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What do you think of the 'drug raids' in the Giro?(37 posts)

What do you think of the 'drug raids' in the Giro?JBergland
Jun 7, 2001 8:08 AM
Are they a good thing? Bad thing? Will they help with doping or cause races to become boring to watch (because no racers will be there)?
Pure stupidity on the part of the riders/teamsCima Coppi
Jun 7, 2001 8:14 AM
Since the raids on the Festina Team in the TdF a few years back, cycling now has a reputation for being in the big time of banned substance usage. Remember, in Europe, the goverments are much more strict about controlled drug usage than we are in States. If the riders don't want to have their hotels raided in the middle of the night, then they should not be using banned drugs. Pretty simple, one would think. Then again, the pros only ride, not think.
Jun 7, 2001 8:22 AM
It will be interesting to see who will end up out of the TDF as a result of these raids. With Chippo & the Pirate already out, the TDF can't stand many more.
TDFCima Coppi
Jun 7, 2001 8:25 AM
The tour may only consist of USPS. Since they're in the states now, they're staying out of trouble (for the moment)!!
Append to above.Cima Coppi
Jun 7, 2001 8:29 AM
You think Jean Marie Leblanc would now consider Mercury for the Tour. Maybe it should be an all-american TdF. Also invite Saturn, 7-Up/Colo. Cyclist, and the other great American teams to race. It may then be a clean race.
"an all-american TdF...a clean race"Pave
Jun 7, 2001 8:36 AM
While I'd like to do it as well, making the wholesale assumption that all American-registered teams are clean seems a bit short-sighted. Mercury-Viatel just had to dismiss Chotard for a failed dope test.
Append to above.bartali
Jun 7, 2001 8:56 AM
What makes you think the Americans are clean? A bit naive, don't you think?
Americans don't have a great reppeloton
Jun 7, 2001 9:19 AM
internationally in respect to doping. Look at the controversy at the last Olympics when Marion Jone's husband (his name escapes me) tested positive for nanladrone. Look at the lawsuit going on right now involving Greg Strock and USA cycling, over an alleged systematic doping program among our junior ranks. Do you think the NFL and NBA are doing anything about steroids except looking in the other direction? A survey came out last year among middle school students in MA. 3% of those surveyed had used steriods. 3% of kids under the age of 13!!! Other surveys have shown that 15% of all adult males in the US have used steroids at some point in time. Absolutely filthy.

I wouldn't point the finger at any American cycling team and call them dirty, but Americans aren't immune to the problems of doping. I don't think cycling is any dirtier than any other sport. Cycling is just saying no more, and it's image will suffer as a result. Other sports don't have the courage to try to stop doping.
Who us?JohnnyA
Jun 7, 2001 9:20 AM
Isn't clear that with the America's long historic love of cycling that we would be the only country in the world to develop top level racers without doping. Besides our virtuous nature would eliminate us from any suspicion.

"Just Say No" (nm)Leroy L
Jun 7, 2001 9:54 AM
Append to above.Cima Coppi
Jun 7, 2001 10:03 AM
OK, I see your point.... Why then don't we just globally ban cycle racing all together. WILL THAT SOLVE THE PROBLEM?!?!?

Alternatively, let the riders dope up the their hearts content and watch them have heart attacks during all the races (remember Tom Simpson). Wouldn't that be fun to watch!!
saddenedDuane Gran
Jun 7, 2001 9:34 AM
In the big scheme the raid is a good thing, but I wish they would have come up empty handed. This whole thing is very sad. I hate to think that some of the cyclists I look up to may be doping. I just give them the benefit of the doubt and try not to let it get me down.

Maybe what we need is full disclosure. Let the athletes takes drugs if they want to, but require them to disclose what they are using. In this way, the court of public opinion can exert a positive influence. For example, if the word goes around that Racer X won because he used EPO this taints the value of his win. I might be giving people too much credit, but the public opinion should have more respect for the guy who placed further back but did it clean.

