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Negative Lance press on this side of pond(28 posts)

Negative Lance press on this side of pondSlothlike
Jul 23, 2001 8:57 AM
Here is an article a buddy sent me. Same old story, but from an american journalist though. Why are there so many questions when they test, test, retest and then test again with no positve results for doping????? WHY????

Riding in circles
Armstrong still has questions to answer about doping

Who doesn't want to buy into what would be the most inspirational story
in
sports -- that Lance Armstrong, the man who beat cancer as mere warmup
for
back-to-back victories in the Tour de France, is now the rare clean
cyclist
in a sport addled by drugs?
I certainly want to buy in. Armstrong vaulted into contention for his
third
straight Tour title this week, ascending the 21 remorseless switchbacks
of
L'Alpe d'Huez to finish almost two minutes ahead of everyone else on
Tuesday, then winning a mountain time trial on Wednesday. As he did so,
it
was hard not to think of his tagline in that commercial: "What am I on?
I'm
on my bike. What are you on?"
Armstrong's blithe deflection of the question fits both his go-for-it
personality and our national mood. For all our public exertions against
drugs -- whether bombing coca fields in Colombia or hectoring each
other to
Just Say No -- Americans always seem to leave to non-Americans the job
of
uncovering pharmaceuticals in the games we play. It took members of the
International Olympic Committee to smoke out last summer the reluctance
of
U.S. officials to disclose positive drug tests of American track
athletes in
Sydney. And it took The Sunday Times of London
?999> , on the eve of this year's Tour, to catalog the suspicions now
surrounding Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team.
A glance at The Sunday Times' list shows how uncomfortably cramped the
quarters inside Armstrong's inner circle have become:
Chris Carmichael, Armstrong's longtime coach, has been implicated as a
result of a lawsuit brought against U.S. Cycling by Greg Strock, a
contemporary of Armstrong's in the American junior program, who claims
he
was pressured into taking injections.
Dr. Prentice Steffen, U.S. Postal's former team doctor, says he was
dumped
after the 1996 season -- just before Armstrong joined up, and soon
after
Steffen had rebuffed two riders who approached him with what Steffen
regarded as an appeal that the team use performance-enhancing drugs.
An unnamed American who rode with Armstrong for Motorola during the
1990s,
referring to the blood-boosting substance believed to have caused the
deaths
of dozens of young European riders, says that "Lance was a key
spokesman
when EPO was the topic," and that the team, after a mediocre
performance in
1994, decided to "give in and join the EPO race."
Kevin Livingston, Armstrong's trustiest U.S. Postal domestique and best
friend, received treatment from Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor
awaiting
trial on charges of providing riders with EPO. Investigators have
records
showing that Armstrong himself has paid Ferrari five visits since March
1999, the most recent this spring.
When they begin a descent, cyclists "choose a line" -- negotiate as
short a
distance as the road allows. That's how Armstrong has responded to The
Sunday Times' findings, by choosing a line. He has answered with
non-answers
and replied to questions with beside-the-point questions of his own.
Still,
we're asked to believe -- we want desperately to believe -- that he's
clean.
Or at least that he stands, with the body he and his doctors somehow
brought
back to health through chemistry, four-square against the deployment of
chemicals in that body, or any competitor's body, to cheat.
If you're clean, you visit Dr. Ferrari -- who once called EPO "no more
harmful than five liters of orange juice" -- once, and that's to tell
him to
get the h
Sorry, Rest of articleSlothlike
Jul 23, 2001 9:01 AM
If you're clean, you visit Dr. Ferrari -- who once called EPO "no more
harmful than five liters of orange juice" -- once, and that's to tell
him to
get the hell out of your sport. If you're clean, drug testing isn't
"the
most demeaning aspect of the Tour," as Armstrong calls it in his
autobiography, It's Not About the Bike; the most demeaning aspect of
the
Tour are those team cars that leave hotels after midnight, to stash
used
syringes and bloody compresses and empty vials in remote dumpsters.
It isn't easy to break the omerta of drugs. A decade ago Irish rider
Paul
Kimmage tried to do so in his exposé A Rough Ride, only to show up at
the
Tour and have officials warn him that they couldn't guarantee his
safety,
for all the ill will he had engendered within the peloton. But Kimmage
was a
marginal rider. Armstrong has stature and history on another order of
magnitude. If the Tour is so daunting an athletic task that it's
unreasonable to expect anyone to tackle it without chemical aid, let
Armstrong say so. If there really is no place in the Tour for drugs,
let him
tell off those who can't come close to him even by cheating. To choose
either of the aforementioned courses would be Armstrong's most
inspiring
ride yet.
I want more than anything to believe. But if you ask me what I'm on,
I'll
tell you: I'm on skeptoids.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Alexander Wolff is a regular
contributor to
CNNSI.com.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the writer.
SkeptoidsSteveS
Jul 23, 2001 9:09 AM
Skeptoids like skeptics only have to provide innuendo with a superior attitude of aloofness to anything other than their viewpoints, they aren't required to provide proof of anything they argue. If Armstrong is proven to be currently on illegal drugs, I would be happy to dump on him. Until that is proven, I think I will flush the innuendos of "skeptoids" down the toilet.
Funny...There's no link to respond to Wolff...What a surprise...biknben
Jul 23, 2001 8:11 PM
I tore that web site apart looking for an E-Mail link to give that A$$ a piece of my mind. I couldn't find anything. Not even a link to CNN-SI via E-Mail. Would love to unleash on someone right about now. That article was trash. 'Nough said!!!
IF Lance is dirtyColnagoFE
Jul 23, 2001 9:22 AM
then he's doing a hell of a job hiding it. with all the attention he's getting i think he'd have to be an idiot to dope. it would just be too easy to get caught. i'm inclined to just believe he's "on his bike 6 hours a day".
Link to the SI opinion pieceJohnnyA
Jul 23, 2001 9:31 AM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/alexander_wolff/news/2001/07/19/wolff_viewpoint/

