Category Archives: pro cycling

Dick Pound on Fresh Air

So, I’m leaving Boston Monday afternoon, and I find “Fresh Air” on the radio. The main guest was Dick Pound, the man with the name that’ll get any site that tries to discuss doping, etc, blocked on every elementary school computer in the world. The interview’s here.

I really, really enjoyed the bit. Dick’s clearly committed to fighting doping. But he’s been tagged as a bit of a facist for wanting harsh penalties for folks caught doping.

One of the bits that really resonated with me was that, under the current system, the only folks who really get punished for doping are the atheletes. Known “bad” coaches and other facilitators can usually skate. Which is wrong, IMO.

Dick also relayed a bit about Juan Antonio Samuranch’s (then director of the IOC, the head of the Olympics) reaction to the 1998 Festina Affair at the Tour de France that made my blood run cold, and put Pound’s perceived excesses into perspective.

As background, in 1998, the Festina cycling team was caught by the French police with industrial quantities of doping agents. Pretty much the entire team, from the director sportif and the cyclists on down to the kid who fills the water bottles was involved and charged. Big deal.

Samuranch’s reaction? Something along the lines of “To me, this is not doping.”

Anyway, check out the audio. Good stuff. Dick was on to pimp his new book, Inside Dope. Haven’t read it, but might have to after I get done with “Foucault’s Pendulum”. Umberto Eco absolutely rocks.

Ahhhh…

So, the new MacBook is here, and it is GOOOOOOD… The screen is SUPER BRIGHT. It’s faster than the iBook, but I think we’re approaching a point at which speed is somewhat moot.

Huge apologies to one and all – when I got NetNewsWire up and running, there were about 1,000 posts in my aggregator, so I punted. I’m accepting nominations for great rides/runs of the last two weeks – drop me a line.

In other news – Well, I really don’t want to get into the Whole Frankie Andreiu mess. Kudos to him for coming clean about his EPO use in the peleton, but it’s small praise to give seeing as how the relevation makes him more marketable as a television personality.

AND, I’ve been a slug. But the weight’s staying constant, so something’s working well.

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Tyler gets Screwed

In no means wishing to defend him if he did dope back in ’04, but Tyler Hamilton is getting screwed in 2006:No world’s or ProTour return expected for Hamilton

When the ProTour was created last year, the Ethics Code mandated outright two-year competition bans for first-time offenders and an additional two-year penalty before being allowed to return to a major ProTour team, a rule that essentially doubles first-time bans. A second doping offense results in a lifetime ban from the sport.

If he’s done his time, he’s done his time. From what I understand, he’s still been complying with the out of competition testing requirements, and has spent a schwack-ton of his own dough trying to fight his suspension.

Let him ride. Test him, just like any other rider.

But don’t be petty and blame a guy who may have screwed up two years ago for problems today. If you’re going to do that, you may as well nail David Millar to a cross while you’re at it…

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Shameless Plug

Go check out David Brower’s “Trust But…“. There’s actual information there instead of the endless handwringing, waffling, whining, and backstabbing that I put out. I spent a large part of this evening following his links of the last three weeks, and it’s fascinating.

As far as I’m concerned, though, there’s no-one left in Pro Cycling to love – maybe the riders, ’cause drugs or no drugs, riding your butt off day in and day out for decades has got to be tough.

Union Leader – Jim Fennell: Hamilton resumes long climb back to the top – Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006

Tyler Hamilton won the Mt. Washington Hill Climb last week. The interesting bit from the article, and one I’d like confirmation on, was the following:

Hamilton said the test that led to his suspension was eventually not used for over a year by the UCI because it was flawed. Deirdre Moynihan, the executive director of the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, said the negative publicity has hindered the organization’s growth.

Hamilton’s performance at the 2003 TDF, specifically Stage 16 with a broken collarbone, is still among the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life. If the UCI really did withdraw the test, Tyler may be owed an apology.

Too bad he can’t get 2 years of his life back.

I’ve been reading the Princess Bride to Jake in the evenings – William Goldman’s description of “The Machine” that sucks life out is even more chilling than Cary Elwes’ weeping in the film. I cannot even begin to comprehend what Tyler (and maybe Floyd) must go through if they’re really unjustly accused.

Say it ain’t so, Mario…

PezCycling News breaks my heart today:

Cipollini Implicated

Oh this is fantastic. Procycling reports that Mario Cipollini is the latest rider implicated in the gargantuan Operacion Puerto affair – an investigation that has promised so so much, but has of yet provided oh so few suspensions…none.

Somehow, someone got some info (Thursday edition of La Repubblica) and now “investigators on the case suspect there were links between Cipollini and Eufemiano Fuentes.” Supposedly, Cipo’s alias in Fuentes’ file was Pavarotti.

Of course the links go straight to Mario Cipollini’s career season of 2002, when he won just about everything and then topped it off with his career-defining World Championship win in Zolder.

So how does this work? Say Cipo is found to have doped at Zolder, does that mean that Robbie McEwen gets to wear the Rainbow Jersey for a year…four, five, or six years (whenever this might, if ever, be settled) after the fact? That’s a sweet deal.

Fudge. Only I didn’t say “Fudge”. Time to go suck on the big bar of soap…

Landis through the eyes of Chemical Engineers

More on Floyd. This bit really interested me, ’cause of the source, Chemical & Engineering News: Science & Technology – The Dope On Testosterone Test.

Dopez-Vous au laitAs one commentator in the press noted, Landis may now be paying for the past sins of other cyclists. Most people are probably hoping that he is innocent. Still, it’s hard to forget that cycling has proven time after time to be a drug-ridden sport, as have most professional and international sports where athletes earn large sums of money to simply play. One possible deterrent, which is starting to be used, is to force athletes to return money if they are caught doping.

This kind of gets at what I was beating around a couple of days ago – when there’s the amount of money involved that there is in pro sport, there will be people who would grind up and eat their own mothers to win, or folks who would insinuate that the winners were eating their own mothers to sell papers about it.

Current IssueLandis has added another dimension to the scandal by suggesting that circumstantial evidence points to there being something sinister at work-that is, someone tampered with his sample, rigged the analysis, or altered the results. Indeed, the French drug-testing lab and officials at the international cycling federation have been under the gun before for improperly handling samples and quietly providing documentation on test results to reporters.

Adding weight to that argument is that Landis was the only rider, out of a starting field of 176 cyclists, to have a reported positive test during the Tour. Cycling officials have explained that away by saying the cheaters were excluded from the Tour de France because they had been caught up in a related Spanish doping scandal earlier in the year. That episode led to nine riders, including several favorites, being banned from this year’s race.

Is Floyd the only rider to test positive at the 2006 TdF? I’d thought there was one other…

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Vuelta a …. whatever.

The Vuelta kicked off on Spain’s Costa del Sol to a collective “Hey, you guys are still at it? At least this race is closer to the doctors, right?”

Wish I weren’t so cynical – the Vuelta’s been a great showcase for rising talent the past few years. But, it was also the first Grand Tour to have its champion stripped of the title for doping a couple of years back. Bleh.

Just make it go away…

The latest issue of Bicycling is out here in the States. And, in what I consider pretty impressive, it’s Floyd Landis’ second cover in as many months, dealing with the doping investigation.


Landis
: At this point, I think the public is on my side. I’ve seen a couple of polls, and I hope that people believe me because one fact remains: I won the race cleanly and fairly, and I’m proud of that. The other thing, the explanations I tried to come up with early on, I regret having said them, because I don’t know what the explanation is. I was just trying to say, “Look, there is another explanation besides what they’re saying.”

Floyd Speaks

The rest of the bit’s worth a read.

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