My point is that no amount of legal enforcement is going to stop doping. There is an armada of shady pharmacists who will cook up ways to mask the tests and hide the drugs. About the best thing we have going is the public perception that doping is cheating.

Damn... I hate to say this, but if I were a father I wouldn't want my kid to look up to professional athletes. Damn how far things have slipped!
saddenedJon Billheimer
Jun 7, 2001 10:00 AM
I have to largely agree with Duane's comments. I just desperately hope Lance is never involved in any of this, because he is one of my last true sports heroes. Like Duane I never want my kids to look to sports figures as role models, and this from a lifelong, diehard sports fan. However, at the ripe old age of 56 I'm finally getting disabused of my naive idealism. It really is sad.

I don't agree, however, that disclosure and public pressure will ever affect elite athletes' behaviour, because winning and money is everything. Therefore, unrelenting efforts at detection and enforcement must continue. Cycling really is getting picked on, which in the big picture is probably beneficial. However, I believe many other sports are even more corrupted, e.g. track and field, pro basketball, football, etc. And equally unfortunately American sport is simply unmatched in its doping expertise and practices. The East Germans and Chinese are mere amateurs by comparison.

I really feel for the cyclists in the Giro. This is such a brutally difficult sport. But until they start leaving the pharmacy and chemistry sets at home this sort of thing will continue, and we're all losers for it.
My rep just got tarnished!MikeC
Jun 7, 2001 10:43 AM
It's been kind of cool to have people know you're a cyclist. You know, having people ask how many days it takes to do a century, or "You mean you can actually do 40 mph on that?!!!"
So I took advantage of OLN's Giro coverage to get a bunch of my uninitiated friends to check out the sport at its highest level. Some of them really got into the strategies, and were blown away by the town line sprints.
However, I got an email from one of them today, telling me that his wife saw the story this morning and asked him if he thought I used dope. She was serious! She said that it's obvious now why cyclists are skinny and always needing to get out there and do more miles. And I don't even race any more!
I know how desperate athletes are to be competitive, and I know how tough it is to keep a place on a pro team, but it's tough to see all your illusions being gradually worn away. Many years ago, our way of enhancing performance was drilling out components and truing wheels. I guess that tuning the bike just doesn't cut it any more.
I've been watching the Giro with my 8 year old daughter. I suppose I'll have an opportunity to have a heart-to-heart talk with her tonight.
Ask her if the US womens soccer team is on steroidsJ.S.
Jun 7, 2001 11:17 AM
because four top dutch soccer players got caught using steroids. I get sick of cycling taking the brunt of this drug crap. American sports are rife with druggies but the sactioning bodies don't care because it is good for revenues.
Political Message from the Italian GovernmentGW Rider
Jun 7, 2001 11:02 AM
200 police officers for 20 teams?
Timed to keep the racers out of bed?

This raid had to have been initiated from an authority lot higher than your local constabulary. Was the Italian National government involved, seeing that they now have a right wing government? To what end and why?

Yes, cycling has its share of cheats, crooks, amateur pharmacists, professional pharmacists, just like most other professional and amateur athletics. However, the UCI, IOC, organizers and officials of races should be afforded the right and opportunity to police themselves without interference from National governments. Because, once the government becomes involved the issue is no longer sport-based but political. The politicians and, more importantly, the bureaucrats will use the issue to further their individual, departmental and/or party goals and agenda. It is a slippery slope once the government steps into sport and decides to remove all of its alleged vices. For all of the Americans here, do you want the FBI investigating the Mercury team? or the Postal team? Actually, let me retract that, if the FBI were to investigate alleged doping it would be farcical.
Throwing the Baby out with the Bathwater......runstevierun
Jun 7, 2001 11:16 AM
Doping is bad and unfair, find the dopers, throw them out but....
To time a raid before the hardest (and best) stage of the race and then keep the riders (clean ones as well as dirty) from their rooms until after midnight, is just plain stupid!!! How could anyone expect to race 230Km with 10,000 feet of climbing on four hours sleep!!! Why not do it in the morning just as the racers left for check-in? While trying to save the race, the enforcers have ruined the Giro for 2001.
Political Message from the Italian GovernmentJBergland
Jun 7, 2001 11:21 AM
GW Rider,
"However, the UCI, IOC, organizers and officials of races should be afforded the right and opportunity to police themselves without interference from National governments."