That's the beauty of opinion pieces, you can use innuendo and rumor without having any constraints of journalism.
Too much at riskmoneyman
Jul 23, 2001 9:55 AM
And it's not about the money, either. At least not Lance's money. If it were to be discovered that Lance was doping, his endorsements and USPS contract would dry up instantly. But as it is, and as he has said, he doesen't NEED any more money.

But the other consequence, the one that would sting him the most, would be the fallout to his foundation. He has stated publicly and privately that he is a cancer survivor first, a cyclist second. The support of the public for the LAF would disappear, and his reputation, and the foundation, would be ruined. I do not believe that he would risk that even for a TdF victory. The LAF raised more than $1.5 million for cancer survivorship this past year. How much do you think it would raise if EPO was discovered to be Lance's secret to winning the mountain stages?

$$
How much has it already raised?TJeanloz
Jul 23, 2001 10:03 AM
Let me start by saying that I personally do not believe that Mr. Armstrong uses any tacitly illegal performance enhancing drugs. But I don't know for sure.

However, the argument presented above doesn't add up. Yes, he would lose his reputation and the LAF would stop getting donations from admirers. BUT if EPO was the one and only ticket to a Tour victory (or 2 or 3) it makes sense that Mr. Armstrong would punch that ticket in order to raise as much money as possible while his image remained clean. Remember, he's raised several million $, but how much would he have raised without a tour victory? I'd venture to say less that $100,000. So by taking the drug, he has raised several million, but may, upon being found out, lose the ability to raise more. Or the other side, he could raise practically nothing without a tour victory and continue indefinately to raise nothing.

Again, I don't think he is doping, but I don't know for sure. But the economics of it, are, at best ambiguous.
That's a pretty jaded viewmoneyman
Jul 23, 2001 11:45 AM
And it doesn't add up to the reality. He started the foundation before his first Tour victory, dedicated to cancer survivorship.

