Saturday, December 12, 2009

2010; A Year of Hope For Clean Cycling?

It is a sad state of affairs this doping in cycling business. Everyone was enamored with the prospect of an Italian rider winning the Giro d' Italia, for national pride and to support the unfortunate victims of the earthquake that devastated so much of Italy. Bah! EPO-CERA was detected, the dream vaporized into thin air.

This will continue. Every time we hope for improvement, every time we dream of a clean season, people screw up. Greed is always a factor for risk taking behavior. People are so clever in applications of prohibited substance use, newly designed drugs, genetic manipulations, synthetic haemoglobin. There still is no perfect way to detect artificial growth hormone use in athletes. Test samples are stored on ice and the laboratories hope that science will catch up in time to right a wrong. Athletes who cheat roll the dice and take chances of beating the statute of limitations, hope that they will not have to forfeit prizes and money. Gamblers.

Hope that you will not be detected, perfect the methods, beat the tests. In the old days that Pat McQuaid seems to dream of, cyclists used artificial bladders to pass clean urine samples. This method was finally rectified after several cyclists were caught red handed by dutiful examining doctors. The examination process was changed to prevent these events from occurring again. But no matter how clever the examiners are, the cheaters will adapt and succeed, for a fashion.

The treat is always there. Victor Conte and Balco designed the "clear" a designer performance enhancing substance that was undetectable until an honest coach sent a sample to the United States Anti Doping Agency for laboratory examination. Next athletes thought they could use EPO-CERA because EPO-CERA stimulates red blood cell production for several weeks. Clever, trying to alter the isoform profile and metabolite syntheses by masking agents or flushing the system with water, or by other means. Fortunately for the anti-drug crusade, ROCHE developed and supplied testing data to WADA and other agencies that provided the exact molecular model to look for. Otherwise, with the lack of commitment that WADA shows toward funding of scientific studies to detect newly formulated substance enhancement use, the use of EPO-CERA and other newly synthesized performance enhancing substances would have and will continue unabated, perhaps forever.

We can only hope that 2010 will be the year when everyone will come to their senses and compete in a fair and equitable manner. This is a very desirable outcome and it could be achieved very simply. Ride clean. Resist temptation. Respect yourself and others. Give the sport of cycling some dignity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remove Race Radio?

Pat McQuaid has once again bested himself by suggesting that professional cycling would be better off with out race radio. This is an extremely strange idea and almost no one likes it. The riders don't like it. The teams don't like it. The fans don't like it. But even though there is a consensus of disapproval, Pat McQuaid and the UCI fancy that everyone should endorse the no race radio paradigm because everyone is hankering for the days of yore, before Motorola introduced radios into professional cycling.

What, was Lance Armstrong World Champion then? Did radios convey an unfair advantage to Team Motorola who could discuss tactics from afar while other teams has to convey instructions by word of mouth? Yes indeed, the good old days. A specious argument might exist if only one team used radios during races while others were deprived. Sort of like one team using performance enhancing drugs while everyone else rides clean. But this is not happening, no one is deprived, all team cars have sophisticated electronics to aid riders, the gaps shown on the motorcycle board is known to everyone, in high definition television. So Pat McQuaid what is the problem? With radio communication the problems sport directors encounter become almost academic, grab a microphone and issue instructions. Reel them in. You have a mechanical? Order the team to block, organize the domestics, come to the car for repairs. What could be simpler?

Yes, the radio less stage was tried in the Tour de France, the riders were furious for good reason. The issue is safety. Under the new Pat McQuaid radio less future of professional cycling, team cars will weave in and out of the peloton to issue instructions, this will interrupt the flow of the peloton, hazards will be created. Some one may die. Someone may be injured. There will be unnecessary accidents. No thank you.

Most cycling fans to not wish to return to the days of yore. The Grand Tours are a wonderful, beautiful exhibitions of rider skill and tactics. Pat McQuaid, leave things alone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 Tour of Utah: Some Reflections

The Tour of Utah was a very successful stage race. The race was won by Rock and Republic racer Franciso Mancebo. I did not want to appear negative about the event, however some comments are in order.

This is the post information age, I understand that. Everyone is tethered on an Internet link, blogger, twitter, or a social network site. Problems emerge when people are deprived of a computer, say during a race, and they have only conventional news outlets to rely upon for information. This happened to me during the Tour of Utah and the results were less than satisfying.

The main and only media outlet was KFANZ radio in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although KFANZ repeated advertisements for the Tour of Utah thousands of times a day, the race summaries were perfunctory five minute news releases. The prologue was won by Jeff Louder who beat David Zabriskie by four seconds. Finis. Even the so called queen stage with a mountain top finish at Snowbird Ski Resort, which was advertised to have regular race radio updates...well the updates never materialized...the station ran a syndicated ESPN radio program discussing Brent Farve and Micheal Vick ad nausea. The Tour of Utah should work to improve the race coverage in 2010 beyond a mere two minute summary of the stages, realizing that some race fanatics do not have access to the Internet.

KSL radio did not even mention the downtown Salt Lake City criterium race in their sport report the following day even though there were several thousand people downtown. Bizarre.

One other thing. Take my advice and never decide to ride your bike up Little Cottonwood Canyon, in the afternoon, on race day, in one hundred degree plus heat. Duh! Being a fool and ignoring advice, I set out from Salt Lake City at 11:00 a.m. rode thirty miles to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon and started to climb. I felt great for the first five miles. But the traffic was bumper to bumper and Little Cottonwood Canyon has no shoulders, a very dangerous situation. Of course, there is no need to mention the exhaust fumes, the ozone, the smell of burnt rubber, the heat, the 8% grade, or the fact that at mile marker seven I ran out of water. There is also no need to mention the fact that spectators who lined the road waiting for the professional riders to appear cheered me on with shouts of appreciation and applause.

Darn. I bonked with less than one mile to go, sick of the exhaust fumes, the traffic, the heat, the stench of burning rubber, and the ozone. There was not one breath of wind in the canyon that day. Only thirty eight miles back to Salt Lake City to ride! Panic and a fateful decision. Turn around and leave before they close the canyon road for the professional race. Bad idea, which I regret to this day.

But as you can see from some of the photographs I took maybe it did not matter. The camera may be great for portraits but not so good for high speed bicycle racing. The queen stage did not have any race changing attacks or unexpected bonks as many people had expected. The only bonk was from the idiot riding the orange and red thirty pound mountain bike up Little Cottonwood Canyon that day...me.

Lastly, I wish Floyd Landis would have been a little more interactive with the fans. Floyd you don't have to be paranoid, come out and play. I still love the way you ride man. I was there and you were there and that beats an unfair suspension every time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

2009 Tour of Utah Downtown Salt Lake City Criterium Photographs



Rock racing riders on the front to protect race leader Franciso Mancebo.




The peloton rounds a turn, three wide.



Escape! A four man pace line distances the peloton. Fido the dog responds to the escape in typical canine fashion.





Team Ouch presented by Maxxis takes a turn at the front to reel in the break. The peloton is strung out in single file.




Hammer. The Salt Lake City Municipal Library and Utah Transit Authority Trax train are in the background.




Only a few laps to go. The Tour of Utah was a very successful occasion with thousands of race hungry fans.

Special thanks to Nicole Anderson for her help in editing and posting these photographs.

2009 East Canyon KOM Big Mountain Tour Of Utah Photographs

These photographs are of the King of the Mountain sprint located at Big Mountain, East Canyon, Utah. This is stage one of the Tour of Utah. The stage was won by Rock Racing rider Franciso Mancebo, who arm and arm with his teammate Oscar Sevilla crossed the line 26 seconds in front of the main group to win the stage.



Tour of Utah volunteer "Rick" at the Little Mountain KOM summit.



Ouch presented by Maxxis rider Brad White collects the Big Mountain King of the Mountain Points





The main group arrived three minutes later.



Off the back.



Riders continue to trickle in.

Thanks to Nicole Anderson for her help in editing and posting these photographs.

2009 Tour of Utah Prologue Photographs

As promised here are photographs of the Tour of Utah. The original intention of these photographs were to focus on Floyd Landis as part of his come back to professional cycling. Unfortunately, during the prologue Mr. Landis hid in the Ouch presented by Maxxis team trailer surrounded by a group of gorillas. Landis did not even condescend to sign autographs for the fans. Therefore, what you see is what you get, with no apologies from me.




Tour of Utah volunteer Scott Sowle.



Professional wrenches are overworked and under appreciated!



This is the place for racing! The Utah State Capitol Building is in the background.



The dark side of cycling, but USA Cycling has nothing to hide. This has been and will continue to be a point of contention, the public nature of bib information that could be used by miscreants for subversive reasons.



A Ouch presented by Maxxis rider on the rollers.



Floyd Landis hammers home fifty meters from the finish line.



Cole Sport rider David Clinger warms down on the rollers after a hard time trial. The White Chapel is in the background.



The Ouch presented by Maxxis team car and bikes.



Specialized fans eat your hearts out!

