Friday, December 31, 2010

2011: A Clean Year In Cycling?

Deja vu: we have all been here before, lamenting the year and pleading for sanity. 2010 has to stand as one of the worst since 2006, a second Tour de France champion in disgrace! Cycling in disgrace! The anti-doping crusade on the verge of disgrace if not adamant in enforcing the rules! Madame Defarge will you accept the challenge or cringe in cowardice?

Who would ever suggest that Pat McQuaid could be so stupid as to encourage behavior that reeks of conflict of interest? The UCI in accepting money from Lance Armstrong, currently under investigation for doping, in the form of a bribe, as asserted by supreme disgrace Floyd Landis: is a unacceptable breach of conduct and inexcusable! The UCI should ensure that this sort of thing never happens again, the oldest and most trite cliche ever penned by man! Conflict of interest with such people as notorious, suspected dopers--what were you thinking?

On bended knee, weeping, I begged the peloton to stop doping! A slap in the face followed. At the Tour of Utah riders threw water bottles over my head, filled with energy drink! I cheered them on with enthusiasm! No number of positive tests makes me waver. Addicted to cycling, there is no cure. I ask once again, 2011 is here: make it a clean one.

The Spanish Cycling Federation has one chance: conviction. Anything else will permanently damage cycling and the anti-doping crusade forever. There are no apologists for Alberto Contador here.

The UCI biological passport is a failure as predicted. Gianni Bugno claims that Franco Pellizotti is being blackmailed by the UCI. Riders are being excluded from racing contracts based upon suspicion. Blame yourselves, there are too many variables to explain the variance, biological ranges are much too large and do not account for individual differences, without a positive test nothing can be proven. The UCI biological passport has morphed into an abusive practice that is being applied unfairly to riders; excluding those who should have a right to a fair process of clearing defamatory conclusions; based upon tendencies not concrete facts!

Foo! Another year of this nonsense, nonsense that should have ended this year! We still have the Lance Armstrong case, the Floyd Landis allegations, and the Alberto Contador fiasco to contend with, shameless.

Cynical people refrain from your jest, someday this madness will end. The eternal optimist has spoken.

Update: Does Alberto Contador look like he is suffering from clenbuterol posioning to you?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Floyd Landis and Pat McQuaid Feud Into Irrelevance

The Floyd Landis and Pat McQuaid feud is dwindling away into irrelevance. Floyd Landis accuses McQuaid and the UCI of covering up positive tests of prohibited substance use by star riders like Lance Armstrong in exchange for bribes; in the forms of donations. Pat McQuaid accuses Floyd Landis of being a liar and has threatened to sue him in court for libel because of an interview Landis did in a German periodical. I love the German sense of humor; attention, dopers! with a syringe being plunged into an imaginary athlete with dramatic sound imagery. Current stories of doping miscreants Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador are featured in doping webmagazin; Landis makes an assertion that the Postal boys were doing blood transfusions on a regular bases and therefore it would be quite impossible to avoid detection by WADA accredited laboratories. So hence the cover up, with promises of money to the UCI by doped riders in exchange for silence, corruption and conspiracy. Ironically, Landis seems to forget that he spent two years and millions of dollars challenging not only the motives of the UCI; but the laboratory methods and competence of WADA accredited laboratories that detected testosterone in his samples! Why did Pat McQuaid and the UCI refuse to make a deal with Floyd Landis if the desire of the UCI is greed only? Very improbable that Pat McQuaid would strike a deal with Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team and ignore a goldmine opportunity with Floyd Landis.

In the spirit of the season; bah humbug! a plague on both of your houses; Floyd Landis and Pat McQuaid!

The United States Government seems to take the Floyd Landis testimony of doping by Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service Team quite seriously. For now. We duped fans are still waiting for an indictment, trial, and conviction of the criminals. Meanwhile 2010 is near death and 2011 looms large, with another year of misdeeds fading in statute of limitations oblivion.

Slow torture works faster than the United States federal government. Lance Armstrong might escape and then sue Floyd Landis from sheer ennui, and lack of interest. But Floyd Landis is a poor man who owes money to the Floyd Fairness Fund donaters who were duped into making contributions to his cause; and Lance Armstrong probably might have to wait until doomsday to collect his damages.

Pat McQuaid will have to wait until other players extract a pound of flesh from Floyd Landis; no need to mention the French government and the outstanding warrant for computer hacking; before he can carve the beast. The UCI should call the Landis nonsense absurd and stop there.

As for justice: if a judge asks Pat McQuaid if anyone believes that the UCI took money from riders to cover up doping misdeeds and McQuaid says no, the case will probably be immediately dismissed as outrageous. Which it is.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Alberto Contador Doping Allegations Drag On

Breaking news! The Alberto Contador case will drag on until middle January when, no matter what the decision, the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) assures us that there will be an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport!

Incredible! I was thinking that maybe, by some miracle, Alberto Contador would plead guilty and we would be done with this charade!

No, no. Saxo Bank gave Alberto Contador eight million euro reasons to deny doping, much to the disgust of pure cycling advocates everywhere.

Pat McQuaid assures us that all is not lost, the UCI has transferred authority of the Alberto Contador doping allegations to the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA). The World Anti-Doping Authority is an adamant anti-doping organization that insists on strict liability. Clenbuterol is not an endogenous substance found in either man or livestock. The case is clear, Alberto Contador tested positive for clenbuterol. The "B" sample confirmed the "A" sample. The meat allegedly served to the Astana professional cycling team for dinner was not contaminated. Clenbuterol is still a WADA prohibited substance. Two years! What is there to appeal?

No need to bother to mention the presence of common plastics found in blood transfusion bags in Alberto Contador's urine samples, or to the blood transfusion theory asserted by most doping experts, because the test for these plastics does not have one-hundred-per-cent validity and reliability that proves culpability. As a purist, science demands one-hundred-per-cent validity and reliability in all doping tests that are subject to an extensive literature of peer review; not to tests that invite theoretical challenges that are subject to hypothetical bunk and speculation!

I have maintained all along that the guillotine is a better punishment than a firing squad; remember my references to Madame Defarge on the Floyd Landis Topix forum? Madame Defarge, the crazy lady from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, who knitted names of the French aristocracy and clergy who would be executed during the Reign of Terror, into her shrouds! I accused Christiane Ayotte, the head of the WADA lab in Montreal, of being the reincarnation of Madame Defarge when she went full speed ahead against now confessed doper Floyd Landis. Put Christiane Ayotte in charge of the Alberto Contador case, let her sharpen the blade! After all, Christiane Ayotte said that she would be appalled if WADA dropped the strict liability doctrine adopted by Richard Young! If a few innocent athletes are ensnared in the process, well WADA is investing money into research to assure that this does not happen. Unlike the AFLD, who don't care about anything, especially how there worthless laboratories operate.

I respect and admire Christiane Ayotte as a true scholar of doping science and I trust her opinion implicitly. I have cited her statements on numerous occasions and I truly believe that she would be the be the best possible WADA prosecution representative available.

Alberto Contador must be suspended for two years. There is no other option.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pierre Bordry Resigns!

The anti-doping crusade is rid of Pierre Bordry at last!
This is a most ironical development, because, if one recalls, Pierre Bordry used strong arm tactics to force Floyd Landis after he tested positive for synthetic testosterone to sign a separate agreement stating that he would not race on French soil even though the basis for this agreement had no legal bases in French law.

In 2006, people like Pierre Bordry talked tough about doping and people like us were shouting about a rigged system and fairness. In 2010, in order to protect wonder boy sensation Alberto Contador, his Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) is flaunting the rules; pretending that nothing is amiss. So are Bjarne Riis and Saxo Bank. Query: where is the French AFLD and their notorious separate agreements?

Looks like Pierre Bordry was thrown out with the rubbish just in the nick of time. No need to embarrass suspected dopers with an improbable argument that the sanctity of the Tour de France and the French classics should be protected against miscreants! Not in 2010, unlike the past. Not with clenbuterol positive tests, or with Spanish cyclists.

Anti-doping agencies have evolved from the shoot first and ask questions later logic espoused by crusaders such as Pierre Bordry. If given his way, Pierre Bordry and the AFLD would have illegally forced Lance Armstrong to sign a separate agreement not to race in France: when the 2005 "scientific" tests of the 1999 Tour de France prologue samples showed perfect one-hundred-percent isoforms of rEPO. Pierre Bordry would have insisted that this was a proper method, ignoring the problems of the time, sloppy laboratory methods and no confirmation tests. The UCI probe into LNDD by Emile Vrijman exposed numerous problems with the French laboratory: no chain-of-custody and lack of security, among the most egregious. Vrijman came to the conclusion that the tests constituted nothing, and recommended that the UCI take no action. Christiane Ayotte argued that the one-hundred-per-cent isoforms found in the 1999 prologue samples "surprising" and "improbable" because rEPO is a biologically active substance and is prone to degrade over time, even when frozen at -40C.

