Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tom Danielson Tests Positive for Synthetic Testosterone

In cycling nothing is sacrosanct. Tom Danielson, two time winner of the Tour of Utah, has tested positive for synthetic testosterone in an out of competition test. Synthetic testosterone is determined by carbon isotope ratio testing. USADA has informed Mr. Danielson that his A sample has tested above threshold, however, the confirmation B sample is still under examination.

It would be premature to jump to conclusions at this point. When the test is confirmed then it may be proper to cast aspersions upon Mr. Danielson. But at this point it would be more proper to attempt to remain objective and consider his case. Mr. Danielson is mystified by the result, he wants to explore all possibilities. Some would consider this as the standard approach, denial with expostulations on love of the sport. Indeed, others would point out that Mr. Danielson has tested positive for doping before, and that he provided evidence against Lance Armstrong with a deal for a reduced sentence. So, does this provisional second doping offense require a two or four year ban? Does the USADA golden boy turned pariah get another sweetheart deal?

Of course, Tom Danielson rides for Slipstream Sports and Jonathan Vaughters, the "no tolerance to doping" team. Right. For two straight years Garmin dominated the Tour of Utah, "riding clean," much like Team Sky dominates the Tour de France "riding clean." The cleanest teams have the best results. Jonathan Vaughters is pounding his chest bragging that Slipstream has never had a positive doping test, until now. Of course, nobody is accusing Slipstream or Sky of running an organized team doping program. But, knowing USADA, some backroom deals could be arranged, information for a reduced sentence.

Slipstream fired Tom Danielson point blank, as always. These clean teams can't wait to distance themselves from their accused riders. 

Jonathan Vaughters says if Slipstream is involved, he, Jonathan Vaughters, should be banished from cycling forever. Recall that Mr. Vaughters is another doper who volunteered to make depositions against Lance Armstrong, and instead of being banished from cycling he was rewarded with running a cycling team. So there should be no problem with Mr. Vaughters providing USADA and the public with all pertinent rider medical information that may be requested to prove that Slipstream had no role in Mr. Danielson's provisional positive doping test. Travis Tygart should demand transparency. Of course, USADA could insist that the entire Slipstream staff be required to testify in order to build non-analytical-positive cases, as was done with Lance Armstrong.

You are laughing, ladies and gentlemen? Truly teams should be severely interrogated when their riders test positive for dope. How many times have team doctors been implicated, but who are never punished? How many times do the regulatory agencies turn a blind eye to team responsibility. Unpunished, the doping programs continue unabated. Riders are collateral damage, thrown out like rubbish to fend for themselves, the system is structured. Teams that have riders who test positive for dope should automatically be sanctioned then investigated under the philosophy that the team is guilty of a doping infraction until proven innocent. This philosophy applies to the riders, does it not?

I wish Tom Danielson well. I am accusing him of nothing. The evolution of his case will be a fascinating study.

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