Special thanks to Nichole Anderson for her help in posting and editing these photographs.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tour of Utah Preview

The Tour of Utah like so many other United States domestic races could have gone the way of the dinosaur. Larry H. Miller who originated the Tour of Utah died last year. It would have been so easy to quit, but thanks to the Miller family and Zions Bank the Tour of Utah lives on.

The 2009 edition of the Tour of Utah is the strongest ever featuring 22 teams.

Defending champion Jeff Louder and the BMC Racing Team will have their hands full this year. The biggest general classification threat is Floyd Landis of Ouch Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis, who is rumored to be training hard in Park City. Ouch Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis also has points jersey perpetual threat Rory Sutherland on the squad.

Rock Racing has proven climbers Victor Hugo Pena and Oscar Sevilla as contenders for general classification and sprint sensation Fast Freddie Rodriquez who is a proven points warrior. Fast Freddie Rodriquez won a Giro d' Italia stage beating 'Ale- Jet' Alessandro Petacchi. Rock Racing may on paper be the strongest and best overall team in the Tour of Utah this year.

Cole Sport Racing has David Clinger as best possible contender for general classification. Former rider for the United States Postal Professional Cycling Team, David Clinger has had a roller coaster of a career since. Now that problems have been sorted out in his life, David Clinger could be poised to pull an outstanding upset.

Other worthy riders of note:

Bissel Pro Cycling Team rider Burke Swindlehurst
Trek/Livestrong U23 Development Team rider Taylor Phinney

The 2009 Tour of Utah is billed as America's toughest stage race with over 20,000 feet of leg breaking climbs. Stage 4, the "Queen Stage" includes a climb of Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird ski resort, 13km at 7.5%. The Little Cottonwood Canyon climb should decide the general classification once and for all.

The Tour of Utah ends with a downtown Salt Lake City criterium race where local cycling fanatics will amass to enjoy the racing exploits of their heroes.

Velo Vortmax intends to share as much of the Tour of Utah as possible on this blog during the race with reports and (hopefully) photographs.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Alberto Contador Wins the 2009 Tour de France

The 2009 Tour de France is over. Alberto Contador has won. Andy Schleck was second. Lance Armstrong was third. Nothing else matters.

No matter what you think, two Tour de France champions on the same team leads to disaster. Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault were teammates. Hinault won a Tour and LeMond won a Tour. Greg LeMond claims that he could have won both Tours. The amimosity between Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault are the stuff of legend. Those who refuse to learn from historical precedent are doomed to folly. Thus Team Astana during the 2009 Tour de France.

Nevertheless, could Lance Armstrong ever beat Alberto Contador in a Tour de France on the same team? Probably not, given the age disparities. Lance Armstrong is thirty eight, Alberto Contador is twenty six. Nevertheless, the Team Astana experiment with two Tour de France winners is over. Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel are off to Team Nabisco for the 2010 Tour de France. Alberto Contador is expected to stay with a newly reformulated Team Astana, consisting of mainly Spanish support riders.

Then shall we see who is the best rider, Alberto Contador or Lance Armstrong? Shall we see if the rider is more important or if total team strategy, effort, and strength is more important? What is most important the strongest rider or the strongest team?

Good questions that will be pondered next year perhaps. But for now Alberto Contador can bask in his glory as Tour winner. Lance Armstrong made the podium, in third place, at thirty eight years of age. 2009 was a vintage year for the Tour de France.

Sour Grapes

There are those who think that Lance Armstrong is the sort of man who demands total obeisance from his teammates. They cite Roberto Heras, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, loyal lieutenants who sacrificed their legs so that Lance Armstrong could chalk up seven successive Tour de France wins. Some people think that Lance Armstrong expected Alberto Contador to work as a team domestic to ensure that Lance Armstrong would win an eighth Tour de France.

At the start of the 2009 Tour de France a pissing contest emerged over who would be alpha dog of Team Astana. Lance Armstrong had the best time at 0:00 behind Fabian Cancallara after the Team Time Trial. But, Alberto Contador was not far behind Lance Armstrong and the mountain stages were to come where the true classification would be sorted out.

Stage 17 decided the 2009 Tour de France when Alberto Contador attacked Andy and Frank Schleck. Unfortunately, for Team Astana, both Andreaus Kloden and Lance Armstrong were dropped. This attack by Alberto Contador was a questionable tactic if the goal of Team Astana was to place three riders on the final podium. If Alberto Contador would have shown more restraint, it is arguable that both Lance Armstrong and Andreaus Kloden could have made the final podium.

Nevertheless, the Stage 17 attack did establish Alberto Contador as the alpha dog of Team Astana, and Lance Armstrong did recognize this fact. Lance Armstrong did work for Alberto Contador by forcing Bradely Wiggins to eat wind and pull. The main goal of Stage 17 was to drop Bradely Wiggins from contention, even Andy and Frank Schleck admitted this fact.

But Alberto Contador barely acknowledged the role of Lance Armstrong in helping him win the 2009 Tour de France. In fact, Alberto Contador stated several times that he could have won the Tour without any help from Lance Armstrong.

Meanwhile, Lance Armstrong was saying he did not mind being a team player. "I have seven Tour de France wins, I am proud of Alberto Contador."

But some people will always question the sincerity of Lance Armstrong, no matter what.

After the Stage 17 attack Alberto Contador established himself as the unquestioned 2009 Tour de France champion. The time gaps on General Classification between Alberto Contador and his main rivals continued to widen. Alberto Contador should be very proud of his achievement.


Until the doping tests result in a positive for PEDs?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Garmin Slipstream is a Disgrace

Garmin Slipstream is a disgraceful team. After doing no work at all for the entire race, Garmin Slipstream came to the front of the peloton on Stage 14 to reel in American rider Geroge Hincapie. This treachery deprived Hincapie of assuming the race lead and wearing the yellow jersey.

Pathetic. At the conclusion of the stage a visibly angry Hincapie blamed Team Astana for coming to the front of the stage to work when the responsibility of reeling in the break should have been Nocentini's AG2R team. This is true, but as Phil Liggit mentioned on Versus, Astana probably tried to slow down the pace to allow George Hincapie to take the race lead, but things did not work out. There was a danger in allowing Hincapie to gain a large amount of time on a break, he can climb. Astana probably wanted to keep the break manageable. The motives of Garmin Slipstream does not seem so mundane though. Garmin Slipstream could argue that they worked to protect Bradely Wiggins. Nothing more. This argument seems to hold no weight among professional cycling fans, however. Sinister rumors are circulating; Jonathan Vaughters and Bob Stapleton have bad blood. Jonathan Vaughters and George Hincapie have unsettled scores from the United States Postal Professional Cycling Team days when both were domestics for Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France. In any case George Hincapie is correct when he stated that the race tactics of Garmin Slipstream were beyond belief.

Versus has spent a great deal of time promoting Garmin Slipstream during this Tour, interviewing Jonathan Vaughters on a great number of topics. This must stop, now.

Jonathan Vaughters and Matt White should learn how to organize a team. Men work, idiots ride just inside of the time limit. On the Category 1 Col Villette-Le-Chable, Saxo Bank rider Fabian Cancellara set such a quick pace on the front for his general classification rider Andy Schleck, hammering uphill out of the saddle until he blew up. That is how you work for your team. Bradely Wiggens sat protected behind Cancellara doing nothing. Wiggens' Garmin Slipstream teammates were no where in sight. Jonathan Vaughters should show his team the tape of Fabian Cancellara working for his team as a training guide on how to do things right.

Astana knows how to run a team. Astana runs a train on the front of the group working when the Saxo Bank riders go out the back. Alberto Contador is a protected rider in the pure sense of the word, not an isolated pathetic figure like Wiggins. Where is former reformed Saint David Millar, why is not David Millar setting a leg breaking tempo up the Col like Fabian Cancellara?

If anything, the pure narcissist of Astana is Ablerto Contador who refuses to follow orders and who is so intent on proving to the world that he is so much better than Lance Armstrong that he takes unnecessary risks. Today, on Stage 17, we have a perfect example of this. On the last Cat 1 Col Alberto Contador decided to sprint out of the saddle to attack Frank and Andy Schleck. This move created problems for his own Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and A. Kloden who were both dropped. A blunder as both Armstrong and Kloden were high on the general classification and this created an opportunity for Andy Schleck and his brother Frank to move up on general classification.

However, Lance Armstrong worked to protect Alberto Contador from Bradely Wiggins who could not match the Contador attack, like a loyal teammate is supposed to do. Armstrong was glued to Wiggins wheel waiting for an opportunity to attack. At a severe grade Armstrong sprinted around Wiggins and dropped him like a rock after forcing Wiggins to ride into the wind and pull Armstrong.

Not only did Lance Armstrong drop Bradely Wiggins but on the decent he caught his teammate Kloden. Lance Armstrong tried to pace Kloden to the line. Perfect racing tactics from a team oriented man who is working for the interests of the team, not of the rider, himself. Something Alberto Contador and Garmin Slipstream should use as a training guide.