Nevertheless, Pierre Bordry insists that the 1999 prologue isoforms is conclusive proof of doping by Lance Armstrong. However, Pierre Bordry forgets that if all four of the prologue samples tested positive for one-hundred-percent perfect rEPO isoforms, they could have been tampered with by LNDD personnel. Remember that the sample aliquots tested contained labels providing the date samples were taken and the doping control form numbers. L'Equipe reporter Damien Ressiot had a UCI provided list of all of signed doping control numbers that Lance Armstrong provided during the 1999 Tour de France, and contacts with LNDD personnel. So, it would not take a rocket scientist to refute the nonsensical argument that tampering with all four 1999 Tour de France prologue samples by LNDD personnel was impossible. No margin of error for the prologue: no matter what what Pierre Bordry thinks. Retests of the samples in 2010 will have the same results as 2005 if they were tampered with; but this may not reflect the state of the samples as they existed in 1999. Pierre Bordry and AFLD present weak logic!

Better to blame the association of Lance Armstrong with Nicolas Sarkozy; who in a secret combination conspire to cover up obvious drug use. Sarkozy and Armstrong are powerful men, Pierre Bordry and the AFLD are weaklings. Instead of showing will to combat doping in sport, Nicolas Sarkozy in a great act of cowardice: dumped honest anti-doping crusader Pierre Bordry into the garbage container.

Makes you want to laugh at this madness!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Doping in Cycling: Sickness Unto Death!

Aha! Agents of the Federal Government are being very creative in rounding up witness testimony in the Lance Armstrong doping allegation case. Yaroslav Popovaych was approached outside of Mellow Johnny's bike shop after signing autographs by black suited, jack booted thugs serving a federal grand jury subpoena: appear or be imprisoned! Mr. Popovaych was duly sworn and testified to the grand jury, although the contents of his testimony are secret!

Good to see that the wheels of justice are in movement. The mysterious testimony of the participants will not be know unless the Federal Government files an indictment. Stephanie McIlvain confuses us more than ever. But make haste gentlemen, the statutes of limitations will soon make it impossible for you to take away one malliot jaune from the miscreant Lance Armstrong; if this is your stated desire.

Because, Americans, like Amuary Sport Organisation, go after former Tour de France champions with a vindictive hatred that is enhanced by the fanatical Lance Armstrong doubters: of which there are legion. Yes, the courtroom will be filled with fanatics, who with inquisitorial self righteousness will be more than willing to torture; with the rack; heretics standing in the dock. Greg LeMond acting as Torquemada will extend his finger toward the accused while pontificating his purity: "I am without sin, so I shall cast the first stone!"

Perhaps, the Spanish who originated the Inquisition in the first place, should follow the American example and attempt to determine the truth of the Alberto Contador association with Operation Puerto. In 2006, the Spanish Civil Guard arrested and imprisoned former Liberty Seguros sport director Manolo Saiz: who was accused of being a kingpin associate of Dr. Eufamiano Fuentes, a man who was convicted of a conspiracy of illegal manipulation of blood of athletes, for a fee. Alberto Contador who was riding for Manolo Saiz, was implicated in Operation Puerto when his name was found in Dr. Eufamiano Fuentes office records as a client. The Spanish judiciary cleared Contador of any involvement in Operation Puerto: in spite of overwhelming circumstantial evidence to the contrary: but this certainly could not preclude a re-examination of evidence, based on witness testimony of Manolo Saiz, et al.

But, the Spanish defend their sons even if they appear to be serial offenders: unlike their American counterparts. But, as Lance Armstrong says, with some justification, the American government would be better off spending their money on something other than baseless accusations, if indeed, they are baseless! But, what would the mob do without their bread and circuses! Everyone would be so disappointed, deprived of a bloody spectacle! The Armstrong doubters want to be justified that they were correct all along. After all, buckets of ink have been written on the topic: so many people in agreement with your viewpoint can not be wrong!

Finis!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hurrah For Alberto Contador!

Hurrah for Alberto Contador! avowed victim of Spanish serendipity! Tainted beef is not, at this point, a plausible excuse; for as the Spanish agricultural trust will exclaim indignantly, in every instance of testing of beef for clenbuterol this year, there has not been one positive test!

Nevertheless, the joyful people of Pinto, Spain who offered Alberto Contador new citizenship, defend his honor most voraciously, in spite of the agriculture inspections. The Spanish culture loves champions, unlike past American Tour de France champions, who sprint to the microphone in a heated rush to judgment. But a Tour de France champion is something to be proud of in Spain; unlike America.

Saxo Bank, if it survives unsold or an investigation, assures Bjarne Riis full support after signing Alberto Contador to a two year, nine million euro contract. Saxo Bank is under the belief that Alberto is innocent and fully supports the embattled Tour de France champion. Saxo Bank was ready to terminate the team after Frank and Andy Schleck defected to a pro tour team that is being formed in Luxembourg. But, with the Alberto Contador contract, Saxo Bank decided to venture on, with or without their newly signed star.

Bikezilla, with his mouth agape in astonishment at the thought that I would support laboratory findings that indicate prohibited substance and illegal blood transfusion abuse rather than preposterous fabricated alibis, is shocked at my conclusion. Under WADA code; under strict liability; a mere presence of a prohibited substance implies culpability; no exceptions! Clenbuterol is not an endogenous substance, the mere presence of which may be disputed by simple fluctuations in carbon atoms. No, indeed, clenbuterol is an exogenous beta-2 adrenergic agonist that works on receptors of the smooth muscles of the nasal passages to dilate obstructed airways.

Clenbuterol is a substance that is abused to increase performance in athletes and has been banned by WADA. Cyclists who suffer from asthma or other health related problems have an opportunity to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption; if approved by a creditable physician. International standards pertaining to Therapeutic Use Exemptions should be harmonized; therefore, they should apply to all cycling entities affliated with WADA or the UCI. The understanding of the rules and the punishment for violations are clearly delineated. People who work with athletes should review new updates of rules if they are confused...poorly contrived de facto excuses of ignorance are unacceptable!

But, to be fair to Alberto Contador and his inventiveness, ingestion of clenbuterol tainted meat has had "outbreaks of acute illness in Spain, France, Italy, China, and Portugal 0.5-3 hours after individuals ingested liver and meat containing clenbuterol residues." The symptoms of acute clenbuterol poisoning from eating tainted meat was usually "resolved in two to six days." As a defense lawyer it would be advisable to gather testimony from the Astana teammates of Alberto Contador: dispositions stating that team Astana was suffering from symptoms of acute clenbuterol poisoning; but deus ex machina recovery was instantaneous enough for the Astana team to pilot Alberto Contador to a virtual tie in time with Andy Schleck on a tough mountain climb the very next day!

Very unlikely that the entire Astana team made such a remarkable, immediate improvement in health. "Pish-posh," indeed.

That excuse should provide some very entertaining, though unconvincing testimony!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The UCI Ensures Fair Play

It is good to know that UCI president Pat McQuaid is assuring the skeptical cycling public that the wheels of justice are in progress; without any favoritism to three time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

Why would anyone doubt otherwise? The UCI has always been very forceful when dealing with suspected doping violations: especially when dealing with Spanish riders. You laugh? You question this assertion? What about Alberto Contador and Operation Puerto? Operation Puerto was a raid on the offices of Dr. Eufamiano Fuentes conducted by the Spanish Civil Guard. Fuentes was suspected of doping blood to increase athletic performance among several sports; including cycling. During the raid, several bags of doctored blood were seized along with medical records of athletes written in code. One code name was "son of Rudy," a reference to long time coach of Jan Ullrich; Rudy Pevenage. The Civil Guard investigated the records and compiled a very large list of suspected cyclists, including Liberty Seguros rider Alberto Contador.

Although Eufamiano Fuentes was charged with illegal blood tampering, Spanish judge Antionio Serrano dismissed the case arguing that the prosecution argument did not prove any violations of Spanish law. At the same time Alberto Contador was cleared by the Spanish judiciary of any link to Operation Puerto. Of course, the Spanish cycling federation felt no compulsion to investigate or suspend Alberto Contador for a possible involvement in Operation Puerto after the Serrano decision. The UCI did not interfere with this affair even though action seemed warranted.

The Strange Case of Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde was another name found in the medical records of Eufemiano Fuentes. The case would have probably gone the route of Alberto Contador: swept under the rug, if not for the Italian Olympic Association (CONI). During a Italian race Alejandro Valverde was requested to provide a routine in-competition urine sample. There was a suspicion that a code name found in Eufemiano Fuentes office referenced the name of a dog owned by Valverde. CONI did a DNA sequence of the sample provided by Valverde during the race and compared the results with DNA profiles of blood bags found during the Spanish Civil Guard Operation Puerto raid. The DNA results were an identical match: proof that the tainted blood belonged to Alejandro Valverde.

This is simply remarkable. The Operation Puerto raid was conducted in 2006 but nothing was done to restrict Alejandro Valverde from racing for four years. The UCI did nothing to prevent Valverde from racing even though the Italian government banished Valverde from racing in Italy. Italy was so upset from the lack of action from the Spanish and the UCI that they insisted that if Amaury Sport Organisation did not prevent Valverde from racing the Tour de France which crossed into the Italian territory: that the Italian government would erect barriers at the frontier. Not until 2010 was Alexander Valverde banned from cycling, the Spanish complicated matters by allowing Valverde to compete in and win the 2009 Vuelta d' Espana.

