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Is Lance on drugs?(28 posts)

Is Lance on drugs?Johnny
Mar 8, 2002 9:23 AM
I am a huge Lance Armstrong fan. I've read his books, I follow the tour religiously every year and as an American cyclist, I'm proud of what he has done for the sport and for the greater cancer cause. I believe in Lance and believe that he wins due to the loss of ~15lbs due to cancer, state of the art coaching and equipment, and by totally focusing on the Tour (not to mention having arguably the best tour team each year).

But is he really clean? Can he really beat the best in the world each year, many of whom are doping?
And if he's not on drugs now, has he ever been? I just want to believe it is all true.
My takemmaggi
Mar 8, 2002 9:34 AM
We'll never know for sure, but I tend to believe that he is JUST LIKE MOST (if not all) HIS ADVERSARIES.

In other words, he's on a level playing field.
well said (nm).Jekyll
Mar 8, 2002 9:36 AM
No -- he's on his bike 6 hours a day; what are you on? (nm)hrv
Mar 8, 2002 9:40 AM
re: Is Lance on drugs?netso
Mar 8, 2002 9:41 AM
1. Do you think you could beat him if he was not?
2. Competitive athletes on the World Level have a high usage of ergogenic aids approaching 95%.
3. Who cares?
Speaking as a cancer survivor.........Dave Hickey
Mar 8, 2002 9:53 AM
After all the sh@t they put in your body to get rid of the cancer, the last thing you want to do is put more drugs in. I truly believe Lance is clean.
On the other hand.........Velocipedio
Mar 8, 2002 2:11 PM
Lance has had first-hand experience of how powerful and effective some drugs can be. Besides, if he underwent chemo [which he did] then he almost certainly took EPO or something similar. I don't want to cast aspersions here, I'm merely pointing out a flaw in the "a cancer survivor would never abuse drugs" argument. I can certainly imagine someone being given EPO to counteract chemotherapy-induced anaemia and thinking "hey now, THIS stuff makes me feel good."

Personally, I prefer to believe a cyclist is clean until proven dirty. Lance has not been proven dirty.
On the other
Mar 8, 2002 5:22 PM
in his book he tells of taking EPO to counter chemo effects. This is very normal procedure for that situation. Personally i think the majority of guys were using the drug in the middle 90's before the scandal. But, that is total conjecture on my part. I think it is very idealistic to think otherwise when looking at the before festina scandal period. Cyclists have shown time and again that they will push the limits when it comes to rules of enhancing drugs. The prevailing attitude is if it ain't on the UCI list, its not cheating.
Totally personal opinion.McAndrus
Mar 8, 2002 9:53 AM
He is on many and varied medications (so am I). He uses many and varied ergonic aids (so do I). He uses nothing that is prohibited by the UCI.

I have the same opinion of Jan Ullrich, Erik Zabel, Andrei Tchmil and most of the major riders. There are some others I suspect and yet others we all know about.

Lance is either clean (as defined by the UCI) or he is the most clever cheat in the history of cycling.
Altitude chambers.Sintesi
Mar 8, 2002 10:06 AM
I think you are right on. It's what is against the UCI rules that constitutes cheating. Taking a supplement that increases performance yet conforms to the rules is a whole other matter. Sleeping in those altitude tents has roughly the same effect as EPO (i.e. increasing red blood cell production) yet is completely legal. This is an advantage he avails himself to that many of his competitors do not. Unfair? Nope, just taking advantage of new technology at least until it's banned by the UCI. When you sign up to be a pro rider you agree to abide by the rules and that is the difference between Armstrong and those cheat by doping w/ banned products.
Mar 8, 2002 10:10 AM
First off, how can we ever know unless someone is caught?

That being said, I think it is entirely possible that a focused, scientific approach to preparation can make an excellent rider great for three weeks a year. I think everyone has had that experience of being "spot-on" at some point in an athletic career, no matter what level you compete at. My athletic career has largely been a search for the right physical and mental peparation that allows more of those "spot-on" performances. Lance seems to have found his preparation methods -- conceivably without drugs.

