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Monday, February 08, 2010
  Vancouver vs the NFL vs Cycling
By Yokota Fritz 
I thought I'd see how many NFL doping stories there were over the past week versus how many doping stories related to the 2010 Winter Olympics were posted to the news.



NFL Doping Feb 1 - Feb 7 2010: about 164 stories.

Vancouver Doping Feb 1 - Feb 7 2010: about 2,870 stories.

If you're curious about cycling: 284 hits from this past week for "armstrong doping" and 529 hits for "cycling doping. Even tour de france doping has 536 hits, and that event is five months away.

Some people accuse editors, journalists and bloggers of soft pedaling the doping issue in professional cycling, but in American football nobody is even asking the question.

(I ran these searches Sunday night - some of the values might have changed by the time you read this post).

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Monday, October 13, 2008
  Bernhard Kohl
By Yokota Fritz 
This is your bike.




This is your bike on drugs.




Any questions?



Photo Credits: "Bonked Cyclist" by "Sumeth;" "Bernhard Kohl in KOM jersey" by Ken Conley.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008
  Schumi dope fallout
By Yokota Fritz 
German cyclist Stefan Schumacher tested positive for dope. And German TV threatens not to broadcast the Tour de France.

That seems like incentive for ASO not to aggressively test for doping. If organizers swept everything under the rug, the problem goes away, the sport appears clean and everybody is happy, right?

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Thursday, July 17, 2008
  TdF: Another one bites the dust
By Yokota Fritz 
Maybe not too unbelievable, but disappointing none the less: Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco of Team Saunier Duval tested positive for synthetic EPO and CERA before the start of today's 12th Stage of the Tour de France. Saunier Duval has pulled out of the Tour de France.

Before he was pulled from the race this morning, Ricco was in the top 10 of the GC and points and led in the mountains. His team, Saunier Duval - Scott, was in third place when Stage 11 concluded yesterday.

As I write this, Stage 12 is almost concluded in Narbonne. Watch Velo.kwc.org for complete updates.

EPO is a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Continuous erythropoiesis receptor activator (CERA) is a new drug still undergoing FDA review that's used to enhance the effect of EPO on red blood cell production.


Trust But Verify plenty of commentary on how this story is breaking. The comments there at TBV are interesting, too. Among the tidbits there:
  • A comment from a drug expert who says there's no test for CERA.
  • ASO isn't testing French team riders: "Of the Crédit Agricole riders, only stage winner Thor Hushovd was tested since the start of the race."
  • "L'Equipe...has become the ersatz source of doping announcements for the ASO."

The comments about "il Cobra" coming out of Italian blogs are fascinating:
  • L’onestà è una speculazione (saying of l’ex maglia gialla Kim Kirchen's skepticism of Ricco): "Che smacco."
  • From a comment at the Italian Motor Sports blog: "As always when an Italian is likely to dominate in cycling come the doping allegations."
  • Oops, it looks like Ricco was on the Italian Olympic squad. His positive test puts his participation in question.
  • Finally, Diego @ Sui Pedali expresses his extreme disappointment:
    The disappointment is indescribably immense because of this new betrayal. Here on Sui Pedali I always focus on the sport of cycling and don't emphasize the problem of doping. We don't do this because of disinterest or because I'm convinced the problem doesn't exist, but because there are so many other beautiful stories to tell. Faced with this case, however, I cannot remain vague or leave this as a footnote of another article.

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Friday, July 11, 2008
  Manuel Beltran - EPO
By Yokota Fritz 
Tour de France: Liquigas cyclist Manuel Beltran positive for EPO.

Update: Bobke on Beltran. Trust But Verify expresses some cynicism about L'Equipe breaking the story. Boulder Report says Beltran's an idiot. Bicycle.Net reports the whole team might be expelled.

Boo!!!!
l'Espagnol Manuel Beltran (Liquigas), 37 ans, présente des traces d'EPO dans l'échantillon A de ses urines prélevé à l'issue de la première étape du Tour de France, samedi 5 juillet entre Brest et Plumelec.

Professionnel depuis 1995, Beltran a débuté sa carrière chez Mapei avant de passer par Banesto, Team Coast et de devenir l'un des principaux équipiers en montagne de Lance Armstrong à l'US Postal et chez Discovery Channel.