It is my understanding that they have been, for many years, and that is PART of the reason racing is where it is at today.
JBergland, Here's My reasoningGW Rider
Jun 8, 2001 8:11 AM
I feel that in the past few years these organizations have taken positive strides in favor of a clean sport. Is it a losing battle? yes but it is a battle that needs to be fought. Dopers and cheaters will always be a step ahead of officials. I do not feel that this issue should be used to further one group's political agenda, whatever that may be.
Agree... but a little differentJBergland
Jun 8, 2001 9:02 AM
RW Rider,

I agree with you that some of these organizations have taken steps over the past couple years in the right direction. However, I view them as 'baby steps'. The all mighty dollar does speaketh tooooo LOUD!!;) 'Change' needs to come from a variety of sources. I don't see one approach or source being enough.

On the other side of the fence. the recent 'drug busts' seem to smell of politics and not necessarily the kind of 'change' many would like to see. No drug tests on anyone? No names? Why at night and not first thing in the morning? Why do something like this if you are not going to gather the REAL evidence? Big 'bluff' or warning??
There are reasons. . .9WorCP
Jun 7, 2001 1:05 PM
The reason it was such a big operation was so they could raid all teams simultaneously unlike the 4 or five teams raided in the 98 TDF. It's an issue of fairness so no one can claim a team was singled out. I also believe it was timed before the race even started. It cannot be an accident they selected the day before the toughest stage of the race. God knows if you need to be doped this is the stage. Long term this is a good thing. I applaud the efforts cycling is taking to clean up its act. Nobody said that this was an easy, flawless task or that peoples' toes weren't gonna be stepped on.
Political Message from the Italian GovernmentMel Erickson
Jun 7, 2001 2:20 PM
You talk like cycling is something totally apart from society. Using your reasoning we should allow junkies to police themselves, too. Since when is illegally using drugs a sports issue? Of course it's political. Our politicians, as representatives of the people, make the rules. I'll be the first to agree the system doesn't work the way it was intended, but it's what we've got. Live within the rules or pay the consequences if you're caught.

The best answer to the problem is with the sponsors. Only when they give a hoot will the problem start to be solved. This holds true for all sports. Follow the money.
Giro, drugs, and ads ...Breck
Jun 7, 2001 11:15 AM
First the ads...
I would be remiss if did not comment to my bike board buds on the OLN ad claiming to give you the "Spirit of the Sixties" in the ad. Except for two cuts, their piks would be akin to tellin' yah tha "Bikes of the Sixties" & leavin' out the Paramount, Raleigh, and Conalgo.

Only one cut and one album of the true pre 1970 would be better to waste thou Bread (Manna) on. They are the cut from CCR[*1], "Fortunate Son" and Buffalo Springfield[*2] "Buffalo Springfield".

Then the drugs:
Post Giro subject commento:
Where would the "ball sports" be today in America if not for steroids and drugs? Nobody's really b!tchin' here regards huge Listo.

CCR began as the Blue Velvets, then the Golliwogs, then Credence Clearwater Revival based on a friend's name and the lines from a beer commercial.

Buffalo Springfield began as the Herd before spying the name "Buffalo Springfield" on a parked SF highway dept. steam roller used to pack down asphalt.