Think about it - how much could Lance's foundation raise with two or three TdF victories? Let's say, for argument's sake, that it is $6 million over the three year period. Then it is discovered that Lance actually is doping, and he is publicly disgraced. The LAF closes it's doors, and Lance fades into ignominious obscurity. While he would have raised $6 million, that would be the end of it. On the other hand, let's assume there is no doping involved, and Lance never wins another Tour victory. He could continue to raise large sums of money as long as he wanted to, far exceeding the amount raised in the short, hypothetically dope-enhanced career. Lance is a very smart businessman, and to believe that he would overlook these scenarios is, well, unbelievable.

From personal experience, I can tell you that Lance's passion for the mission of his foundation and for the people involved in the foundation is unsurpassed. He has surrounded himself with some very astute and savvy folks who manage the foundation on a day-to-day basis, as well as his board members and medical advisors. I find it difficult to imagine that they have allowed themselves to be duped by Lance in his consistent denials of doping.

I have personally raised more than $200,000 for the LAF in the past two years. I can tell you that if he was actually guilty of not only doping, but of lying about it as well, my support would stop. But as it is, I am currently making plans for the next $100,000.

The doping allegations make no sense, either economically or personally.

Finally, I cannot for the life of me imagine him staring into the face of Kelly Davidson's parents and telling them that he was lying.

$$
$$
sorry, I agree with TJeanlozET
Jul 23, 2001 12:02 PM
Your view sounds naive, his more sound economically. I'm not saying Lance doesn't take the foundation seriously; I'm sure he does. I'm also not saying he for sure takes or took drugs, although I do wish that he'd say, "Read my lips, I have never taken an illegal performance-enhancing drug" rather than obtusely say, "I have never tested positive."
Naive? I'm a lot of things, but not naivemoneyman
Jul 23, 2001 12:18 PM
I'm not some teenage idol worshipper. I know of what I speak, and the doping stuff just doesn't make sense, personally or economically.

A negative cannot be proven. And regardless of how much Lance denies it, those who choose not to believe him will find fault with his words, whatever they may be.

$$
Sometimes, You Just Have To Be Willing To Take That Leap ...Greg Taylor
Jul 24, 2001 5:20 AM
...of faith and suspend the cynicsm that has poisoned our culture. Naive? Would that really be so bad? Forget whether doping "makes sense" in Armstrong's case. Are we so jaded that we are willing to believe that there are no heros out there anymore? What does the fact that we seek to tear down or diminish the accomplishments of virtually any sportsman or public figure say about us?

Below is an extract from an excellent piece by Diane Pucin of The Sporting News talking about just that subject --

"And yet maybe the best thing Armstrong can give us is our naiveté back. Maybe we need to believe in this man, that he tells us the truth when he says in his commercial, "What am I on? I'm on my bike."

We need to believe that a guy from America spent more time climbing hills on his bike than any of the guys from France. We need to see only the sportsman — the Armstrong who waited for his closest competitor after that man had ridden off a hill — and the man who raised his hands skyward to honor a teammate who died in this race six years ago.

Maybe Armstrong is winning over and over again to give all of us a chance to believe again what sport can be about."

[In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a fan of Lance Armstrong, and have participated in the Lance Armstrong Foundation Peloton Project for two years.]
I'm guessing he has beforeColnagoFE
Jul 24, 2001 7:11 AM
but I seriously doubt he is taking anything now. It's a bit naive to think he never took anything earlier in his career. Heck...most of the riders did then.
A key ommision,TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2001 9:57 AM
Central to my argument is that Lance would never have won without doping. Not that he didn't dope and now does. The decision to take EPO et. al. could have come from his desire to raise money for the LAF, something not feasible without a Tour victory.
CNN/SI is on innuendoidsMeDotOrg
Jul 23, 2001 9:59 AM
Rather that actually doing any investigation, this hack simply regurgitates the London Times piece. You're guilty until proven innocent.
What about the daily stage-winner urine test?MikeC
Jul 23, 2001 11:15 AM
I know the results aren't immediate, but isn't it a pretty good deterrant except for the truly stupid? Or isn't the test reliable?
what about it?ET@home
Jul 23, 2001 7:00 PM
[Hi! This is ET at home (hence the name); I forgot my work password.]

