Floyd Landis admits to using performance enhancing drugs
May 20, 2010 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Floyd Landis admits to using performance enhancing drugs. He's also dropping the dime on Armstrong, Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and his friend, David Zabriskie. So much for Omerta.
posted by mecran01 (137 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Time to move his book, Positively False, to the Fantasy section.
posted by jaimev at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Floyd Landis' email but does he have any shred of credibility left? He wrote a book where he said he raced clean and spent two million in his defense. Now he's a doper and so is everybody else? Also nice timing with two major tours going on.
posted by fixedgear at 8:29 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sigh...correct link: Positively False
posted by jaimev at 8:29 AM on May 20, 2010


I wonder if there's another book coming out? Or is he just trying to get a job bitching at people? Cuz LeMond pretty much owns that angle last I checked.
posted by Mister_A at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't get the psychology at play here, but it is pretty similar across all sports.

Lance has been accused many times, but never caught...he passes drug tests all the time. If he gets away with it, of course he's going to deny doing it, but if he ever gets caught? What then?

I just don't get it...why go through all the legal system, lying to everyone about it, and then admit it when you've completely ruined your credibility? What's up with that?

Barry Bonds comes to mind...
posted by Chuffy at 8:33 AM on May 20, 2010


The most damning accusation of Landis, curiously lacking from the original WSJ piece, is that Lance Armstrong has tested positive, on EPO, in 2002.

Belgian media write landis alleges that Armstrong struck 'a financial deal' with cycling association UCI to keep quiet about it all.

Now either this is true. Which it could be, because several athletes who confessed doping abuse say only the suckers get caught, normally. Officials know more than they will ever acknowledge to know.

Or it is not true, and it is in crazy details like this Landis shows his paranoia.

The UCI says in a reaction he just wants revenge, anyway.
posted by ijsbrand at 8:34 AM on May 20, 2010


Oh, professional cycling. Never change.

By which I mean, please change. Seriously.
posted by pts at 8:36 AM on May 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Shocked, I tell you, I am positively shocked!
posted by Bovine Love at 8:37 AM on May 20, 2010


Landis said that he and Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, had discussed the need to use blood transfusions to boost endurance. A new test for the synthetic blood-booster, EPO, had made doping more difficult.

I wonder if there's a shred of truth in that. It's kind of insane if any of these guys were in fact getting blood transfusions to mask doping.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 AM on May 20, 2010


After he broke his hip and had hip replacement surgery, he went on a tour of the U.S. to give a talk at hospitals and orthopedic clinics about the procedure. He also went on rides in those cities as part of a fund raising effort to aid his legal defense. You paid a fee and got to ride around with Floyd and about 50 other cyclists.

My friend, who's also a cyclist like me, works for the company that designed the prosthesis that Floyd has. He got me into the ride for free. It about 25 miles at a conversational pace through west Austin. Floyd made his way up and back through the pack, talking to everyone, being jovial and candid.

When we got to the tougher hills, everyone stopped talking and did their best to hang on. I was at the front of the pack thinking I was hot shit, because here I am right on the wheel of a TdF rider, when I said "this is the last hill", and Floyd fucking disappeared. I mean, one minute his wheel is a couple of inches away from mine, and the next minute he's crested the hill and is waiting for everyone on the other side. He took off like a goddamn bullet. It was an explosion of power, and he didn't even wind up for it; it was just instant.

Apparently, the pace I was holding wasn't exactly pro-level cycling ability. That was a wakeup call.

I got him to sign a water bottle and a poster for my kid. She's really into cycling and is excited about the upcoming Tour. I've always known the sport has dopers. It's getting better, much better, about policing itself. It's actively hunting down cheating athletes. Follow George Hincapie, Lance, Levi Leipheimer, et al on Twitter and see how many times their breakfast or dinner is interrupted by WADA drug testing knocking on their door. How often does that happen in baseball?

But goddamn Floyd. I wanted to believe you. I really did.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:42 AM on May 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


I just don't get it...why go through all the legal system, lying to everyone about it, and then admit it when you've completely ruined your credibility? What's up with that?

Why cheat at all? It must feel terrible.
posted by fire&wings at 8:43 AM on May 20, 2010


> It's kind of insane if any of these guys were in fact getting blood transfusions to mask doping.

It's not necessarily to mask doping, it's infusing a depleted rider with blood containing whatever a rider has when they're not depleted. Sorry for being handwavy about the details there.

LeMond came to his raving with credentials intact. Landis hasn't got that on his side and it makes it impossible to read his allegations without attempting to gauge what Landis stands to gain by making them.
posted by ardgedee at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: Blood transfusions aren't used to mask doping, as I understand it—they're a classic form of cheating. A rider will "bank" blood weeks or months ahead of a race, then at race time get a transfusion of their own blood in order to boost their body's oxygen-transporting capacity. It's known as "blood doping," and as these guys show, is often used in conjuction with other, more sophisticated techniques to increase performance and (perhaps more importantly) shorten recovery times after extended peak effort.

For example, in Landis's case, his big Tour win (as I recall) hinged on two days in the mountains; on the first, he cracked and lost a lot of time, but the next day he attacked ferociously on every climb, which is not the kind of performance you'd expect from a rider who'd been exhausted the day before.
posted by pts at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The responses to Landis' accusations sure are lacking in...outright denials.

McQuaid said he received Landis’s e-mail messages several weeks ago, but immediately discounted the accusations in them because they were “purely allegations and no proof of anything.”

“I don’t know what is in the head of Floyd Landis, what his motivations are, but I think Dave just wants to get on with this race,” Vaughters said of Zabriskie, who is in the overall lead of the Tour of California, with four stages to go. “Dave can win this race. He can win this race clean, under any level of scrutiny.”

Surely if there was nothing to hide, the cycling world could make a stronger statement than "you can't prove a thing!".
posted by a young man in spats at 8:45 AM on May 20, 2010


If every athlete is doping, isn't the playing field even? Once you reach a certian level of cycling, artifical blood doping is just the next step in the progression:

Training wheels -> Huffy 10-speed-> Schwinn -> Cannondale Carbon Fiber -> Madone 6 Series Custom -> Artifical blood infusions
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:45 AM on May 20, 2010


Cyclingnews broke this story. Also, if you have any doubts about who is and isn't a dopper in pro cycling, just spend a few minutes in the clinic..
posted by Chuckles at 8:46 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's sad that cycling = doping in the minds of pretty much, everyone. Riders included. Because "taking all these "supplements" is all well and good but now how about let's have some blood transfusions" is just completely wigged out.

But yeah, Landis doesn't have a lot of credibility left, regardless of the truthiness of any of this.
posted by Windopaene at 8:46 AM on May 20, 2010


> Why cheat at all? It must feel terrible.