Just so happens am breaking in the Harmon/Kardon("invented" the receiver) CD/HDCD dedicated CD player and have on rotation the five disk platter:
"Sketches of Spain", Miles Davis, Col Masterpieces
"Django", Modern Jazz Quartet(MJQ) Japanese issue!
"BAGS MEETS WES, Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery",J- issue!
"Charlie Christian, the Genius of the Electric Guitar",
Columbia Masterpieces
"Buffalo Springfield", Buffalo Springfield,
Atco -division of Atlantic Records

...& for the Record,
Energy full size Pro Monitors left and right, Velodyne 1215X powered sub, Audio Quest cables. Leavin' out the front end as tubes are not in style any more than my dt indexed shifters, etc. w/o the front end 'bout the cost of a Record equipped C40 w/primo wheel set, or Dura-Ace equipped Merlin XtraLight ditto w/s, Ti goodies, etc. ....yikes, under spent on dah bikes :) but hay, alfalfa's about $16 the bale now, o got the mules trimmin' the south forty [ "Give Me Forty Acres and I'll Turn This Rig Around", the Willis Brothers] ...yikes you may soon want me in the Cat o' the ol' Roy Clark Tune, "Thank God and Greyhound You're Gone!", :) ...just tha same, i luv(as in like) yah, guyz :)bl ...& no old goats need reply; you know they pee on their beards to attract the ladys :)
re: What do you think of the 'drug raids' in the Giro?mmaggi
Jun 7, 2001 11:56 AM
I printed this message on another thread, and I think it's appropriate here:

If I'm not mistaken, the top 3 finishers of each stage are tested. To boot, the top 3 riders from each classification (leaders, sprinters, KOM, rookies) are also tested since they're required to submit urine samples.

Now, I'm not being naive and I'm well aware of all the doping problems this great sport has been through, but this police raid (400 caribinieri to be exact) is nothing short of barbaric. There was absolutely no reason for this. What are we living in... Nazi Germany or communist Russia?

I'm sure there are a few dirty cyclists, but for the most part, these guys have been testing negative. Does that mean that they didn't augment their training before the Giro? I don't know for sure, but my guess is not.

The bottom line is that apparantly there's little faith in the urine testing system that's in place. FINE. Come up with a better testing system. One that doesn't raid hotel rooms and keep cyclists up until 2:00AM in the morning the night before the best stage of the Giro.
Raids are good!SimpleGreen
Jun 7, 2001 12:06 PM
It's total BS that anyone would dope.

It's cheating plain and simple. What would people think if a cyclist took a short cut on the way to the finish that cut 1 minute off his time up a hard climb to capture a stage victory?

Doping gives that little extra that makes a difference between winning and being an also ran. Despite the pressures of winning and getting contracts, cheating is still bogus. So I think the raids were justified.

I'm sure the police had inside info as to when the cyclists would be using their stuff and where they had them hidden. This is probably the reason why they raided at night after dinner.

On another note...Major League Baseball has it in their collective bargaining agreement with the players union that MLB cannot test players for steroid or performance enhancing drug use. It's in the contract!!

Medically, a person can gain only a few pounds of muscle per year when they are young. As a person ages, it becomes more difficult. How many times have you seen players come back 20 pounds of heavier from off-season training--these guys are doped. Doping is everywhere in every sport.

Cyclists get the headlines because of the big news it makes and the timing. There are not hotel busts in the US. But perhaps cycling can try to do the right thing and take a leadership role in cleaning up the sport.
Dumb question, what is Doping?SSgt Jeremy in Germany
Jun 7, 2001 12:29 PM
Is Doping just taking steroids? Or is that something else? I am sure I am the only person in the world that doesnt know this.
Dumb question, what is Doping?Len J
Jun 7, 2001 12:45 PM
There is a whole list of banned substances that are (In addition to Steroids)mainly (I think) related to increasing the Bloods ability to carry Oxygen. EPO is the most famous. Blood tests measure the % of Hemoglobin (Oxygen carrying cells) in the Blood, (Under the assumption that the only way to increase the Hemoglobin % is thru illegal drugs). Above 50% (I think) is considered illegal. I'm sure if my body chemistry memory is wrong I will be corrected.