Those caught that way would be stupid indeed. The idea would be to either use performance-enhancing drugs only during the training phase and have some of the benefits carry forward into competition, or to consult with shady characters on ways to avoid detection.
I think EPO is overratedcyclopathic
Jul 23, 2001 1:44 PM
after all your body produces it at higher altitudes.

a) Lance spent time in training in mountains
b) Gammow camera is only a few grand, and it can boost your red cell count as good as injections

if indeed LA uses Gammow it would make sense for him to visit Dr Ferrari and consult on EPO test /and how Gammow camera and EPO can be confused/

For records: I am not stating LA doesn't take drugs, I just seriously doubt he is on EPO
What's EPO?kenyee
Jul 23, 2001 5:25 PM
And where can I get me some so I can dust my buddies who work out harder than me? Just kidding. :-)

Is it like steroids? And wouldn't they have a blood test for this and other drugs that they commonly give athletes? It doesn't make sense for them to keep doing drugs now w/ all the media coverage; they'll just get caught eventually.
re: What's EPO?cyclopathic
Jul 24, 2001 8:20 AM
no it is not steroid. it is naturally produced hormone (as testosterone is) which boosts red cell count. Living at higher elevations boosts production of EPO naturally.

EPO is relatively safe substance, OD levels are probably similar to of LSD or hemp ;-) /LSD OD is 2000 times of "hit"/. Death cases probably related to long term use (kidney failure, allergic reaction, reduced natural production, hormonal disfunction etc)

Problem was before resent tour there was no test to detect if it is artificial or naturally produced, so UCI was just putting a limit on max red cell count.
re: What's EPO?peloton
Jul 25, 2001 9:59 AM
EPO is short for erythropotein, the name of a hormone produced in the kidneys which stimulates the body to produce red blood cells. There are also artificial forms of erythropotein such as Epogen, which were developed for treatment of lethargy in cancer patients caused by anemia from chemotherapy. EPO boosts the levels of red blood cells within the bloodsteam, this percentage is also referred to as one's hemocrit level. A normal hemocrit in a healthy 20 something male is about 43% on average. Artificial EPO injections can raise the hemocrit levels to far above normal levels. Baarne Riis, former winner of the Tour was also nicknamed "Mr. Sixty percent" for his elevated hemocrit level. Marco Pantani's hemocrit was also once recorded over 60% when admitted to the hospital from a car accident. An increased hemocrit level boosts the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the muscles which has obvious performancing enhancing qualitites.

EPO is a very safe drug when used under close supervision of qualified medical personel. EPO can be very dangerous when abused by athletes who aren't aware of how to control the drug's effects properly. Many cyclists have died over the years from improper EPO usage. An over-elevated hemocrit level can cause the blood to thicken to an alarming consistancy, and cause cardiac arrest as the heart is not strong enough to pump such thick blood. Willy Voet, the sognier for Festina who was arrested at the Franco-Belgian border before the 98 Tour for having 400 vials of illicit substances including EPO, lists a whole page of cyclists in his book on the Festina affair who are not with us any longer due to EPO overdoses. Artificial erythropotein usage can also cause the kidneys to stop producing it's own EPO because of the presence of EPO being introduced to the body.

In the past the UCI gave two week "health breaks" to riders with a hemocrit of over 50%. This year a test for the presence of artificial EPO has been introduced by the UCI and the IOC. Suspensions for aritificial EPO usage are severe, ranging from nine months to two years.

EPO may be old news at this point. There are hypobaric chambers that simulate altitude which encourages the body to produce it's own natural EPO, boosting hemocrit. This is a safe method as not enough natural EPO will be produced by the body to cause an overdose. There are also peptides that can be taken which stimulate the kidneys to produce it's own EPO. This may be more dubious to it's effects on health. Neither of these methods of boosting hemocrit will show up on any test for artificial EPO. There are also new drugs coming out all the time, and the testers can't keep up with new tests as fast as the drugs come out.
re: Negative Lance press = Bull S ** tdavidl
Jul 23, 2001 3:45 PM
Just one more pile o'crap journalist who knows better than the rest of us. A real heavy hitter...
IF LANCE IS DOPING...M4 Lou
Jul 23, 2001 4:55 PM
that means that he is getting away with it in spite of increased pressure and hightened awareness.
that means that it is working incredible well, better than it has for anyone else, two victories and a third on the way.
that, a man known for his character, is a total liar.