Maybe not as terrible as getting your ass kicked by all the guys who are cheating.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:46 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we PLEASE, ALL CAPS PLEASE, have separate races/events/games just for the 'dope' fiends? I would seriously sit through all the commercials just to see these epic steroided beasts break every damn record there is, in every sport there is, with the latest and greatest in human augmentation technology.
posted by Mach5 at 8:47 AM on May 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


Why cheat at all? It must feel terrible.

Well, if you've convinced yourself, as all these guys have, that every single one of your serious competitors is doing the same thing, I'm sure it doesn't feel like cheating. It feels like parity.
posted by pts at 8:48 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also nice timing with two major tours going on.

Especially with DZ and Levi in two of the top three spots at the Tour of California.

I'm with Chuffy, why spend all that time and money and energy on the denials just to blow it all away a couple of years later? I have to say, I really, really wanted to believe Floyd. This is like a kick in the face to everyone who ever supported him or even just tried to believe him in his 'quest for truth'.

Also, from VeloNews:
At the end of last season, Team OUCH’s parent company Momentum Sports Group (MSG) and Landis agreed to terminate their two-year contract (2009-2010). At the time, OUCH released a statement saying that, “For the 2010 season, Landis expressed to MSG that he desires to ride the longer, tougher stage races offered in Europe and internationally that better suit his strengths.”
And then he does this. Does he really think there is a team that will even consider touching him now?
posted by alynnk at 8:48 AM on May 20, 2010


Why cheat at all? It must feel terrible.

Because everyone you're competing against is cheating, and you don't have a chance if you don't. It's pretty to similar to "why have nuclear weapons? They're horrible."-- obviously, things would be much better off without cheating and nukes, but how do you get there?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:48 AM on May 20, 2010


Meanwhile, in the Biking for Fun world, several key players have admitted to doping so they laugh and smile more when they feel the breeze in their hair.
posted by DU at 8:48 AM on May 20, 2010 [31 favorites]


It's kind of insane if these guys were getting blood transfusions to mask doping

EPO raises your white blood cell count and improves your endurance. When the EPO test appeared, riders went back to using infusions of their own blood to raise the white blood cell count. Alexi Grewal admitted to "blood packing" prior to his 1984 olympic medal. [source].

I don't know what Landis is thinking. He did say that the tour test detected some drugs that he had never taken. Whatever rationalizing he had to do to justify writing a book and spending two million dollars (much of it other people's money) to defend a lie probably took a serious toll on his brain.

Maybe this will be the scandal that cleans up the sport.
posted by mecran01 at 8:54 AM on May 20, 2010


Also, I should say that this is heartbreaking for anybody who stood by him, but at this point I feel like cycling enthusiasts have to basically assume that the top pros are all doping. It's a systemic problem, and the doping techniques are so good, and provide such an advantage at that level, that anybody who doesn't do it is basically deciding to lose.

And you haven't come all that way just to lose.
posted by pts at 8:54 AM on May 20, 2010


He spent $90,000 a year on his doping regimen, he said.

and i thought *i* had a problem with drugs. geesh.
posted by msconduct at 8:56 AM on May 20, 2010


If you want some good places to start in The Clinic, here is a message a sent several months ago:
You really don't want to start reading that, although it is a lot better than reading about Lance, or about Contador and Lance, or Floyd the hacker. Actually, Floyd the hacker is pretty funny.
posted by Chuckles at 8:56 AM on May 20, 2010


EPO = raises red cells. Oxygen carrying.
posted by fixedgear at 8:56 AM on May 20, 2010


Pat McQuaid's response to the allegations are, to my mind, more disappointing than the allegations themselves.
"These guys coming out now with things like this from the past is only damaging the sport. If they've any love for the sport they wouldn't do it," he said.
If McQuaid had any love for the sport, he would surely be interested in investigating claims of high level corruption in the upper echelons of the sport's governing body.

As for Landis himself - I bet he's the only person involved who is sleeping easy tonight. He's borne the weight of this fraud for almost a decade and what has he got in return? Support from Armstrong, Bruyneel, Riis? All people who used him and spat him out when he got busted. If cycling is ever to change, Floyd needs to tell everything he knows.
posted by afx237vi at 8:58 AM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Drug Test: a great 2003 article from Outside Magazine on cycling while doping.
posted by chinston at 8:59 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Surely if there was nothing to hide, the cycling world could make a stronger statement than "you can't prove a thing!".

I think this is a classic "not dignifying accusations with a response" response. Given his impossibly compromised credibility, I don't know that I'd bother arguing with Landis's accusations either.
posted by desuetude at 8:59 AM on May 20, 2010


Given his impossibly compromised credibility, I don't know that I'd bother arguing with Landis's accusations either.

Wada have given a much more reasonable response. You know, one that isn't the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going la-la-la-la-la.
posted by afx237vi at 9:03 AM on May 20, 2010


Throughout the late 90s and first half of the 00s I fucking loved the Tour de France, saw it a few times (including an amazingly lucky piece of timing when I witnessed the Lance / Simeoni chasedown, which itself was of course doping related) and followed it religiously. The last few years with Festina, Landis and Rasmussen, to name but a few, I've lost all respect and interest in the entire event and more importantly the riders.

I remember watching the Landis mountain breakaway in 2006 and almost crying with the brilliance and guts of it all and then the next day he fails a doping test. I mean, fuck you Floyd, really just Fuck You. Ditto Rasmussen, with his skinny little legs - the man was a fucking hero, OK his was not a failed dope test, but nonetheless, you gotta play by the rules. Missing four drug tests? I mean, really, come on.

They are not the only ones of course and this is indicative of a greater problem in the sport, high pressure, pushy team managers, sponsors blah blah, but they've lost me. I couldn't even tell you who won last year.
posted by jontyjago at 9:04 AM on May 20, 2010


So, let's see. Floyd Landis lied, then he lied again, then he lied some more, and now that he's telling the truth (nearly four years after he was caught and stripped of his Tour title), we're supposed to believe him? I mean, it's possible, although not very probable at this point, that Armstrong managed to avoid getting caught, despite being the most heavily-tested athlete in the world during the height of his career, but I think that we need a little higher of a standard of proof than this.

I know that Armstrong rubs a lot of people the wrong way, whether it was his long battle with the French press or those yellow bracelets. However, I think that some of the accusations coming from other cyclists have a bit of the taint of professional jealousy to them; Landis' TdF career is effectively over.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:05 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mach5: Can we PLEASE, ALL CAPS PLEASE, have separate races/events/games just for the 'dope' fiends? I would seriously sit through all the commercials just to see these epic steroided beasts break every damn record there is, in every sport there is, with the latest and greatest in human augmentation technology.

It just isn't that simple. There are therapeutic use exemptions. There is the fact that PEDs are very dangerous to athlete health. There is the fact that detection is very very difficult.

alynnk: I have to say, I really, really wanted to believe Floyd. This is like a kick in the face to everyone who ever supported him or even just tried to believe him in his 'quest for truth'. [...] Does he really think there is a team that will even consider touching him now?