I've always wondered if this test automatically disqualifies a genetic freak that normally has above 50% Hemoglobin.

Not a dumb question, It is actually a fairly complicated subject. Back in the early 70's when I ran competitivly, several of the European runners were "Blood Packing". this is where they would remove thier own blood & store the Hemoglobin (Frozen). Prior to a major race, after thier body had restored thier normal blood levels, they would transfuse thier stored Hemoglobin back into thie bloodstream, this would elevate thier Hemoglobin levels for the race (Natural body functioning flushes out this excess Hemo w/in a few days) This increase in Hemo would allow them to run harder, longer due to higher oxegination of the muscles. Training at altitude does the same thing naturally. These Banned drugs exagerate the effects by taking the Hemo level to higher levels as well as sustaining these levels longer.

Long winded, but that's what I know.
Dumb question, what is Doping?JamesT.Kirk
Jun 7, 2001 1:20 PM
I think a rider can ask to be tested to determine their baseline hematocrit measurment. Some people are naturally high (I don't think many are NATURALLY over 50% though) Alot of things can cause this number to go up or down a few percent, so if I have a "normal" mesurement of 47%, I could conceivably go over the 50% threshold without doing anything wrong and "fail" the test. This is where having that baseline is handy. I thougth I read at one time that the UCI requires teams to be able to provide the normal hematocrit level for a rider so they can compare to test results.

I would think that it would be better to say that once your baseline is determined, you can't deviate more than x% from it. The reason, is that some one with a baseline of 30 percent could dope their ass off and raise it to maybe 45% (getting a big increase in performance) and not get caught since they didn't hit the magic 50% mark...
Dumb question, what is Doping?Len J
Jun 7, 2001 1:56 PM
Thanks. Good info.
I would question the baseline though. Who certifies? the team(The fox in the henjouse).
Blood Doping it was calledBreck
Jun 7, 2001 7:47 PM
The great Finn Lasse Viren was accused of this after the double in the 5K & 10K and even ran the marathon, 1976 Oly's.. Believe even caffeine levels had/have? a limit.

What was your event?

Amendment, LenBreck
Jun 7, 2001 8:32 PM
Sorry, the title should have read "Blood Doping it was called in the States?" ...poor editing skills, etc.

Reason i ask your event is that i lunch time ran at the Bellflower Rec center near Downey,California from 1974-1982. There was a guy there named Len who had been a 440 stand out at UCLA whom also ran in Europe. He said at the time that there was money to be made by Euro runner athletes unlike here in the states(at that time). He also explained the "blood doping" and other questionable practices such as the East German's werre accused of which i believe turned out to be true after the wall came down and records found, etc.

My gig back then was week end distance running racing & would jog the warm ups on the Catholic School track with Len before hit the roads. Believe his 440 time was around sub 45 back then, but that's all leaving the brain cells now a days.

Pre Frank ShorterLen J
Jun 8, 2001 5:35 AM
I grew up on east coast. I was one of those strang people that was out running roads before Frank Shorter won the Olympic Marathon (Before it was cool to run). Lase Viren was the most famous "Blood Doper" . He didn't win anything until the Olympics, and never really won anything other than the olympics. At the time there was no test, but it was widely known that he "Doped".

Never thought I'd meet another "Roadie" on a bike Site.
Blood Doping it was calledLen J
Jun 8, 2001 5:31 AM
Marathon. Ran 2:26 in High school.
Jun 8, 2001 9:14 AM
This woulda' got you into the trials, 1972 as the cut off was 2:30 i believe, later dropped to 2:20 but don't remember the date.

I ran my first "competitive" mile jr. in hi school, 1958/9, Ft. Worth Texas and also cross-country using the Converse tennis shoe type "trainer", Spot Built six spike racer. An 9:54 two mile at State meet was as good as it got for me. Later in 'bout end of 1968 started running "long distance" on the roads and got the AAU card(like bike racing now a days!) and met some guys such as Joe White, John Loeschhorn, and John Pagliano who were into it. Only manual back then was Tom Osler's book.