Enjoy the Tour everyone!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pat McQuaid; Assume Some Responsibility

The 2009 Tour de France has had some unexpected turns but nothing seemed more fitting than watching Tom Boonen hit the deck after touching wheels on wet pavement during Stage 6. Boonen was probably thinking of free basing another huge rock of crack cocaine and firing up the pipe, not about racing his bike. Indeed. Tom Boonen, got an unexpected reprieve from the Court of Arbitration of Sport after testing positive for recreational cocaine use. Apparently there is no prohibition of cocaine use by riders out-of-competition. Therefore neither the ASO or the UCI has any legal basis to exclude this miscreant from the Tour de France. This is very good news for people who make a profession out of stealing bicycles to sell to a Mexican drug cartels for crack cocaine. Once your bicycle is traded for cocaine, the group sets are stripped and sold on Craigs' list or E-Bay and the frames are chopped into bits and sold as scrap metal. Tom Boonen is probably the cycling hero of these thieves. Some fans of Tom Boonen probably think there is nothing better in life than depriving people who rely upon cycling as their primary form of transportation and recreation, people who don't own cars, of their bicycles, for drugs.

The UCI and Results Management

This raises issues that should have been resolved long ago about the results management of rider behavior and who should be responsible for punishment of offenses. In my opinion the UCI has abdicated this responsibility in favor of WADA and the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

When a rider submits a sample for testing, once the urine or blood is collected it becomes the property of the UCI. Therefore, the management of the sample becomes the responsibility of the UCI, not WADA or the AFLD. In theory, the UCI could refuse to allow any WADA accredited lab to do any testing on a UCI licensed rider.

The UCI could refuse to accept any extra legal judgements of UCI licensed riders as was done to Floyd Landis. Floyd Landis was licensed in the United States and was suspended by USA cycling upon the decision of the Court of Arbitration of Sport. The AFLD also forced Floyd Landis to sign an agreement to suspend racing in France for two years. The AFLD action probably had no legal basis for this suspension.

In theory, the UCI could exclude the Court of Arbitration of Sport and any or all related International Olympic Committee entities from participating in UCI licensed rider results management. The basis for this exclusion would be related to the property issue. The UCI could argue that since they are the legal owners of the samples that arbitration of rider results could occur outside of IOC jurisdiction.

Pierre Bordry Shoots His Mouth

The USA Today reported that Pierre Bordry has accused the UCI of lax testing for the 2009 Tour de France. Apparently Pierre Bordry thinks that when the AFLD was responsible for the testing during the 2008 Tour de France that rider testing was more thorough. Pat McQuaid denied Bordry's accusations as unfounded.

Quaint. In my opinion Pat Mcquaid should have been more forceful in his statement. First, the UCI has responsibility for the results management of the 2009 Tour de France. Second, the laboratory samples of Lance Armstrong are being tested 24/7 for all known substances and deviations in biological parameters. Lance Armstrong has provided the largest quantity of longitudinal biological passport data ever collected on one man in the history of the world. So, it is logical to conclude that if some variation exists that suggests performance enhancing drug use we will find it. Third, we are relying upon a WADA accredited laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry, known as one of the most unreliable and lax testing intuitions in the world. Perhaps it would be more prudent if Mr. Pierre Bordry would spend his time and money on monitoring the accreditation audits and reviewing the training and competence of the laboratory personnel of LNDD rather than accusing the UCI of lax testing schedules for UCI licensed riders. Fourth, providing that there is any urine and blood left after the rigorous testing of Lance Armstrong during and presumably after the Tour de France, there is still a matter of retroactive testing to be done after developing future tests to detect experimental drug combinations or to refine testing procedures of performance enhancing compounds that currently have no tests; before the statute of limitations run out. Eight years is plenty of time.

Watch the Tour

Pat McQuaid should give this advice to Pierre Bordry. Shut up and watch the Tour de France! Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushvold are in a battle royal for the sprint jersey. Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong are fighting each other for the race lead. This race may not be decided until Mont Ventoux! Wonderful!

Like the Giro d' Italia there may be no Tour de France PED positive tests, perish the thought.

Enjoy the Tour everyone!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Somebody Stole My Bike

There are those cyclists who have had their bicycles stolen and those who will. Like death and taxes this is an inevitable fact of life. Over a million bicycles are stolen in the United States each year and only twenty percent are ever recovered.

Being an old hand at the cycling game I thought I had all of the bases covered. Ride and old bike when commuting not your precious Cannondale Six-Thirteen. Park your bike in a visible area with allot of pedestrian traffic. Do not use an old Kryptonite U lock with a barrel key as these locks can be picked with a Bic pin, including some older barrel lock Kryptonite New York locks. Older U locks with barrel locks should be replaced with U locks with flat keys. All cables can be cut with a bolt cutter and should be avoided.

Sounds like good advice. But keeping honest people honest will not stop a determined bicycle thief from taking your bicycle. Cyclists try to protect their bicycles from thieves so they think like a thief would think. "Unbreakable" U locks are a figment of the imagination. My cycling friends have told me a dozen of ways to break them in a matter of seconds. Of course, I have no intention of sharing this information.

Keep a good description of your bike and record the serial number in case it is stolen. If your bike is stolen file a report with the police. Your bike will be entered in a national stolen bike registry in case some one tries to pawn it or if your Local Bike Shop runs the serial number.

My stolen bike is a 1989 KHS Touring Bike.

Top Tube: Blue
Chain Stays: Blue. One chain stay has a black chain protector labelled "Sun Tour Equipped."
Seat Stays: Blue.
Front Forks: Gray. KHS painted the forks gray. Under the paint the forks are chrome.
Seat Tube: Gray.
Down Tube: Blue.
Derailleurs: Sun Tour Alpha 5000
Chain Wheel: Sugino 52-42
Free Hub: Shimano Hyperglide 13-15-17-19-21-24-28 Seven Speed
Chain: Shimano HG 110 links
Brakes: DiaComp Deluxe
Brake Hoods: Black (factory issue)
Hubs: Shimano Parallax
Wheels: Vapor (silver)
Tires: Cosmos Cycle Cross 25X700c.
Down Tube Shifters: Sun Tour Alpha 5000
Water bottle cages: Avenier (2) Silver, Blue
Handle bars: Bulls horns (factory issue)
Decals: Missing
Frame: Decal missing: probably a Tang. Cro-Moly Steel
Handle bar tape: White
Pedals: Campagnolo clones (quill)
Saddle: Viscount
Skewers: Shimano
Saddle Bag: Planet Bike (black). Contains two spare 700c tubes, two tire irons, one six inch Crescent wrench.)
Helmet: Gray Bell helmet with silver stripes. (stolen with the bike)
Cable: (stolen with the bike)
Padlock: Master Number 1 pin tumbler. (stolen with the bike)
Serial Number: M5H43403
Case Number: U of U Police Department: 09-809

Stolen from the South side bicycle rack of the University of Utah Medical School on June 13, 2009 between 1300 and 1800 hours Mountain Standard Time.

Velo Vortmax is offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who stole this bike. Forward all information to velovortmax@yahoo.com or call your local police department. This bicycle is on a national stolen bicycle registry. I will add a photo of this bicycle to my blog soon.

Of course, this bike will never be recovered. My stupidity lies in the fact that I figured that nobody would be interested in a twenty year old bike that I bought for twenty dollars. Wrong. Some people will steal anything. Take nothing for granted.

Update:  I recommend to everyone to keep detailed records of your bicycle and photographs before the bicycle is stolen.  I also recommend that your records be foolproof  to prevent possible miscreants (both criminal and of the legal variety) from accusing you of stealing your own property.  I have rebuilt bicycles I have found in the city clean up piles, thrown away as junk, I have been given bicycles by people, but I have never been felt compelled to steal a bicycle, and I resent people who claim that I have.  So fuck you asshole!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The UCI Must Abandon LNDD and WADA

Current Red Flag: The "Whistle Blower" Documents

The latest news of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) head Pierre Bordry seeking an international arrest warrant of Arnie Baker and Floyd Landis to testify to issues related to alleged hacking of LNDD computer networks by Kargus Consultants should be the last straw for the International Cycling Union (UCI). If the "whistle blower" documents are validated in a French court as authentic and not forgeries, then this would end a long trail of misdeeds by LNDD. The "whistle blower" documents are provided by Arnie Baker in the Floyd Landis wiki defense "What's Fair is Clear Slide Show." The "whistle blower" documents provide a history of mis-identification of athletes and an organized attempt by LNDD to destroy evidence to obstruct judicial inquiries. If the content of "whistle blower" documents prove to be valid and correct; not some deranged fabrication by a demented author, then this should be the last straw even for the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA). The WADA laboratory located at Chatenay-Malabry, France should immediately lose it's accreditation and be subjected to a judicial inquiry by anti-corruption Judge Tom Cassuto.