Now just wait for the posts to start over the next few weeks about how Lance doesn't (and Greg didn't) race the whole season, just concentrating on the Tour, and how that makes them less-than-great. Fact is, if you look at the history of the Tour -- way back, back before steroids and amphetamines and a stimulant meant a flask of brandy -- you'll find that there were TDF champions that concentrated on the Tour, blowing off the spring races, skipping the fall criteriums. Racing at a high-level all year probably does require drugs, and as fans we should stop demanding that of the Pros.
You are bloody right on this... And just to state the obvious...tempeteKerouak
Mar 8, 2002 10:45 AM
This is what cycling competitively is all about.

There's the world championship (one day race)
There are world cups (over all classification)

There are one day races
There are grand tours

Can't expect to do it all, and that's what kills the sport; sponsors demand exposure, professional athletes are paid to show and paid to win. The fans want heros and great feats to look up to. Are our expectations realistical?
I seriously doubt he takes anything bannedcyclopathic
Mar 8, 2002 10:18 AM
and obvious like EPO. (at least I hope if he gets caught that would be a serious blow to US cycling)

However it is hard to believe he is avoiding performance enhancing substances which are not banned yet. One of newer drags 'Nesp can be ordered on internet for 500$/mo and has effect very similar to EPO. 'Nesp was found in last year Giro drag bust.

Sorry I do not buy an argument "Lance is not taking anything because he is a cancer survivor". 'Nesp is very safe it is given to patients during chemo to restore red cell count. (this is what it was developed for in first place)
...which would make him cleanPT
Mar 8, 2002 10:29 AM
Nesp is basically souped-up EPO and very easy to detect, as the XC skiers in the Olympics found-out... Even though Nesp was not listed, it was still banned. My understanding is that there are clear definitions of banned substances and even if a given compound is not yet named explicity, it can be illegal based on established criteria.

Nesp has the same side-effects as EPO. Administration of a hormone is never without consequences, it's just in the case of someone severly anemic, the consequences of not taking that particular hormone is worse.
from what I readcyclopathic
Mar 8, 2002 10:44 AM
'nesp isn't detectable and it isn't hormone.

with respect to even if a given compound is not yet named explicity, it can be illegal based on established criteria I have no comment this is very grey area which I am sure docs and law practitioners get paid to interpret. (Who would expect known drug cheat Marco will get away with high redcell count due to DEHYDRATION)

There is a big difference btw ethical and legal aspects and I hope you don't consider them identical. Not every unethical action is illegal and not every legal action is ethical
Good point. In fact, weren't some of the medal winners . . .morrison
Mar 8, 2002 11:19 AM
from the Winter Olympics stripped of their awards after it was determined that they were taking substances that were not themselved banned?

The speed with which these substances can be invented, produced, and distributed far outpaces the authorities' abilities to police athelites. At some point in the not too distant future, I expect to see cycling adopt an approach similar to what the federal government (U.S.) has done with controlled substances. Recently enacted legislation allows the prosecution of people who possess drugs, as well as their analogs. It used to be that drugs were identified and proscribed by their chemical compounds. A crafty manufacturer with the right training could create a synthetic drug that contained, perhaps, only one slight difference at the molecular level that did not alter the psychopharmeceutical effect of the substance. In other words, they could produce essentially LEGAL cocaine, heroine, amphetamines, etc. With the new legislation, it's much more difficult . . . in order to produce a legal substance, you have to produce something that is alltogether new, or unheard of.