Omerta
Unbelievable that there is no wikipedia page.
posted by Chuckles at 9:05 AM on May 20, 2010


> I don't know that I'd bother arguing with Landis's accusations either.

Jose Canseco is a sleazebag, too, but...
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:06 AM on May 20, 2010


afx237vi: "If cycling is ever to change, Floyd needs to tell everything he knows."

Hahahaha...oh boy. Pro cycling is never going to change. They invented performance-enhancing drugs. When every other avenue of performance enhancement is closed they'll just switch to something completely undetectable like gene therapy.
posted by mullingitover at 9:11 AM on May 20, 2010


> Why cheat at all? It must feel terrible.

Maybe not as terrible as getting your ass kicked by all the guys who are cheating.


THIS. As I said in my comment from this post, the problem with cheating is that it diminishes the achievements of everyone else around you who didn't cheat. This is terrible, especially if Landis' allegations about the others are true. That's a whole generation of cyclists's whose legacy is shot thanks to these guys.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:12 AM on May 20, 2010


Mach 5: Can we PLEASE, ALL CAPS PLEASE, have separate races/events/games just for the 'dope' fiends?

I believe you're looking for this.
posted by Madamina at 9:13 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hahahaha...oh boy. Pro cycling is never going to change. They invented performance-enhancing drugs. When every other avenue of performance enhancement is closed they'll just switch to something completely undetectable like gene therapy.

Maybe. You're probably right, but it's certainly not going to change if people like Bruyneel are allowed to continue running cycling teams and people like McQuaid continue to bury their head in the sand.
posted by afx237vi at 9:15 AM on May 20, 2010


Guardian article from 5 years ago, contains an interesting quote from the former head of the German cycling federation:
"Since 1998 the UCI has done a lot to combat doping but everything is different where Armstrong is concerned," said Schenk. Schenk is also concerned that Armstrong made a personal donation to the UCI to help fight doping. The gift coincided with the publication of the controversial book LA Confidential by the Sunday Times journalist David Walsh that linked Armstrong with using performance enhancing drugs without uncovering conclusive evidence. "There is obviously a strong relationship with Armstrong," Schenk said.
Hmm.
posted by afx237vi at 9:19 AM on May 20, 2010


Because everyone you're competing against is cheating, and you don't have a chance if you don't. It's pretty to similar to "why have nuclear weapons? They're horrible."--

Reminds me of a good friend's kid sister. She was beautiful. Super Model Beautiful. So she went for it, pursued a career, ended up in Paris (circa 1983), and promptly ran into a brick wall. The only way "in" was a shoot via one of a select group of the right photographers. Problem was, you didn't get a shoot unless you slept with the guy first.

period.

Not just one or two of the photographers. ALL OF THEM. This was how the game was played. So she quit the game, got on with her life. She's now almost fifty and yes, still stunningly beautiful.

obviously, things would be much better off without cheating and nukes, but how do you get there?

You get there by refusing to play along once you realize that the game's rigged. Yeah, you're sacrificing your life's dream but what kind of a dream demands that you cheat and deceive to attain it?
posted by philip-random at 9:22 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we PLEASE, ALL CAPS PLEASE, have separate races/events/games just for the 'dope' fiends? I would seriously sit through all the commercials just to see these epic steroided beasts break every damn record there is, in every sport there is, with the latest and greatest in human augmentation technology.

SNL: The All Drug Olympics [via HULU]
posted by mosk at 9:22 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because everyone you're competing against is cheating, and you don't have a chance if you don't.

It's no justification - take up a nobler sport.
posted by fire&wings at 9:27 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Floyd Landis spent two million dollars lying to the fans about his own drug use (not to mention the money used defending his appeals). Forgive me if I think that:

1) You can't believe a word out of his mouth at this point, simply because he's spent so much time being a lying sack of crap.

2) He's trying to get himself off the hook by turning himself from a user into an exposer of the real problem; widespread performance enhancement. In this scenario, he's no longer to blame; the blame shifts to Lance once again, and to the Tour as a whole, for allowing it.

You'll have to excuse me if I equate Floyd Landis' word at this point to the same amount of credibility as a Tabloid writer. His opinion, right now, isn't worth the paper used to hold it and it infuriates me that his allegations are worth printing at all.
posted by Hiker at 9:31 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


How is using your own blood doping? Would drinking coffee similarly be doping (gives you energy!)? I'm not arguing that it's not doping, I just don't know enough to understand how it is.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:38 AM on May 20, 2010


How is using your own blood doping? Would drinking coffee similarly be doping (gives you energy!)? I'm not arguing that it's not doping, I just don't know enough to understand how it is.

From a certain perspective it is entirely arbitrary. However, left unchecked, athletes would risk their own lives by over doing it.

The real question is, what is the goal of anti doping rules and testing. It is not unlike the war on drugs in general, in a lot of ways. Is the goal harm reduction, or is it that drugs are bad m'kay?
posted by Chuckles at 9:45 AM on May 20, 2010


You get there by refusing to play along once you realize that the game's rigged. Yeah, you're sacrificing your life's dream but what kind of a dream demands that you cheat and deceive to attain it?

Which works well for the individual. They walk away with a clean conscience and start looking for a different dream.

But that's one way the decision-making can break, and the appeal of a clean conscience is not so great by itself that it will win out the dilemma for everybody. And so you quit the game, and good for you, but the next guy decides that being in the game is more important to him. Nobody gets famous for quitting the game, nobody gets a high from not competing, nobody gives you an endorsement deal for being a non-competitor.

The incentives to cheat are too great to be beat by ethics 100% of the time. Worse yet, that the incentives scale with natural ability makes it harder for the really talented folks to say no than the only moderately talented ones, even if they're otherwise equally ethical people in a vacuum.

It's not an easy problem to solve.
posted by cortex at 9:54 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


In this scenario, he's no longer to blame; the blame shifts to Lance once again, and to the Tour as a whole, for allowing it.

Not the Tour. The Tour is run by the ASO, and they have quite a long standing fight with the UCI--not just about mone, drug testing too, but that part of the feud is not conducted as publicly.

In fact, a lot of the defence of Landis and Armstrong has always been "Those damn French are out to get our American boys."
posted by Chuckles at 9:58 AM on May 20, 2010


not just about money
posted by Chuckles at 9:59 AM on May 20, 2010


It's a hard sport. It's not a 'marathon every day for three weeks' but grand tours are fucking hard. So if you are a blue-collar guy, who by some talent and determination escaped a life of factory drudgery or farm labor, the temptation is overwhelming. You are wiped out, it's day 10, you've got 11 more stages to go, and the doctor says he's got something that'll fix you right up. You say 'sure, sign me up.' One stage win means you finish your career, and retire to open a small cafe where you are set for life.