The UCI: bastion of fair play.

Paper tiger Pat McQuaid inspires fear and loathing in dopers. This is evident by his prompt plan of action; his acumen of the science; his insistence that riders play fair; his insistence on transparency. Pat McQuaid insists on lecturing his inferiors by claiming that any conclusion reached in the Alberto Contador case is inaccurate: the plastic residue finding that indicates tainted blood rather than a tainted steak is incorrect. Nevertheless, with the history of the UCI in dealing with Spain there is no doubt what-so-ever that the UCI will insist on fair play by appealing to the Court of Arbitration of Sport any outrageous suspension of Alberto Contador that the Spanish cycling federation might award due to the clenbuterol positive.

Alberto Contador if you are so innocent provide us with a copy of your Lab Document Package: post the information on the Internet, I guarantee you that this information will generate a very lively discussion on the cycling forums. You will have as many supporters as detractors. But if you are counting on a Chatenay-Malabry style of incompetent slop to support your position: be advised; the Germans are a very precise people!

Alberto Contador: A Serial Doper?

Alberto Contador was given a free pass during Operation Puerto, because, as some claim, he has a link to royal blood. Perhaps, he thinks, like other convicted dopers, that he has a right to use performance enhancing substances. He was excused by a Spanish judge of involvement in Operation Puerto without a slap on the hand, like royalty. Perhaps, he thinks that he will always be excused from undesirable consequences of his behavior by a sympathetic government. Perhaps, he thinks that Pat McQuaid and the UCI are too weak to interfere.

Pat McQuaid: do you have a set of cajones?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alberto Contador: The Noose Tightens

The Associated Press has reported that the WADA accredited laboratory at Cologne, Germany has found metabolites of a common plasticizer found in bags used in intravenous transfusions in the Tour de France urine samples provided by Alberto Contador. If true, the claim by Alberto Contador that he ate a clenbuterol tainted stake provided by a friend to the Astana cycling team seems nothing more than a preposterous fable.

Metabolites of plasticizer di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) were found in samples provided by Alberto Contador on July 20, 2010 at eight times the normal limit. On July 21, 2010 during the second rest day of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador tested positive for minute amounts of clenbuterol; a finding that anti-doping expert Rasmus Damsgaard claims could possibly have been a result of a transfusion of tainted blood stored during a out-of-competition period between races. A blood transfusion used during the race would boost oxygen supply (red blood cells transport oxygen) a common tactic employed by cyclists to gain a competitive advantage. Autologous transfusions of stored blood of one cyclist transfused into the same cyclist has no known laboratory test.

The perfect crime: or one would surmise, unless the criminal was a very careless person? Apparently, Alberto Contador was a very careless person. The WADA accredited laboratories are perfecting the detection of deception by searching for analogues of storage vessels like plastic bags; metabolites of plasticizers; illegal substances! One would surmise that Alberto Contador and those who possibly assisted him would have examined the purity of the blood prior to transfusion!

Indeed, the tainted meat fabrication, as such, seems more incredible by the second. Experts in meat contamination claim that if clenbuterol was introduced into an animal that most of the drug would be stored in the liver, that the amount of clenbuterol used in the animal to produce the positive test found in Mr. Contador would have killed the animal outright, and that it would be impossible to test positive for clenbuterol by eating a contaminated stake!

Not knowing all the circumstances of this case and not wanting to sound like Dick Pound; I will not expostulate guilt and guillotine. But the facts do tend in a direction probably not to the liking of Mr. Contador and his legal team. The results of the plasticizer test results could be challenged as unreliable or as invalid; and some people have suggested that that the urine could be stored for the next seven years as insurance in case some new test is developed; what rubbish!

Sounds to me like another case of denial, denial, denial! Alberto Contador should come to his senses and think! millions of dollars in legal fees! two years fighting the anti-doping agencies! Bad Karma! If you are guilty, confess! The Ivan Basso road is much easier than the Floyd Landis trail. Do you wish to be regarded as persona non grata for the rest of your life?

Confess and most of us will forgive you; lie and we will never forgive. Ask Floyd Landis.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alberto Contador Tests Positive For Clenbuterol

Well now, the mysterious ways of WADA and the UCI continue. Alberto Contador winner of the the 2010 Tour de France tested positive for clenbuterol during a rest day of the race.

The date of the final Alberto Contador positive test results done at the Cologne WADA accredited testing laboratory is unknown; but it has been asserted from numerous press releases that a "B" sample confirmed the "A" sample. Therefore, WADA and the UCI cannot be accused of a premature release of the laboratory results as was the case during the Floyd Landis case. In fact, when Pat McQuaid was questioned as to the validity of the Alberto Contador positive result, he denied the rumor as unfounded. Some speculation exists as to whether the UCI withheld public information to provide Alberto Contador and his legal team more time to improve a credible defense. This astounding about face by Pat McQuaid and the UCI is directly apposite of the furious "rush to judgement" that Floyd Landis experienced during his "A" sample positive test for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France. Judgements to the guilt of Floyd Landis were forthcoming from the mouths of anti-doping authorities before Floyd Landis or his legal team even had time to see the Laboratory Document Package or before a confirmatory "B" test could be run. Current critics of the anti-doping crusade should not be too condemnatory about an abundance of caution in the Alberto Contador alleged doping case; indeed, this cautious approach should be commended.

Clenbuterol is a beta-adrenergic agonist and is used as a decongestant and bronchodilator. Clenbuterol has been used in cycling since the middle sixties. Clenbuterol is listed on the WADA prohibited substance list. Clenbuterol is also used illegally in meat production to increase protein syntheses and to promote leanness in cattle.

Alberto Contador insists that his test results were caused by a friend giving him tainted meat imported into France from Spain. Of course, this reasoning is speculative because there is no way to prove that the meat was tainted; other members of the Astana cycling team did eat the same meat but none were randomly tested that day for prohibited substances; so there is no independent confirmation of Alberto Contador's claim.

Notable anti-doping expert Rasmus Damsgaard believes that Alberto Contador tested positive for clenbuterol because he received a blood transfusion from stored blood taken before the Tour de France then transfused during the race. If Damsgaard is correct: Alberto Contador would be guilty of two separate doping violations, not one, and the suspension period could be extended.

The amount of clenbuterol detected in Alberto Contador was so small as to be almost undetectable. Never mind the argument that such insignificant amounts do not increase performance. This argument under the WADA strict liability provision of WADA code will not be efficacious. The mere presence of a prohibited substance; by definition; implies an intent to cheat and culpability. Even in cases where athletes were caught with a prohibited substance in their systems due to a chemical reformulation: say a topical solution (example: a topical solution in Europe is clean while the "identical" American version contains a prohibited substance) warrants a one year suspension. This is the least amount of suspension that Alberto Contador could expect from the Court of Arbitration of Sport; even if he ate the tainted meat by accident! Of course, the 2010 Tour de France title and prize money will also be voided.

Floyd Landis was the first and we hoped the last person to be stripped of a Tour de France title for doping. Now this hall of shame may include other notable miscreants such as Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong!

Gentlemen: listen to reason. You may think that your cheating ways will escape detection by the laboratories; but no matter how sophisticated your methods, the gas chromatic spectrogram employed these days are very accurate. Your certainty of being caught is almost one hundred percent. Quit your nefarious ways; you are undermining our sport and making me ill in the process!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Floyd Landis; New Age Lunacy In Cycling

It is curious that the amount of doping has diminished so quickly this year. There is really very few stories of interest. The Lance Armstrong doping investigation is moving at a glacial rate, Greg LeMond and his deranged wife Kathy are still making allegations; The New York Times has reported that witnesses are inconsistent in their testimony and this indicates perjury! Lance Armstrong, in his Tour de France championship period, was so intimidating that he could pressure people to lie or their careers could be terminated; or so claims Greg LeMond.

It would be great if a witness recalled the same thing; but as any good attorney will tell you this may not happen. A consistent witness does not create havoc with flip flops. If you testify to the fact that you did not hear Lance Armstrong tell doctors that he used performance enhancing drugs at Indiana University Hospital; and then confide to Greg LeMond in a telephone conversation later that Betsy Andreu was telling the truth; well what are we to make of these inconsistencies?

No matter, the Lance Armstrong probe is dealing with lunatics who are examples of what athletic prowess should not be; greedy people who cheat and then lie about it. Floyd Landis is a summa cum-laude member of the fraternity of greedy creeps who know no bounds of cunning and deceit. Tyler Hamilton also must be included as a supreme deceiver; a man who cheated his way into a Olympic gold medal and then refused to relinquish it because of a stupid laboratory error. Very credible witnesses. The cross examination of these people; under oath; should provide some very interesting information into the psychological bases of doping, the pathological bases of lying; and the motivational aspects of risk/reward behavior. Why would a person risk taking performance enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France when the possible consequences of being caught portends such awful consequences; such as suspensions and permanent ostracism?

