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Been a long time (and Tour update)
Been a long time (and Tour update)
Well, it's certainly been a long time since I have posted. I'm not sure why I stopped, I just lost interest for awhile. But I'm back and feel the need to start posting again; for reasons unknown.
And while yes I am back, I will be pretty busy this month as my favorite sporting event is going on. The Tour de France.
Sadly, the Tour is in a bad place right now as it is in the middle of a huge doping scandal. Unfortunately, this is nothing new for cycling. It may be my favorite sport, but I'm not naive enough to think these guys don't cheat. The sad fact is they all cheat. Yes, even Lance cheated. This is nothing new, it has been going on since the Tour started over 100 years ago; including riders dropping dead in the middle of the race.
Doping runs rampant in cycling. All sports have a problem with doping but cyclists take it to an extreme. The problem lies in the fact that they don't have a reliable way to test against the products these riders use.
Ordinary fans don't understand what these guys do. Everybody is so quick to point out the fact that Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test. This is true. However, it in no way means he was clean. The latest scandal resulted in the riders who finished 2-5 in last years Tour being sent home the day before the start. Yet, none of these riders failed a drug test. What happened was a Spanish doctor was arrested and found to be in possession of dozens of bags of blood. Through wiretaps and other evidence these riders, among others, were implicated in the scandal. This doctor was "treating" 200 athletes, 58 of whom were cyclists.
I still love the sport and always will. The fact that they all cheat is disheartening, but if they all cheat it is at least a level playing field.
Oh well. The next three weeks will still provide me with endless entertainment. I strongly suggest anyone not familiar with the sport check it out during the Tour, especially since this is about the only chance we Americans have to watch the sport (you can catch it on OLN). There just isn't even demand here for any major coverage, while most of Europe gets daily coverage.
I'll keep reporting on the Tour even though none of you care or will even read it. If you are interested you can check back as I will keep updating as the Tour progresses.
BTW- Today American George Hincapie (Armstrong's lieutenant for all 7 wins) took the yellow jersey and leads by 2 seconds after 2 days. He will probably lose it tomorrow as the real race doesn't start for another week of so until the first time trial.
If you have any questions regarding the Tour leave a message in the comments section and I will explain.
7/4/2006 9:53 pm
Here's my question..Barry Bonds never surprised anyone, and is almost universaly hated because of his doping and ruining baseball, so "they" say.|
But Lance is so loved here, what will be the implications to him and the sport if he's found to have been a big fat one balled cheater?
LET'S GO METS!!!
7/7/2006 12:58 am
Cockmerollme, that is a very good question. I'm not sure exactly what the implications would be. The sport of cycling is still not very popular here in America, although most of the popularity it has is because of Armstrong. I think the casual fan has no idea of the drug scandals that routinely plague the sport. Those who follow the sport closely are generally aware of the rampant cheating. Every time Lance is asked about the allegations against him his answer is almost always the same, something along the lines of "I have been tested hundreds of times, and have never tested positive". He very rarely says he has never done drugs. This answer sounds reasonable to the casual observer. However, the kinds of drugs the riders routinely take are very hard to detect with current testing methods; those who do test positive do so mainly because of a careless mistake. Case in point: Tyler Hamilton. Hamilton was a former teammate of Armstrong who is now serving a four year ban for doping. How did he get caught? He tested positive for having somebody else's blood in his system; if he wouldn't have received the wrong bag of blood he would have passed the drug screen. |
Back to Armstrong for a minute. During the 2000 Tour de France, a US Postal car (now Discovery Channel), the team which Armstrong was a member of, was videotaped by a French television crew at a dumpster throwing away hundreds of vials of Actovegin. Actovegin is extracted from the blood of calves and supposedly improves the bloods oxygen carrying capacity. The evidence is on video; the problem was it wasn't banned at the time. It was banned immediately after. Armstrong denied any knowledge of the drug, going so far as to claim he couldn't even pronounce it. His claims about never testing positive for drugs are also only partly true. He once tested positive for cortisone. He then produced a prescription for the drug, said prescription was supposedly brand new but backdated. He was allowed to continue riding.
One of the problems is that the sport has always kind of looked the other way. In the 1967 Tour, a rider dropped dead on the side of the road. A huge amount of amphetamines were in his system. Most of the greats from that time have admitted to amphetamine use.
Let's take a look at some of the world champions from the 90's.
1991 World Champion Rudy Dahens, doper
1992 World Champion Gianni Bugno, banned for stimulants
1993 World Champion Lance Armstong ?
1994 World Champion Luc LeBlanc, confessed doper
1996 World Champion Mueseew, busted doper
1997 World Champion Laurent Borchard, confessed doper
1998 World Champion Oscar Camenzind, busted, admitted doper
Quite the list, isn't it? I'm not that Lance Armstrong or any other rider aren't great athletes, they clearly are. As a cyclist myself, I can tell you I can't even imagine riding at that level. I just don't want people to naively think that it is a sport with a few bad apples. Rather, it is a sport with few good apples. Hopefully the magnitude of the latest scandal will finally bring about change to a terrific sport.
I guess I never really answered your question about the implications if Lance is proven to be a cheater. My guess is not much would happen to him. He would probably continue to claim it all to be a which hunt by the French; much the way he has so far. As far as the sport here in America, it would be a considerable blow. He has been instrumental in the rise in popularity here in America.