Is the solution one strike and you are out?
posted by fixedgear at 10:08 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the Landis letter:
2006: Well you get the idea....... One thing of great signigicance is that I sat down with Andy Riis and explained to him what was done in the past and what was the risk I would be taking and ask for his permission which he granted in the form of funds to complete the operation described. John Lelangue was also informed by me and Andy Riis consulted with Jim Ochowitz before agreeing.
This is the most damning of all the arguments against credibility to me.. It is the details of why he was caught, what he did at the time of the 2006 Tour that messed up his tests, that is of real importance.
posted by Chuckles at 10:09 AM on May 20, 2010


Chuckles: Is the goal harm reduction, or is it that drugs are bad m'kay?

Harm reduction, almost certainly. Dozens of pro cyclists were dying in the mid nineties because of rampant EPO abuse. That is why the UCI introduced the haematocrit threshold of 50% before the EPO test was introduced. The hct test was the UCI's way of saying "look, we know what you're doing, just don't kill yourself doing it."

With no test for EPO until 2000, riders in the 1990s were essentially given tacit permission to use PEDs. The UCI looked on it as "don't ask, don't tell". And now these riders are the people running cycling teams.
posted by afx237vi at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blood doping is basically autovampirism; that's why it can't be allowed.
posted by kenko at 10:15 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


And so you quit the game, and good for you, but the next guy decides that being in the game is more important to him. ..... The incentives to cheat are too great to be beat by ethics 100% of the time. Worse yet, that the incentives scale with natural ability makes it harder for the really talented folks to say no than the only moderately talented ones, even if they're otherwise equally ethical people in a vacuum.

It's not an easy problem to solve.


No it's not easy at all, just as walking away from your life's dream isn't easy. But something of genuine substance can be effected. Just look at the music biz over the past say three decades, and all the small "i" indie artists who have consciously chosen NOT to play the inherently corrupt corporate game (Motel 6's, shitty vans and cheap red wine versus Hiltons, private jets and French champagne). It's tough going and no sane way to get your equity together for a mortgage, but like that Pavement song said, "You gotta pay your dues before you pay the rent."

And here's the thing. indie music has become something over the decades, so much so that the music biz's playing field has most definitely changed, everything from infrastructure to audience expectation. And this has all been for the good of the general culture.
posted by philip-random at 10:18 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of a good friend's kid sister. She was beautiful. Super Model Beautiful. So she went for it, pursued a career, ended up in Paris (circa 1983), and promptly ran into a brick wall. The only way "in" was a shoot via one of a select group of the right photographers. Problem was, you didn't get a shoot unless you slept with the guy first.

period.

Not just one or two of the photographers. ALL OF THEM. This was how the game was played.


I can't speak to 1983, but this certainly was not true by at least 1985. I did fashion photography in Paris in the mid-late 80's. There were more and less famous photographers, but there was no exclusive gatekeeping clique - a model could get exposure and break into pro ranks through any number of photographers, and there certainly was no rule about "sleeping for access". Plus, some of the famous photographers happened to be gay, so even theoretically, how sturdy could that brick wall of "sleep with me or else" have been? But I stress again: a model could reach any status through a huge number of photographers or even guest shooters who were not necessarily pro photographers (magazines would sometimes invite a famous director or celebrity to do the shoot with a model of his/her choice, and a model would get the cover etc. - I know of at least two models whose career was launched this way). Of course, models sometimes did sleep with photographers (or marry them!), but that was often simply the result of people spending a lot of time together as in any other walk of life (though abuse could happen - I know of one famous guy using his position to sleep with underage girls, ugh). However, sleeping with the model was not in any way "the rule", and absolutely not a requirement for success.
posted by VikingSword at 10:23 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


stoneweaver: How is using your own blood doping? Would drinking coffee similarly be doping (gives you energy!)? I'm not arguing that it's not doping, I just don't know enough to understand how it is.

Increasing your blood count means your body can transport more oxygen around, which it means your muscles can work harder, for longer. I think most peoples definition of cheating is using *something* to gain an artificial advantage, boosting your blood-cell count does that.

There are natural methods for doing the same though, for instance a lot of endurance athletes spend weeks training at high-altitudes where there is less oxygen, the body adapts, produces more blood cells, then when the athletes go off to their race, they've got an advantage. Same effect, but legal. Perhaps when you manage your own blood-cell count via transfusions you can boost it over what your body would naturally max-out at.

Also, if you do it the natural way it takes weeks and as soon as you return to normal atmospheric conditions, your body will start loosing those excess blood-cells. If you're down for a one or two day event, it doesn't really matter, but a 3 week endurance race means you'll be back to your normal count half way through, so tweaking it back up with a transfusion will help your performance.
posted by Static Vagabond at 10:24 AM on May 20, 2010


philip-random, that's kind of apples and oranges. The grand tours are the music business. There is no 'indie' bike racing unless you want to be the baddest alley cat racer around.
posted by fixedgear at 10:25 AM on May 20, 2010


It doesn't surprise me that they are all dirty. However, I think that Landis would have been better served by spilling the beans earlier, when he still had some credibility, than later.
posted by Forktine at 10:25 AM on May 20, 2010


Is the goal harm reduction, or is it that drugs are bad m'kay?

I think in the case of professional sports, the idea is that drugs are unfair -- performance-enhancing drugs make it possible to buy success, leading to an arms race of body-modification technology.

But, yeah, training for sports is really all about modifying your body, so it boils down to a judgment call. Eating carbohydrate-heavy meals for sustained energy is obviously okay; blood transfusions are obviously not okay; but there's a lot of potential gray area in-between.
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 10:26 AM on May 20, 2010


Landis is a liar and it's hard to believe anything he says but would I be shocked if the allegations are true - of course not.

What is shocking is this piece in the latest Bicycling magazine detailing how pervasive doping is becoming in the amateur ranks. Because of guys like Landis, Vinokourov and Basso guys riding in the local training ride see doping as something they should do as well.

Everyone with a USAC license is now suspect.
posted by photoslob at 10:29 AM on May 20, 2010


Also in latest Bicycling is a piece about Wayne Lim (half a million a year!) who is now Armstrong's 'consultant.' See how Landis mentions Lim. Oh, what a tangled web we weave...
posted by fixedgear at 10:32 AM on May 20, 2010


I love Dave Zabriskie, but I always had this feeling that anyone connected with US Postal/Discovery was essentially forced to dope by Armstrong and Bruyneel. If it is true I hope he comes clean and just puts it out there. The problem being that Lance loves to punish people who suggest he has been anything less than clean.
posted by nestor_makhno at 10:32 AM on May 20, 2010


However, sleeping with the model was not in any way "the rule", and absolutely not a requirement for success.

