Paul Andrews

Archive for the ‘This Day In Doping’ Category

This Day in Doping: Test for Human Growth Hormone hGH

In This Day In Doping on February 23, 2010 at 8:58 pm

BikeRadar has an intriguing post on a positive test for human growth hormone. The test involved a rugby league player but obviously holds huge implications for professional cycling. Although the substance has been banned for two decades, there’s been no reliable test for it.

Now (presumably) all those back samples can be screened over again. But once again, it puts enforcement into a touchy political arena. If all the big stars test positive, will the UCI or applicable governing body really act? Since there’s no transparency in the lab screening process, we the public have to trust that all samples are being tested equally, and penalties meted out fairly. That’s a pretty big leap in this day and age where corporate sponsorships and Big Money ultimately call the shots.

Why Bike Bloggers Matter

In This Day In Doping on February 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Investigative bike blogging is a tough job, even when you change out of your pajamas — but somebody’s gotta do it. When the San Diego Union-Tribune ran a brief item stating that an 18-year-old had been arrested for attempting to smuggle 2.5 pounds of marijuana into the country in his bike tire tubes, we were on the case.


That sounded like an awful lot of work. Why not just go with tubeless tires, we wondered?

The Department of Homeland Security, undoubtedly one of Bike Intelligencer’s most rabid followers, has released a photo indicating that, indeed, the mj was not stuffed into inner tubes. Although it’s tricky to determine from the photo, (which may be deliberately fuzzy for security reasons so as not to give bike terrorists any bright ideas), it looks like the weed was in plastic packets that were taped together, then simply inserted inside the tires. If tubes were used at all it was as a housing of sorts, rather than the mj sitting loose inside the tubes.

It’s impossible to determine whether the tires are indeed UST certified tubeless. We’re guessing not. We’re also guessing the culprit did not use Stan’s. I mean, what if it leaked onto the pot?

We would hope with all the stimulus dollars floating around that some funding could be supplied to purchase a better camera for Homeland Security. Either that or a photographer who knows how to focus. Or to hold the camera steady in low light. Or use a tripod.

Still, there is one indication that our investigative journalism had an effect. The followup LA Times report states that the marijuana was “hidden in tires” — not, in actual fact, in tire tubes.

Technically the U-T should run a clarification of the initial item. Although it probably was not the newspaper’s fault. The police write-up undoubtedly got it wrong. There are, inevitably, unanswered questions still. We would pursue the matter further but feel justice has been done, and there is always a ton more to do on an investigative bike blogger’s docket.

Now it’s back to work defending truth, justice and bloggers’ reputations everywhere.

This Day in Doping: About those tires…

In This Day In Doping on February 22, 2010 at 10:52 am

Kid gets busted for trying to smuggle pot into the country in his bike tire tubes. Getting 2.5 lbs. of mj into bike tubes sounds like a lot of work, and our first question would be why not go tubeless? on closing the file on Jan Ullrich.

This Sad Day in Doping: Joe Papp deserves medal, not prison

In This Day In Doping on February 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Reformed doper Joe Papp, familiar on this blog, Twitter and via his own writings for being one of the only pro cyclists to come clean and tell the truth about doping, has guilty to being a person he no longer is.

“Having escaped a corrupt system in which doping was a practice as accepted and normal as brushing one’s teeth, I strongly believe in clean sport and for several years have been fighting against doping both publicly and in ways that I simply can’t comment on…” Papp said.

What Joe did — both his own doping and acting as an international pimp of sorts for other pro cyclists — was wrong and should not be excused. But in the context of his extensive work to bring doping problems to light and his own campaign for cleaning up the sordid state of pro cycling, his past transgressions hold little relevance today.

We wish Joe well and hope this works out for the best — for him and for the sport. Although he faces possible prison time, it’s obvious his presence can do far more good outside of jail.

This Day in Doping: Floyd hit with warrant

In This Day In Doping on February 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Our dreams for Team Rehab at the Dopers Reunion Tour de France 2010 have taken another body blow with announcement that a France-based warrant for Floyd Landis’ arrest was issued in late January. The warrant concerns hacking of an lab computer, but since the hacking related to Landis’ being stripped of his Tour de France victory for cheating, it seems likely to take Floyd out of the picture for this year’s Tour.

Looks clean...

[Update: Floyd says warrant? What warrant? One suggestion: You might want to lose the shades, my man.]