But ask Floyd Landis; he rationalizes everything as much ado about nothing, because everybody was doing it. Floyd Landis even claims that Lance Armstrong encouraged performance drug use during the U. S. Postal Service days. Really? Floyd Landis seems challenged; maybe he suffers from mental incapacity and is not responsible for his behavior. After all, when Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were escorted back to the team hotels from the Tour de France depart after being implicated in Operation Puerto; and when the UCI and WADA were hyper vigilant about detecting dopers; and when the cycling public was at a hysterical pitch demanding doper blood; you would think that Floyd Landis and Team Phonak would get the message to ride clean. But no, the temptation of winning! the accolades! the money! outweighed common sense; because as Floyd Landis would reason everyone else did it! Riis did it! Ullrich did it! Pantani did it! Armstrong did it! And they were never caught or punished for their crimes.

This is the sort of people that the government investigation must rely upon: obvious psychopaths and lunatics who use deranged arguments to support their bloated egoistic desire for money and fame. Then there is a certain person; Greg LeMond: who would resort to any tactic to support his legendary status; even though at this date he is nothing more than a washed up old hack!

It has occured to me recently that this whole Lance Armstrong probe would be nothing more than old lady gossip and not very interesting; except for the fact that there are so many crazies involved. Does the sport of cycling really attract this sort of people?

Former Tour de France winners do have an unnatural tendency to commit suicide, do they not?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 Tour of Utah: Final Notes

The Tour of Utah billed as America's toughest stage race, with thirty thousand feet of climbing, was a spectacle worthy of any cycling event anywhere in the world. The sponsors, the kiosks, the displays, reminds one of old fairs where the community displayed their wares, very colorful and professional. If you were in search of anything related to cycling: clothes, bicycles, food, drink, this was the place to be.

At the prologue the organizers even had a small course for children marked off by orange cones, there were nervous parents watching their charges ride around, and there was a professional instructor teaching safety tips. New cyclists and cycling fans of the next generation.

A time trial, "the race of truth," is an all out effort where professional riders race the clock. The rider with the quickest time is declared the winner. There were two time trials at the Tour of Utah, one at the prologue and one at Miller Sport Park. There are cyclists who specialise in time trials, Fabian Cancellara, or Brent Brookwalter. Time trials have been decisive in determining who wins Grand Tour stage races. For example, Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon by eight seconds in a final time trial stage during the 1989 Tour de France.

The 2010 Tour of Utah also had a criterium in Park City, Utah. A criterium is a bicycle race where riders race a course through city streets in a specified number of laps. Criterium races have a closely grouped peloton: a French word denoting "group" or "pack." On occasion there are breakaways: by individual or small groups of riders who sprint ahead of the peloton and who hope not to be "reeled in": or caught by the pack. Some breakaways are successful, some not. The "bell lap" is the last lap of the criterium and in most cases the riders accelerate, or "wind up" in an all out sprint to the finish line. The first rider across the line is declared criterium champion. In the Tour of Utah the time of each rider in the criterium is added to the total time for the race, like in any other stage. Riders who do not complete the criterium are eliminated from the race.

Stage 1, 2, and 5 of the Tour of Utah consisted of regular road stages. A road stage is a race of a specified distance in miles (or kilometers). Road stages are ridden on conventional highways. The Tour of Utah had three conventional road stages. Road stages use racing tactics similar to criterium races, breakaways, gaps: the time between the breakaway riders and the peloton measured from some benchmark and the time calculated for the peloton to reach that benchmark; drafting: where a rider drafts behind another rider to reduce air friction and energy consumption: also known as wheel sucking. In breakaways riders ride in pace lines: where a rider leads the group and takes a pull: rides into the wind while other members of the group draft; then the leader rotates out of the front of the pace line to the back of the group and sprints to get back on while the next rider takes a pull. A well organized pace line where the riders work together can escape the peloton for an entire stage: and the stage is decided among the escapees. In flat stages, breakaways are discouraged by teams who have sprinters: riders who excel in sudden bursts of acceleration on bicycles and who race other sprinters in 300 meter drag races to the finish line. Sprinter teams do everything possible to reel in breakaways. Sprinter teams are organized groups of riders who form up in trains: team riders who protect a sprinter by taking pulls on the front and winding up the peloton to sixty kilometers an hour; then at the last second a sprinter is assisted by a lead out man: a teammate of exceptional ability who can eat wind at sixty kilometers an hour and peel of the front at the critical moment allowing the sprinter to hammer to seventy kilometers an hour and win the stage!

Whew! Makes you sweat just thinking about those sprints. Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushvold, and Robbie McEwen are the world's best sprinters: and if you are racing and not a sprinter abandon the area immediately. Sprints can be very physical affairs with jostling, shoulder rubs, and other physical contact. Sprinters do not allow novices to compete in sprints; if you have no business at the front of a peloton during a sprint; stay away for your own safety.

The Tour of Utah was decided on the twenty mile climb to Mount Nebo. Levi Leipheimer gained a minute on Francisco Mancebo and won Stage 2. Levi Leipheimer also gained an additional minute Francisco Mancebo on the little Cottonwood Canyon climb. Jai Crawford won Stage 5, Levi Leipheimer second, Francisco Mancebo third. Levi Leipheimer's Tour of Utah victory was an amazing feat considering the fact that Levi Leipheimer rode without teammates! for Lance Armstrong sponsored Mellow Johnny's.

The Tour of Utah dodged several severe weather events during the week of the race. During Stage 2, Salt Lake City had a record fifteen minute precipitation event, rain, of .85." This record rain event happened at noon when the race was in progress, but fortunately, the race was south of Salt Lake, and KFNZ1320 race radio updates mentioned no weather related issues. Drenched to the bone, frozen, and standing under a Chinese pagoda in the International Gardens, I wondered what effect such a downpour would have on the peloton. But nothing happened! During Stage 5, the wind intensified with velocity during the stage from the south due to an approaching cold front, but the stage finished before the wind shift, which produced rain and in places down burst winds from the north up to seventy miles an hour, which downed power lines, caused damage to tree limbs, and scattered debris everywhere. I was riding up Wasatch Boulevard after the finish of the stage when gigantic towering cumulus began to form and drops of rain began to fall. Fortunately, I arrived home before the wind shift and the real horrors began!

Stage 1, Ogden to Research Park, the Big Mountain King of the Mountain climb, and my favorite local ride, was excellent, as always. I met a very nice couple who rode out on some Specialized carbon road bikes. We talked shop: cycling! The road conditions, the resurfacing project in Emigration Canyon, the lack of maintenance of the bike lanes that caused one rider to break his neck during a Emigration Canyon ride; the old road construction days during the widening of the Emigration Canyon road; the sprints through the traffic signals they installed during the construction: the trick was to hammer through the open lane before the signal changed and you were killed by some inattentive driver coming the other way! the bad old pothole days, and other topics. There was some guy who showed up riding a scooter, wearing a Sasquatch costume complete with long stringy hair, who handed out twenty dollar bills to passing riders in the blazing heat! And the nut who was waving Old Glory while the peloton passed. Crazy fun!

My Stage 5 ride to Little Cottonwood Canyon was not so fun. I had a late start and almost missed the race! The last KFNZ1320 race radio update that I heard was of the peloton decending the Alpine Loop, that decided the issue, continue onward! I would have not been late except I stopped to refill my water bottles at the North Little Cottonwood Road 7-11, and this delay made me just late enough to watch the Leipheimer and Mancebo groups fly around the corner and up the canyon! Heavenly Creator! I stopped my bike after passing by a man carrying a stop sign who was shouting that I couldn't go that way. "I am not going that way, I am here to watch the race, you fool!" A very nice man and his daughter, who were spectators of the race, laughed and invited me to watch the race with them. I agreed and we talked of local favorite Levi Leipheimer.

I can't wait until next year!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tour of Utah: Prologue, Stage 5, Stage 1, Photographs

Tour of Utah
Stage 5, 1, Prologue Photographs

Caravan booty, rewards for being a good fan.


Stage 5. These photographs of are groups of riders entering Little Cottonwood Canyon at Mile Zero. There was a very strong wind from the South ahead of an approaching cold front that split the race into echelons. I arrived at the race a little late and barely saw the first two groups go by while still riding my bicycle, therefore, no photographs, but the lead group was lead by Levi Leipheimer and the second group by Francisco Mancebo. Every group thereafter had large gaps, some up to five minutes or longer. The first riders are at the bottom of these photographs and the last groups are at the top due to a blogger formatting problem.














Entrance to Little Cottonwood Canyon Mile Zero, Stage 5



Mile Zero, Little Cottonwood Canyon. The climb is 13.5km at 8%.




After a fifteen mile sprint from Big Mountain I arrived in time to photograph these Stage 1 Podium pics.






Trek-Livestrong rider Alex Dowsett displays the Race Leader, Climbers, and Best Young Rider jerseys. Jeff Louder (BMC) Best Utah Rider and David Tanner Sprinter Jersey.




