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Jan Ullrich on Doping(22 posts)

Jan Ullrich on Dopingpeloton
Jun 11, 2001 11:50 PM
"Those who have to recourse to using illegal substances irritate me. They should not just be banned for a few months, but for life from cycling." Jan Ullrich in the wake of the Giro

Maybe there is some hope that some of the top stars such as Lance and Jan are clean, and it is only the pretenders that need the drugs in hopes of winning. It is good to see that if nothing else, Jan would stand to ban those for life who choose to cheat. Maybe the UCI should start to see things this way.

In other doping news, Bo Hamburger is going to pursue legal avenues in response to being the first rider ever banned with the new EPO test. Hamburger's A and B samples from an early season race both tested positive for EPO usage. The EPO test has not to date been published in a major medical journal, which is considered the means for acceptance of a test by the medical community. Unfortunatly, this could allow Hamburger to get away with doping in the legal sense in his fight against his 9 month UCI ban. Hamburger has also been banned for two years by the Dutch association. At 31, this will hopefully end the career of a cheater unless the lawyers are able to cover his tracks.

Ban the cheaters for life.
I'm with youmike mcmahon
Jun 12, 2001 12:00 AM
Good for Ullrich for making a definitive statement about doping bans. Too many riders who claim to be clean seem reluctant to come out publicly and strongly against doping. Nobody likes police raids in the middle of the night, but until those involved in the sport (from top to bottom) have shown that they've cleaned up their act, they should not complain about constant testing or occasional unannounced searches, assuming the authorities have good reason for making the searches. I'm not so naive as to rule out the possibility that Ullrich's statement is a self-serving publicity tactic forced upon him by those in charge at Telekom. However, I'm not so cynical (yet) as to assume that everyone has used, is using, and will always use dope in cycling. If his statement is sincere, it seems to be a step in the right direction in a troubled sport. Now, if he can only back up his statements with a stellar performance and negative dope tests in the Tour. . . .
I'm encouragedDuane Gran
Jun 12, 2001 5:16 AM
That is great to hear such words from Ulrich. I'm beginning to doubt if the drugs really have that much real effect anyhow. It might provide a psychological boost, but I have a feeling it is more mental than physical. Even though, I still consider it wrong, but I keep hoping for more riders like Ulrich to make a strong statement on doping.
I'm confused...Dougal
Jun 12, 2001 5:53 AM
More mental than physical? A drug that can greatly increase the bloods capacity for carrying oxygen, somehting very important when your muscles are working as hard as pro cyclist's do, is more of a mental boost than anything?

That seems a tad odd...
Disagree on one pointLazy
Jun 12, 2001 7:26 AM
While I'm in 100% agreement with you about Ullrich's statement, I think that doping can have a huge effect on physical performance.

We have to look no further than what Phil said during one of the last stages of the Giro. It went something like this: we should have known Frigo was on dope. He hasn't won anything for years and all of a sudden this year he's a major contender in a grand tour.

I firmly believe that without his dope, he's pack fodder. Just MHO.
an explanationDuane Gran
Jun 12, 2001 11:08 AM
I should have qualified that statement. I get that impression from what I know thus far from the book "Breaking the Chain". There is an exerpt from

The author confesses that he was involved in helping cyclists dope for many years and he describes the culture and process. The surprising thing he says is that the real champions will win with our without drugs. He alludes to something beyond the biochemical understanding of sport that no drug can give. Anyhow, I found it interesting.
on a tangent......check the milk!Car Magnet
Jun 12, 2001 6:01 AM
I absolutely agree that doping is cheating. But I would suspect that there's more "dope" on the grocery store shelves (not to mention your local GNC). The tomatos all look the same, the cucumbers all look the same, and I don't even want to get started on the meats and milk. I mean, have you seen the kids these days? Girls that are way developed by 13-14, Boys that are huge at the same age. The biggest kid on the football team when I was in high school (70's) was about 6'-2" 185lbs, now the same kid these days barely qualifies for the chess club. Advanced genetics or advanced science? I don't know. As far as the dopers in the peloton, Don't ban them, make them wear jerseys with spitoons printed on them.
on a tangent......check the riders !!!Leroy L
Jun 12, 2001 7:17 AM
Bodybuilding - the wierdest cult going - has 'natural' [health food substances] and 'pro' [steroids+whatever else] competitions. If you want to create cycling freaks - this is your body on drugs - do like the bodybuilders.

Who cares if CyclistX, let's say Frigio, Pantani, etc., can ride like a M#%$@&F^&*$# jacked up on speed or blooddope? Substance abuse in the sport has gone on too long. What past champions were dirty? Mickey Mantle used to play baseball drunk or hung over. Who does cycling have like that - I'll bet, plenty of riders.

