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"It's Not About the Drugs"



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 30th 05, 03:40 PM
B. Lafferty
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Default "It's Not About the Drugs"

It's Not About The Drugs
Recovering from cancer and winning seven Tours de France in a row has made
Lance Armstrong a hero for many. Others question whether he's resorted to
drugs to get him to the top of his sport.
In 1993, Lance Armstrong rode his first Tour de France. Nine days into the
race, on the road from Chalons-sur-Marne to Verdun, Armstrong and a small
group of riders broke away from the peloton on the short-but-tough climb of
the Cote du Douamount, about sixteen kilometers from the stage finish.
Attack followed counter-attack, but soon the breakaway group solidified
around six riders who, working together, slowly stretched their lead over
the peloton. In the sprint for the line, Armstrong got clear by two bike
lengths and won the stage. The youngest rider in the 1993 Tour de France,
Armstrong had signalled his arrival in the race's history. Twelve years
later, he's torn up the Tour's history books, winning the race seven times
in a row.
After that stage win in 1993, one journalist asked Armstrong the obvious
question: "On 21st July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on
the moon. How high can this Armstrong go?" Even despite his innate Texan
self-confidence, Armstrong didn't answer that question. But in his heart he
knew the answer. Certainly he knew how far he wanted to go.

A year before, Armstrong had been interviewed by Samuel Abt and the pair had
talked about his Tour ambitions: "I know I want to do the Tour de France, I
know I want to win the Tour de France," Armstrong told Abt. "I think I can
someday get to that level but it's a long way off, a lot of hard work. The
desire is there, the ambition is there, the goal is there. It's only a
matter of doing the hard work and winning the race. [...] Win the Tour de
France and you're a star. I'd like to be a star. I'm sure I'd get sick of
all the pressure and all the appearances, but I'd like to try it for a
while."

Today, Armstrong is a star. Since being forced out of cycling in 1996 and
1997 with testicular cancer, he's put a virtual lock-out the Tour de France,
claiming it as his own private domain since 1999. Wherever he goes, he's
applauded for what he's done, not just on the bike, but in recovering from
testicular cancer and promoting cancer awareness. Appearances follow
appearances, interview follows interview. Today, Lance is living the life of
a star that he told Abt he wanted to try in 1993. But it's a life that has
come with a high price. The failure of his marriage has been blamed on his
commitment to the Tour. And his performance in the race is constantly being
questioned, the spectre of the sport's long history of drug abuse hanging
like a cloud over his achievement.

* * *
In recent years, the Irish journalist David Walsh has become one of the
American Tour de France champion's most outspoken critics. Today Armstrong
describes Walsh as "the worst journalist I know." The next time the two talk
is likely to be during one of several court cases against Walsh instigated
by Armstrong. Twelve years ago though Walsh and Armstrong had a totally
different relationship.

David Walsh was one of many journalists who covered the 1993 Tour. He wrote
a book about it - 'Inside the Tour de France' - in which he interviewed
riders and team personnel, telling their story. The book opens with Walsh
interviewing Armstrong, Walsh painting a picture of the sort of Tour
champion we all want to believe in, one with wings on his ankles and the
heart of a lion. "Physically I'm not any more gifted that anybody else,"
Armstrong explained to Walsh, "but it's just the desire, just this rage. I'm
on the bike and I go into a rage, when I just shriek for about five seconds.
I shake like mad and my eyes kinda bulge out. [.] That's heart man, that's
not physical, that's not legs, that's not lungs. That's heart. That's soul.
That's just guts."

Today, Walsh paints a totally different picture of Lance Armstrong. In his
2004 book, 'LA Confidential - Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong' (co-authored
with Pierre Ballester and still unavailable on English translation because
of on-going litigation in France and England), Walsh argues that Armstrong
has admitted to having used EPO. The evidence, Walsh admits, is not
conclusive. Could Walsh be right? Could Armstrong be just another Tour
champion in a long line of Tour champions who has resorted to performance
enhancing drugs to get around le grand boucle? Or is Armstrong as clean as
he himself contests he is?

The fact is, we don't know. That Armstrong's never officially failed a drug
test (the saddle cream incident aside) is, unfortunately, meaningless in
modern cycling. Up until French police found evidence of EPO usage in David
Millar's apartment, he too hadn't failed a drug test, despite being
repeatedly subjected to them. Right now, Millar's just over halfway through
a two year suspension because of his drug use.

The evidence against Armstrong, the evidence that he is himself one of the
many cyclists whose performance is pharmaceutically enhanced, is all
circumstantial. But, sadly, the evidence trotted out by many who want to
believe in a clean Armstrong is equally weak. For then the thought that
Armstrong could be perpetrating such a massive sporting fraud is simply too
appalling a vista to be considered. And that is enough for them to declare
his innocence.