WADAwatch has written a brilliant argument of the Kargus Consultants LNDD hacking incident. WADAwatch insists that Pierre Bordry must prove that the contents of the "whistle blower" documents are authentic in court; a mere belief or assertion of the factual basis of these arguments by the AFLD is not enough to establish a crime. Therefore, Pierre Bordry would have to provide to the court not only the author of the documents but other witnesses who were responsible for the original mis-identification of athletes and the people who requested that the lab document packages of these mis-identified athletes be destroyed by LNDD. Until the AFLD fulfills these requirements WADAwatch insists that neither Floyd Landis or Arnie Baker need comply with the AFLD request to appear for interrogation since the basis of a crime of hacking has not been established.

Pierre Bordry and the AFLD should heed the parable of "give them enough rope." The AFLD is doing more to discredit LNDD than Arnie Baker could ever do by highlighting alleged mis-deeds of LNDD in the "What's Fair is Clear Slide Show." If Judge Cassuto requires the AFLD to meet the requirements outlined by WADAwatch then the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will have no other choice but to revoke LNDD's accreditation and the International Cycling Union (UCI) will have no other choice but to find another laboratory to do testing for the 2009 Tour de France.

Historical Precedent: Red Flag. The Vrijman Report.

The UCI has had plenty of warnings about LNDD and has ignored them to the peril of athletes world wide. In the Vrijman Report Emile Vrijman made the following statement in reference to the assertion that Lance Armstrong and six other athletes had tested positive for traces of r-EPO during the 1999 Tour de France.

1.15 "The results reported by the LNDD that found their way into the L'Equipe article are not what they have been represented to be. They did not involve proper testing of urine samples, as explained in this report. While the testing conducted may have been useful for research purposes-which remains to be determined-the failure of the underlying research to comply with any applicable standard and the deficiencies in the report render it completely irresponsible for anyone involved in doping control testing to even suggest that the analyses results that were reported constitute evidence of anything. To suggest in any way that any of the analyses results could properly be associated with a particular rider or riders, is misleading and constitutes as least gross negligence, given the complete absence of an internal or external chain of custody, proper record keeping and security with respect to the urine samples from the 1998 and the 1999 Tours de France that were tested, and the absence of any protection against samples having been spiked with r-EPO or contamination by other samples.

The investigation recommends the UCI to refrain from initiating any disciplinary actions whatsoever regarding those riders alleged to have been responsible for causing one or more alleged 'positive' findings, on the basis of the confidential reports of the LNDD 'Recherche EPO Tour de France 1998' and 'Recherche EPO Tour de France 1999' and to inform all the riders involved that no action will be taken based on research testing by the LNDD."


Emile Vrijman's concerns about the validity of the 1998-1999 Tour de France rEPO results were amplified by statements made by Montreal WADA accredited laboratory director Dr. Christiane Ayotte in a August 23, 2005 VeloNews article. "Ayotte was extremely surprised at her laboratory 'that urine samples could have been tested in 2004 and have revealed the presence of EPO. EPO in its natural state on the synthesized version- is not stable in urine, even if stored at -20 degrees Celsius. EPO is a protein hormone and it is not stable in urine, even when kept frozen.'" Given this caveat by Christiane Ayotte it is impossible to understand how synthetic r-EPO isoforms could measure 100% from the 1999 Tour de France prologue test even if the Lance Armstrong sample was spiked in 1999. A far better explanation would be that the 1999 prologue sample was tampered with in 2004 by someone who had knowledge of the anti-doping report form number assigned to the sample and displayed on the bottle. Emile Vrijman reported that the anti-doping report form numbers were coded on the bottles at the time the tests were conducted; at the insistence of WADA president Dick Pound.

More to come.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pierre Bordry Authenticates LNDD Whistle Blower Documents

Pierre Bordry of AFLD may have cleared up one more mystery in the Floyd Landis doping saga. According to Shane Stokes Pierre Bordry accuses Arnie Baker M.D., and Floyd Landis of hiring Kargus Consultants to hack computer files of LNDD to steal and publish confidential documents with the intention to discredit the Chatenay-Malabry accredited WADA laboratory. The French cyber crime police have linked an ISP address to Arnie Baker. These documents were later published on the Internet as part of the Floyd Landis wiki defense.

Under "Floyd Landis; What's Fair is Clear" Slide Show a summary by Arnie Baker M.D. of the so called "whistle blower documents", slides 42-47, can be found. On slide 42 Arnie Baker makes the statement:

"The documents in the following slides have been sent to me, multiple times, from whistle blowers. Although I cannot be certain of their authenticity, they appear genuine. I base the discussion that follows evaluating the substance of the letters. If the letters are fabricated, this discussion is moot."


The whistle blower letters document mis-identification of athlete test results and request that these documents be destroyed to prevent inquiries. If true, the contents of these letters would form a basis for WADA to revoke the accreditation of LNDD.

Most experts had considered the whistle blower documents to be forgeries. Pierre Bordry and the AFLD have confirmed their authenticity.

Pierre Bordry and the AFLD sent orders to Floyd Landis and Arnie Baker to appear in a hearing to explain what if any involvement thay may have had with Kargus Consultants and the infiltration of the LNDD computer network. Floyd Landis has not replied. Arnie Baker sent the AFLD an e-mail requesting information as to the length and duration of the interrogation and the expenses involved, but he did not agree to comply with the AFLD request for a personal appearance at the hearing.

Stephane Monard in a Le Monde article, makes this enigmatic statement.
"Judge Cassuto did not respond to Bakers e-mail. However, he asked Bordry to indicate the date and circumstances in which Floyd Landis could be formally informed of the number corresponding to the positive sample during the 2006 Tour de France."


"The number corresponding to the positive sample...?" Confused? I have no idea what this means. In the What's Fair is Clear slide show Arnie Baker shows numerous examples of mis-identification by LNDD of Floyd Landis in the Lab Document Package. Perhaps the judge is asking Pierre Bordry to explain the numerous errors, the "white out" page, who made the corrections and why they thought it necessary to violate WADA code that requires that all evidence is "irretrievably linked to the athlete."

Wishful thinking. Pierre Bordry is requesting an arrest warrant for the victim of LNDD's incompetence Floyd Landis, rather than arresting the true criminal, LNDD director Jacques de Ceaurriz. Instead of focusing on Floyd Landis and Arnie Baker AFLD should be more interested in prosecuting those responsible for the behavior outlined in the whistle blower documents since they are genuine. WADA should revoke LNDD's accreditation until the investigation is completed.

The AAA arbitrators made a mistake in their decision. They cited the white out page and other mis-identification of athlete forensic errors by LNDD in the Floyd Landis case as a possible basis to dismiss an adverse analytical finding in future if the errors were repeated. These athlete mis-identification errors as the whistle blower documents show have been a chronic problem at LNDD for some time, the AAA arbitrators should have punished LNDD and dismissed the Floyd Landis Adverse Analytical Finding.

The Tour of Utah has announced that team OUCH will participate. The team rosters have not been published yet but this is the one race I have been waiting for. To see my hero Floyd Landis race would be a dream come true. I just hope that when the Tour of Utah gets to Salt Lake City that Floyd Landis is not languishing in a French prison.

That would be the real disaster.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dope Free Giro d' Italia--So Far.

Twelve stages of the Giro d' Italia have been raced without one positive dope test.

The centenary Giro d' Italia has been spectacular so far with exceptions. Rabobank rider Pedro Horrillo lost control of his bike on a decent, went over a guard rail, and plummeted 250 feet into a ravine. Horrillo was airlifted from the accident sight by helicopter and flown to hospital. In spite of arriving at the hospital in a coma, with a broken femur, collapsed lung, and broken ribs, Pedro Horrillo has regained consciousness and is recovering in hospital.

American rider Christian Vande Velde suffered multiple fractures from an early Giro d' Italia stage accident and withdrew. Chris Horner pulled a muscle during a crash and withdrew. Levi Leipheimer, road rash, is still racing.

During the Giro d' Italia Stage 10 Milano Show 100 the peloton decided that the course was unsafe to ride. After racing at a fifteen mile/hour pace for four laps of the circuit, maglia rosa Danilo Di Luca stopped the peloton and addressed the astounded fans. "We have deemed the course conditions unsafe. We hope you will understand." The peloton complained of cars along the course and sections where the riders encountered oncoming traffic. The Milano Show 100 continued at a faster pace dominated by the sprint teams after the brief "work stoppage" intermission, however. British sprinter Mark Cavendish won a meaningless stage and was awarded no sprint points. All 190 riders were awarded the same time.

Danilo Di Luca insists that the peloton had an agreement to let a Rabobank rider cross the line first to honor Pedro Horrillo but that the stage was hijacked by the sprint teams.

RCS Sport leader Angelo Zomegnan exploded with rage over the Milano Show 100 antics. Zomegnan complained that the "elder riders" of the group had deliberately sabotaged the stage because they did not want to exert the necessary effort to compete. Zomegnan stated that the Milano Show 100 course was very technical with turns that would require the riders to "get their butts out of the saddle." "For one hundred years the Milano 100 has been raced without complaint from the riders" exclaimed an exasperated Zomegnan. "The fans will not forget this outrage." In a contrite move after reflection, Danilo Di Luca and Lance Armstrong apologised to racing fans over the incident.