It's just wrong - test 'em all - one strike and you're out !
Drug use? Where do you draw the line?SteveO
Jun 12, 2001 8:46 AM
How many of you riders drink coffee? Or take over the counter suppliments from say - GNC? Caffine, ephedrine, cold tablets (containing psydephedrine), and who knows what else? Actaveign (the drug the French accuse Lance of taking in the 2000 Tour) wasnt even on the banned substance list. If he did take it - is that cheating?

Bottom line - There is drug abuse in EVERY professional sport. I read that over 75% of the NFL is on anabolic steroids. The difference is you dont see police in the US doing middle of the night drug raids of the teams hotels or homes the night before the Superbowl! Mark Meguire - Baseballs homerun king - admittied using an over the counter drug? In last years Olympics I believe a woman gymnast was stripped of her gold metal because she was given a cold tablet containing psydephedrine for her cold symptoms?

So where do you draw the line? During the Giro Bob Roll stated that its not uncommon to have riders hooked up to IV's at night to rehydrate them throughout the 3-week race. Is this cheating? I would guess back in the early 1900's when this race started the riders werent doing this?

Its an interesting topic. Always creates heated discussions. And never really has a conclusion?
Drug use? You should be outragedpeloton
Jun 12, 2001 9:55 AM
Actovegin, the substance that was discussed in the US Postal controversy of the last year IS technically a banned drug. Any substance that improves the body's ability to produce or circulate blood is banned by the UCI in a blanket statement. So Acotvegin, as it is theorized that it can help the body circulate oxygen, would be banned under this rule. It would be considered a second tier drug, as it's benefits are dubious if it helps at all. Postal was saved as it had declared the drug, and there was no proof that any rider had taken the substance. No Actovegin packaging was found in the medical waste that was taken from the team car and found by the French press.

Mark McGwire may also have taken androstedione over the counter from a health food store. Androstedione is a pre-cursor to testosterone, and basically becomes a steriod within the body. Like all andro drugs, androstedione is banned by the International Olympic commitee. No cyclist could take this substance and hope to pass a drug test. It is also easily detectable, and of suspect benefit. It could even change into estrogen within the body. Major League baseball has a clause within the player's association contract that states that no testing for performance enhancing substances will take place.

Epidrine, psuedoepidrine, caffiene in certain amounts, and a variety of over the counter drugs are also banned by the International Olympic committee. What does this mean in relation to cheating and your average guy? Well, one cup of coffee in the morning is normal and good. Four Vivarin a half hour before your event is not. Caffien is also a diuretic, and that can be used to help to mask other drugs.

Cycling really gets a bad reputation for it's efforts to clean up the problem that is doping. Any time you try to clean something up, you need to take out the trash. I look up to cycling as a sport for having the courage to attempt to clean it's problem up. Perhaps the NFL and others should be as outraged. Athletes are role models if they like it or not. Do you think you average high school kid doesn't know that your average NFL guy is on the juice? How do you think this affects an impressionable mind? A recent survey of middle school students in MA found that 3% had used anabolic steroids. 3% of kids under the age of TWELVE??? It gets much worse with high school age athletes. That is something that should outrage people! Who do you think that they are emmulating? Where did they get that idea? Look to those at the top that use such illicit means, and you have your answer. We should be outraged that pro sports as a whole aren't trying as cycling is to end doping.
Excellent post.9WorCP
Jun 12, 2001 10:36 AM
Cycling is tarnished by the fact that it is actually doing something about the problem. Lord knows it's a messy affair mired in ineffective testing, legal battles, international politics, big-money-sponsors and the constant introduction of new dope. But it is one of the few pro sports that is willing to give itself a black eye in the attempt to clean itself up. These steps, as in the Giro, are positive although the fact they are catching a lot of guys makes them look bad.

The cheaters have to be disgraced. Those who help cheat (i.e. doctors, corrupt coaches, etc. . .) should be banned. It would be nice if Frigo came "clean" (pun intended) and spilled the whole story on doping in his team. Is it sytematic? Was it totally his own doing? After nearly stealing/wrecking the Giro he owes it to cycling at this point.

Conversely, atheletes like Ullrich and Armstrong should be feted as "clean" (we hope) winners. A mark of distinction that separates them from the rest.
Frigo's press conferencepeloton
Jun 12, 2001 10:55 AM
Dario Frigo is having a press conference on Wednesday (I think), in which he has stated that he will uncover the truth of doping in cycling. I would love to see him take down all the other guilty parties with him. That would be the only way that he could redeem himself a little in my eyes. I would respect him if he chooses to stand tall, and point the finger at those who bring this element into the sport instead of making anonymous blanket statements.