Ok, so if all this is true, why isn't everyone else winning. Obviously the spotlight is on Lance constantly, so if he's doing it, then so is everyone else, who are not nearly as concentrated on could get away with it too. So why aren't they winning.
re: IF LANCE IS DOPING...jschrotz
Jul 23, 2001 5:54 PM
Preface: I'm not saying that Armstrong or anyone else is on dope in this post. This is mere conjecture and opinion.

If any of these guys are doping, they're most likely using something that has yet to be discovered by the IOC and/or UCI. As in most other realms, the cheaters are almost always one or two steps ahead of the authorities. Back in the late '80s EPO was relatively unknown, and it took the death of several riders who were using it before the UCI and IOC acknowledged its existence and banned it. As for "why isn't everyone else winning", drugs alone don't win races. You still need the ability, tactical awareness and team support to win. The drugs just give you what could be that edge you need to beat the rest.
re: Negative Lance press on this side of pondtirider
Jul 23, 2001 6:37 PM
Here's my e-mail response to the moron who wrote this article:
Your article regarding Lance Armstrong was brilliant. The depth of your facts implicating Mr. Armstrong were completely breathtaking to say the least, so much so might I suggest that you send your resume to some of the quality media rags such as the National Enquirer who are quite deserving of your talent.
As usual I'm disgusted by the American sports media's attention (or lack thereof) concerning any athletic endeavor not in the mainstream of your average overweight, beer drinking moron lacking two IQ points to rub together. But wait, along comes Alexander Wolff with a lengthy article regarding the only European cycling event to hit his radar screen and what do I find? Nothing but innuendo and conjecture.
Might I suggest that you stick to reporting on the sports you know best... those played by over-paid, minimally fit "athletes" whose only skill set is ball manipulation.
Oh and by the way, dribbling a basketball up and down a court is not an endurance event.
Greg Faber
Preston, WA
If anyone's interested his e-mail address is thehooplife@aol.com.
re: Negative Lance press on this side of pondmr tornado head
Jul 25, 2001 5:33 AM
I just had to reply, too. However mine was much more lengthy than tiriders. Hey, if Lance is suspected of performance enhancing drugs because he's risen to the top, why not automatically suspect Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan?

You can get away with a lot of crap when you call it opinion, tho
PLEASE!mmaggi
Jul 24, 2001 5:06 AM
I have no proof that LA is doping. On the other hand I have no proof that he isn't.

But I'm not stupid. LA was on his deathbed 4-5 years ago. He will win his 3rd straight TdF next Sunday (barring a crash or injury), arguably one of the world's most grueling sporting events.

LA is making a living in sport that for years has been in the spotlight whenever the words "performance enhancers" was used. The greats Anqitiel and Merckx were busted and the rumors of Coppi, Bartali, Moser, Hinault and many others were never ending. Let's not forget Marco Pantani and more recently the fallouts of the 1998 TdF and the 2001 Giro.

It was Greg Lemond who stated about 4 years ago regarding use of performance enhancers that "the Itlaians are the masters at it" which of course implies that others do it but aren't as good at it.

LOL! Lemond must have forgotten how good his medics were at it because he won 2 TdFs on 1 lung!

IMO, LA is doing it and he hasn't gotten caught because he's using stuff that isn't on the banned list. Dario Frigo got fired from Fassa Bortolo at this year's Giro after the Carabinieri found performancre enhancers in his bag that weren't on the banned list. He wasn't the only one.

If it's any consolation, most if not all of LA's competition are using them too. At least it's a level playing field.

But don't try to convince me they're clean. PLEASE!
PLEASE!JohnnyA
Jul 24, 2001 6:30 AM
mmaggi raises some good points. A more informed insight than Mr. Wolff at least. With 86 cyclists and staff implicated in the Giro affair, there is clearly a problem. To what extent, who knows....