But Lance Armstrong also insisted that it is time for a organization with teeth to represent rider concerns. Grand Tour courses have always had bad designs. Turns 300 meters from the finish line on flat stages may make great television drama. But when three sprint trains wind up side by side in pouring rain reaching speeds up to 60km/hour; a turn more often than not results in a disaster. 100 Giro d' Italia years of spilt blood is proof of this assertion. The riders should have some input in course design. Ending the race before the turn will not diminish the race; fans don't want to see a bloody mess with career ending injuries; they want to see a good lead out and sprint.

But would a rider organization end the despotic rule of private entities that own European Grand Tours? If a rider representative could influence Grand Tour decision making would this end the petty tyrannies of people like Christian Prudhomme and Angelo Zomegnan?

Christian Prudhomme has once again shown his arbitrary reasoning by banning Tom Boonen from the Tour de France for the second straight year. Tom Boonen has a bad habit of attending raves where big fat lines of powder cocaine can be snorted. Or raves where crack cocaine can be rolled into "eight balls" and smoked, shot up, skin popped, or used as a suppository. After all there is no prohibition against out-of-competition use of cocaine for recreational use. Party on dudes! Christian Prudhomme is trying to punish Tom Boonen for a non-existent crime for excluding him from the Tour de France. And Pat McQuaid wants to punish Tom Boonen under some lame UCI rule number with seventeen decimal points. Pat McQuaid has proclaimed that Tom Boonen has "done something that results in harm to the UCI." Constant cocaine use would fit this obscure rule, obviously. The UCI rule could be applied to Pat McQuaid as well for his dunderhead behavior and statements over the years. Christian Prudhomme and Angelo Zomegnan could also be banished under the same rule. The riders need some sort of organization to safeguard their interests as Lance Armstrong has suggested. The sooner the better.

Lance Armstrong has suddenly banned the tifosi and Italian media and refused all requests for comment after the tifosi and Italian media tried to infer that Lance Armstrong was the ring leader of the Milano Show 100 protest.

How about those uniforms worn former Astana team riders during the Giro d' Italia? Gone is the word Astana, looks like someone got carried away with the bleach bottle. Unfortunately, someone forgot to paint out the word Astana on the team bus. Pat McQuaid announced that Astana had not paid the $2 million UCI Pro Tour fee to guarantee rider salaries. Apparently, Astana has not paid the riders for some weeks. Pat McQuaid set a deadline of May 31, 2009 for the full payment of the fees by Astana or the UCI may yank Astana's Pro Tour license. Imagine all of the current Astana riders with no contracts, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Alberto Contador, Andreas Kloden (if Kloden is not busted over the Human plasma affair) and Chris Horner. All of these riders suddenly available for the Tour de France at the same time? Impossible? No.

Enjoy the rest of the Giro d' Italia everyone!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Drug Free Giro d' Italia?

The centenary Giro d' Italia is slated to run from May 9-31, 2009. Everyone should be stoked as the Giro d' Italia is one of the paramount Grand Tours. Unfortunately, in cycling, great events have to be mired in senseless politics. RCS sport director Angelo Zomegnan slighted Italian national road race champion Filippo Simeoni and his Ceramica Flaminia Bossini Docce team with a non-invite to the Giro d' Italia. In response Filippo Simeoni ran his national champion jersey through the shredder and returned it in a box to the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI).

One thing that will not happen during the 2009 Giro d' Italia is a Filippo Simeoni escape with an enraged 'le patron' Lance Armstrong bridging the gap and ordering Simeoni to return to the peloton, or else! This odd incident happened in the 2004 Tour de France. Filippo Simeoni claimed that Lance Armstrong "threatened him" in retaliation for comments Simeoni made about the relationship Armstrong had with Dr. Michele Ferrari. Filippo Simeoni accused Dr. Michele Ferrari of giving Lance Armstrong recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO). Dr. Ferrari once famously made the statement that "rEPO used properly was no more dangerous than orange juice." Dr. Michele Farrari was convicted in an Italian court for doping cyclists. But Lance Armstrong always insisted that his relationship with Michele Farrari consisted of nothing more than mundane consultations on parameters of athletic performance quite common among professional cyclists. Lance Armstrong has always denied that Michele Ferrari ever gave him any prohibited substances.

Something else that won't happen in the 2009 Giro d' Italia; a Marco Pantani like hematocrit reading of 60%. The days of free for all doping where riders carried around thermos bottles full of ice and vials of rEPO are over. Doping with rEPO has become much more sophisticated. Riders now use micro doses of EPO that in many cases escape detection by modern laboratory tests. Modern riders (doctors) have few problems keeping total hematocrit levels below the 50% threshold level that is deemed unsafe by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Even so, the odds of a positive test free 2009 Giro d' Italia are astronomical. Someone will roll the dice and lose, that is certain. We have the usual suspects that will not test positive. Lance Armstrong is promoting Livestrong he won't risk a positive test, no matter what Pierre Bordry and AFLD think. Saint David Millar will not test positive either, in spite of his past rEPO use. Millar is a spokesman of the anti-doping crusade. Saint Ivan Basso will ride clean as a whistle, he has confessed and repented his former Operation Puerto blood manipulation schemes to become the supra lab rat. Besides, the entire Italian nation is counting on Ivan Basso to win the Giro d' Italia over American rivals Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer.

No the sucker who tests positive for a prohibited substance will be a stage winner or time trial winner or random rider.

The centenary Giro d' Italia will degenerate into more discussions on doping. The race will be ruined.

Life will go on. Until the next positive test for PEDs, probably during the 2009 Tour de France.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ultra Performance Lab Rat

I'm Richie Dagger
I can stomp and swagger
I can take on your heroes.
Richie Dagger
Young and haggard
Boy that nobody owns.
--Darby Crash


Richie Dagger's Crime (GI) Version.  I have the original vinyl GI album mailed to me by Slash records, not poser digital remix garbage, in case you were interested.

"Rise and Fall of Tyler Hamilton" elicited unfavorable comments. Some people complained that the tone resembled something former WADA president Dick Pound would say. Dick Pound is not a person who serves as a role model to be emulated, supported, or agreed with. Mr. Pound was convinced that all athletes facing doping accusations who denied the charges were either guilty or liars. Dick Pound's philosophy emerged from a confrontation with Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson. Mr. Johnson swore that his Olympic games world record sprint positive test for prohibited substances was a mistake. Pound reassured the world that Johnson was clean. Johnson later recanted and admitted not only did he use performance enhancing drugs, but that his doctors tried to make him into a ultra performance lab rat. The implication of Mr. Johnson was clear; doctors of the Canadian Olympic national team may have used a performance enhancing drug regimen to boost athletic performance and team doctors may have employed strategies to avoid detection of these drugs. Dick Pound never forgave Ben Johnson for these slights to himself and Canada. From that moment onward Dick Pound would declare war on any athlete accused of PED use. Unreasoning in his judgmental pronouncements, Dick Pound would resort to any statement to support his positions. Mr. Pound, the WADA president, used character assassinations expressed in outlandish statements as a matter of policy. This cancer metastasized into policy action of the Court of Arbitration of Sport where Mr. Pound also served as a member of the board.

When allegations surfaced of synthetic testosterone use by Floyd Landis, Ben Johnson made some interesting comments on the Floyd Landis Topix cycling forum. In essence Mr. Johnson hinted that Floyd Landis may have been manipulated by team Phonak and team physician Dr. Denise Demir.   In short, Mr. Johnson suggested that team Phonak may have been doing the same sort of experimentation on Floyd Landis that the Canadian Olympic team may have done on Ben Johnson. Floyd Landis was to be another ultra performance lab rat.

This assertion would be laughable, but, when Floyd Landis tested "positive" for synthetic testosterone, Phonak general manager John Lelangue abandoned Floyd Landis to his fate. After all the support John Lelangue had given Floyd Landis during the 2006 Tour de France concerning the injured hip, suddenly Lelangue declared that Mr. Landis was fired from team Phonak. Mr. Lelangue then declared that the future Floyd Landis legal defense costs were a personal matter; of no concern to team Phonak. Dr. Allen Lim very quickly separated himself as personal trainer and advisor to Floyd Landis and vanished into thin air. Floyd Landis and Dr. Allen Lim have never reconciled, there is very little contact. Very suggestive. Phonak ceased as a cycling team sponsor after the 2006 Tour de France. Phonak had a history of riders testing positive for PED use before the 2006 Tour de France. Perhaps John Lelangue would care to explain why? Very suggestive.

Tyler Hamilton -Reprise

When Tyler Hamilton was riding for the United States Postal Service Professional Cycling Team as super domestic for Lance Armstrong I liked him very much. Make no mistake about that. When Tyler Hamilton rode the 2004 Giro d' Italia with an injured shoulder and the 2004 Tour de France with a fractured collar bone I liked him even more. When Tyler Hamilton won the Olympic individual time trial gold medal I was surprised. I had no idea that he may have cheated. The thought never entered my mind! I have no personal agenda against Tyler Hamilton.