Big Mountain Summit. King of the Mountain. Stage 1. There was a three man sprint to the summit followed by closely spaced groups shown here. The groups arrived in reverse order of these photographs.
























A panorama view from Big Mountain Summit looking East.




View from Little Mountain Summit of Mountain Dell Reservoir.




Francisco Mancebo in the start house. Prologue.



George Hincapie



A rider hammers home in the time trial.



George Hincapie in the start house. Hincapie would end his Tour of Utah at mile 39 in Stage 2 in a crash. Hincapie also suffered a damaged knee from this crash.




Prologue results:

1. Taylor Phinney Trek Livestrong (U23 Development Team)

2. Alex Dowsett Trek Livestrong (U23 Development Team)

3. Brent Brookwalter (BMC)



Stage 1 Results:

1. David Tanner (Fly V Australia)

2. Alex Dowsett (Trek-Livingstone U23 Development Team)



Stage 5 Results:

1. Jai Crawford (Fly V Australia)

2. Levi Leipheimer (Mellow Johnny's)

3. Francisco Mancebo (Canyon Sports)


Tour of Utah General Classification

1. Levi Leipheimer 12.39'40"

2. Francisco Mancebo 12.42'10" +2'30"

3. Ian Boswell 12.43'36" +3'56"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Tour of Utah: Reprise

The 2010 Tour of Utah was sensational with vast improvements over the 2009 version, but not perfect. There were issues that must be addressed before the 2011 race and I hope that people will take these issues seriously.

KFNZ 1320 radio, a local sports network here in Salt Lake City, Utah; and part of the official media group of the Tour of Utah, did an outstanding job of updates of the race, but astoundingly forgot to mention the time when the capitol prologue was to start! I left the University of Utah Marriott Library at six o' clock, raced down the eleventh avenue bike path to the entrance of City Creek and ran into a mounted police officer. "Has the race started yet?" "The race has started" he replied. So, I rode down to the turnaround point and watched a few riders, then left to take photographs at the Capitol building, wasting an incredible amount of time riding around Memory Grove. Come on guys! Mention the prologue start time on the radio!

I probably should mention that a man at the Prologue did give me a card that stated, "tell us what you think!" Good idea! Here goes!

The Tour of Utah Official Race Program Guide was a slick, glossy publication with incredible photographs, team lists, and adequate stage information that proved invaluable. However, there was no rider lists for any team. Even the 2009 Race Program had a rider list, without bib numbers. At the Tour of Utah Stage One kiosk at Research Park, I gave the gentleman a lecture as to the importance of the rider list. He claimed that there was no rider list because teams and riders that were scheduled to race, failed to show up! "Do you know what happened to Bahati Foundation?" I asked. "No," he replied. Finally, exasperated with my interrogation, he told me that the rider list was "on line." "What if you don't have a computer?" "Then you are out of luck." Probably, half of the people in the Great State of Utah have no computer! You guys can do better than that!

Then there is the publication Cycling Utah. Cycling Utah is a local publication that carries informative information of cycling events, races, helpful tips, safety and bicycle advocacy issues. Cycling Utah also has interesting Tour of Utah news, rider interviews, and other race tidbits not to be found elsewhere. Cycling Utah would have been an excellent resource guide if it could only been found. In the University of Utah Marriott Library, stacks of the July issue of Cycling Utah was available, but the August issue was missing. I checked the Marriott Library news kiosks every day to no avail! Cycling Utah, keep your current issues, current and available!

You would think with the fixed gear/single speed cycling craze going on with university students these days that the Tour of Utah would focus on such a promising target audience. But, alas, no. Not one 2010 Tour of Utah Official Race Program Guide was anywhere to be seen on the University of Utah campus! Do better! Create interest in the race!

I have some photographs of the race and will post them with some additional comments soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bahati Foundation Exits Tour of Utah

The Tour of Utah, America's hardest stage race with thirty thousand feet of climbing, scheduled to start on August 17 and end on August 22, 2010, has already provided some surprises. Bahati Foundation has vanished from the team list entirely, without explanation, but one could suppose that the Jeff Novitzky doping probe of Michael Ball and Rahsaan Bahati and is gaining ground.

Nevertheless, the rider lists have been published and 2009 Tour of Utah champion Francisco Mancebo Perez will return with Canyon Bicycles.

The overall best team of the 2010 Tour of Utah will be BMC Racing Team with former national champion George Hincapie paired with 2009 Tour of Utah Prologue time trial winner Brent Bookwalter and 2008 Tour of Utah winner and 2009 podium finisher Jeff Louder. Other potential challengers of note are Team Type 1 rider Mike Creed and KFAN Composite Team rider Burke Swindlehurst. Team Radio Shack rider Levi Leipheimer will compete as an independent rider and it will be interesting to see how he will fare unsupported on the climbs without any teammates! With simple cycling tactics one would expect Hincapie, Bookwalter, and Louder to employ simple team tactics to isolate and eliminate Leipheimer.

United Health Care rider Brad White returns to challenge for King of the Mountain. In 2009 Brad White lead the pack over Big Mountain in East Canyon by three minutes.

The Tour of Utah begins at the Utah State Capitol building on August 17, 2010 with a prologue time trial up City Creek canyon to the snow removal area and loops back to the Capitol building, the course is uphill, downhill, flat, short, and very fast.

See you there!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lance Armstrong Doping Investigation: USADA: Witness Tampering?

The New York Times has reported that the United States Anti-Doping Agency has offered shortened suspension times and other incentives to cyclists who may have information into the doping allegations of Floyd Landis: who claims that the United States Postal Service Professional Cycling Team, and unnamed associates, used US Postal Service sponsorship money to purchase and traffic performance enhancing substances. Floyd Landis also asserts that the United States Postal team had a organized program of performance enhancing substance use within the team during the six year Tour de France reign of Lance Armstrong (1999-2004). Floyd Landis also claims that he personally witnessed Lance Armstrong use performance enhancing drugs. Floyd Landis also claims that he participated in a planned team blood transfusion aboard a US Postal team bus at a rest stop in France. Floyd Landis also accuses Allen Lim of providing him with performance enhancing substances during training rides in Spain (2006). Floyd Landis also accuses George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer of using performance enhancing drug use during the US Postal years. Floyd Landis also accuses US Postal Service sport director Johan Bruyneel of running an organized program of doping.

After Floyd Landis had tested positive for synthetic testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France: Floyd Landis informed the press that Travis T. Tygart of USADA had made Landis an offer. If Floyd Landis would "blow the whistle" on Lance Armstrong, accuse Lance Armstrong and the US Postal service team of performance enhancing substance abuse, USADA would reward Floyd Landis with the shortest suspension in history. Immediately, Travis T. Tygart issued a press release denying the deal. Tygart claimed that USADA would never make deals with dopers. Floyd Landis called the deal beneath his dignity and refused to cooperate.

The eternal question will always arise: What motivated Floyd Landis to change his mind? Why the e-mail messages to Steve Johnson of USA Cycling? Why did he admit to testosterone use during the 2006 Tour de France? Why did he offer to "blow the whistle" on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Professional Cycling Team?

Even stranger is who Travis T. Tygart thinks he is targeting with these shortened suspensions and incentives? What incentives? Money? What riders? Floyd Landis? No. Floyd Landis rides with a racing license issued in Canada. If further action is taken against Floyd Landis the action will originate in Canada, not the United States. USADA won't be able to protect Floyd Landis from prosecution, no matter how much information he provides. [Note: Jan Ullrich was issued a Swiss racing license and was prosecuted by Switzerland, not Germany during Operation Puerto.]

USADA must be thinking that there will be an epidemic of "non analytical findings" against Lance Armstrong and his US Postal teammates, thus the deal. A "non analytical finding" does not require a positive doping test, merely testimony of people who observed an athlete in the commission of a doping offence. Tim Montgomery was given a two year ban by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) when his teammates testified to the fact that they witnessed Montgomery using the "clear." Under this logic if Floyd Landis claims that he saw Lance Armstrong or Levi Leipheimer using performance enhancing substances and if Landis could verify this claim then, in theory, USADA could issue a "non-analytical finding" and begin an arbitration prosecution.

Warning: To those people who are offered the USADA deal. Beware: USADA is subject to the WADA code as a signatory therefore they must abide by the WADA code. If you are offered a USADA sanction that is less than the sanction required by the WADA code; and if WADA or the UCI appeals the sanction to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) your deal with USADA could be invalidated! The best example of this is Alexandre Vinokourov who was caught blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France. The Kazakh Federation, where Vinokourov was issued his license, gave Vinokurov a one year suspension. The UCI was outraged by this leniency and appealed the short suspension to the Court of Arbitration of Sport insisting that the regulation two year ban be enforced. This could happen to you if you accept a deal from USADA! Contact your lawyer immediately!