Beltran fait partie de ceux qui avaient été ciblés par l'Agence Française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD) lors des prélèvements sanguins effectués les 3 et 4 juillet derniers à Brest avant le départ.
That's French for "37 year old Spaniard Manuel Beltran of Liquigas is SO busted! His A sample from Stage 1 tested positive for EPO." Beltran has been pulled from competition.

Beltran started racing professionally in 1995 with Mapei. From 2003 to 2006, he raced on the USPS Team and Team Discovery, often assisting Lance Armstrong with his wins as his teammate.


For Tour de France Stage 7 news and commentary, don't miss KWC's link round up.

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Monday, June 30, 2008
  Floyd Landis loses CAS appeal
By Yokota Fritz 
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by Floyd Landis. Landis has also been ordered to pay $100,000 to the US Anti Doping Agency for the costs incurred by his appeals.

The full details are posted everywhere; Trust But Verify is dedicated to tracking Floyd Landis and his doping appeals so it seems like as good a place as any to following the discussion.

Moving forward, the Tour de France starts this Saturday! Woo hoo!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008
  Tuesday testimony: Tammy Thomas took tonic
By Yokota Fritz 
Illinois chemist and former bodybuilder Patrick Arnold testified that he shipped steroids to former Olympic cyclist Tammy Thomas in testimony during Thomas's perjury trial.

Tammy Thomas
Thomas was indicted in December 2006 for lying to the grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) in Burlingame, CA. Thomas was banned from competition for life in 2002 after she tested positive for the steroid norbolethone. Norbolethone, first developed in the 60s, was pulled from clinical trials in the 70s because of its toxicity.

More:

San Francisco Chronicle coverage of Tammy Thomas trial.

ESPN: BALCO chemist becomes witness.

Steroid Nation: The interesting case of Tammy Thomas:
In her current photo, I see a slender, attractive woman. Look at the close-up from 2002, at which time Ms. Thomas expressed an anabolic androgen in her urine. The photo looks like an androgenized female. Rugged looks. Male pattern baldness.

San Francisco Examiner Prosecutors outline case against BALCO figure Tammy Thomas:
Federal prosecutors said Thursday they have "overwhelming" proof that former Olympic cyclist Tammy Thomas lied when she told a grand jury that she never used steroids, including a high-end bicycle they allege she traded for performance-enhancing drugs when she was low on cash.

The prosecutors quote a doctor's report in August 2000 suggesting that Thomas had to shave a full beard, a steroids side effect for women.

According to the government's filing, Dr. Margaret Wierman wrote Thomas that she feared the cyclist was exposing herself to long-term health problems if she continued to ingest steroids.

Also testifying will be Kelcey Dalton, the chemist's live-in girlfriend at the time who said she had several phone conversations with Thomas during a three-month period several years ago. Dalton and Thomas' conversations "consisted of talk about weightlifting and steroids, in particular about steroids side-effects," the government's court filing stated.

According to the filing, Thomas offered Dalton a LeMond racing bicycle in exchange for some of Arnold's designer steroids.

"The deal was made and Dalton still has the bicycle," the filing stated.

Trust But Verify mentions the Thomas trial in the Saturday roundup and the Wednesday roundup.

Her side of the story in this New York Times article:
"Every day is the same day," she said in her gravelly voice. "I used to be well respected. I made my parents proud. Now I've embarrassed my family. For the rest of my life, wherever I go and whatever I do, I'm going to be known as a cheater."
Tammy Thomas photo by Casey Gibson.

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Friday, October 05, 2007
  Sock Guy socks du jour: Ride Clean
By Yokota Fritz 
I wore these eye-popping yellow Sock Guy "RIDE CLEAN" socks this morning on my commute.

Socks du jour: Ride Clean


RIDE CLEAN is a campaign promote clean cycling.

The RIDE CLEAN blog makes notes of the news that track star Marion Jones admits to doping. This confession comes on the heels of the recent news that Canadian cyclist Genevieve Jeanson admitted to regular use of EPO since she was 15 years old. This summary of Genevieve Jeanson's confession hints at the possibility of an abusive relationship with her coach.

Like the RIDE CLEAN people like to say, Ride Clean and the rest will follow. I really really like the positive example that Team Slipstream is setting in this regard and I hope that the rest will indeed follow.