That's not to say, though, that producing alltogether new substances doesn't occur from time to time. E.g., Ecstasy, GHB, etc. My guess is that soon, the government will begin outlawing substances based not just on the approximate chemical constructions thereof, but also on the psychological effects they produce. Thus, if you have a totally new substance that produces a high similar to that of cocaine, it would be outlawed. I also think sports doping authorities are going to go after athletes in the same way.



p.s. Don't ever go to El Paso on business. I won't tell you not to go for pleasure because that is so patently obvious it needs no mention. Sorry if I offended any El Pasoites, but I doubt it. THey don't seem to have any bikes there.
Cancer Survivor Number 2tma
Mar 8, 2002 11:29 AM
That's me. I can't say he isn't up to something, but I doubt it. Cancer scared the crap out of me and I will never quite trust my body not to go berserk again, so I don't provoke it. It's hard to explain this feeling until you wonder if every ache that doesn't go away or fatigue that you can't shed or time when you just can't seem to recover from workouts day to day means that it's all over and you've won the big door prize: a lingering spiral through being a helpless invalid to a slow and painful death.

All of which doesn't mean a thing related to Armstrong, but until somebody proves he's a cheat, let's all just resign ourselves to the notion that he's better and he works harder. It's a bitter pill to swallow. Heck, I wanted o be the left fielder for the Red Sox and what I got was the coveted cubicle on the end. Life is just full of little disappointments.
You are wrongPT
Mar 8, 2002 12:29 PM
No way to break it gently, but Nesp is just EPO on steroids (and EPO is a hormone, a peptide hormone in contrast to a steroid hormone). Nesp is a modified version of human EPO containing several amino acid changes and a different glycosylation pattern, all of which make it amazingly easy to detect. I am a biochemist/molecular biologist -- it's my job to be able to make such distinction. This one is easy -- most of my students would be able to design a test in about 30 seconds that would detect the presence of Nesp in a sample. However, artificial EPO is another story largely because it does not vary from the authentic, endogenous version in any substantial way. Consequently, at least some tests for its presence rely upon detection of secondary metabolic events.

Here's a link to get you started:

I don't consider ethical and legal aspects to be identical. My point, which I had presumed to clearly state above, is that there are rules which explicity state along ethical grounds what constitutes doping. And just because Nesp wasn't listed, doesn't mean its use is legal OR ethical.
Lance's edgebrider
Mar 8, 2002 11:08 AM
First, he picked his parents very well. And he also picks his medical support very well. Is he legal? Yes. Is he natural? Probably not. Just like saying the pro bodybuilders are juiced to the gills. Yes they are, but even if they weren't, they'd have physiques that would put 99.99% of the population to shame. These pro riders are monsters compared to the rest of us even if they trained half as much and rode a Schwinn Stingray.
Lance's edgenetso
Mar 8, 2002 12:30 PM
As a former pro bodybuilder I can categorically state that anyone on that level would look better or different than the populace even with no steroids. However, when you compete amongst yourselves winning can be marginal. Then you add to the mix money and fame. You will do anything to win. You can earn close to a million a year as a bodybuilder, but only 15k a year at McDonalds. What is the choice? I am not proud of what I did, no one is. But an athlete is obsessive and compulsive. Win at all cost!
Lance's edgeVelocipedio
Mar 8, 2002 2:14 PM
RE: You will do anything to win. You can earn close to a million a year as a bodybuilder, but only 15k a year at McDonalds. What is the choice?