The warrant stipulates that Landis can be arrested if he touches foot in France. It might well be possible for a rider of Landis’ abilities to stay on his bike the entire time, including track stands in staging areas, but for practical purposes Floyd will have to stay out of France if he wants to avoid a court appearance.

Twisted Spoke muses over a Landis-Polanski straight-up trade, the problem (for our purposes) being that Polanski, whatever his cinematic accomplishments, can’t climb Alpe d’Huez and the kind of rehab he needs has nothing to do with doping. Still, we’re not opposed to the idea…

And it looks like Michael Rasmussen won’t be able to make the Tour either. Drat. The cheats are dropping like flies. It’s hard to know who, when you put doping in the mix, you can really count on in professional cycling these days.

Meanwhile, Italian cyclist Eddy Ratti has joined the ranks of the fallen.

This Valentine’s Day in Doping

In This Day In Doping on February 14, 2010 at 2:52 am

A Story of True Love Gone Astray: Drug cheat Riccardo Ricco has decided to separate from drug cheat Vania Rossi. And just when Hallmark came out with a Valentine’s Day card aimed right at them…



This Day in Doping: Lance, Vaughters, Does doping matter? and football players

In This Day In Doping on February 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Jonathan Vaughters made a careless comment about Lance Armstrong, who tweeted revenge. We like to see Lance mad because it makes him a better cyclist. Perhaps he will stick Vaughters’ comment on his top tube. Every time his head starts to sag a bit from fatigue, he will read it there and all hell will break loose. If he does go to glory in the Tour de France 2010, Lance will have Jonathan in part to thank.

But some perspective is in order.

Lance and Vaughters are former teammates, so there’s that history. Then, a couple of years ago, a Vaughters IM about potential doping in the Tour wound up in a lawsuit involving Lance and got widely circulated.

In cycling circles, the word is that so little love is lost between Lance and Vaughters you couldn’t find it with the Hubble Telescope.

Even so, Vaughters shows he has lost little of his cycling form, at least when it comes to backpedaling … a bit, anyway.

To be continued, to be sure. Does it really, in the overall scheme of things, when the universe is shrinking and expanding … does it really matter if cyclists cheat? Judging from hit counts, cycling is way more drug-drenched than, say, pro football. Which we all knew, right? I mean, why would football players, starting in middle school, ever take steroids or whatever? What would there be in it for them? Anyone up for gene doping?

This Day in Doping: Another Team Rehab candidate surfaces!

In This Day In Doping on February 4, 2010 at 2:43 am

How did we do it? In our campaign to bring together Team Rehab for the Dopers Reunion Tour de France 2010, how did we forget about Tom Boonen?

Admittedly, Boonen did not test positive for a performance enhancer. He was dinged for cocaine, which only makes you THINK your performance is enhanced. Still, drugs is drugs, and his second cocaine test in the plus column in two years is good enough to get Tom onto our Dream Team. As his team manager so persuasively put it: “He’s a very good guy, and a good rider, and I think he understands what he’s done in the past and won’t repeat it.” Yes, just like after the first time he tested positive.

This Day in Doping: Di Luca goes down with fighting words!

In This Day In Doping on February 2, 2010 at 2:26 am

Two-year suspension for Danilo Di Luca comes at a terrible time, as we continue to assemble our our dream Team Rehab in the Dopers Reunion Tour de France 2010. So far Michael Rasmussen and Alexander Vinokourov are on board, and we’re hoping for Floyd Landis. Only a miracle would get our favorite doper, Tyler Hamilton, into the Tour, but we can always hope.

As for Di Luca, all hope is not lost:

“This is not over. I can still try to fight this and I’m going to. We will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” Di Luca said, according to the ANSA news agency.

After all, he only tested positive twice. If it had been 5 or 10 times, well, we might concede the UCI was correct in banning him. But a couple of times, hey, the varsity squad of my hometown high school couldn’t meet that threshold.

This Day in Doping: All in the family?

In This Day In Doping on February 1, 2010 at 2:10 am

Ricco denies involvement with his girlfriend’s doping. Girlfriend denies doping. They might at least get on the same page on this…

Ricco compared to a cobra. So the question, as Ricco prepares to renew his racing career in May, is: What happens when you give a snake a second chance?

All in all we think Ricco would make a standout addition to Team Rehab, our dream alliance of Michael Rasmussen, Alexander Vinokourov, Floyd Landis and whoever else might be coming off a suspension around then, for what we are heralding as the Dopers Reunion Tour de France 2010.