The water bottle in this photo is from Bike N Hike in Longmont, Colorado. They carry Trek, Fisher, LeMond, Haro, Redline, Sun, and Diamonback.

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Monday, September 24, 2007
  Two brothers: the thief and the fence
By Yokota Fritz 
Brandon Tomlinson works for Genentech in South San Francisco, California. Genentech manufactures Human Growth Hormone (HGH), a performance enhancing drug. HGH increases muscle mass by stimulating protein synthesis, strengthen bones by stimulating bone growth and reduce body fat by stimulating the breakdown of fat cells. HGH is popular among some athletes because it's impossible to test for. Brandon apparently has done presentations at conferences on the problem of undetectable performance enhancing drugs in athletics.

Brandon's brother Lance Tomlinson owns the Max Muscle Sports Nutrition franchise store in San Jose, California. Brandon's Sports Nutrition Store sells supplements for body builders.

DEA agents knew that Lance's Sports Nutrition shop also sold HGH that was stolen from Genentech. It didn't take much effort for them discover that Lance had a brother who worked at Genentech. They connected the dots and made the arrests.

What a couple of geniuses. If you're gonna steal from your employer, don't use your brother as a fence.

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Friday, July 27, 2007
  Freakonomics on doping
By Yokota Fritz 
Stephen Dubner asked the question on the Freakonomics Blog: "Is it time, perhaps, to come up with a pre-approved list of performance-enhancing agents and procedures, require the riders to accept full responsibility for whatever long-term physical and emotional damage these agents and procedures may produce, and let everyone ride on a relatively even keel without having to ban the leader every third day?"

I would in no way participate in or watch a sport that permits participants to abuse themselves in that way. Freakanomics published a response from Joe Lindsey of Bicycling magazine. Joe gives his points on why we should not open the doors to "legalized" doping.

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  Tour de France: Stages of grief
By Yokota Fritz 
First of all, check out Masi Guy's passionate expression of his love for the sport of cycling:
Why love a dirty sport? Well, because not all riders are dirty and because it's a beautiful sport. The roads of France were still lined today as the Tour rolled through their towns. Sure, many people booed and chided the riders, but they were still there to watch because of the amazing spectacle that is the Tour and cycling.
Tim links to quite a few other commentaries about the whole doping scandal:
  • Bike Hugger's: "With Interbike coming up, the Fall, and another bike season, I expect many are thinking of “other things” than racing. Like, comfort bikes, SUBs, cargo bikes, and the like."
  • Rich Kelly on watching le Tour with the kids: “Daddy? Where’s Vino today?” Ooof.
  • I also liked Donna's post: "We as the every day bike riders can still make sure that kids find the love of bike riding. It's not all about the pros. It's about all of us bike riders - there are a ton of us out there. Start your own Tour Day Neighborhood today. Don't sit around and stew about the 'state of the sport'. It's only the state of the pro sport that is in shambles. The state of bike riding is as great as it has always been."
  • This article from ESPN on the transparency of le Tour athletes is fantastic.
    The Tour is open. Most of the course is free of barricades. No tickets, no exorbitant parking, no luxury boxes. All it takes to be part of it is whatever effort you want to put into getting there and setting up your folding chairs and your picnic table.

    Fans can walk right up to the top-heavy rolling locker rooms called team buses at the finish and plant themselves in a rider's path when he wheels in still lathered in sweat from covering more than 100 grueling miles.

    If doping scandals make you doubt that the physical feats you see in a bike race are real, look again. Look at the whole sport. It's convulsing in a very real, human, imperfect way. Things may get worse before they get better, though it's hard to imagine how much worse they could be than they were this week at the Tour de France.

Finally, here's some more troubling news about Rasmussen, who's been accused now of smuggling plums. (Via TdF Blog.)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007
  Tour de France good news
By Yokota Fritz 
Over the years several people have commented that pro cycling needs to get serious about doping and the drug culture that's rampant among the ranks of professional cyclists.

UCI and le Tour organizers finally are cracking down on the problem -- and I believe pro cycling is probably the only organized sport that is serious about a problem that exists across almost every sport and almost every level of competition -- and we're seeing the results. Evidence of drug use is decimating the peloton, with entire teams eliminated from the world's premier cycling race.

