Tothe5sarges’s Weblog


It had to end…
July 11, 2008, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We have our first doper, manuel beltran of Liquigas. Short story, former Lance teammate tests positive for EPO, designed to increase red blood count and carry more oxygen. Instead of retyping/rehashing my thoughts, here are my comments from espn.com.

EPO is naturally occurring and relative to hematocrit levels, which rise as the particular exercise lengthens or becomes more difficult because of the body’s dehydration and inability to rehydrate into the bloodstream. This is not a defense of Beltran, but is why a range is required in a ‘normal’ test. Dopers suck, but there has to be positive peer pressure and continuous testing to curb what has become the norm. Not everyone does it, but there is pressure to keep up.

Just because a teammate of Lance’s pees a positive (or bleeds a positive) does not mean Lance is involved. Having read his books, I don’t see it happening, but I’m sure someone will plead different…maybe even his cancer and surgeries were rouses to hide his past doping and install special tubes for testing that held banked ‘clean’ blood and urine. Floyd? Yeah, he’s a doper, when your defense has more to do with the incompetence of the lab and not your innocence…you’re a doper.

People and even Americans do care about cycling and it needs to turn the corner to remain relevant.
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Sorry, I should have plugged this in initially…Lance had the benefit when it came to treating his cancer to have already been well known as a world class athlete and attract the attention of the best doctors in the world to treat him. He admits he would never have been the rider he was if he hadn’t had cancer and received the care he did. It wiped his muscular slate clean, stripped his body of anything not essential to live and built a burning desire to dominate, cancer, life, cycling. Lance had extraordinary gifts given to him physiologically, increased lung capacity, ability to store and use oxygen, lactate tolerance and clearance and general pain tolerance. It is possible to win clean and calling guilt by association is dangerous.

The only athlete that people would like to see strung up as much as Lance? Tiger.
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Pardon me for the flashback –

When I used to travel for school sports, you knew you were going to have to play in the other schools gym/field/whatever and be bound by the imagination of the other communities officiating. You jump to head a soccer ball and an opponent grabs your legs? You are yellow carded for a dangerous play. I hope (and don’t feel) this is not a France vs. The Rest issue, but understand whether competing or traveling, you get to play by that country’s rules.
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Highlighting Tiger was not to imply doping guilt, just to say that there are people that would love to believe what he is accomplishing is ‘aided’. I do not feel Tiger creates an illegal advantage.

Sports are about being the best, no one wants to play on the last place team, not make it to the Olympics, be the last kid chosen, lose, fail to finish, ride the pine, retire. There will always be motivation to cheat. This is also true outside of sports, Enron, drug smugglers, etc. You spend time in the gym to gain an advantage, you eat better food, you study more, you undergo medical tests, you hire a coach, you buy (or a gifted) the best equipment, all in the name of finding an advantage…these are legal. The margin of victory in the TdF is usually under a minute over 90 hours of racing, last year it was 23 seconds, 7/1000 of a percent faster!

New testing protocols some teams have self-imposed (Garmin, Columbia, others) are costing them $1.5 million each year, the riders are tired of being poked with needles, but they do so there is no question. They have solidly established baselines, blood passports, there is no way to escape being caught. To continue to dope under these conditions would require extreme secrecy, exact dosing, your body reacting the same way each time and most importantly psychic ability to know when you were going to be tested because the half life is so short, these guys are tested in season and out, without notice. This needs to be a requirement.

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