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code: Article 17, there is an eight year statute of limitations. Keep this in mind. The three people most affected; Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, and Johan Bruyneel. The years affected; 2003 and 2004. Why? Because Floyd Landis rode for Phonak in 2005 so he has no first hand knowledge of any wrongdoing. Tyler Hamilton, who has been subpoenaed, left US Postal Service in 2000 so his testimony would come under the statute of limitation period, and have no bearing in a USADA prosecution. There would have to be other witness testimony to the fact that Lance Armstrong and US Postal Service used performance enhancing substances during the period when Floyd Landis was not a member of the US Postal team. Other riders claim they used performance enhancing drugs when at US Postal, who they are and what period of time are secret.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bahati Foundation to Race at Tour of Utah

Hey boys and girls, it is time once again for the Tour of Utah! Billed as America's most difficult stage race with three thousand feet of climbs: including the infamous Little Cottonwood canyon climb, thirteen kilometers at eight percent, with a mountain top finish at Snowbird ski resort!

The USA Cycling sanctioned Tour of Utah will include five stages with the time trial prologue at the State Capitol. Stage 1: Ogden to Salt Lake includes East Canyon Lake, Big Mountain, Emigration Canyon, Little Mountain, a good afternoon ride, ending at Research Park in Salt Lake City. Stage 2: Thanksgiving Point to Mount Nebo. Stage 3: Individual Time Trial at Miller Sports Park. Stage 4: Park City, Utah: Downtown Criterium. Stage 5: The Queen Stage, ending with a brutal climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird Ski resort.

The teams have been announced but the team rosters have not! The Tour of Utah press release mentions BMC Rider George Hincapie as a participant. Jeff Louder, winner of the 2008 Tour of Utah and who in 2009 placed third overall, will race. David Zabriskie will be in town. Bahati Foundation will field a team, for the Tour of Utah without Floyd Landis, who was recently released from the team after Landis accused seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong of doping allegations. Floyd Landis raced at the 2009 Tour of Utah with OUCH presented by Maxxis, with average results. However, the decision of Bahati Foundation to part ways with Floyd Landis after he admitted to performance enhancing substance use during the 2006 Tour de France, may have prompted OUCH to withdraw as a sponsor. Consequently, there have been conflicting reports that the Bahati Foundation Cycling Team will cease to exist for financial reasons. So will Bahati Foundation race the Tour of Utah? Stay tuned for further updates.

Also missing from the 2010 Tour of Utah; Rock and Republic Racing and 2009 Tour of Utah winner Francisco Mancebo. But, as Strbuk pointed out in the comment section, Micheal Ball is currently under subpoena in the Jeff Novitzky doping investigation.

It has been widely reported that Levi Leipheimer will race at the Tour of Utah.

To the people who write and print the Tour of Utah race program: Steve Miller, guys, please include the rider bib numbers this year when you publish the team rider lists. Last year at the prologue the fans I talked to all complained about this omission of the rider numbers; be more circumspect, please!

I will try to update information on the race as it becomes available and include some photographs.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 Tour de France; Alberto Contador Wins

The 2010 Tour de France was an odd race with many problems and with consequences that may have lasting effect for a good number of years. The first two stages were mired by multiple crashes, rain soaked roads transitioned into ice skating rinks, when riders attempted to navigate turns in the road, the bicycles refused to respond. Unattended dogs ran onto the course causing further mayhem. By the time the race covered the seven sections of cobblestone road used in Paris-Roubaix, the Hell of the North, over half of the peloton had fallen, some with serious injuries. The Stage three cobblestone road was a hot, dusty affair with additional crashes. Frank Schleck retired with a broken collarbone. Mechanical problems were common on the cobblestone road. Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador both lost time due to flat tires.

The fact that the riders continued to race on the cobblestone roads after the bloody mayhem of the first two stages confirms the fact that pro tour riders have balls of steel. Unlike some wimp sport such as the National Football League where injured players retire to a training table for treatment and where players have a whole week to recover from injury, professional cyclists hold on to a medical car traveling down the road at thirty miles an hour, are patched up on the spot by a doctor, and then paced back to the pack by teammates. Failure to return to the pack after injury means the broom wagon. And in contrast to the NFL, riders are required to ride stages day after day with little or no recovery time. This is why the Tour de France is considered the toughest sporting event in the world and why it is beloved by cyclists. Cyclists have an astonishing ability to crash, to be injured, to shake off the dust, and to continue to ride, just like their heroes! Some dolts don't get it and never will, but morons like Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio who don't understand the majesty and beauty of the Tour de France, do have an astonishing ability to generate vitriol against cyclists among people who are prone to be aggressive drivers. Drivers who spit on cyclists, who throw objects, who honk horns in your ear, who shout obscenities in your face, who open car doors, who give you the middle finger salute, and who try to run you off the road. Among other crimes.

Yes, I was speaking of the Tour de France and got distracted on a tangent. Mark Cavendish won five stages. Cadel Evans wore the golden fleece but had to retire after suffering a fracture to his elbow during a fall. French riders won six stages, which may or may not indicate "clean riding." The race finally boiled down to a duel between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck; a contest that should have been decided on the Col de Tormalet in the French Pyrenees mountains. But!

Chain Suck Spoils the Day

Chain suck is caused when the chain skips a cog on either the chainwheel or the freewheel ending up against the frame or wedged between the freewheel and the spokes. During Stage 15, Andy Schleck with a :31 second lead and during an uphill attack against Alberto Contador on the Port de Bales experienced freewheel chain suck, his chain was stuck behind the freewheel against the wheel spokes. Schleck's bicycle rolled to a stop and at this moment Alberto Contador attacked, contrary to the unwritten law of cycling etiquette which states that the golden fleece is never attacked during a crash. Contador gained :39 seconds, which in an interview after the stage he considered "insignificant." The significance of the :39 seconds would become apparent at the end of the race, however.

Andy Schleck was an angry man at the conclusion of the stage and he vowed revenge. Schleck declared that he would attack on the Col de Tormalet and take back the time he had lost.

In the meantime, on Stage 16, Lance Armstrong, now hopelessly behind in the general classification, attempted to win a stage with a break away. Armstrong failed to win the stage, but his effort was appreciated by the fans, being that this is his last Tour de France. Team Radio Shack claimed that Lance Armstrong lost significant amounts of time during the race in order to conserve energy for the stage win attempt. No harm, no foul. Have a good retirement Lance Armstrong!

Stage 17 was do or die, win or lose, all in. Andy Schleck had to attack to make up the lost eight seconds he lost to Alberto Contador on the Port de Bales. The attacks were fast and furious up the fog and mist shrouded Col du Tormalet. Fist Andy Schleck attacked, then Alberto Contador counter attacked in a classic mono a mono duel. The duel ended in a draw and no change occurred in the general classification, however.

Alberto Contador did gain an additional :31 during the time trial stage and all was over. Andy Schleck lost the tour by :39 the exact amount of time Alberto Contador gained when he attacked the golden fleece. If Alberto Contador would have been a gentleman and waited for Andy Schleck to repair his chain; the race would have ended in a tie!

Andy Schleck was the supreme good sport and gentleman to Alberto Contador after his anger subsided; shaking his hand and sharing a joke; a picture of pure bliss. The behavior of Alberto Contador is a different matter, however. El Pistol should be aware that as of now he is a marked man. Cycling races used to be among gentlemen who worked as a team; not about me, me, me. Now it is Viva Yo, me first, piss on you. Alberto Contador has been a lucky man, he won his first Tour de France after Micheal Rassmussen was ejected by Rabobank for lying about his whereabouts and for missing out-of-competition drug tests; during a Tour de France which Rassmussen would have won.

Beware; Alberto Contador. Instant Karma is going to get you! Next time you may be the person with a mechanical problem! Expect to be attacked!

See you all next year!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Floyd Landis Doping Allegations Warrants Grand Jury Testimony

New York Times reporter Juliet Macur has reported that a grand jury will be assembled to hear testimony relating to the accusations made by Floyd Landis that Lance Armstrong used and encouraged teammates to use performance enhancing drugs during the era when Tailwind Sport was sponsored by the United States Postal Service.

The Federal probe is being lead by Food and Drug Administration investigator Jeff Novitzky. Novitzky is best known for leading the probe of Victor Conte and the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO): a company that trafficked a unique designer performance enhancing drug "the clear" to track athletes Marion Jones and Tom Montgomery.

Apparently, the Federal Government and Novitzky are most interested in determining whether Taliwind Sport or anyone associated with Tailwind Sport used U.S. Postal Service sponsorship money to fund the acquisition, purchase, or financing of performance enhancing drugs during the U.S. Postal Service Professional Cycling Team years. Associations could include rider Lance Armstrong as well as his teammate Floyd Landis.

The Federal Government also is interested in probing whether Tailwind Sport used a organized doping stratagem for profit. This would constitute, de facto, sport fraud.