While we shouldn't exactly be rejoicing, we should stand behind those who choose to race clean and continue to support them. The news this week has been a hard pill to swallow, but I think cycling has possibly reached a tipping point toward no tolerance to drug use.

I will continue to follow the 2007 Tour de France. Velonews writer Jason Sumner wonders if the competition matters anymore. Of course it matters -- I believe the competition is more meaningful now than last week. I'm excited to know that those who compete and win will have done so without the benefit of banned substances.

Allez! Allez!

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Friday, July 20, 2007
  Biopure Hemopure
By Yokota Fritz 
Hemopure, developed by Biopure (BPUR), is an oxygen-therapeutic based on chemically stabilized bovine (cow) hemoglobin. It has been developed for potential use in humans as a substitute for blood.

Hemopure is stable at room temperature and does not require blood typing. Hemopure has been approved for human use and commercial sale in South Africa since April 10, 2001, a first and only for this product class. Hemopure is banned for human use in the United States where it continues to undergo animal studies. BioPure continues human trials in Europe. A similar product from BioPure -- Oxyglobin -- is sold for veterinary use to treat anemia in dogs.

Sports medicine researchers have already noted the potential performance benefits of "Hemoglobin Based Oxygen Carriers" such as Hemopure. Research so far shows no performance benefit from doping with Hemopure.

A one-time friend of cyclist Michael Rasmussen claims he was asked to transport Hemopure to Rasmussen.
Whitney Richards told VeloNews that in March of 2002, Rasmussen asked him to transport a box containing cycling shoes. But the shoebox, according to Richards, actually contained bags of an American-made human blood substitute.

In an effort to fit all his belongings in his luggage, Richards opened the box to discard it and just bring the shoes - he said he then discovered the bags.

"I was blown away," Richards told VeloNews. "This wasn't a pair of Sidis ... it was frickin' dog medicine or something."

According to labels, the bags were filled with a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier (HBOC) known as Hemopure, manufactured by the U.S.-based Biopure Corporation. The product is made from hemoglobin molecules that have been removed from the red cells of cow's blood.

"The nerve of the guy," Richards added. "Not only is he a drug cheat, but he didn't give a damn about anybody else. He was willing to put me out there to carry that crap through customs ... into Italy at a time when they were investigating Dr. [Michele] Ferrari and people were lobbing accusations at Lance Armstrong. Think about what it would have been like for Italian customs to catch an American with a bunch of bike gear and cow's blood at the border."

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Thursday, July 19, 2007
  Drugs in sports
By Yokota Fritz 
Golfers do it (and the PGA is talking about testing. So do baseball players, college football players, swimmers, runners, skiers, and now, apparently, even pro cyclists!.
The German Cycling Federation (BDR) announced on Wednesday that T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz 's A sample, taken on June 8, had a raised testosterone level. The up and coming rider has been suspended by his team who say that if the B sample confirms the first test then he will be sacked.

That news sent shockwaves through the German media, with national TV networks ARD and ZDF suspending their coverage of the Tour de France.

It has been a bad week for Sinkewitz who collided with a spectator on Sunday immediately after the end of the eighth stage in Tignes suffering a broken nose and a head injury.

But the latest development is more bad new for T-Mobile who have seen several former riders confess to taking banned blood-booster Erythropoietin in the last few months.

Seven former Telekom cyclists, including 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis and top sprinter Erik Zabel, admitted they took EPO in the 1990s. And Sinkewitz's failed drugs test comes almost exactly one year after T-Mobile sacked 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich for being linked to a doping scandal in Spain.

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Friday, July 13, 2007
  Doping pledge.... for bloggers
By Yokota Fritz 
"Bicycles Espresso" by Bob Travaglione.
Frank Steele unveils some troubling evidence of doping among our ranks!
Marcello at Velochimp? Espresso fiend. Phil at Spinopsys? Absolutely obsessed with beer. Elden at FatCyclist.com? Let's just say French reporters have found evidence of Red Bull in garbage cans outside his hotel room.

