Oct 23, 2001 3:11 PM
! SPORTS !
Pantani's conviction overturned
(Bologna, Italy-AP) -- An Italian appeals court has overturned cycling star Marco Pantani's conviction on charges he used drugs during a race.
The 1998 Tour de France winner has denied any wrongdoing.
The reason for the ruling isn't known. Italian courts explain their decisions in writing a few weeks after the verdict.
The sports fraud charges stemmed from the 1995 Milan-Turin race when Pantani's red-blood cell count tested at almost 60 percent above normal.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
|Wouldn't it be great if...||mr_spin|
Oct 23, 2001 3:44 PM
|I love the part that says:
Italian courts explain their decisions in writing a few weeks after the verdict.
Wouldn't it be classic if a few weeks from now, the explanation is:
We the judges in the above named action, have set aside the conviction because we just got sick and tired of hearing about it! It was six damn years ago, people! And do you think he was the only one? Let it go. Mr. Pantani, you are free to go. As long as you don't drive. Oh, and try not to stink up the season next year.
|I knew I'd be exonerated. It was just vitamins. (nm)||Elefantino|
Oct 23, 2001 3:51 PM
Oct 23, 2001 3:56 PM
Oct 23, 2001 7:48 PM
|I never believed Pantini was taking drugs just because his Hemocrit level was above the ambiguous limit of 50. El Pirate, one time team mate of El Diablo Claudio Chiapucci on the old Carrera team, had the big heart for mountain climbs in the Alps of le Tour and Pyrenees of the Giro. One should be cautious taking pot :) shots at those whom Nationalities are not USA for self serving purposes. |
|His heart size has nothing to do with his redblood cell count.||matt|
Oct 24, 2001 12:22 AM
|True this was 6 years ago, but a cheat is a cheat. What possible explanation could you have for being 60% above the allowable level. Maybe his bone marrow went crazy that week and went into overdrive. Or maybe he lived at the top of Mt Everest for the month prior. Or maybe...just maybe... he got caught. That was about the same time the Euro scene really started cracking down on EPO and other substances. How long have pro cyclists been looking for ways off the bike to get an advantage? And yes, the first case I remember of this was by us, the ugly americans in 1984. The IOC started looking into allegations that Team USA was blood doping. From what I remember they would pull blood out of their riders and pump it up with stuff and put it back in the day before a race. That was the 1984 LA Olymipcs. The next year when Alexi Grewal went pro in Eruope he started having all sorts of unexplainable health problems that was finally cured by some witch doctor with stinky cheese and "herb" tea in Belgium. Odd correlation there. But anyways that is way off the point. Point is Pantani got caught with his pants down...literally. Now fess up. Does it really matter if he is convicted? Will he do jail time? I think not. His career was about over anyways, so now he will just end it abrubptly instead of floundering for a few more years.|
|Quick correction: His hematocrit level was not 60% "above. . .||9WorCP|
Oct 24, 2001 5:50 AM
|allowable levels" as you write. His hematocrit level was 60% whereas the allowable level is 50%. Some riders are allowed over 50% because they have abnormally high hematocrit ratings naturally. Before the EPO dope test the 50% level was set for "rider safety" since having more red blood cells in the system could cause clogging in the arteries and capillaries thus creating a health hazard. Going over the 50% level merely raises suspicion but does not definitively prove guilt. 60% though is pretty outrageous.|
|it would tend to always be about the same||matt|
Oct 24, 2001 8:22 AM
|If he had failed the test once, you would think he would be watched closer in the future. So his abnormally high count would then tend to happen on a regular basis. They would see he has a higher count, and all would be well. Not the case here. He was above the allowable level for this race alone. I haven't heard of him having a problem with it since. Have you? If you don't think most European pro's at least tried EPO in the early to mid 90's you are crazy. If he had not crashed that race he would have gotten away with it too like the rest of them.|
|I think Pantani's lawyers argued. . .||9WorCP|
Oct 24, 2001 10:20 AM
|that his red blood cell count was artificially elevated due to dehydration. Essentially this is a moot point since nothing has been proven one way or another and no crime was committed according to the UCI rules at that time. This is why he was acquitted. I believe you have to let prior champions have their accomplishments clean and free and move on because all one has at this point is suspicion, circumstantial evidence and innuendo. We're talking tar brush here. I'm not denying drug use, by the way in many respects I completely agree with you. i think it would be foolish to ignore it or not treat doping as a a serious problem. i fully endorse what happened in the Giro and in '98 TdF w/ the police raids. Cheaters need to be put on notice.
However, it is important to note that having an elevated hematocrit level does not directly translate into elevated performance. I may be remembering wrong but I believe in this year's TdF the avg. level was in the low 40 range including the top climbers. Ther are many ways to dope and many ways to mistakenly appear as if you are doping. Didn't Bo Hamburger ( it was him right?) get a positive and a negative result for EPO out of the same sample?
|Correction on blood doping||Brooks|
Oct 24, 2001 7:13 AM
|An early method of blood doping used by many pros, and yes the '84 US Olympic cycling team, was to remove a pint or so of blood about a month ahead of a big race. Ideally, a centrifuge would be used to spin out everything but the red blood cells (plasma). The human body would be producing red blood cells as it normally does in the intervening month until the level is back to "normal". By reinjecting a persons own plasma right before the event, his/her body would have a boost of oxygen-carrying red blood cells and thereby gain an advantage.
EPO stimulates the body to produce more red blood cells than it "normally" would, thereby providing the same boosting effect.