There is scientific evidence though, put forward by researchers at the
University of Texas (Armstrong's home state), which contests that he is
clean and that his performance is down to the fact that he's a genetic
freak. Much of that evidence though is, sadly, inconclusive. Take the
argument that Armstrong's VO2 Max rate (how much oxygen his body can
process) proves his ability is in his genes and not brought about by drugs.
Unfortunately for anyone relying on that argument, it has to be remembered
that the now disgraced sports doctor Michele Ferrari specialised in
increasing his clients' VO2 Max rate. Right up to the day Ferrari was found
guilty of sporting fraud by an Italian magistrate in October 2004, Armstrong
was his most high profile client and vociferously proclaimed Ferrari's
innocence.

Much has been made of the revelation earlier this year by Hein Verbruggen,
the head of the UCI, that Armstrong donated a substantial sum of cash to the
sport to aid anti-doping measures. The money was given after the 1998
Festina scandal. How could a man who has funded anti-doping measures be
himself using drugs? It would seem pretty clear-cut - until you start
considering some of Armstrong's other actions.

Take Armstrong's very public spats with WADA's Dick Pound. Pound is an
outspoken critic of the manner in which cycling authorities have handled the
drug problem within their sport. Given that French and Italian judicial
authorities have done more to clean up the sport than the UCI itself, you
would have to admit that Pound has a point. But Armstrong thinks Pound
should keep quiet and not publicise the problem. Armstrong is, sadly, a firm
believer in the sport's law of omerta, as evidenced by his treatment of
Filipo Simeoni and others who have spoken out of their own experiences of
drugs in cycling. Greg Lemond best sums up Armstrong's attitude to those who
dare to speak openly of the role drugs play in cycling: "The problem with
Lance is that you're either a liar or you're out to destroy cycling."

The role drugs continue to play in the sport should not be hushed up, hidden
from view. It needs to be aired publicly. For too long cyclists and sports
riders have obeyed the sport's law of omerta. Despite all the effort that is
being put into catching drug cheats and despite all the information
available about the dangers associated with these drugs, riders are still
doping.

Dario Frigo and Evgeni Petrov failed to finish this year's Tour because of
their drug use. Petrov was kicked off the race when a blood test suggested
he might be using EPO. Frigo left the race after French police found EPO in
his wife's car. Jurgen Scholl, the Gerolsteiner squad's soigneur, was sacked
just days before the Tour started after a reporter produced an email from
him in which he sought information on the effectiveness of various doping
products. "What do you recommend when mixing Insulin and HGH?," Scholl had
asked in the email, "What are the safe doses for Synachten? How long are you
positive with 2.5mg of Androderm?"

Riders are inexplicably dying of heart failure. In 2003 alone Denis Zanette
(32), Marco Ceriani (16), Fabrice Salanson (23), Marco Rusconi (24), Jose
Maria Jimenez (32) and Michel Zanoli (35) all died and their deaths have
been linked to a resurgence in the use of EPO and blood doping in the sport.
The deaths continue to mount up - only last month Alessio Galletti collapsed
and died during a minor Spanish race. In 2000 he had been suspended for four
months when EPO and Andriol were found in his fridge. Italian police raided
his hotel room during the 2004 Giro d'Italia, on the basis of phone-tapping
evidence. "I've bought a full suitcase of stuff from the doctor," the
transcript of one phone call read, "there was some left over from before as
well ... As long as we can, we use these and then when they're finished,
we'll use the others. I've got a ton of stuff, you understand? I have a
trolley-full."

Does a dirty sport mean that everyone participating in it is dirty? No, it
doesn't. Take the case of the French Cofidis rider, David Moncoutie. The
peloton is united in its defence of Moncoutie, constantly telling
journalists how clean Moncoutie is. Being clean hasn't stopped him from
winning stages in the Tour - Mouncoutie won the Bastille Day stages of the
Tour both this year and last year. But, perhaps tellingly, Mouncoutie is
about the only rider the peloton says this of. Does this mean that everyone
else is using drugs? Or that, in the eyes of the peloton, there is at least
a cloud of doubt hanging over every other rider?

Should any of this matter? Drugs alone will not make you a champion. Arguing
that Armstrong's performance is drug enhanced is, ultimately as pointless as
the catcalls from the kid in the Emperor's New Clothes story - naked (doped)
or not, the Emperor is still the Emperor. And Armstrong still has to put in
the training miles, he still has to ride races each year in preparation for
the Tour. He may not train as much as other riders and he still has time to
be photographed at basketball games eating donuts but he certainly trains
smarter than most, paying more attention to minor details. Even if he is, as
Walsh argues, a doper like all the rest, does it really matter? If everyone
else is doing it - now and throughout the history of the sport - then surely
that just means a level playing field for all?