Viking Sword, you're firsthand experience trumps my anecdotal evidence. Thanks for the input. But the fact remains, she "just said no" and walked away from what, for her, was a very ugly reality. Why is it that in high-end pro sports this so seldom seems to happen? Or maybe it does and we just don't get to hear read those stories in the Sports section.

philip-random, that's kind of apples and oranges. The grand tours are the music business. There is no 'indie' bike racing unless you want to be the baddest alley cat racer around.

But where is the indie bike racing circuit? That's my question. And the same question was asked of music in the late 70s, early 80s. And the cool thing is, something came of it. And not just some second rate farm system either, but an entire culture of possibility and, to my ears, MOST of the best music of the past thirty years. It didn't happen over night but it did most definitely happen, and the culture continues to grow, mutate, evolve.
posted by philip-random at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2010


I believed Landis, and now feel a certain relief that what happened to him was not a gigantic miscarriage of justice, but I'm sad that I'll have to mistrust myself more from now on.

Armstrong is a weird special case because of his testicular cancer. I don't see how you can say that the replacement hormones I presume he takes (I've looked unsuccessfully for an explicit account of his regimen) have not been performance enhancing.
posted by jamjam at 10:37 AM on May 20, 2010


Forktine: However, I think that Landis would have been better served by spilling the beans earlier, when he still had some credibility, than later.

He was only 30 when he got busted. He still had a chance of getting back on a pro team and resuming his career - so why spit in the soup and piss off your future employers? Now that he knows his career is over, he has nothing to lose.

There have been other pro cyclists like Jorg Jaksche and Patrick Sinkewitz who have failed tests and told everything they knew - they're both now in the cycling wilderness with no contract and no future in the sport. Compare that to someone like Alexandre Vinokourov, who denied everything, kept schtum and is now fighting to win the Giro d'Italia. It's been mentioned already, but omerta is a very real thing in the world of pro cycling.
posted by afx237vi at 10:38 AM on May 20, 2010


And here's the thing. indie music has become something over the decades, so much so that the music biz's playing field has most definitely changed, everything from infrastructure to audience expectation. And this has all been for the good of the general culture.

I don't really disagree with this, and I share your desire to see a culture change for the better over time through individual leadership and hope it can happen.

But music and competitive sports are different beasts with very different levels of subjectivity as far as measured success goes: there are a thousand ways to be good at music, judged by the thousand different metrics by which music listeners peg value in sound and performance and aesthetic, but there's just about exactly one way to be good at racing on a bike—be at the head of the pack.

But so it goes, and the parallel isn't imperfect certainly: almost every person who rides a bike for pleasure isn't doping, and almost every person who plays music does so because they just like playing music. But you can't take drugs to be better at music than the guy who is currently better at music than you (psychonautical counter-arguments left for another day).

The difference between indie musicians rejecting the mostly-a-shitty-deal-anyway major label system in the face of growing awareness of how shitty that deal is and, more importantly, increasingly affordable access to the means of production and distribution thanks to cheap audio hardware and software and the rise of the internet, and top-tier athletes conceding their careers in protest of doping, is a pretty big difference in kind indeed, even if there are parallel ethical points to be made. Until something comes along that as fundamentally undermines the current power structures of professional biking as the internet/hardware/software explosion of the last couple decades has audio production, pointing to the rise of indie music as a solution to the incentive to dope is not particularly meaningful.
posted by cortex at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I didn't believe his monster ride was possible without doping the day it happened. I won't say it's nice to have that confirmed by the man himself though. Until they put competitors under 24 supervision for the duration of the Tour I'll just assume that everyone at that level is doping. It kind of ruins professional cycling for me but I still follow it casually.
posted by Fezboy! at 10:49 AM on May 20, 2010


Fezboy!: Until they put competitors under 24 supervision for the duration of the Tour I'll just assume that everyone at that level is doping.

Some pro cyclists agree.
posted by afx237vi at 10:53 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Armstrong is a weird special case because of his testicular cancer. I don't see how you can say that the replacement hormones I presume he takes (I've looked unsuccessfully for an explicit account of his regimen) have not been performance enhancing.

Armstrong used to say he had absolute no TUEs of any kind. Then he tested positive for corticoid in the 1999 Tour and produced a back dated form with a TUE for a topical cream to treat saddle sores. Don't presume :P
posted by Chuckles at 11:03 AM on May 20, 2010


Cortex, points taken. But maybe, with pro sports (cycling in this particular instance), it won't be an "internet/hardware/software explosion" that "undermines the current power structures". Maybe it will be an ever-growing of chorus of statements like Fezboy's -

Until they put competitors under 24 supervision for the duration of the Tour I'll just assume that everyone at that level is doping. It kind of ruins professional cycling for me but I still follow it casually.

Lose your keenest fans and you lose the foundation of your business model. I've heard, for instance, that this kind of thing has been happening in the world of stock car racing for a while now where the big deal NASCAR show has been taking major attendance and TV ratings hits ... but the small-town semi-pro Saturday Night races are doing as well as they ever have. Sure, a big part of the race attendance part is is the economy, but what's going on with those TV ratings? How much of it is the perception (perhaps correct) that the heroes just aren't that heroic anymore?

Disillusionment doesn't sell and it seems there's a helluva lot of it on the market these days.
posted by philip-random at 11:06 AM on May 20, 2010


Landis says the email wasn't meant to go public, and that Armstrong has made veiled threats to his friends.

Ugly.
posted by afx237vi at 11:25 AM on May 20, 2010


As an aside, I'm really tickled that WADA's president shares a name with legendary guitarist and epic alcoholic John Fahey.
posted by ardgedee at 11:30 AM on May 20, 2010


And now Armstrong has crashed out of the Tour of California and is en route to hospital for xrays. Bad day, huh?
posted by afx237vi at 11:34 AM on May 20, 2010


Landis says the email wasn't meant to go public, and that Armstrong has made veiled threats to his friends.

From that link, in email to Armstrong:

"As you certainly know I've been living with a very complex situation for the last four years and have been, for my own sake and for the sake of my former friends and peers, misleading the public about the truth about performance enhancing drug use in cycling about which I have first-hand knowledge."

What a self-aggrandizing asshole. Complex for the sake of himself and others is asshole for "lying through my teeth to save my ass."
posted by Hiker at 11:35 AM on May 20, 2010


And now Armstrong has crashed out of the Tour of California and is en route to hospital for xrays. Bad day, huh?

Dude, SPOLIER.
posted by fixedgear at 11:37 AM on May 20, 2010


It's like a spoiler, only different.
posted by fixedgear at 11:37 AM on May 20, 2010


Are you sure it's a spoiler? I thought aero equipment wasn't allowed in the mass-start races.
posted by ardgedee at 11:42 AM on May 20, 2010


Are you sure it's a spoiler? I thought aero equipment wasn't allowed in the mass-start races.

Neither are electric motors, but that doesn't stop people(!)