Greg LeMond is Subpoenaed as a Witness

The investigators have subpoenaed Greg LeMond as a grand jury witness according to ESPN. Although it is difficult to understand what sort of evidence Greg LeMond could contribute to the investigation in the way of knowledge of performance enhancement use by the U. S. Postal Service Team; there is still the issue of the airport telephone call where Greg LeMond accuses Lance Armstrong of making threats. In response to the grand jury subpoena Kathy LeMond is reported to have said "We are overjoyed, I hope the truth comes out." Yes! There are so many questions to ask Greg and Kathy LeMond. For example: How did Kathy LeMond compile such an exacting transcript of the alleged threat; did she have pencil and paper at the ready when Greg took the call? Or was the conversation reconstructed after the fact with embellishments? Kathy LeMond should remember that this is not an arbitration hearing where the prosecution witness is allowed to testify without cross examination. There will be defense lawyers who will attempt to discredit Greg LeMond, they will question his agenda, his motives. The grand jury will ask questions. This should prove interesting.

Greg LeMond: Mr. Clean?

Greg LeMond is one of the best cycling historical revisionists. LeMond claims to be the only Tour de France champion in history to ride clean; in a clean peloton. Is this claim creditable? No. There was doping going on during this period: Dr. Francesco Conconi was dispensing performance enhancing substances to Italian athletes with the blessing of the Italian Olympic Committee as early as 1980. These substances included rEPO and human growth hormone. Dr. Francesco Conconi also provided the following cyclists with performance enhancing drugs: Gianni Bugno, Laurent Fignon, both of whom were contemporaries of Greg LeMond. Francesco Conconi also trained another doping doctor who might be of interest to the Federal Grand Jury investigation: Michele Farrari. Nevertheless, myth one of the Greg LeMond fabrication is debunked.

Oliver Starr, who was a ten year member of the U.S. National Junior and Senior Teams made this revealing statement concerning Greg LeMond:



I raced against LeMond, rEPO couldn't be detected at the time but was widely available. Who says LeMond was clean? Him? Look at his performance from the beginning of the year to the end. His improvement was beyond miraculous the year he won the Tour de France after being shot-----it was indescribable. Dropped at DuPont by the sprinters on the climbs, to winning the Tour de France a few months later, unnatural is the only word that comes to mind for that kind of improvement and I was there to see it first hand. LeMond should shut up lest someone find an old vial of his urine on ice somewhere and run a few tests on it.


Oliver Starr raises an important point that cannot be ignored. How could a man who was dropped by sprinters suddenly solo to the top of L'AlpeD'Huez with teammate Bernard Hinault in the 1986 Tour de France? This exceptional exponential increase in performance in so short a time must place Greg LeMond as one in six billion as a cyclist. Unnatural? Perhaps. But there are no conclusive tests that Greg LeMond ever used performance enhancing substances. But Greg LeMond has an unusual aptitude for beating people who had known associations with doping doctors: Gianni Bugno and Laurent Fignon for two. Impossible to beat a doped man while clean? Not according to Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong. So yes, Kathy LeMond, I hope the truth comes out and clears the air, once and for all. If you are disappointed that your man rode dirty...well that can't be helped.

Will the Grand Jury file an Indictment?

Unknown. But until then everything is speculative and not of much use. The prosecutors might also want to invite Michele Farrari (doctor blood) to testify. But if Michele Farrari blood doped Lance Armstrong, he was privately employed, so there will be denial, denial, denial, no proof, and probably not much information coming from this source.

Enough!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lance Armstrong Is Cooked

Good things don't last forever. Lance Armstrong has finally reached the point in his career where he cannot continue to win races. Armstrong had a run of bad luck with three falls during the 2010 Tour de France; he lost large chunks of time on the cols; he may have been injured more severely than he admitted to. Nevertheless, Lance Armstrong is cooked, his attacks of old and his former superior climbing abilities have waned. Lance Armstrong can't attack the young guys anymore. Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, and Cadel Evans are too strong. Levi Leipheimer is the leader of Team Radio Shack now.

Passing of the Torch

Before the 2010 Tour de France Lance Armstrong told the world that this would be his last Tour. Armstrong told the world that it was time to spend more time with his five children. An excellent, commendable idea. But Lance Armstrong said the same thing in 2005 when wearing the golden fleece in Paris, he said, "fair well to the Tour forever."

This retirement did not last long. Lance Armstrong joined Johan Bruyneel, Alberto Contador and Team Astana in a "comeback." There was immediate team friction between Contador and Armstrong, a rivalry that turned vicious during the 2009 Tour de France. Alberto Contador won the 2009 Tour de France and amazingly Lance Armstrong finished third. Some critics claimed that the 2009 Tour de France would have been a Astana "sweep" Contador, Armstrong, Leipheimer, if only Contador would have been more of a team player and followed the orders of Johan Bruyneel. During the 2009 Tour de France, Alberto Contador launched what most cycling experts consider a foolish attack; this attack dropped teammates Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer and allowed Frank Schleck to win the stage and Andy Schleck to reach the podium in second place overall in Paris.

During the awards presentation of the 2009 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong announced the formation of a new team, Radio Shack. While Team Astana was celebrating the 2009 Tour de France victory, Lance Armstrong and his new Radio Shack lieutenants were having a banquet celebrating the formation of a new team.

Alberto Contador and team Astana may feel justified, if not smug, for the 2010 Tour de France collapse of Lance Armstrong. It is an end of an era for the man who many considered indestructible. Lance Armstrong should have never returned to professional racing, he has suffered physical injuries, broken collarbones, eye lacerations, injuries to his hips and shoulders; accidents that never seemed to occur during his seven year Tour de France reign. The goddess of cycling seems to have turned her back on her favorite son and the result has been devastating.

Age has caught up with you Lance Armstrong. For your own safety; quit now. Enough is enough. How much fame and money do you need anyway?

It's Not About The Bike

Sadly, the Lance Armstrong saga is not over. Off the bike may be a bigger challenge than colliding with the pavement at forty miles an hour. It is not "only about the bike." There is still the Floyd Landis federal investigation of allegations that Thomas Weisel Partners and Tailwind Sport committed sport fraud when Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis were teammates on the United States Postal Service Professional Cycling Team. There are accusations that Lance Armstrong encouraged Floyd Landis and other U.S. Postal teammates to use performance enhancing substances. The doping crimes seem to have been organized.

Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, and the other people involved had better pray that this case does not drag on for the next seven years!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cobblestone Causalities

The 2010 Tour de France has been most interesting. Multiple rider crashes, blood, broken bones. General Classification favorite Frank Schleck suffered a broken collar bone and withdrew from the Tour. Stage three of the race included eight sections of cobblestone road. The greatest causality of the cobblestones, Lance Armstrong. While Lance Armstrong was getting a wheel change, Alberto Contador, Alexander Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, and Andy Schleck hammered to gain time. Indeed, the Lance Armstrong flat tire in the Arenburg Forest (the most difficult section of cobblestone road in the world) was lethal. Armstrong will never make up enough time to win the Tour de France; this is not 1999 and his incredible luck seems to have vanished.

Amaury Sport Organization has, once again, lost their collective minds. Everyone knows that early stages of the Tour de France has skittish, nervous riders, and the early race is accident prone. To include a stage three that contains eight sections of cobblestones, after the probability of bloody mayhem of the first two stages, is a feat of bad planning comparable only to sadistic acts of cruelty once enjoyed by loathsome miscreants; Henri Desgrange or the Marquis de Sade.

In the old days when riders used to carry their spare tires around their necks, begged housewives for provender, when riders shared bottles of wine while riding the road, when the stages were hundreds of kilometers long, when the mountain roads were unpaved single track, when bicycles were so heavy that they had to be pushed up hills, when saboteurs who wished to influence the outcome of the race threw nails into the road, when new inventions like the derailleur were promptly banned by L'Auto and the brake was attached to the front wheel; and when the riders had to perform their own bicycle repair; Henri Desgrange was considered a man who could teach the Marquis de Sade how to make people suffer.

Well, in 2010 the fans are more sophisticated than to throw nails into the road; but very little else has changed. Amuary Sport Organisation still loves to make riders suffer with cobblestone roads in the early part of the race; when bloodied and bruised riders are trying to recover from broken bones, road rash, and sleepless nights. In addition to the above trauma, cobblestone roads make life miserable for riders and teams in other ways; flat tires, broken bicycles, lost time in repairs. Viva le Tour!

ASO says that the fan loves a bloody spectacle, like feeding the lions warriors at a Roman coliseum. Grand, but a hundred riders on the ground from multiple falls and some eliminated from General Classification contention after three stages; what a bore.

Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 Tour de France; Will Team Radio Shack Survive?

It is time for the Tour de France, which in America is the only race that matters. The rest of the year America slumbers through the bicycle racing season like a somnambulist, only an occasional newspaper story appears related to doping.

Floyd Landis is still alive and talking to the federal investigators about traffickers; past teammates and support staff who he alleges aided him with his nefarious past performance enhancement abuse.

The results of this investigation into performance enhancing drug abuse by Floyd Landis is confidential; but some comments appear to indicate that the investigation is still in the infancy stage. No new career threatening revelations seem to be forth coming; at present.