But Tyler has no defense against using a supplement that he knew contained dehydroepinandrosterone (DHEA). Mitamin looks like some holistic hocus-pocus cure all snake oil that can treat anything under the sun. Mitamin has a formula for unipolar depression, bipolar depression, anxiety, you name it. Some supplements, like Mitamin are not regulated like common anti-depressants or other prescription drugs and some contain very dangerous compounds, like DHEA, 20Mg, that are on the WADA prohibited list. Tyler Hamilton knew the supplement contained DHEA, he knew how the Richard Young WADA code works. Tyler knew that the mere presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete is enough for a suspension. People had been suspended for the presence of a prohibited substance in their bodies taken by mistake. These people had no intention of boosting performance.

No matter. 20Mg of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) mixed up in a magical elixir purported to cure unipolar depression will not enhance your performance. But Tyler Hamilton was not concerned with performance, he just wanted some relief. Perhaps he was convinced that the conventional selective serotonin re uptake inhibitor he was taking at the time did not have the desired effect. As any good psychiatrist will tell you if the drug you are taking does not work...try something different. There are enough conventional drugs on the market...you don't have to turn to holistic doctors who offer snake oil potions. These so called holistic doctors are trying to turn us all into ultra performance lab rats...or so they claim.

I hope Tyler Hamilton found the relief he was seeking. It is a shame to lose a career in professional cycling by taking something that probably will not work. Best of luck to you Tyler and thanks for the great bicycle race memories you gave us all.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rise and Fall of Tyler Hamilton

Tyler Hamilton has tested positive for a prohibited substance and has retired from professional racing. Tyler Hamilton says he took a supplement that he knew contained DHEA, a banned drug.

The Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) has decided in the Tim Montgomery case and in other arbitration cases RE: Marion Jones, that admissions are considered enough for suspensions. So, there should be little argument as to the fate of Tyler Hamilton. A lifetime ban.

The Rise

Tyler Hamilton is a classic case of a career of a professional cyclist that went terribly wrong. Caught in an accident during the 2003 Tour de France, Tyler Hamilton cracked his collar bone in an early stage. Most people predicted that Tyler Hamilton would be swept up by the broom wagon. Instead, Tyler Hamilton fought on suffering from pain so intense that he puked after every stage. Other teams questioned if the collar bone injury was real given the success Tyler Hamilton was achieving during the race. CSC released medical x-rays showing the fracture. Tyler Hamilton won a stage and finished forth in the general classification during the 2003 Tour de France, and was deemed a hero by many cycling fanatics. A tough man and a resolute fighter, no question of that.

Tyler Hamilton was a good guy too. He loved his sick dog Tugboat and his wife, Haven. Poor Tugboat died so Tyler Hamilton wore his dog tag around his neck during races. Some people might have concluded that Tyler Hamilton was a sentimentalist about the dog, others might have cynically concluded that Tyler Hamilton was skillfully drawing attention to himself. Given that the behavior of Tyler Hamilton seemed strange, most people laughingly overlooked these antics, and some may have even approved. At the time people were not too judgmental of Tyler Hamilton.

The Fall

This would all change. Tyler Hamilton stunned the world by winning the 2004 Olympic individual cycling time trial gold medal in Athens, Greece. Sadly, when tested by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) accredited laboratory, Tyler Hamilton's blood revealed a heterogeneous blood cell population. In essence, Tyler Hamilton had been transfused with blood from another person to boost performance, a banned practice. Unfortunately, the laboratory had found the tainted blood in the "A" sample. Under IOC rules a confirmation "B" sample test must be undertaken to confirm a result. Unfortunately, the "B" portion of the blood sample was frozen by the laboratory rendering it useless for further testing. So, Tyler Hamilton was allowed to keep his medal even though everyone was convinced that he cheated to win.

From that point on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) had Tyler Hamilton red flagged. Essentially the UCI and WADA were doing longitudinal tests looking for anomalies in Tyler Hamilton's blood samples. The UCI claims that Tyler Hamilton was warned in letters that they were detecting strange blood profile data that suggested heterogeneous blood cell populations.

In the 2004 Vuelta d' Espana, Tyler Hamilton tested positive for blood doping on both the "A" and "B" samples. Tyler Hamilton won the September eleventh, 2004, Vuelta d' Espana individual time trial. Tyler Hamilton was motivated by a "political gesture" to honor the victims of 911.

Tyler Hamilton denied the blood doping charges. Tyler Hamilton cited a "chimera" or a twin who was conceived but whom died in the womb as a source of the second blood cell population. Tyler Hamilton claimed that under no circumstances would he endanger his wife and family by accepting a transfusion of another persons' blood.

Tyler Hamilton was given a two year suspension from cycling for blood doping. Apparently, the Court of Arbitration of Sport was not convinced that his blood profile was a result of a chimera.

From that moment on Tyler Hamilton was considered as a dishonest person who would resort to any means to achieve success.

Denial

For two years Tyler Hamilton tried to convince the world that his 2004 Vuelta d' Espana test results were wrong and that he was a victim of bad science. This denial gave birth to the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, a cult, where visitors were cajoled by a group of Tyler Hamilton fanatical groupies into believing that Tyler Hamilton was innocent. One encounter reported in Bicycling magazine has a reporter confronted by Tyler Hamilton's father belligerently shouting into his face..."believe Tyler!"

A Victim

At the conclusion of the two year suspension Tyler Hamilton faced the wrath of the anti-doping crusade. Tyler Hamilton was given a brief stint with Tinkoff, then fired, because allegations surfaced that he was linked to Operation Puerto. Unlike other ex-UCI pro team professional racers with a history of doping, Tyler Hamilton was next hired by Michael Ball of Rock Racing. Michael Ball espoused a philosophy of giving people a "second chance" to race. Rock Racing has been invited to several United States domestic races including the Tour of California. However, even though Rock Racing was allowed to race the Tour of California, AEG excluded Tyler Hamilton. Some fans thought this exclusion was unfair and vindictive in nature. Another example of persona non grata in cycling.

Depression

As a result of his shattered career and his inability to convince anyone of his innocence Tyler Hamilton fell into depression.

Depression is a medical condition not a psycho somatic condition. Depression is characterized as unipolar or bipolar. Unipolar depression symptoms include loss of self esteem, energy, and motivation. Moods become painful experiences, ideation can focus on suicidal behavior. Bipolar depression cycles between retarded depressive symptoms (lows) to symptoms of mania (highs). Mania causes destructive behavior such as binge spending, that leads to destructive consequences. Treatment of depression includes behavioral therapy, tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), lithium salts (LI++) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

As you can see depression is multi-faceted and requires different medical interventions. Retarded depression would be treated by a tricyclic antidepressant such as desipramine, a drug that inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a catecholamine that regulates blood flow in the brain. An increase of norepinephrine in the synaptic cleft (increased/prolonged neuronal firing rate) may have performance enhancing properties. Desipramine may increase dopamine levels in the brain. Increases in dopamine have proven performance enhancing qualities, RE: Ritalin. Desipramine is given to patients specifically to increase energy and motivation and to lift mood.

Anxious depression would be treated by selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This increases serotonin in the synapse, increases firing of receptors, and causes a calming effect of mood. Prozac would probably not increase physical performance levels although it may have a psychological component of performance enhancement in sport.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) increase the levels of CNS catecholamines, norepinephrine, and dopamine. MAOIs are a very dangerous class of drugs that definitively would increase performance and should be placed on the prohibited list.

Lithium salts are used to stabilize moods/energy in manic depressive bipolar II disorder. The performance value of lithium salts is questionable but of probative value.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is for constant depressive illness that cannot be treated by any other method and usually requires hospitalization.

Tyler Hamilton was prescribed Celexa a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. There is no performance enhancement value in Celexa. So, there is no need to include the drug on the prohibited substance list.

The End

Tyler Hamilton was racing again. Hamilton was employed by a professional cycling team Rock Racing. Tyler Hamilton won the road race Stars and Stripes jersey as National Champion. Tyler Hamilton sought professional help for his medical illness, depression.  Tyler Hamilton was on anti-depressant drugs and probably was seeking professional counseling.

Tyler Hamilton has no excuse for taking a supplement that contained DHEA.  Doctors have long known that if a drug does not work for a patient, another can be substituted that may be effective.  Therefore, there is no need to experiment with unproven supplements to achieve relief,  especially when these supplements are known to contain banned substances.  Procedures and exemptions can be taken with the approval of a doctor that allows use of prohibited substances to protect health, the therapeutic use exemption.  Although depression is cognitively debilitating and painful, Tyler Hamilton still had full control of his mental faculties and he still had the power to discern the consequences of his actions.  Tyler Hamilton could have complied with the rules.

Tyler Hamilton escaped the justice he deserved when he tested positive for blood doping in the Olympics, he escaped the Operation Puerto investigation. Tyler Hamilton deserves a lifetime ban.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ashenden Interview: A Critique

Michael Ashenden is convinced that Lance Armstrong used rEPO during the 1999 Tour de France. In an interview in velocitynation he cites the results of the post-facto scientific tests LNDD did on the 1999 Tour samples as proof.