(Sorry fixedgear.)
posted by afx237vi at 11:45 AM on May 20, 2010


Fixedgear - I just read thru the email and saw what you referenced regarding Lim:

2005: I had learned at this point how to do most of the transfusion
technicals and other things on my own so I hired Allen Lim as my assistant
to help with details and logistics. He helped Levi Leipheimer and I prepare
the transfusions for Levi and I and made sure they were kept at the proper
temperature.


Damn....
posted by photoslob at 11:45 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It just isn't that simple. There are therapeutic use exemptions.

Yep, that and the state of sports medicine and the amount and kind of care professional athletes get kind of makes "doping" seem like an arbitrary line. It's a line that needs to be drawn out of basic human decency, but it strikes me as more similar to shifting F1 rules to keep down speed and protect drivers' safety. IIRC, at one point teams were required to basically screw sheets of plywood to the bottoms of their cars to increase air resistance and prevent spectacularly fatal accidents.

How is using your own blood doping? Would drinking coffee similarly be doping (gives you energy!)? I'm not arguing that it's not doping, I just don't know enough to understand how it is.

Again, it's pretty arbitrary. 16 years ago, when I was racing bikes (pathetically, pathetically badly. I mean really bad. I couldn't shave my legs w/o being lapped.), the UCI did have an acceptable limit of caffeine in your bloodstream.

Personally, I miss the days when bike racers doped with cigarettes, booze, and charcuterie.
posted by stet at 12:13 PM on May 20, 2010


My solution: Give all professional athletes massive doses of performance-enhancing drugs. Don't just offer it -- require it in order to compete. Then the field will be level, and these ridiculous, never-ending "scandals" can finally end.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:32 PM on May 20, 2010


> Personally, I miss the days when bike racers doped with cigarettes, booze, and charcuterie.

Not to mention train rides.

In The 1966 Tour de France was disrupted when the riders went on strike to protest dope testing. Amphetamines have been a part of major cycling since the era of multi-day velodrome races; it's arguably been only a modern phenomenon to expect the athletes to stay clean.
posted by ardgedee at 12:50 PM on May 20, 2010


I'm kind of happy this happened, I mean, I knew all along that Landis was lying about his innocence. And there's something to be said about the huge economic incentives to dope.

This was all brought home to me when I got to know a former domestic pro rider. He said that pretty much everyone on the domestic and euro circuits doped and for him it meant a 10x increase in income if he chose to do it. He never did, fell out of the scene after a few years of helping out riders on a team and eventually went back into normal life and recreational local racing.
posted by mathowie at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2010


Armstrong apparently crashed a couple of hours ago with several others in the peloton during the Tour of California. He's out of the race.
posted by jquinby at 1:16 PM on May 20, 2010


coolguymichael: My solution: Give all professional athletes massive doses of performance-enhancing drugs. Don't just offer it -- require it in order to compete. Then the field will be level, and these ridiculous, never-ending "scandals" can finally end.

Erm, I'm pretty sure that's the system that already exists in pro cycling.
posted by afx237vi at 1:20 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In The 1966 Tour de France was disrupted when the riders went on strike to protest dope testing.

And the next year Tom Simpson died in the 13th stage with amphetamines in his blood.
posted by hydrophonic at 1:51 PM on May 20, 2010


Landis says the email wasn't meant to go public, and that Armstrong has made veiled threats to his friends.

If you're a public figure or close to a public figure and your bombshell e-mail isn't meant to go public, don't send the e-mail.
posted by blucevalo at 2:12 PM on May 20, 2010


It's interesting to see the responses people are having to this mess. For some, convinced that Armstrong must somehow be doping despite all evidence to the contrary, this fits their worldview and is readily embraced. For others who feel that folks who don't fail drug tests should be considered clean, this is proof that Landis has gone off the deep end. Personally, I think Landis has lost credibility at this point and I'm not sure what those he's firing accusations at can do other than repeat "We're not doping." What else would you have them say?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 2:41 PM on May 20, 2010


For some, convinced that Armstrong must somehow be doping despite all evidence to the contrary

You mean all this evidence?
posted by afx237vi at 3:18 PM on May 20, 2010


One controversial solution is to allow as much performance enhancement as cyclists want, without limitation.

I mean, these athletes are on frames, components and wheels made out of carbon fibre and exotic metals, wearing aerodynamic drag-reduction clothing, doing cadence training with motion capture technology, with nutritional analysis at every step of race preparation, etc. etc.

These are generally not resources available to amateurs, so there is already an artificial gap between amateur and professional.

And, further, it seems difficult to see how a Greg LeMond or Eddy Merckx could compete against a top-level non-doping cyclist today, given the contribution made by newer technologies and newer diet and training regimens.

It seems arbitrary to limit the technological enhancement to whatever equipment and training a wealthier team can afford. Why stop there? The body is just another piece of equipment used for racing, in an abstract way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:36 PM on May 20, 2010


These are generally not resources available to amateurs.

Generally all the bleeding edge equipment debuted at le Tour goes on sale not long after. I've been to enough local races and charity centuries to attest that the high zoot gear is both available and being bought by the amateurs.

Moreover the UCI has a minimum weight for bikes (6.8kg) so riders don't go overboard with crazy light but fragile components. Of course amateurs committed amateurs can easily get under that.
posted by turbodog at 3:52 PM on May 20, 2010


Man. Liars should stay quietly in their room and think about what they've done until they can come out with a genuine apology.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:52 PM on May 20, 2010


For some, convinced that Armstrong must somehow be doping despite all evidence to the contrary, this fits their worldview and is readily embraced

My name is Bestsy Andeau, I was in that hospital room and I approve this message.
posted by fixedgear at 4:16 PM on May 20, 2010


Gotta love this:

I spoke to Floyd Landis exclusively this morning regarding the shocking e-mail that was received by several media outlets. In the e-mail, Landis accuses several current marquee riders,... The first thing Landis said to me was that he never distributed that e-mail to the media outlets. It was leaked, he claims, without his knowledge.

So essentially he sent a juicy email out to someone with the hope that they wouldn't leak it? Uh-huh. Yeah, right. Chalk up another lie.
posted by Rashomon at 5:10 PM on May 20, 2010


Good to know that everything that's smelly about pro-cycling right now can be blamed on one man.
posted by philip-random at 5:20 PM on May 20, 2010


Pay McQuad interview on Flandis' accusations. Starts at 11:50ish.
posted by Chuckles at 5:49 PM on May 20, 2010


I just don't get it...why go through all the legal system, lying to everyone about it, and then admit it when you've completely ruined your credibility? What's up with that?

Uh ... hubris?

It seems hard to believe, but then again look at what politicians go through to save their hides even after they're caught. Think of all the Republican scandals lately where the subject defiantly remained in office after their scandals went public.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:49 PM on May 20, 2010


Pat! Pat McQuaid.
Gah!!! Freudian slip I guess..
posted by Chuckles at 5:50 PM on May 20, 2010


It seems arbitrary to limit the technological enhancement to whatever equipment and training a wealthier team can afford. Why stop there? The body is just another piece of equipment used for racing, in an abstract way.