During the 1996 Tour, under pressure from my sponsors, I briefly tried a topical anti-inflammatory that may have been on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list.
Frank exhorts cycling bloggers to take his blogger's anti-doping pledge. Read it here.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
  A history of doping in cycling
By Yokota Fritz 

Catching up after the long weekend: Dave Moulton started racing bicycles in 1952. He gives us an excellent first person recollection of doping in competitive cycling.
The drug used was Benzedrine, a brand name for a mixture of amphetamines that had been used by the military since the early 1900s.

It was generally accepted that the pros used it, especially in the Tour and other big stage races. We didn’t look on it as cheating, the entire Tour de France field was on dope, it only becomes cheating if a substance is banned and only a few do it.

My guess is that doping by professional cyclists can be traced back to the beginning of pro racing in the early 1900s; amphetamines became available about the same time. Six Day Track Racing became immensely popular back then, a sport crying out for a “stay-awake” drug.
In related news, the International Olympic Committee opened an investigation for possible doping violations in Olympic cycling today in the aftermath of doping confessions by Bjarne Riis, Erik Zabel, Rolf Aldag and Christian Henn, as well as admissions from doctors that they supplied EPO to Team Telekom cyclists. "The IOC finds the revelations in recent days disappointing ... and is therefore determined to look into the matter and any possible impact it might have had on the Olympic Games," the IOC said.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007
  Landis: Dick Pound must go
By Yokota Fritz 
"Floydinator" by Eric Reagan.
Floyd Landis's much-anticipated ten day hearing to appeal his positive drug test results begins tomorrow in Malibu, California. While preparing for his appeal, Landis also continues his aggressive campaign against World Anti Doping Agency chair Dick Pound by asking the International Olympic Committee to strip Pound of his members and remove him from his duties as chief of the WADA, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The complaint charges that Pound violated the basic principles of the Olympic Charter by making derogatory remarks about Landis in the media; and that Pound has threatened to interfere in Landis's appeal hearing.

Pound remarked once on Landis's 11 to 1 testosterone to epitestosterone level by saying, "You'd think he'd be violating every virgin within 100 miles. How does he even get on his bicycle?" The International Olympic Committee ethics commission rebuked Pound, telling Pound he had "the obligation to exercise greater prudence consistent with the Olympic spirit when making public pronouncements that may affect the reputation of others."

Read more in the Mercury News.

Also briefly mentioned at Trust but verify.

See also "Landis accuses US Anti-Doping Agency of dealing to 'out' Armstrong."

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Monday, May 07, 2007
  Ivan Basso confesses to doping
By Yokota Fritz 
VeloChimp: Basso Fesses Up to Operation Puerto Involvement.

TdFBlog: Basso admits Puerto involvement in face of DNA test.

Spinopsys: Crisis of confidence.

VeloNews: Basso admits involvement in Puerto scandal.

Road Magazine Blog: Discovery Team reaction.

Pez: Basso confesses: "Let's hope that Basso comes completely clean and pulls out his whistle and starts pointing at everyone involved."

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
  Team Slipstream: Dope-free pro cycling
By Yokota Fritz 
This New York Times article highlights Team Slipstream, an American pro cycling team that pledges to compete drug free, with weekly blood tests to prove their purity.

“It’s an absolute severe pain for us to do, but I’ll do anything to keep from being lumped with the guys accused of cheating,” said Danny Pate, 27, a former under-23 world champion and one of Slipstream’s top riders. “I’ll give DNA. I’ll post all of my information on the Internet. I’ll do anything to help save the sport.”

Some interesting tidbits from the article:
  • The team is having problems finding a title sponsor because sponsors are apparently skittish about being associated with doping in sports.

  • Regardging team director and formrer Postie Jonathan Vaughter: Throughout his career, he said, riders battled the ethical question of whether to use performance-enhancing drugs. In the 1990s, he said, the use of the blood-boosting drug EPO was rampant and teams felt pressured by sponsors to win at any cost. “I don’t have a halo over my head; I made some mistakes when I was a rider,” said Vaughters, who would not directly say whether he had used performance-enhancing drugs. Nudge nudge wink wink.


Team Slipstream was previously the TIAA-CREF development team. This year, they were established as a UCI Professional Continental Team. Slipstream is sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

VeloNews: Blood clots and doping innuendo darken otherwise impressive pro' debut.

Velochimp: Floyd talked with Slipstream about possibly joining.

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