Doping shouldn't be tolerated at all. Doping is really just theft from clean athletes, and it is horrible the example a dirty athlete gives to our youth. I wish people would stand up and make it clear to out sporting organizations that doping is not acceptable and that something must be done. :(
You and me see eye-to-eye on this. Couldn't agree more. (NM)9WorCP
Jun 12, 2001 4:00 PM
Atlitude trainingLen J
Jun 12, 2001 10:01 AM
Last year at the Olympics they would not allow athletes to bring portable Altitude emulating tents (for sleeping) into the olympic village. These tents are used to simulate the lower oxygen environment of altitude. Testing has shown that sleeping in these tents naturally increases Red blood cell counts. Is this cheating? What about training at altitude? It seems to have the same affect as EPO. It is indeed a slippery slope. Where do you draw the line?
very complexfreespirit
Jun 12, 2001 10:14 AM
You can take the 'cheating' issues to extremes.

Is altitude training cheating? Likely not. Isn't the guts of 'cheating' defined as doing or using something unnatural or unfair. Of course, that begs the question, "what's natural" or "fair"?

Is if fair to be born with exceptionally gifted genes? What if I naturally have high hematocrit, but you don't? Natural, but unfair. What if you dope just to pull even with mine?

What if a human were genetically engineered to be fast? Hmm.

What if 2 gifted athletes sought each other out and mated just to produce gifted children? In other words, breed athletes? Fair?

It gets more complex all the time.
Atlitude trainingSkip
Jun 12, 2001 5:55 PM
As far as HCT (hematocrit) goes, use a sliding scale. Set a HCT of 48 (or whatever as the baseline) being the accepted norm; then deduct 10 seconds (or any other set amount) from the racer's finishing time for every 1% below 48, and add 10 seconds to the racer's finishing time for every 1% above 48. Measure every racer's HCT at the start line. Maybe the racer's would actually try to lower their HCT, in hopes of reducing their race times more than what they thought they were physically capable of. Hummmmmmmmm.
Atlitude trainingKreeger
Jun 12, 2001 8:20 PM
So... a fat (Ullrich) rider who is out of shape and finishes well behind the lead group, but has a crit of 52 should be penalized how much???
Not buying the it's OK cause you can't draw the line argumentDaveG
Jun 12, 2001 5:45 PM
Many folks have pointed out the level of subjectiveness that occurs here with more common drugs like caffiene. They then want to argue that since there is some gray area that the door should be wide open. I can't buy that at all. I think there is a world of difference between a cup of coffee and using EPO. The difference is in the potential benefit and potential side effects. You are not going to take a minute off your 25K TT time with caffiene; you are also not likely to suffer serious side effects. Not sure the same can be said of EPO. Cheating is defined as breaking the rules. Admittedly, the UCI rules are not perfect, but they are far better than chaos. The everybody is doing it so its OK argument is crap. Drugs hurt the sport - period. It does nothing to enhance the fans enjoyment of the sport. Slightly increased average speeds and TT times don't improve our enjoyment of the sport - its the COMPETITION. Drugs don't change the competiveness of the sport at all. I would advocate the announcement of a zero tolerance policy to give some warning and then mean it. Cycling might be hurt somewhat short term but it benefit in the long run.
Only one solution, reallyfreespirit
Jun 12, 2001 10:01 AM
Really only way to help solve the doping problem, as new things will always come around in secret.

Develop a list of everything that is permitted to be put into the cyclists' bodies, year round. Yes, everything. Won't cure the problem, but then there are no vagaries about new things.
Jun 12, 2001 10:51 AM
I kind of doubt that Jan (or any top-ranked pro cyclist) has been totally clean for his entire career.
Ya, ya!Wailer
Jun 12, 2001 11:40 AM
Ullrich grew up in the East German olympic assembly line. You can bet he has had some interesting cocktails in his bloodstream whether he wanted them or not.

Armstrong? He has a huge chip on his shoulder, abandoned by daddy and all, disregards trainers and team managers when we was young, cocky, arrogant, self righteous, loner, worships mommy, etc. Based on that, I think he's the type of person who would thumb his nose at any one who suggested he needed drugs to win. Just a guess and worth no more than the eletrons it is written on.
Jan clean? Hes from East Germany for god sakes.Largo
Jun 12, 2001 12:15 PM
I would like to be wrong, but the guy is a product of the East German machine, he has to have used drugs at some point.
I still think he is a classy rider, but IMO, i suspect all riders at this level of doping to some extent.