When Shorter took the Gold in '72 "they" were on to us as you say. The tennis players, etc. came outta tha wood work to run, the running scene boomed and i changed to mountain climbing in the eastern Sierra thoug still puttin' in the miles at lunch, before and after work. The the Little Lady & me bought the house, family, dog, etcs(!)., and the running slowed some what. Got into mountain biking in 1991 & road 1994 but still mountain trail and desert sandy road run as live in the San Diego county mountains, California.

My last big "show up and race" year was 1993 at the age of fifty, 5 miles thru 25K. My mountain 10K time had slowed down to around 44 min as was biking most of the time by then. No flat city races did i run. Twenty plus bucks by then and bands, etc. and they wear socks to race :) My first road race shoe pre 70 was Tiger's Boston ...$8 the pair; then Adidas SL72 mebee $14?, then the old saddle shoe type New Balance . NB is still my pik today both mountain and trail. Sidi's for the road bike and old worn Specialized & Shimano for the mountain bike with toe straps ...can ditch the bike and check out the peaks, etc. :)

My all time favorite runner would be Ron Clarke, followed by Herb Elliott. The Four Minute Mile by Bannister my fav read followed by John L. Parker, Jr.'s "Once a Runner". "On the Edge" with Bruce Dern a good flic. My current fav road pro is old Andre Tchmile.

Are you still taking in a race or two? I may gear up for my big six-o and do a mountain half in 1.5 years. I correspond a little bit with Mat Carpenter as his bud Rick Trujillo was one of my fav's for mountain running. We have a lot of local talent here both runners and mountain/ road bikers and our local mountain hi school track is one of only three "paved" tracks in San Diego county!

Yikes!Len J
Jun 8, 2001 2:33 PM
Yea. Unfortunatly I suffered from using too many S**tty running shoes for too many miles. I started running cross country and graduated into longer and longer runs. Grew up in Phila & hooked up with the Villanova Track team (under Jumbo Elliot) for some long training runs as a Highschooler. Came from the era where if you wanted to be good you ran a lot of miles. 10 in the A.M. b4 school, practice after school, & 4 to 6 at night b4 bed. 12 months a year. Were just beginning to learn about intervals. Ran my 2:26 as a junior & then started to have knee & hip problems. Nothing terrible to begin with just a low level discomfort that started to affect my sleep. Ended up that if I ran 4 days in a row I couldn't run day 5. Decided that if I wanted to walk when I was 40 I better try something else. At the time it was like losing a part of me. The good news is that that's how I found bikeriding. Been doing it ever since.

BTW Did you happen to see that 18 year old kid break Ryan's mile record at the Pre a few weeks ago. I felt like I was running with him, like a little kid screaming at the TV. It was great to remember (and a little painful too).

Thanks for reminding me. I'm glad there was somebody else who remembers running before Shorter. It was a small club.
Jun 8, 2001 11:09 PM
just happened to be watching the Prefontaine track meet and exactly at the time when they were going into the second lap. believe the commentator said broke ryun's(sp) hi school record by 2 seconds there about.

believe marty liquori(sp) went to villanova. remember his mother commenting that all vitamins gave you was expensive urine. cracked me up.

YavoLen J
Jun 9, 2001 4:57 PM
Liquori Did go to Nova. Nice guy. Never heard that comment, but I will remember it.

Kid did break the record by 2+ seconds. Ran 3.53 & change. Ran a sub 54 second last quarter and passed at least 7 world class runners. Finished 5th. The cool thing was that Al garrute(Sp?)race winner & world record holder stopped after finishing & cheered him in & then invited him to take the victory lap with him. Really classy. One of those moments in sports I will never forget.

Have a great weekend.