Because sporting events need to have an underlying element of honesty involved or people tend not to take it seriously. If you allow doping, you're basically making it a contest of whose body can endure the most enhancements without totally breaking down, or at least without breaking down until after the event or maybe someone's career. It's a little sick to make it purely about who can handle the most abuse or who can juice the most, rather than who can refine their athletic techniques better and train harder.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:54 PM on May 20, 2010


Can we PLEASE, ALL CAPS PLEASE, have separate races/events/games just for the 'dope' fiends? I would seriously sit through all the commercials just to see these epic steroided beasts break every damn record there is, in every sport there is, with the latest and greatest in human augmentation technology.

We probably will sooner or later, and it will probably be something like the American Gladiators - in other words sounds kind of exciting but pretty boring in action, more like pro-wrestling than a sporting event.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:02 PM on May 20, 2010


OK, one more try ...

You know how on all the pro-sporting events on television, they always have a lot of backstories for the star players. People eat that shit up. They love to see a Cinderella story or a small town kid come up through the ranks and succeed on sheer will and determination. Like the story of how Tiger Woods was trained from a very young age by his father to play golf and to be a competitive athlete, and about life, right? OK, it's a bit threadbare now, but when his story fell apart, so did a lot of his endorsement deals. People want to hear stories of athletes who have overcome all odds to triumph. They don't want bios of puffy roid cases who talk about their favorite stacks and how they deal with acne and mood swings. That shit's just sad.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:08 PM on May 20, 2010


I'm impressed by the number of cyclists, or cycling enthusiasts who are commenting here.
posted by spish at 6:12 PM on May 20, 2010


From that interview..

Pat McQuaid: "Floyd Landis says it was the Tour of Switzerland 2002 and Lance Armstrong didn't actually ride that race. In 2001 [Armstrong] did ride the Tour of Switzerland.."

Sorry Pat, but Floyd Landis said that Lance told him in 2002, but that Lance was talking about the previous years race.

Pat McQuaid: "We did, the UCI received $100K from Lance Armstrong in 2005."

Pat, Pat, Pat.. From here:
In 2005, Armstrong confirmed he made a donation of "six figures" to the UCI several years prior.
And that was under oath, in the SCA trial.

In addition to all that, Pat McQuaid reapeats the "most tested athlete in the world" myth. Who does have credibility in all this?
posted by Chuckles at 6:22 PM on May 20, 2010


Metafilter:

I admit to using Post Enhancing Drugs, including alcohol, caffeine and High Fructose Corn Syrup. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


jonmc gets banned from posting for a couple of years now, right? That's how this works?
posted by genehack at 7:38 PM on May 20, 2010


SpacemanStix: “Man. Liars should stay quietly in their room and think about what they've done until they can come out with a genuine apology.”

I disagree. I don't think media silence would really be the best move for Lance Armstrong at this point, actually.
posted by koeselitz at 7:41 PM on May 20, 2010


I suppose, but I'd also get my own talk show and become a folk hero and have people wearing rubber bracelets on my behalf. or something.
posted by jonmc at 7:42 PM on May 20, 2010


Believing that top level human performance athletes don't use performance enhancing drugs is like believing that politicians don't mislead people.

So what if Armstrong takes drugs? Almost nobody would have his lung capacity and basics on which the drugs build. He's still a great athlete. He still trains insanely hard.

Bill Clinton misled people, he was still a great President.

The drug tests should be a bit more frequent. Nobody should be claimed to be drug free, merely that they have passed the drug tests.

@krinklyfig has it. People want these pathetic 2D heroes who are superhuman. Top athletes are human. And being flawed doesn't discount their greatness. Maradona took drugs, Jordan had/has a gambling problem, Tiger sleeps around.

The world is not black and white.
posted by sien at 7:44 PM on May 20, 2010


> I suppose, but I'd also get my own talk show and become a folk hero and have people wearing rubber bracelets on my behalf. or something.

Better go ahead and lose a nut so you have legit cred.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:44 PM on May 20, 2010


> Bill Clinton misled people, he was still a great President.

Oh, boy.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:44 PM on May 20, 2010


Better go ahead and lose a nut so you have legit cred.

You first.
posted by jonmc at 7:53 PM on May 20, 2010


afx237vi: "Neither are electric motors, but that doesn't stop people(!)"

That gruber assist is bloody brilliant and awesome; all except for the price. With good quailty hi power battery drills going for a couple hundred bucks there is not reason some factory in China couldn't be cranking these out for well under a few hundred dollars and I bet at $500 they'd sell hand over fist. I'd buy one at that price for the 7% grade on my commute for sure.
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 PM on May 20, 2010


Sien: So what if Armstrong takes drugs? Almost nobody would have his lung capacity and basics on which the drugs build. He's still a great athlete. He still trains insanely hard.

I think everyone understands here that to be a pro cyclist, you must be an exceptionally gifted athlete, and you must possess the drive to focus entirely on riding your bicycle faster. The doping is considered necessary because it gives you that extra edge, and allows you to train to the extent necessary to do a three-week Grand Tour.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:29 PM on May 20, 2010


The Gruber Assist is a brilliant idea, but.. I'm still not sure it is that useful.

Let's try some calculations based on NiMH cells:
Typical AA cell weight: ~25g
Typical capacity: approaching 3000mAh
Cell voltage: approaching 1.2V

Watt hours per kilogram = capacity x voltage / weight
=3Ah x 1.2V / .025kg
=144Wh/kg
Alright, I'm starting to believe a little more.. If efficiency is in the 60-70% range, you are still going to get 100Wh/kg. Meanwhile, stick a fully charged Pro cyclist on your bike and you only get about 30Wh/kg.
posted by Chuckles at 8:30 PM on May 20, 2010


sporting events need to have an underlying element of honesty involved or people tend not to take it seriously.

I think that cycling fans are somewhat unusual in their underlying honesty towards the history of drug use in the sport. You can call it hypocrisy or doublethink, but the people who leave a water bottle at the Tom Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux are well aware of what killed him. Love the sinner, hate the sin.

I think William Fotheringham's right that the only way to get past the omerta is to grant amnesty in exchange for full, public disclosure. It's more likely, given afx237vi's point out about who runs the teams these days, that we'll just continue to hear everything a decade late, once riders are retired and want no more part in the sport.
posted by holgate at 8:38 PM on May 20, 2010


I think that cycling fans are somewhat unusual in their underlying honesty towards the history of drug use in the sport
The doping is considered necessary because it gives you that extra edge

What probably gets less attention is drug use in the support crews for pro cycling. I only know this anecdotally from people who work the Tours as mechanics; but many of them take muscle-building drugs in the lead-up (which they generally source through their team, either from the riders or the team management); and take a lot of speed during the event itself.