None of it should matter. But it does. Drugs have stolen the soul of
cycling. Like a cancer, they've eaten it up from the inside. They're the one
cancer Armstrong thinks no one should talk about. They have transformed
riders and they have transformed the Tour. The French philosopher Robert
Redeker best sums up the situation the sport finds itself in today: "The
athletic type represented by Lance Armstrong - unlike Fausto Coppi or Jean
Robic - is coming closer to Lara Croft, the virtually fabricated
cyber-heroine." According to Redeker, "Cycling is becoming a video game; the
onetime 'prisoners of the road' have become virtual human beings."

The riders may have freed themselves from being prisoners of the road, but
today they are - to borrow the title of the Philip Gaumont's doping memoir -
prisonniers du dopage. In their quest to find the perfect pharmaceutical
solution to the inhumanity of the Tour de France, they have transformed
themselves into something not entirely human. According to Redeker, "A huge
gulf now exists between the race and the racers, who have become virtual
figures, transformed into PlayStation characters while the public, the ones
at the folding tables and the tents, drinking pastis and fresh rosť du pays,
are still real. The type of man once promoted by the race, the people's man,
born of hard toil, hardened to suffering and adept at surpassing himself,
has been substituted by Robocop on wheels, someone no fan can relate to or
identify with."

Feargal Mc Kay
July 2005
http://www.siglamag.com/features/050...-The-Drugs.php


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  #2  
Old July 30th 05, 04:03 PM
Jet
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Default

On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 14:40:25 GMT, "B. Lafferty" wrote:

"Physically I'm not any more gifted that anybody else,"
Armstrong explained to Walsh, "but it's just the desire, just this rage. I'm
on the bike and I go into a rage, when I just shriek for about five seconds.
I shake like mad and my eyes kinda bulge out. [.] That's heart man, that's
not physical, that's not legs, that's not lungs. That's heart. That's soul.
That's just guts."


Pretty cool. Thanks for posting that.

Otherwise a pretty tame article.

jj

  #3  
Old July 30th 05, 04:04 PM
Mike Jacoubowsky
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Default

The riders may have freed themselves from being prisoners of the road, but
today they are - to borrow the title of the Philip Gaumont's doping
memoir - prisonniers du dopage. In their quest to find the perfect
pharmaceutical solution to the inhumanity of the Tour de France, they have
transformed themselves into something not entirely human. According to
Redeker, "A huge gulf now exists between the race and the racers, who have
become virtual figures, transformed into PlayStation characters while the
public, the ones at the folding tables and the tents, drinking pastis and
fresh rosť du pays, are still real. The type of man once promoted by the
race, the people's man, born of hard toil, hardened to suffering and adept
at surpassing himself, has been substituted by Robocop on wheels, someone
no fan can relate to or identify with."


Right. We should look back fondly on the good old days. Pot Belge. The
choice of "The people's man." A time when riders didn't die in their sleep,
but openly, out on the slopes of Ventoux, as a sporting man should.

Where do these guys come off, doing this revisionist history garbage? If
they want to make a case for drug use in the present peloton, why do they
think it enhances their case by contrasting it to a lie?

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


"B. Lafferty" wrote in message
ink.net...
It's Not About The Drugs
Recovering from cancer and winning seven Tours de France in a row has made
Lance Armstrong a hero for many. Others question whether he's resorted to
drugs to get him to the top of his sport.
In 1993, Lance Armstrong rode his first Tour de France. Nine days into the
race, on the road from Chalons-sur-Marne to Verdun, Armstrong and a small
group of riders broke away from the peloton on the short-but-tough climb
of the Cote du Douamount, about sixteen kilometers from the stage finish.
Attack followed counter-attack, but soon the breakaway group solidified
around six riders who, working together, slowly stretched their lead over
the peloton. In the sprint for the line, Armstrong got clear by two bike
lengths and won the stage. The youngest rider in the 1993 Tour de France,
Armstrong had signalled his arrival in the race's history. Twelve years
later, he's torn up the Tour's history books, winning the race seven times
in a row.
After that stage win in 1993, one journalist asked Armstrong the obvious
question: "On 21st July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to land
on the moon. How high can this Armstrong go?" Even despite his innate
Texan self-confidence, Armstrong didn't answer that question. But in his
heart he knew the answer. Certainly he knew how far he wanted to go.

A year before, Armstrong had been interviewed by Samuel Abt and the pair
had talked about his Tour ambitions: "I know I want to do the Tour de
France, I know I want to win the Tour de France," Armstrong told Abt. "I
think I can someday get to that level but it's a long way off, a lot of
hard work. The desire is there, the ambition is there, the goal is there.
It's only a matter of doing the hard work and winning the race. [...] Win
the Tour de France and you're a star. I'd like to be a star. I'm sure I'd
get sick of all the pressure and all the appearances, but I'd like to try
it for a while."