Ashenden may have made a number of unproven assumptions however. The lab personnel did a random blind test of samples that were coded with numbers unknown to the testers. In theory this would be the case if the sample was collected by AFLD then assigned a new number by the UCI. However, under WADA, transfer of samples seem to violate the true double blind standard. The Floyd Landis alternate "B" test samples were identified by UCLA with tape before they were shipped to Chatenay-Malabry. The testers were aware of whom they were testing. This fact was confirmed in the Pepperdine testimony. Stephen Schumacher claims that LNDD was aware of the identity of his samples. Stephen Schumacher claims that his "A" sample tested negative but that LNDD tested the "B" sample anyway. The "B" sample tested positive for rEPO CERA. The legal bases for Stephen Shumacher's claims should prove interesting in the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

That the 1999 Tour samples were stored properly, frozen at all times. Ashenden claims that if the samples were stored in an unfrozen state that the bands of endogenous EPO would have shifted, and this shift would have made the endogenous form indistinguishable from the synthetic. Ashenden claims that this did not happen citing some test that proved the samples integrity. The nature of this test was not explained in the interview, however.

It is not impossible to conclude that LNDD let the 1999 Tour samples lie about the lab unprotected. In the Floyd Landis case a calibration mix was injected in the GC/C/IRMS and left unattended for five hours, a clear violation of WADA chain-of-custody protocol. Unfortunately, there is no absolute proof that the 1999 Tour samples were stored in a warm environment, but there is no proof that the samples were stored correctly either.

Degraded samples would have caused rEPO molecules to disappear not to increase. Ashenden argues that all of the 1999 samples were in pristine condition, unchanged for the duration of the six years they were in storage. Ashenden also argues that the samples were of equal quality when they were tested. Ashenden also argues that the samples were secure with a clear chain-of-custody and that they were never tampered with. However, except for testimonial assurances from 'department of analyses' personnel (LNDD) or others involved in the collection, transfer, storage process, there is no absolute proof that the samples were not "spiked" in 1999.

If it was the intention of AFLD, the UCI or LNDD to prove that Lance Armstrong had used PED's all that would have been required is a presence of rEPO isoforms on a single sample collected during the 1999 Tour. The percentage of the rEPO found would be irrelevant. The mere presence of a prohibited substance is enough to establish an Adverse Analytical Finding under WADA code. If the samples were tampered with in the transport stage between race and laboratory then no complicated mathematical formula would have been required to account for the fluctuations in the isoform values measured between the stages by the laboratory personnel. No formula would have been needed to calculate the odds of a disgruntled person guessing from a coded number which samples belonged to whom, 1/300. The changes in isoform percentages measured at LNDD could have been accounted for by degradation of the samples stored for six years in LNDD's vault.

Even if a Currier would have been blind to the sample numbers, the people tested during the Tour de France is common knowledge. A list of people scheduled for testing during the stage is posted on the side of the doping control trailer. I distinctly remember a photograph listing Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich, the stage winner (person unknown) and perhaps a rider chosen at random, as people scheduled for testing that day. The odds of spiking the Armstrong sample in this situation is 1/4 or twenty five percent. The fact that the latter stages of the 1999 Tour de France Lance Armstrong tests showed no traces of rEPO may suggest that the person responsible was unsuccessful in some attempts, or he may have been replaced during the race.

Simply adding rEPO with an eye dropper would have precluded a need for a catheter needed to dispense micro quantities of rEPO to achieve a desired fluctuation of rEPO values that appeared plausible during a long term Grand Tour race. The rEPO value would have been 100% and the variations measured by LNDD would have been caused by degradation or decay as Christiane Ayotte suggested.

Ashenden seems to ignore a redundant problem at LNDD, coding errors. One look at the Lab Document Package of Floyd Landis is enough to convince anyone that the accumulated number of errors of any LNDD test is enough to invalidate the results. Perhaps when the 1999 samples were tested LNDD was more circumspect in their documentation.

Ashenden thinks that LNDD can conduct tests within the published margin of error. This did not happen in the Floyd Landis case. The CG/C/IRMS test results were expected to have an error rate of +/-.8mil. In fact, the tests had a margin of error closer to twenty percent.

Calibration. Ashenden assumes that all of the equipment used during the 1999 Tour tests were inspected and calibrated to render reliable and valid values. LNDD has a very bad track record of inspecting and calibrating instrumentation.

Conclusion

Michael Ashenden may have made a lot of unproven assumptions, but, he may be correct! Lance Armstrong may have used rEPO during the 1999 Tour de France. But Mr. Ashenden's argument as expressed in velocity nation is not proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. Ashenden's argument that the samples could not have been "spiked" by LNDD, a disgruntled AFLD CDO or a person associated with the UCI are not resolved by his argument. There could have been plenty of means, method, and opportunity for tampering.

Relying on recall of witness testimony of events is never reliable, valid, or factual and never should be the basis for an argument.



Decide for yourselves, readers, if the Michael Ashenden interview is convincing enough to conclude that Lance Armstrong used rEPO during the 1999 Tour de France.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AFLD Accuses Lance Armstrong of Improper Sample Collection Etiquette

Lance Armstrong, the most tested man on Earth, was approached by surprise on March 17, 2009 by an French Anti-Doping Authority (AFLD) doctor demanding hair, blood, and urine as part of an out-of-competition test for prohibited substances.

Although hair tests are prohibited by WADA they are allowed in France. AFLD was looking for a testosterone precursor DHEA, a prohibited substance that seems to be abused with great frequency among French athletes. DHEA according to AFLD cannot be detected in blood or urine but may be detected in hair samples.

Apparently, during the collection process Mr. Armstrong interrogated the doctor demanding the samples because there seemed to be a problem with his credentials. According to L'Equipe, Mr. Armstrong was reported to have "asked questions" of the AFLD doctor to ascertain whether he were genuine or an impostor. Update: Apparently the questions were asked by Astana Sport Director Johan Bruyneel who telephoned UCI czarina Anne Gripper. Ms. Gripper confirmed the doctor and the out-of-competition test. Lance Armstrong claimed that he asked the doctor for permission to take a shower. Armstrong claims the doctor gave his permission for the shower. Lance Armstrong was alone and unobserved in the bathroom for twenty minutes.

The 3/17/08 out-of-competition test results were negative.

The laboratory doctor has filed a complaint with the AFLD citing a WADA regulation that stipulates that the athlete may not leave the presence of a doctor who is in the process of conducting an out-of-competition test. The AFLD is vowing to "punish" Lance Armstrong with some sort of ban from racing in France.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has taken a position of neutrality in this AFLD/Armstrong dispute until the AFLD writes an official report of condemnation. Then the UCI may support the ban and make it international.

Get Real People

The Anti-Doping Organizations could not be more plain, if they can't test Mr. Armstrong to death, last count was twenty-four competition and out-of-competition tests since he returned from retirement, they will find another way to preclude him from racing in the 2009 Tour de France or perhaps from racing again period.

But. Lance Armstrong should have known better than to absent himself in the shower when the doctor conducting the tests was present. This opens the Pandora Box and allows skeptics to wonder what he was doing in the bathroom? Tampering with his samples?

This story is still developing so hang on to your hats!

The Vampires Are Here Where Are You?

In other news the International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants athletes to be available for one hour every day for testing. The location of the athlete must be known to the IOC in advance. If a vampire shows up and the athlete is not instantly available this constitutes a missed test. Three missed tests in a year will result in a two year suspension. Some Olympic athletes complain that this amounts to one hour of house arrest. This one hour requirement seems unreasonable but in the suspect everyone of doping culture, what do you expect? Deal with it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Will Doping in Cycling Ever End? Non!

There would be no reason to continue with this blog if people would come to their senses and stop doping! Alas, this will never happen. The first look at cycling sport feeds today does not cover racing but reveals that former Gerlosteiner rider Bernard Kohl has accused his former team manager Stefan Matschiner of providing him with blood doping products, steroids, and rEPO-CERA. Bernard Kohl tested positive for rEPO during the 2008 Tour de France after winning the King of the Mountain jersey. He was doping long before that, but never detected, of course. Every time this happens, another revealing story of dopers who cheat to gain an unfair advantage, it feels like a mule kick in the gut, makes you want to puke.

TBV come back.....racejunkie.

Amen sister! But raising awareness of the folly of the anti-doping crusade is time consuming and frustrating process where repeated efforts will drain you of your sanity. After all the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

A Myth

Floyd Landis is banned from racing as a UCI Professional Team Racer for four years. Not so! Floyd Landis is eligible to race in the 2010 Tour de France if he is employed by a UCI Pro Tour Team. However, since the Tour de France is owned by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and with the history of ASO banning teams of past winners Marco Pantani and Alberto Contador don't count on any change. The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result! Ivan Basso, well that is another matter, team Liquigas saw to that! Yes! Ivan Basso Italian cycling hero and past doper will win a Tour de France, while Floyd Landis will cool his heals in some trivial United States domestic race. Makes you want to puke! Sorry Floyd but you know better than to trust ASO in anything that makes sense. Floyd you have been branded as a doper by a vindictive group of people who will hate you forever for challenging their system and raising awareness of the problems inherent in the WADA monopoly. You should have done what Ivan Basso did, lay down and grovel, then you would have been given an opportunity to participate again. As it is you are Persona non Grata and you will remain so forever.