The muscle-building drugs are needed because it's physically hard work being a support crew. The speed is needed because they work 20 hour days, every day, for three weeks, and if the bike ain't right, they can expect a bollocking from a testoterone-hyped rider who's just lost a stage by a split second.
posted by girlgenius at 10:12 PM on May 20, 2010


I saw a doco, or maybe news piece is a better term, after his bust and Landis swears the powers-that-be gave him a Senator McCarthy type deal.

“Tell us what you know about Armstrong and we’ll go easy on you.” x 100. He said it was all they cared about. They wanted Armstrong. I’m pretty sure he even mentioned the McCarthy analogy in the piece.

I’ve read this thread fairly carefully and I don’t think this has been mentioned yet. Surely someone else knows what I’m talking about?

This was all brought home to me when I got to know a former domestic pro rider. He said that pretty much everyone on the domestic and euro circuits doped…

Yep, I worked for a national representative cyclist and he said the same thing. This is only going back 7 or 8 years.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:41 AM on May 21, 2010


I saw a doco, or maybe news piece is a better term, after his bust and Landis swears the powers-that-be gave him a Senator McCarthy type deal.

This seems pretty familiar now that you mention it, and I've read Positively False, so I went looking in Google Books.

Page 208 says "They were trying to use me as a pawn to get to Lance. They didn't really care whether I was a cheater. If they could find an even bigger case than mine..."

Then again, on the next page he's talking about how he didn't have any information and he never saw anything to indicate Lance ever used PEDs, so, you know, grain of salt.
posted by alynnk at 6:48 AM on May 21, 2010


> And, further, it seems difficult to see how a Greg LeMond or Eddy Merckx could compete against a top-level non-doping cyclist today, given the contribution made by newer technologies and newer diet and training regimens.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Merckx. His then World Hour Record time - set on a steel bike with standard wheels in 1972 - of 49.431km stacks up pretty well against the times set by the likes of Indurain, Rominger and Boardman on vastly aerodynamically superior bikes with disc wheels and atypical body positions 20 years later.

The UCI subsequently wiped those later times, and only two men have subsequently been able to just pip Merckx's time (the record is still under 50km) on bikes that vaguely approximated the bike he rode.

Of course many of us would be keen to see Fabian Cancellara have a crack...
posted by puffmoike at 11:10 AM on May 21, 2010


Incidentally Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel's Women's Hour Record is pretty impressive by comparison.
posted by puffmoike at 11:11 AM on May 21, 2010


"The Tour is not won on mineral water alone." Jacques Anquetil, first 5 time winner of Le Tour.
posted by fixedgear at 11:22 AM on May 21, 2010


Armstrong's camp has released a series of emails... Starting to feel a little too voyeuristic, but I guess that's how these things go.
posted by Chuckles at 11:55 AM on May 21, 2010


What are those emails supposed to prove? That Floyd is a bitter, failed cyclist with delusions of getting his career back on track? Uh, yeah, we knew that already. How does that exchange make his claims any less credible? Radio Shack make the mistake of playing the man, not the ball.
posted by afx237vi at 12:25 PM on May 21, 2010


Hilarious video of Allen Lim denying everything.
Ya, it's crazy eh?
posted by Chuckles at 11:14 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


^ That Livestrong strap around his neck does wonders for his credibility.
posted by afx237vi at 6:10 AM on May 22, 2010


"I would never work for an athlete that I knew to be taking performance enhancing drugs."

Did anyone else catch how both times Lim made the statement he stressed the "I knew" part?
posted by photoslob at 11:07 AM on May 22, 2010


Someday these designer workout drugs will just be legal and then we will have the Super Olympics.
posted by ian1977 at 10:21 PM on May 22, 2010


A few new developments...

David Walsh, author of LA Confidencial, says Armstrong's ex-wife is cooperating with federal investigators (it is a small mention on the second page).

Landis has personally apologized for his role in the revelation of LeMond's childhood sexual abuse.

How the circumstances of Vladimir Gusev, Michael Rasmussen, Alejandro Valverde, Alberto Contador, Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso and Alexander Vinokourov (but especially Vladimir Gusev) might reveal unethical conduct within the UCI. Sorry, not the greatest translation, and perhaps a bit disjointed even in the original, but one hell of an assemblage of facts and inferences. In particular..
posted by Chuckles at 11:15 PM on May 22, 2010


And I almost forgot the fourth update..

Landis visited the Tour of California Saturday, but he didn't say anything.
posted by Chuckles at 11:39 PM on May 22, 2010


Please note Cadel Evans has not been mentioned in this thread. Cadel Evans for GG!

Cadel always comes across as being clean, even with my roadie [schmoadie] mates. Way back when Cadel was thinking of swapping from MTB to schmoad, a schmoadie workmate warned me: "watch this space - this guy has the goods to win a Tour de France one day, his hill climbing skills are almost without peer."

But, if "everyone’s" doping, what’s the story? Is he a cheat with a good biochemist or is he a freak?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:41 PM on May 22, 2010


Is he a cheat with a good biochemist or is he a freak?

There are two many false dichotomies in this discussion, and your question is just another of those.

He is, without a doubt, a freak with a good biochemist. Whether that biochemist is helping him use banned substances for which he does not have a TUE might be an interesting question. In the end though, you can't prove a negative. Sometimes it is just better to embrace ambiguity.
posted by Chuckles at 12:21 AM on May 23, 2010


Damn, good point, Chuckles. False dichotomy. One of the most abused of the logical fallacies.

So, IYHO, Chuckles, is he a cheat? I'm genuinely interested in your opinion. MeMail me if yer uncomfortable broadcasting your opinion. Chuckles
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:34 AM on May 23, 2010


That extra Chuckles was a bad formating / copy'n'paste mistake.

But just for old time's sake: Chuckles

posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:37 AM on May 23, 2010


"...two many false dichotomies", heh. Good slip. Or clever, if you meant to do that .
posted by Bovine Love at 8:36 AM on May 24, 2010


Chuckles: "Landis has personally apologized for his role in the revelation of LeMond's childhood sexual abuse."

Fucking WOW. If there's some kind of award for history-making douchebaggery he's got to be on the short list of nominees.
posted by mullingitover at 5:34 PM on May 24, 2010


Greg Lemond says that Armstrong admitted EPO use to him in 2001:
"I do feel vindicated," LeMond said Wednesday. "This has been going on so long, you get used to people thinking there are ulterior motives and jealousy. But that's really just the spin that Armstrong has put on it."

"It seems almost crazy to dare say that Armstrong admitted he used EPO, but he did call me in 2001 and admitted that he used EPO. That was his way of saying, 'Everybody does EPO, your (1989) win was a miracle just like mine was.'"
posted by chinston at 8:04 PM on June 3, 2010


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