Today, Armstrong is a star. Since being forced out of cycling in 1996 and
1997 with testicular cancer, he's put a virtual lock-out the Tour de
France, claiming it as his own private domain since 1999. Wherever he
goes, he's applauded for what he's done, not just on the bike, but in
recovering from testicular cancer and promoting cancer awareness.
Appearances follow appearances, interview follows interview. Today, Lance
is living the life of a star that he told Abt he wanted to try in 1993.
But it's a life that has come with a high price. The failure of his
marriage has been blamed on his commitment to the Tour. And his
performance in the race is constantly being questioned, the spectre of the
sport's long history of drug abuse hanging like a cloud over his
achievement.

* * *
In recent years, the Irish journalist David Walsh has become one of the
American Tour de France champion's most outspoken critics. Today Armstrong
describes Walsh as "the worst journalist I know." The next time the two
talk is likely to be during one of several court cases against Walsh
instigated by Armstrong. Twelve years ago though Walsh and Armstrong had a
totally different relationship.

David Walsh was one of many journalists who covered the 1993 Tour. He
wrote a book about it - 'Inside the Tour de France' - in which he
interviewed riders and team personnel, telling their story. The book opens
with Walsh interviewing Armstrong, Walsh painting a picture of the sort of
Tour champion we all want to believe in, one with wings on his ankles and
the heart of a lion. "Physically I'm not any more gifted that anybody
else," Armstrong explained to Walsh, "but it's just the desire, just this
rage. I'm on the bike and I go into a rage, when I just shriek for about
five seconds. I shake like mad and my eyes kinda bulge out. [.] That's
heart man, that's not physical, that's not legs, that's not lungs. That's
heart. That's soul. That's just guts."

Today, Walsh paints a totally different picture of Lance Armstrong. In his
2004 book, 'LA Confidential - Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong' (co-authored
with Pierre Ballester and still unavailable on English translation because
of on-going litigation in France and England), Walsh argues that Armstrong
has admitted to having used EPO. The evidence, Walsh admits, is not
conclusive. Could Walsh be right? Could Armstrong be just another Tour
champion in a long line of Tour champions who has resorted to performance
enhancing drugs to get around le grand boucle? Or is Armstrong as clean as
he himself contests he is?

The fact is, we don't know. That Armstrong's never officially failed a
drug test (the saddle cream incident aside) is, unfortunately, meaningless
in modern cycling. Up until French police found evidence of EPO usage in
David Millar's apartment, he too hadn't failed a drug test, despite being
repeatedly subjected to them. Right now, Millar's just over halfway
through a two year suspension because of his drug use.

The evidence against Armstrong, the evidence that he is himself one of the
many cyclists whose performance is pharmaceutically enhanced, is all
circumstantial. But, sadly, the evidence trotted out by many who want to
believe in a clean Armstrong is equally weak. For then the thought that
Armstrong could be perpetrating such a massive sporting fraud is simply
too appalling a vista to be considered. And that is enough for them to
declare his innocence.

There is scientific evidence though, put forward by researchers at the
University of Texas (Armstrong's home state), which contests that he is
clean and that his performance is down to the fact that he's a genetic
freak. Much of that evidence though is, sadly, inconclusive. Take the
argument that Armstrong's VO2 Max rate (how much oxygen his body can
process) proves his ability is in his genes and not brought about by
drugs. Unfortunately for anyone relying on that argument, it has to be
remembered that the now disgraced sports doctor Michele Ferrari
specialised in increasing his clients' VO2 Max rate. Right up to the day
Ferrari was found guilty of sporting fraud by an Italian magistrate in
October 2004, Armstrong was his most high profile client and vociferously
proclaimed Ferrari's innocence.

Much has been made of the revelation earlier this year by Hein Verbruggen,
the head of the UCI, that Armstrong donated a substantial sum of cash to
the sport to aid anti-doping measures. The money was given after the 1998
Festina scandal. How could a man who has funded anti-doping measures be
himself using drugs? It would seem pretty clear-cut - until you start
considering some of Armstrong's other actions.

Take Armstrong's very public spats with WADA's Dick Pound. Pound is an
outspoken critic of the manner in which cycling authorities have handled
the drug problem within their sport. Given that French and Italian
judicial authorities have done more to clean up the sport than the UCI
itself, you would have to admit that Pound has a point. But Armstrong
thinks Pound should keep quiet and not publicise the problem. Armstrong
is, sadly, a firm believer in the sport's law of omerta, as evidenced by
his treatment of Filipo Simeoni and others who have spoken out of their
own experiences of drugs in cycling. Greg Lemond best sums up Armstrong's
attitude to those who dare to speak openly of the role drugs play in
cycling: "The problem with Lance is that you're either a liar or you're
out to destroy cycling."

