours:
Year              place
1 2 3 4 5
2005 LA X X X X
2004 LA AK X X JA
2003 LA X X X HZ
2002 LA X RR SB X
2001 LA X X AK X
2000 LA X X CM X
1999 LA AZ FE LD X
Where X's represent implicated riders, and the two instances of AK refer to different riders (Kloden in 2004 and Kivilev in 2001).
posted by Chuckles at 1:53 PM on June 30, 2006 [3 favorites]


Peptide: Honestly, the silence of Lance and other supposedly "clean" cyclists in the face of constant positive drug tests, police raids, and even admissions of guilt by their fellow competitors is the most damning evidence that the use of doping and performance-enhancing drugs is widely accepted, if not universal, within the professional peloton.

I don't necessarily disagree that I'm a little surprised that nobody has every spoken up to condemn these guys. But on the other hand, the pro peloton -- with some noteworthy exceptions -- is pretty tight knit. You can't afford to make enemies, because who knows who you'll need to work with in a breakaway, or to chase down a breakaway, etc. This is exactly what happened between Armstrong and Simeoni, so people probably learned from that.
posted by dseaton at 2:39 PM on June 30, 2006


I don't follow cycling that much, but why has no one mentioned Rasmussen? Clearly he is weak in time trials, but in this decimated field that may not matter.
posted by Chuckles at 2:43 PM on June 30, 2006




I really dont like these allegations. Ullrich and Armstrong have never tested positive for any performance enhancing drugs. Also, when recovering from surgery, Armstrong had to have some HGH, steroids or other drugs to help him recover. Im sure he did, because you dont bounce back fom cancer like that without something. However, he may have never used it in the training or competition of any major events. I think that makes it ok.

Of course, I also think Barry should be left alone until he is proven to have taken drugs. Everyone is 99% sure he has taken steroids, but for that 1%, I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

I remember a movie where one of the football players got huge over the summer and the coaches were saying he was juicing. It was pretty obvious, but the head coach backed them off by saying that its not impossible to get that big over the summer, if you hit the gym really hard. I think blindly implocating someone just becasue they are so good at what they do (Armstrong, Ullrich) is unfair, because there is that 1% chance that they could have done it all legitimately and these allegations really take away from and trivialize the hard work they have put into their passions...

For me, Until it is proven that these guys are cheating, I am going to have respect for them as proud, hard working athletes.

Bonds, on teh other hand, is hard to still have respect for...
posted by subaruwrx at 3:43 PM on June 30, 2006


I'm catching the next plane to Strasbourg. I figure they'll let anybody who can pass a piss test race at this point. What a fucking joke.

Sucks that Vino can't ride, though, if only 'cause they can't fill the squad.

So it'll be a big year for the remaining 'mericans, Floyd, Levi, Dave Z.
posted by fixedgear at 5:26 PM on June 30, 2006


of course by danielson, i really meant hincapie. i need some EPO for my brain.
posted by the painkiller at 6:11 PM on June 30, 2006


Interesting to look at last years placings:
1. Lance - retired
2. Basso - gone
3. Ulrich - gone
4. Mancebo - gone
5. Vino - gone
6. Leipheimer
7. Rasmussen
8. Cadel Evans
9. Landis
Hopefully Cadel can take it, he's been time-trialing well this season, and there's a few long TTs this year.
posted by markr at 7:23 PM on June 30, 2006


Also, when recovering from surgery, Armstrong had to have some HGH, steroids or other drugs to help him recover

Massive doses of steroids, and perfectly legal. Lance took a big risk with his cancer treatment. The normal course of chemo would have reduced his lung's ability to take in oxygen permanently. He wouldn't have been disabled, but it would have ended his racing career.

Instead, he chose a much harsher course of chemo that wouldn't damage his lungs.

I really feel for Vino, who wasn't touched by this, but with ASO not allowing team replacments, Astana just didn't have the six minimum needed to race.
posted by eriko at 4:48 AM on July 1, 2006


Chuckles - that accounting of alleged dopers and finishing position is heart breaking. If the allegations prove true, it would seem that anyone finishing in that top group would have to be doping just to stay in contention. Cycling is such a beautiful sport and this would ruin in. I don't think it can survive yet another of these scandals.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:58 PM on July 1, 2006


For the record, my chart has Vinokourov's two top five finishes marked with an X. At this point it looks like he is not implicated. That would make him the only "clean" rider, other than Mr. Armstrong, with more than one top five finish in the last seven years.

In fact, when I initially made the chart I had question marks in Vinokourov's finishes, then I "corrected" it.. Doh!
posted by Chuckles at 8:48 PM on July 1, 2006


Re: "azevedo being given the #1 for the disco boys" - he's certainly a contender, but he has the alphabet to thank for the honor of wearing that number.
posted by WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot at 9:50 PM on July 6, 2006


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