But, never an Ivan Basso victory in the Tour, please! As Franz Kafka said..."justice!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AFLD Gives Lance Armstrong A New Hairdo

AFLD is sending the barber to Lance Armstrong for hair samples. AFLD claims that use of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) a precursor to male and female gonadotrophins testosterone and estrogen is rampant among French athletes. If this hormone precursor is rampant among French athletes then it is logical to assume that the drug would be prevalent among the professional peloton. Get out the clippers!

Okay. DHEA can escape blood and urine tests according to AFLD but it can be detected in hair samples?

Oh, oh. DHEA is produced synthetically from wild yams and soybeans. Carbon 12 background markers and Carbon 13 markers found in soybean and yams comes instantly to mind. So does delta/delta scores and an acceptable range before a threshold value of synthetic DHEA use is reached. DHEA is an endogenous substance and the synthetic form could only be detected by GC/MS and GC/C/IRMS.

The laboratory that will do the testing for DHEA hair sample of Lance Armstrong is none other than the WADA accredited laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry France. LNDD is best known for the Floyd Landis testosterone/epitestosterone test failures. LNDD is also known to have obtained a questionable Carbon Isotope Ratio single metabolite result, "proof" that Floyd Landis had taken synthetic testosterone. This "proof" was accepted by the Court of Arbitration of Sport even though LNDD was rebuked for sloppy laboratory practice. This single metabolite "proof" cost Floyd Landis a two and a half year suspension, millions of dollars in legal fees, and additional millions in advertising endorsement revenues.

Lance Armstrong is not complaining about the hair test. But when Chatenay-Malabry conducted tests on the 1999 Tour de France urine samples for research and when LNDD claimed to have found traces of rEPO in Lance Armstrong urine samples he was not laughing. No, indeed. When LNDD leaked the code numbers and results of his samples to L'Equipe Lance Armstrong was not amused. No. A very long and protracted lawsuit followed. The Vrijman Report followed.

Lance must enjoy his new buzz cut and if he is guilty of using synthetic DHEA then he should be very worried. Unfortunately, he should be more worried that Pierre Bordry, AFLD, Chatenay-Malabry, and the Comite Francais d' Accreditation (COFRAC) will have an agenda. Get rid of Lance Armstrong even if he is clean. Payback for all the years that Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France without testing positive.

Test Others

By the way since we are on the subject of random testing for performance enhancing drugs among the professional peloton other riders should be considered for the new hairdo. Bradley Wiggins, Ivan Basso, Saint David Millar, Tyler Hamilton, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, and Floyd Landis. Something bothers me about men who can put out super human efforts on a bicycle.

Some of the above mentioned riders have been implicated in doping, others protest too much. Test them all just to be sure. After all, to paraphrase Pierre Bordry, people are all the same and they all deserve equal treatment.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Floyd Landis Rides Again

Floyd Landis has returned to professional cycling with team OUCH, formerly known as Health Net Maxxis. Floyd Landis participated in the AEG Tour of California after a two and a half year suspension for alleged testosterone use. The Tour of California was won by ASTANA rider Levi Leipheimer.

USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart made an announcement in the New York Times that Floyd Landis has agreed to pay the Court of Arbitration of Sport imposed fine of $100,000 in installments as a condition to continue racing. The timing of this announcement during the Tour of California by USADA after months of speculation among cycling fans as to the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Mr. Landis against the Court of Arbitration of Sport in United States Federal Court seems to be another attempt at sensationalism by Travis T. Tygart and USADA. In the lawsuit Mr. Landis alleged conflict of interest among arbitrators involving back room deals, vote trading, and corruption. Mr. Landis argued that this malfeasance amounted to blatant attempts by the Court of Arbitration of Sport arbitrators to persuade Anti-Doping Organizations to assign arbitrators additional business where they could expect favorable outcomes against athletes in doping arbitration cases. Mr. Landis also argued that in his appeal against the ruling of the AAA Panel where he was found to have used a prohibited substance (testosterone) in a split decision, that the Court of Arbitration of Sport arbitrators placed future monetary reward in the form of selection and work by Anti-Doping Organizations above analyses of sound scientific evidence of incompetence and sloppy laboratory practice by Chatenay-Malabry WADA accredited laboratory LNDD.

The Floyd Landis case was dismissed without prejudice in U.S. Federal Court. Apparently a settlement was reached between the parties at the time. No announcement of the agreement was offered by either side; therefore an assumption was made that some sort of confidentiality agreement was ordered by the Court. This assumption appears to be incorrect speculation in light of the Tygart revelation to the New York Times of an agreement of a payment plan by Floyd Landis to USADA.

USADA triumphs again against a probable innocent rider, Floyd Landis, who with the existing evidence will never be proven guilty with one hundred percent certainty given the abhorrent conditions existing at the laboratory where his samples were tested. Mr. Landis seems to want to move on with his life and his career and he seems to recognize at long last that he wasted a great deal of time and money fighting a system blessed with an incredible amount of largess, where athletes cannot prevail.

Floyd has retreated into a world from where he originated into cycling, reportedly living in a cabin like Charly Gaul did, in seclusion, focused on training. His marriage seems to have ended, his father in law a suicide.

Race on Floyd and win! You are not alone. You will always have supporters in this world, chin up. And ride like the wind. VV

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lance Armstrong Scraps Internal Testing Transparency

The New York Times has reported that seven time winner Lance Armstrong will not publish the results of his internal team Astana biological profile results on the Internet as advertised. There seemed to be some concern of tampering with test results by miscreants (hackers) of the online data and speculation by people who will consider any natural variations in biological data (hematocrit values, others) as suspicious parameters suggesting prohibited substance use. Of course, Lance Armstrong has a valid argument since there has always been and will always be people with an agenda who consider his recovery from testicular cancer and his subsequent post cancer improvement as impossible without aid from prohibited substance use.

Fair enough. Longitudinal data of the sort provided by the UCI Biological Passport will encourage people to imagine things, even doping by people they hate. And the ADAMS system used by the UCI is how secure? Some cycling teams like Astana wanted to keep internal data on their riders not only to prevent team dopers from winning races, but as an insurance policy?

Why would some one suggest that riders may need additional evidence or insurance to defend themselves from unreasonable accusations when everyone knows that WADA is doing the testing and the UCI is in charge of the evidence? Christiane Ayotte, head of the Montreal WADA accredited laboratory, argues that internal longitudinal testing by teams is not necessary. Tests conducted outside of the WADA family are of questionable methods, hidden in secrecy, unreliable and invalid. Even if the testing is done by such luminaries of doping research like Dr. Don Catlin or Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard the results cannot be trusted. Dr. Christiane Ayotte also seems most annoyed with a lack of scrutiny of team rider data by WADA or the UCI. Dr. WADA argues that the testing will not conform to WADA accredited harmonious standards, the results will be a "shotgun approach" impossible to verify and even may be methods to mask doping strategies by villains intent on subverting the anti-doping effort.

Very weak arguments by Dr. Ayotte and WADA obviously. A professional cycling athlete has several valid reasons to want insurance from people like Dr. Christiane Ayotte, WADA, and the UCI. The most important reason is incompetence by the WADA laboratories and the lack of independent oversight. As Dr. Meier-Augenstein pointed out very clearly, the WADA accredited laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry France, the same laboratory that is responsible for testing of Tour de France riders, could not pass an independent accreditation audit outside of COFRAC. If LNDD is incapable of passing an independent audit for something as simple as a testosterone analysis how could anyone rely upon a WADA lab to complete correctly a complicated number of additional tests that would be needed to compile a biological profile?

Dr. Christiane Ayotte seems to think that people who question the methods and means of WADA are nothing more than sensationalists who want to make a name for themselves from the notoriety. Dr. Ayotte mentioned Dr. Paul Scott as a prime example of a seeker of "fifteen minutes of fame" by staunchly defending Floyd Landis from LNDD's sloppy lab work and illogical results. If Dr. Don Catlin defended Lance Armstrong from questionable UCI biological profile results with internal Astana team results or Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard did the same with Saxobank results WADA would accuse them of Paul Scott tactics.

Dr. Ayotte forgets that she probably testified at the Floyd Landis hearings to achieve the same result, notoriety.

Lance Armstrong probably has done the sensible thing by hiding his test results for the moment. If some parameter were to surface that might justify a investigation or possibly warrant a "adverse analytical finding" Mr. Lance Armstrong as any rider would have an opportunity then to defend himself with all available evidence.

Lets us not jump the gun on this issue and condemn Mr. Armstrong without just cause even though you may suspect him of subterfuge.

In a perfect world everyone could be trusted and secure. But this is not a perfect world.