The role drugs continue to play in the sport should not be hushed up,
hidden from view. It needs to be aired publicly. For too long cyclists and
sports riders have obeyed the sport's law of omerta. Despite all the
effort that is being put into catching drug cheats and despite all the
information available about the dangers associated with these drugs,
riders are still doping.

Dario Frigo and Evgeni Petrov failed to finish this year's Tour because of
their drug use. Petrov was kicked off the race when a blood test suggested
he might be using EPO. Frigo left the race after French police found EPO
in his wife's car. Jurgen Scholl, the Gerolsteiner squad's soigneur, was
sacked just days before the Tour started after a reporter produced an
email from him in which he sought information on the effectiveness of
various doping products. "What do you recommend when mixing Insulin and
HGH?," Scholl had asked in the email, "What are the safe doses for
Synachten? How long are you positive with 2.5mg of Androderm?"

Riders are inexplicably dying of heart failure. In 2003 alone Denis
Zanette (32), Marco Ceriani (16), Fabrice Salanson (23), Marco Rusconi
(24), Jose Maria Jimenez (32) and Michel Zanoli (35) all died and their
deaths have been linked to a resurgence in the use of EPO and blood doping
in the sport. The deaths continue to mount up - only last month Alessio
Galletti collapsed and died during a minor Spanish race. In 2000 he had
been suspended for four months when EPO and Andriol were found in his
fridge. Italian police raided his hotel room during the 2004 Giro
d'Italia, on the basis of phone-tapping evidence. "I've bought a full
suitcase of stuff from the doctor," the transcript of one phone call read,
"there was some left over from before as well ... As long as we can, we
use these and then when they're finished, we'll use the others. I've got a
ton of stuff, you understand? I have a trolley-full."

Does a dirty sport mean that everyone participating in it is dirty? No, it
doesn't. Take the case of the French Cofidis rider, David Moncoutie. The
peloton is united in its defence of Moncoutie, constantly telling
journalists how clean Moncoutie is. Being clean hasn't stopped him from
winning stages in the Tour - Mouncoutie won the Bastille Day stages of the
Tour both this year and last year. But, perhaps tellingly, Mouncoutie is
about the only rider the peloton says this of. Does this mean that
everyone else is using drugs? Or that, in the eyes of the peloton, there
is at least a cloud of doubt hanging over every other rider?

Should any of this matter? Drugs alone will not make you a champion.
Arguing that Armstrong's performance is drug enhanced is, ultimately as
pointless as the catcalls from the kid in the Emperor's New Clothes
story - naked (doped) or not, the Emperor is still the Emperor. And
Armstrong still has to put in the training miles, he still has to ride
races each year in preparation for the Tour. He may not train as much as
other riders and he still has time to be photographed at basketball games
eating donuts but he certainly trains smarter than most, paying more
attention to minor details. Even if he is, as Walsh argues, a doper like
all the rest, does it really matter? If everyone else is doing it - now
and throughout the history of the sport - then surely that just means a
level playing field for all?

None of it should matter. But it does. Drugs have stolen the soul of
cycling. Like a cancer, they've eaten it up from the inside. They're the
one cancer Armstrong thinks no one should talk about. They have
transformed riders and they have transformed the Tour. The French
philosopher Robert Redeker best sums up the situation the sport finds
itself in today: "The athletic type represented by Lance Armstrong -
unlike Fausto Coppi or Jean Robic - is coming closer to Lara Croft, the
virtually fabricated cyber-heroine." According to Redeker, "Cycling is
becoming a video game; the onetime 'prisoners of the road' have become
virtual human beings."

The riders may have freed themselves from being prisoners of the road, but
today they are - to borrow the title of the Philip Gaumont's doping
memoir - prisonniers du dopage. In their quest to find the perfect
pharmaceutical solution to the inhumanity of the Tour de France, they have
transformed themselves into something not entirely human. According to
Redeker, "A huge gulf now exists between the race and the racers, who have
become virtual figures, transformed into PlayStation characters while the
public, the ones at the folding tables and the tents, drinking pastis and
fresh rosť du pays, are still real. The type of man once promoted by the
race, the people's man, born of hard toil, hardened to suffering and adept
at surpassing himself, has been substituted by Robocop on wheels, someone
no fan can relate to or identify with."

Feargal Mc Kay
July 2005
http://www.siglamag.com/features/050...-The-Drugs.php



  #4  
Old July 30th 05, 04:24 PM
Tim Lines
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Default

Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:

Where do these guys come off, doing this revisionist history garbage? If
they want to make a case for drug use in the present peloton, why do they
think it enhances their case by contrasting it to a lie?