This is good news for team Radio Shack. Lance Armstrong and his team have not been banned. Johan Bruyneel is still sport director, even though Floyd Landis accused Bruyneel and the United States Postal Service Professional Cycling team of receiving midnight blood transfusions at a French mountain peak rest stop. Allen Lim is still a physiological consultant to team Radio Shack; he has not been arrested, even though Floyd Landis accused Lim of giving him performance enhancing drugs.

Allen Lim is a mystery man and suspect; because anyone associated in any way with Floyd Landis is suspicious. Allen Lim has a huge Cheshire cat grin and an immense ego; he figured out that yarn pasted onto riders could be used to model air flow. Lance Armstrong, the most wind tunnel tested man in the world, has worked to maximize his time trial position with computer generated air flow models using sophisticated computer programs. But the Allen Lim yarn model works better than computers for team Radio Shack.

Allen Lim, the great innovator, has even determined that body core temperatures are critical in performance! When Jan Ullrich was warming up in a air conditioned bicycle shop while Lance Armstrong was warming up under the shade trees; and when Ullrich beat Armstrong by 1:15 in the time trial; and when Lance Armstrong was riding in squares with a dried salt saliva ring around his mouth; and when later Armstrong admitted that he wanted to quit that day; well even the thickest of cyclists learned that body core temperatures were important. Recently, Allen Lim designed ice filled jackets to lower body core temperatures. This is a very good innovation, but not space age design, because cycling clothing manufactures have been working with wicking away of moisture and improvements of air flows through clothing for years. The goal of these clothing innovations? Lower rider body core temperatures.

Allen Lim is suspect because even though he works for cycle-ops and is an expert in power by riders measured in watts; he must have known that the impossibly high watts generated by Floyd Landis during those training rides in Spain must have had an artificial source, performance enhancing drugs, if Lim is half the physiologist that he claims to be.

So, the nonsense that Allen Lim asserts as to the shock he experienced when Floyd Landis tested positive during the Tour de France is difficult to believe, even though Lim proclaims himself as a tour de force anti-doping crusader. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Because no matter how you spin it riders need help to defeat doping tests and that help must come from a medical or physiological experts of some sort. The excuse that the WADA anti-doping laboratories are incompetent, though true, is not enough to explain how a rider could abuse performance enhancing drugs for years without being caught.

Team Radio Shack is alive and well today but will they survive the 2010 Tour de France? Will some revelation of wrong doing destroy the team? Will the team be expelled during the race?

WADA, the UCI, and The Dope Testing

One footnote: The dope tests will be done by the WADA laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry once again. WADA will do a report on the UCI anti-doping efforts done during the 2010 Tour de France. We only hope that this report is more than self serving drivel written by WADA.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fabian Cancellara: A Doped Bicycle?

You knew it had to happen, technological advances have introduced the new doped bicycle! Mechanical doping...the new fad in cheating...when performance enhancing drugs are not enough.

You Tube is full of films of the great Fabian Cancellara attacking the peloton with amazing speed, on the cobbles, at Roubaix. How could such a thing happen? Must be a battery powered motor, silent and deadly, ready when needed at the time of attack!  The gasping competition is left in the dust at the crucial moment, on to victory!

Evolution

Gone are the days when some fool (obviously a non-cyclist) would tell you with a straight face that he connected a fifty pound lawn mower engine to a bicycle frame and "got up to sixty miles an hour." Rubbish! The most likely thing that would happen at sixty miles an hour with a fifty pound engine mounted on plain gauge steel bicycle tubes would be, a broken down tube, plenty of road rash, death, a detached engine rolling along the ground, and the undertaker. Not necessarily in that order! Next time buy a motorcycle and spare me your fairy tales!

The old electric bicycles ran the power through the hub, the battery weighed a ton and was very bulky and not aero dynamic. Wires were strewn everywhere and prone become tangled in things and break. Ladies with cruiser bikes with attached baskets, or older gentlemen, rode old style electric bikes to help them up hills.

Now new electric motor batteries have been developed that will fit into seat tubes of road racing bicycles! The motor in the hub; as before. The cables would have internal routing; the switch could be located next to the ergo-powers. The battery in theory could last long enough to be decisive in a time trial, on a col, or in a sprint.

Mechanical Doping: The New Craze?

Is there never any end to this nonsense? The Fabian Cancellara mechanical doping charge is probably unfounded. But just to be sure, the UCI should have portable scales ready at the feed zone. Pat McQuaid could point at the riders, "Halt! Your bicycle has been selected for random testing!"

Of course, this is absurd. Things would be better if weighing of the bicycles occurred before the race started. But doesn't the UCI already weigh the bicycles before the depart? Yes.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Floyd Landis; Additional Problems

Floyd Landis is an interesting person. Stricken by grief and remorse, Floyd Landis sent intimidating e-mails to anti-doping crusaders threatening blackmail if immediate action was not taken to investigate his allegations of doping by former teammates and the facilitation of doping by former team officials.

As a result of several interviews of Floyd Landis by United States law enforcement; president of the UCI Pat McQuaid announced, according to the New York Times via the Associated Press, that a UCI investigation of the following people will ensue; Matthew White, Johan Bruyneel, Michael Barry, and John Lelangue.

An investigation of Johan Bruyneel is understandable; rumors surfaced. There were suggestions that a culture of doping existed on Johan Bruyneel teams; that doping was tolerated under the justification that the ends justify the means. The ends were Tour de France titles, seven won by Lance Armstrong (United States Postal Service Professional Cycling Team) and one won by Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel). Roberto Heras also won the Tour of Spain while riding for US Postal Service.

US Postal Service riders present and past did some amazing things on the bike. So amazing were these feats that most cycling fans wondered if such miracles could be accomplished without some form of performance enhancement. Doubts began to escalate when former teammates of Lance Armstrong began to test positive for performance enhancement use. Eyebrows were raised when former teammates of Lance Armstrong began to admit to performance enhancement drug use.

Teammates:

Floyd Landis; former winner of the 2006 Tour de France; tested positive for synthetic testosterone use; stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title; suspended; admitted to human growth hormone use; blood manipulation.
Tyler Hamilton; winner of the Olympic time trial gold medal. During the Olympics Tyler Hamilton tested positive for a double red blood cell population due to an illegal blood transfusion: only a blunder by the Olympic testing lab saved his Olympic gold medal time trial title. Tested positive at the Tour of Spain for a double cell population; suspended. Implicated in Operation Puerto. Banned from cycling for life for a second doping violation caused by ingestion of a homeopathic depression treatment that contained a prohibited substance.
Roberto Heras; former winner of the Tour of Spain; tested positive for rEPO use during the Tour of Spain; Tour of Spain title stripped; suspended.
Frankie Andreu; super domestic; 1999 Tour de France. Admitted to rEPO use during the 1999 Tour de France.

Quite an impressive list! What adds ammunition to the Johan Bruyneel "clean" era doubters is the competition that Lance Armstrong faced during his impressive seven year Tour de France title run; competition that Lance Armstrong seemed to beat with ease.

Competitive Riders:

Ivan Basso; guilty of blood doping manipulation. Proven participant in Operation Puerto; suspended.
Iban Mayo; tested positive for rEPO use; suspended.
Jan Ullrich; admitted to involvement in Operation Puerto; suspended, retired. Jan Ullrich admitted to rEPO and other performance enhancement substance use during the 1997 Tour de France. Jan Ullrich won the 1997 Tour de France. Jan Ullrich was never stripped of his 1997 Tour de France title.
Alex Zulle; Festina Affair; admitted using rEPO. Lance Armstrong defeated Alex Zulle in the 1999 Tour de France by seven minutes.

Quite an impressive list! The list could, in theory continue forever, ever expanding in all directions like a matrix. But there is no need, the point has been made. People wonder, how could a man defeat such a list of miscreants riding clean, with such large margins, for seven straight years?

Conclusion:

Fact is nobody can figure out Lance Armstrong and his incredible run. The information that Floyd Landis provided the anti-doping establishment may provide some answers about Johan Bruyneel. Maybe. It is difficult not to be skeptical though. Because except for former Phonak sport director John Lelangue who may have aided Floyd Landis in his 2006 Tour de France "victory" and who is included in the UCI investigation, very few people are being investigated by the UCI, in spite of the voluminous amount of detailed incriminating "evidence" provided in the Floyd Landis testimony.

Don't laugh! This is serious business. Floyd Landis may want to mislead the "fools" with false information in an attempt to force the anti-doping crusade into conducting mountains of re-tests for past races where he makes allegations of doping by other people. Expensive tests; the UCI and WADA will scramble to find something on Lance Armstrong et al., while Floyd Landis is snickering at Pat McQuaid, Travis Tygart, and all of the other people who "wronged" him.

In this instance, even though Floyd Landis claimed that he confessed his drug use so as to not be part of the problem, he continues to be a problem. Floyd Landis you are an additional problem and maybe the anti-doping establishment will figure you out before a disaster and major lawsuit occurs. If only the anti-doping establishment could prove that they had some sense for once and dismiss Floyd Landis as the vindictive liar that he is and move on to more constructive tasks that don't require so much expense. Pat McQuaid; end the folly! Don't be a dupe!