I don't know... you could choose to go to university, get an education and embark on a career that pays considerably more than 15k and doesn't require you to take dope.
I think they're all juicedripSRV
Mar 8, 2002 11:12 AM
read Willy Voet's bookTravis
Mar 8, 2002 2:15 PM
"Breaking the Chain" is an eye-opener. Even though Voet is a rat-fink weasle who whines about how terrible his 16 days in jail was (you think he had spent 10 years in Sing-Sing as somebody's love-slave), he makes it clear that pro cyclists take whatever they can get away with. AND that some of the substances really do provide a significant enhancement to performance. The discouraging thing is that a cyclist can never prove they don't use drugs. All you can say from a drug test that doesn't discover a banned substance is that the person providing the sample didn't fail that particular drug in no way proves they are clean. So, if Lance is clean, that is his dilemna...the media wants him to disprove that he uses drugs, and all he can do is point to the results of his drug tests and his past medical history, but everyone knows the drug tests don't prove anything...and given his fantastic results, well, in order to beat the French cyclists who everyone knows are drugged up to the max, he must be taking something...
Lance is being asked too much...Djudd
Mar 8, 2002 3:36 PM
No one can prove a negative, he has done all he can do to prove he is NOT using illegals. It seems to me there are enough performance enhancers that are legal that one would not have to jump on the banned ones.
Additionally, Willy Voet is a tainted source. He has an agenda and anything he writes or says has to be judged in that light. I maintain a lot of this stuff is jingoism and because LA takes his role as the big kahuna in the peloton seriously (as is his right).
When Lemond one his tours, especially the first one, there was lots of hand-wringing by the cycling press that his "unorthodox" training would ruin the sport. In '89 the complaint was the aero-bars. Now there is whispering compaign against LA. The sport has been expanding over the years and the old boys are going to have to get used to it
Everyone can speculate all they want,Lazywriter
Mar 8, 2002 4:47 PM
but if any of you saw the Charlie Rose interview with Lance after he won the Tour last year, you would get a better idea of Lance's own view of the topic. First off, Charlie Rose is a great interviewer and Lance obviously was happy to be there. We all want to believe Lance is clean and we should until there is evidence to say he is not.
I would think he would be risking too much if he ever got caught. I am not even referring to his health only, but as a spokesman for so many companies, he would be risking everything. I think he would risk his health before his career ($) and reputation as I think he risks his health when he races.
There is a big difference in athlete's abilities and you have to account for that when you look at the freaks of nature in sports. Is Micheal Jordan on drugs? Was Secretariat for that matter doped up on race day or just the freak of nature that she was?????? Some people and animals are exceptional and that is why they are where they are. Everyone else plays catch up to them and hence the doping to reach their level.
Ultimately, if Lance does dope, it is no skin off my a$$, just his reputation and everything he has worked for. That is what I got out of the Charlie Rose interview. Awesome, I got it on tape thankfully.
read Willy Voet's bookVelocipedio
Mar 8, 2002 5:43 PM
RE: in order to beat the French cyclists who everyone knows are drugged up to the max

Everyone knows this how? Because they're French?

I can't remember how many times someone has said "well you know those French are all dopers," or the Belgians, or the Dutch, or the Italians or the Spanish. I even remember having a chat with some French cyclists who said, iun the same "we know it all" tones that "you know, the Americans are all on dope."

This may come as a shock to you, but one's nationality has nothing to do with one's integrity.
re: Lance on drugs?DaveL
Mar 8, 2002 5:36 PM
What are you on? What am I on? Is half this board on drugs, too? It is common in criminal cases for the prosecution to use as their star witness a real ratty, low-down, sorry character. From the beginning of the matter police, DAs. the press fall all over themselves believing and touting the story of some con man, career criminal selling them a story and trying to save his own sorry ass. It's always amazed me how they'll treat such crap as credible, but when an average citizen is in trouble, they will not believe him. That's how this discussion strikes me. There are countless insects crawling out from under rocks, selling their stories, trying to save their own sorry ass. Lance, a stud from Texas, shows up the euros, so he must be doping. Hey, that's how the euros do it, right, Marco? Jealosy, envy and resentment will take them a ways, but not far. Anybody note the whining from that French spare [cofidis rider? name escapes me], complaining about being dropped from USPS? That is typical, the way I see it. Really tiresome. Sorry for the rant - just my $0.02...
re: Is the board on drugs?Leisure
Mar 10, 2002 1:56 AM
I can't believe how educated everyone here is about the stuff. I'll let the powers in cycling scrutinize Lance. Given how hard they squeezed him during the TDF you figure he was at least as clean as the rest. Probably a lot cleaner.