It's just generally true that it's difficult to see the past clearly
when you're sitting way up on a moral high-horse. I can think of lots
of examples.
  #5  
Old July 30th 05, 04:57 PM
B. Lafferty
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Mike Jacoubowsky" wrote in message
m...
The riders may have freed themselves from being prisoners of the road,
but today they are - to borrow the title of the Philip Gaumont's doping
memoir - prisonniers du dopage. In their quest to find the perfect
pharmaceutical solution to the inhumanity of the Tour de France, they
have transformed themselves into something not entirely human. According
to Redeker, "A huge gulf now exists between the race and the racers, who
have become virtual figures, transformed into PlayStation characters
while the public, the ones at the folding tables and the tents, drinking
pastis and fresh rosť du pays, are still real. The type of man once
promoted by the race, the people's man, born of hard toil, hardened to
suffering and adept at surpassing himself, has been substituted by
Robocop on wheels, someone no fan can relate to or identify with."


Right. We should look back fondly on the good old days. Pot Belge. The
choice of "The people's man." A time when riders didn't die in their
sleep, but openly, out on the slopes of Ventoux, as a sporting man should.

Where do these guys come off, doing this revisionist history garbage? If
they want to make a case for drug use in the present peloton, why do they
think it enhances their case by contrasting it to a lie?


Was it really a lie back then? Top riders, including Coppi and Anquetil,
acknowledged using drugs. As Dino Buzzati noted in his articles for
Corriere della Sera while following the 1949 Giro, the drugs used were
primarily to ease pain and allow riders (most often the Gregari) to simply
finish. Benjo has pointed out here that the history of anti-doping is
primarily derived not from Euro attitudes tpward doping but US attitudes as
linked to the Olympics. That has given ride to the lie in the post-Simpson
period.

I think the author's point is a valid one. The drug use today has turned
the sport into a surrealistic landscape of high tech performance in which
the human dimension has been subsumed by performance levels that are not
believable absent the acknowledgment of the present level of performance
enhancing sophistication. It is completely unlike the period prior to the
1990s and certainly unlike the period in which Tom Simpson died and prior to
that. Rather than riders acknowledging drug use to survive the pain as in
the past, today's riders constantly deny that they (the Emperors) have no
clothes.


  #6  
Old July 30th 05, 05:01 PM
DepartFictif
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Interesting. Couple things. 1: it's "la grande boucle" feminine,
not "le grand boucle"...
2: The tour is what separated the Armstrongs? He was dedicated to the
tour... was she as dedicated to him? Was she as faithful to him and he
was to the Tour?!

The goodo ld days of Pot Belge...? What's so OLD about those days?!

  #7  
Old July 30th 05, 05:50 PM
Dave Clary
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On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 14:40:25 GMT, "B. Lafferty" wrote:


Drugs alone will not make you a champion. Arguing
that Armstrong's performance is drug enhanced is, ultimately as pointless as
the catcalls from the kid in the Emperor's New Clothes story


Excellent point! Thanks for sharing that.

Dave Clary/Corpus Christi, Tx
Home: http://davidclary.com

  #8  
Old July 30th 05, 10:22 PM
Mike Jacoubowsky
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Was it really a lie back then? Top riders, including Coppi and Anquetil,
acknowledged using drugs. As Dino Buzzati noted in his articles for
Corriere della Sera while following the 1949 Giro, the drugs used were
primarily to ease pain and allow riders (most often the Gregari) to simply
finish. Benjo has pointed out here that the history of anti-doping is
primarily derived not from Euro attitudes tpward doping but US attitudes
as linked to the Olympics. That has given ride to the lie in the
post-Simpson period.


I think it was an even bigger lie back then. The rationalization that you
took drugs to help you recover or get through the pain, as if somehow that
wasn't something that would improve your chances of winning. Cycling was
then, as it is now, a team sport. If the Gregari dropped out, they'd be of
no help to their team's leader. Call it what you will, but it's still all
about winning.

The notion that you took drugs for "recovery" continued for some time;
frankly, when EPO and HGH came along, at least people were willing to admit
the reasons they took it had nothing to do with recovery and everything to
do with being competitive and winning. And thus at least a tacit admission
that taking such drugs is, in fact, cheating... something entirely different
from the rationaization that it's all about recovery or pain control, just
so you can survive.

But what this thread really begs for is a history of drug controls in
sports. Frankly, I have no idea what was legal and what wasn't back in the
40s and 50s, and I think that has a fair amount of relevance when we're
contrasting now vs then.

--Mike Jacoubowsky
Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReaction.com
Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA

"B. Lafferty" wrote in message
nk.net...

"Mike Jacoubowsky" wrote in message
m...
The riders may have freed themselves from being prisoners of the road,
but today they are - to borrow the title of the Philip Gaumont's doping
memoir - prisonniers du dopage. In their quest to find the perfect
pharmaceutical solution to the inhumanity of the Tour de France, they
have transformed themselves into something not entirely human. According
to Redeker, "A huge gulf now exists between the race and the racers, who
have become virtual figures, transformed into PlayStation characters
while the public, the ones at the folding tables and the tents, drinking
pastis and fresh rosť du pays, are still real. The type of man once
promoted by the race, the people's man, born of hard toil, hardened to
suffering and adept at surpassing himself, has been substituted by
Robocop on wheels, someone no fan can relate to or identify with."


Right. We should look back fondly on the good old days. Pot Belge. The
choice of "The people's man." A time when riders didn't die in their
sleep, but openly, out on the slopes of Ventoux, as a sporting man
should.

Where do these guys come off, doing this revisionist history garbage? If
they want to make a case for drug use in the present peloton, why do they
think it enhances their case by contrasting it to a lie?


Was it really a lie back then? Top riders, including Coppi and Anquetil,
acknowledged using drugs. As Dino Buzzati noted in his articles for
Corriere della Sera while following the 1949 Giro, the drugs used were
primarily to ease pain and allow riders (most often the Gregari) to simply
finish. Benjo has pointed out here that the history of anti-doping is
primarily derived not from Euro attitudes tpward doping but US attitudes
as linked to the Olympics. That has given ride to the lie in the
post-Simpson period.

I think the author's point is a valid one. The drug use today has turned
the sport into a surrealistic landscape of high tech performance in which
the human dimension has been subsumed by performance levels that are not
believable absent the acknowledgment of the present level of performance
enhancing sophistication. It is completely unlike the period prior to the
1990s and certainly unlike the period in which Tom Simpson died and prior
to that. Rather than riders acknowledging drug use to survive the pain as
in the past, today's riders constantly deny that they (the Emperors) have
no clothes.



  #9  
Old July 30th 05, 10:42 PM
B. Lafferty
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Mike Jacoubowsky" wrote in message
...
Was it really a lie back then? Top riders, including Coppi and Anquetil,
acknowledged using drugs. As Dino Buzzati noted in his articles for
Corriere della Sera while following the 1949 Giro, the drugs used were
primarily to ease pain and allow riders (most often the Gregari) to
simply finish. Benjo has pointed out here that the history of
anti-doping is primarily derived not from Euro attitudes tpward doping
but US attitudes as linked to the Olympics. That has given ride to the
lie in the post-Simpson period.


I think it was an even bigger lie back then. The rationalization that you
took drugs to help you recover or get through the pain, as if somehow that
wasn't something that would improve your chances of winning. Cycling was
then, as it is now, a team sport. If the Gregari dropped out, they'd be of
no help to their team's leader. Call it what you will, but it's still all
about winning.

The notion that you took drugs for "recovery" continued for some time;
frankly, when EPO and HGH came along, at least people were willing to
admit the reasons they took it had nothing to do with recovery and
everything to do with being competitive and winning. And thus at least a
tacit admission that taking such drugs is, in fact, cheating... something
entirely different from the rationaization that it's all about recovery or
pain control, just so you can survive.

But what this thread really begs for is a history of drug controls in
sports. Frankly, I have no idea what was legal and what wasn't back in the
40s and 50s, and I think that has a fair amount of relevance when we're
contrasting now vs then.


Here are some old posts from Benjo.

1. Small history of doping:


1897. The Welsh rider Linton, co-winner of Bordeaux-Paris dies not long
after the race. Cause of death: probably doping. At that time riders took
cafeine, derivatives of strychnine, cocaine and arsenic, and above all
alcohol. For a race like Bordeaux-Paris: one bottle of cognac and some
glasses white wine, port, and champagne.
1924: Albert Londres interviews the Pelisssier brothers after they have
quitted the Tour. They show him a battery of little bottles, pills and
tables: "We ride on dynamite"
1938: The Belgian Felicien Vervaecke is a surprisingly strong adversary of
the young Bartali. One of the first times a rider is using amphitamine,
invented in 1930.
1942: Coppi takes seven tablets amphitamine and breaks the hour record.
1948: Gino Bartali wins the Tour de France. Almost certainly the last Tour
winner who was really clean.
1955: Tour de France: the Mont Ventoux. The French rider Jean Mallejac in
coma and almost dies. Ex-winner Ferdi Kuebler is zigzagging and super
climber Charley Gaul has a terrible beakdown: the have the same soigneur.
1964: Danish rider Jensen dies during the road race at the Olympic Games.
1965: The first doping tests.
1966: The first doping tests in the Tour de France. Anquetil leads a strike.
But there is one strikebreaker: Tommy Simpson.
1967: Tommy Simpson dies at the Mont Ventoux. Cause: amphitamine and
alcohol.
1969: In the Giro Eddy Merckx takes doping for the time trial. His doctor
assures him he has nothing to fear: after one hour after he has taken it he
won't test positive, and because the follwoing day is a rest day, next day
there will be no traces in his urine. Wrong. He is caught anyway. He
proclaims crying his innocence, says he has been cheated (he is, by his
doctor). Even the Belgian king expresses his concerns. Merckx' suspension is
lifted, so he can ride and win the Tour de France.
1975 and 1977: Bernard Thevenet wins the Tour. Some years later he admits he
took cortisone.
1977: The Belgian doctor Debackere finds a way to detect the popular doping
Stimul and tries it in the Tour de Belgique. All the riders tested are
positive.
1988: Pedro Delgado wins the TDF. He has used a masking drug which is on the
list of the OC but not of the UCI.
1988-1990: 18 Belgian and Dutch riders die of heart attacks. The first
experiments with EPO?
1989: The whole PDM team has to leave the Tour, having used contaminated
intrapelid, a drug masking the use of testeron.
1989: The miracolous resurrexion of Greg Lemond. He suffered from anemia,
but claimed to have been cured by an iron injection. Not many people believe
him. The rumour says he used blood-doping. Or was it EPO?
1990: The talented Gilles Delion wins the Tour of Lomardy, but has to stop
professional racing a few years later: he is really clean and can't compete
anymore now that all the strong riders are taking EPO, steroids, etc.
1998: The soigneur Willy Voet is arrested, and his team Festina is expelled
from the Tour de France.


Benjo Maso



2. The first serious attempts to ban drugs in sport were made after the
Olympic
Games of Helsinki 1952. The reason was simple: the Soviet-Union won so many
golds that the West-Europeans and Americans were convinced that the Russians
must have been much farther in using drugs than any other country. For that
reason they insisted on introducing taking tests. Not because they cared
for the health of athletes, but only because they were convinced they
couldn't win as long as the Russians had something they didn't. The first
test were very simple. The most effective was the sex-test, which led to the
downfall of some succesfull athletes like the Rumanian high jumper Yolanda
Balas, the Russian discus thrower Tamara Press and others. But drug-test
became more and more complicated and the list of forbidden products became
longer and longer. It included even some products of which nobody knew if
they were really performance-enhancing, but just in case they were, it was
considered safer to put them of the list as well. In other words: to a
certain extent the list was completely arbitrary.
Drug tests started in the Tour in 1966. The day after, the peloton went
on strike. The initiator was Jacques Anquetil. he said: "I agree with drug
tests, but only for novices and amateurs. Pro's have enough experience to
know what is best for them and must be allowed to take their own
responsabilities." Wise words, but after Simson' death in 1967 they didn't
stand a ghost of a chance to be accepted. What's mo for the general
public the use of drugs had become more and more a moral issue. Not for the
riders: they never use words like "cheat'', etc.
Of course, it would be wonderful if drugs didn't exist. The chances to win
should be equal for every athlete, and if some of them have found powerful
strong performance -product, their rivals can have an insurmountable
disavantage. On the other hand, that's a fact of life. Gaston Reiff inveted
interval training and beat Zatopek. Lemond was clever enough to use
thriatlon handlebars and beat Fignon. Of course, that's not just the same as
the case of EPO for instance. They are so expensive that only the richest
riders and teams can afford them, which isn't right. If there were simple
effective methods to make the use of such products impossible, splendid. But
meanwhile the "fight'' against doping is causing more damage than the drugs
themselves. Not only because some tests (like EPO) are a pure scandal, but
also because it's destroying the sport in general. Winning a race has become
suspect, having a bad day even more.
As far as I see it there is only one solution: legalizing drugs to a
certain amount, Anquetil-wise. It's a illusion that the "fight against
doping" can ever be won. As a doping expert was saying a few weeks go: in
the 90's the gap between the cops and the robbers was narrowing, but right
now it's widening again. Draconian legislation won't help any more than in
the "war against drugs'' in general. It will only stimulate the already
existing links with criminal organisations. The main impediment for
legalizing drugs: the fact that is has become a moral issue. Much more in
the United States than in Europe mayby, but I'm afraid that thanks to the
trials which are going on and all the publicity around the gap is closing. I
can't say I'm very happy about it.


Benjo Maso









  #10  
Old July 30th 05, 10:46 PM
DepartFictif
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

if you take EPO and HGH (to use your examples) durring training, and
are "clean" durring competition; ie: if/when tested you return a -ve
result.... are you cheating? What really constitutes cheating. If you
take medication for a cold (the same stuff any non-athlete can get over
the counter in a pharmacy) durring competition you are "cheating"... is
this right? Is there not a much bigger and more in depth issue here
than right/wrong, clean/cheat... it's a far more complicated world out
there than you realize...

 




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