Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘Cadel Evans’

This Day in Doping: So many syringes, so little time

In Bicycle Racing, This Day In Doping on November 2, 2009 at 1:26 am

Doping scandals aplenty, Velo News reports. They’re taking another look at 2008 Giro d’Italia samples for CERA, undetectable previously but now testable. The same may happen for the 2009 Giro and Tour as testing catches up with ever newer, previously undetectable substances.

“The report also outlined a new blood doping practice which evaded current testing protocol which monitor blood parameters. About 200ml of blood is extracted, mixed with an anti-coagulant, and re-injected. The practice does not alter blood values and is all but undetectable, the report said.”

And the UCI, whose efficacy anti-doping authorities continue to question, emerges with another black eye:

“Earlier efforts to back-test Giro samples for CERA were squashed by the UCI, but now Italian officials in Padua have taken up the case.”

The Chicken is back! Michael Rasmussen, who was on track to win the 2007 Tour de France before his team suspended him for deceiving it re his whereabouts before the race began, has picked up a new team following his two-year ban.

Rasmussen’s case bears some investigation, because he essentially beat the doping system. He never actually tested positive. He was put on ice simply out of suspicion of cheating.

Which means the system must be pretty easily beatable, because they suspected Rasmussen well before the Tour began and one would assume must have tested him rigorously during the race. So what went wrong? How could this happen? They’re so convinced he doped that they barred him, but nothing in their vast array of testing procedures could prove it?

Euskaltel-Euskadi on the comeback trail from doping scandals? Can they stay clean? And with this kind of money involved, will they get reported if they aren’t clean?

“As part of continued 1 million euro commitment to the team’s total 6.5 million euro budget, the government has included a clause in the sponsorship contract that would end the deal if more doping cases pop up. Reports in Basque Country media also point to an early exodus of title sponsor Euskaltel – the regional telephone operator – if there’s another doping case.”

Floyd Landis got caught and paid the price. Now he’s saying “politics” will keep him from ever competing in the Tour again.

Here’s an idea: Floyd and the Chicken and Tyler Hamilton and Bernhard Kohl and Vinokourov and a bunch of other banned cyclists get together and form a Tour team sponsored by BigPharma companies that make methadone. They could call it Team LiveClean.

World Champion Cadel Evans now wants to finally win the Tour, a prime motivator for his move from Silence to BMC Racing. We wish him luck. Cadel is one of the few pros who proactively says he does not dope. We trust he’s telling the truth and admire him for taking a stand. We also like him because he’s a former mountain biking champion. (So is Rasmussen, but we don’t admire him because, as with a lot of big names in cycling, there’s too much evidence he’s a cheat, even though he never actually got caught.)

Daily Roundup: Ex-mtber wins road worlds, Cali parks stay open, Interbike leftovers and more

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Interbike 2009, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes on September 28, 2009 at 2:35 am

California’s decision not to close state parks is great news for mountain bikers. Common sense in this case was aided by the stat that for every dollar the state spends on its parks, it takes in about $3. That and the fact concessionaires were contacting their lawyers over breach of contract if the parks were to close…

A former mountain biker, Australia’s Cadel Evans, has won the world road racing championship. A former road racer has never won much of anything in mountain biking, so this proves which is the tougher sport. Moreover, Evans is a “clean” rider, so it’s an even bigger deal.

GoPro’s early stuff was junk, but credit where due, they’re keeping at it and getting it right. The Hero HD was at Interbike 2009 and I think I’ll give their line another go-around.

IMBA’s industry breakfast at Interbike 2009 packed ’em in. We’re looking forward to the mentioned bike-umentary, “Pedal Driven.”

Alberto Contador may not have to ride for Astana next year, because Astana may not exist next year.

The Tour of California, shaping up as America’s premier contribution to the world cycling calendar, is moving to mid-May next year. Hopefully no more April showers, and it’ll be a lot warmer. We fans thank the organizers! (And thanks to Lance Armstrong for bringing out the crowds this past season, guaranteeing the event’s future.)

OK OK, what I said about Cadel Evans was just a joke, OK? Besides, Lance is NOT a former road racer who left road racing for mountain biking. And the Leadville 100 is hardly the world championships. OK???

Tour offers first boring wet jersey contest

In Bicycle Racing on July 17, 2009 at 8:41 am

Funny to read now:’s pre-stage analysis, where Stage 13 “may reveal just how far some riders are willing to go to fight for the Tour de France yellow jersey.” Um…let’s just say, not very far at all. “Nocentini’s last day wearing yellow.” And I agreed when you posted, Richard. Based on everything we know about professional cycling and the Tour’s great history, yellow should have changed hands today.

Instead, the whole peloton was yellow…as in cowardly, as in yellow-bellied.

OK so yes, it was raining, and raining hard. And it was cold. We’ve all been there. Still, one has to wonder, seeing the peloton go through the motions day after day, if this bunch of shoulder-watchers just is not a competitive group. The pack’s excuse-making is just another reason for a champion to make hay. Would Hinault or Lemond or Merckx or any of the great names of the past have just sat in the pack and pedaled along when an obvious opportunity was at hand? Do any of this year’s riders deserve a nickname like the Badger or Cannibal? Only the sprinters seem to have nicknames, because they’re the only ones really putting out.

A great rider would have at least tested Astana today, throwing himself off the front on one of the 15-percent grades to see what happened. The other benefit to launching attacks when everyone else is sitting back: You up your fitness level for next time. The way things are shaping up, with no one even trying to assert himself, this year’s Tour could be decided more by chance — a random crash, bad weather, a flat tire — than true worthiness on the part of the winner.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain this coming week in the Alps. Otherwise the 2009 edition of the Tour de France will be just one big mass poor-mouthing about how this or that or the other prevented anyone from launching an attack. Cadel Evans was right: We got a buncha whiners on our hands.

Lance is back! and the Tour is boring again

In Bicycle Racing on July 12, 2009 at 7:52 am

With Lance out of the picture after 2005, I’d almost forgotten how boring the Tour de France can be. Year after year in his historic run-up of wins, Lance assembled the strongest team and then “controlled” the race, to yawningly predictable outcomes.

The past few Lanceless Tours got back to real racing, with no single rider controlling the peloton and no predictable winner just putting in the miles day after day. But with Lance back in the saddle this year, the racing has been timorous, uneventful and bland.

The turning point came when Armstrong announced his comeback and “chose” Astana as “his” team. Contador was already locked in and immediately threw a fit. We spectators can only rue that Alberto didn’t win his case and keep Lance off the team. With Lance and Levi and AC all “working together,” other race favorites have so far thrown in the towel.

Nowhere was this clearer than in Cadel Evans’ heroic attempt to goose the peloton in yesterday’s mountainous stage. A disgusted Evans later accused his fellow breakawayers of acting like “a bunch of whining three-year-olds” — scared of the main group, afraid to lay it on the line — and they were soon reeled in.

Today’s stage was stupefyingly unaggressive, with opportunities on two steep climbs for someone, anyone, to assert himself. Instead we had hour after hour of the “slack pack,” with no favorite even hinting at an attack. Even Twitter went comparatively quiet, with some tweets expressing frustration over the lack of action.

When two mid-list riders break away early and continue ahead to the finish, you know any of the race leaders are capable of the same or better. What a shame to deprive the world of real cycling while Lance and his bros “control” the race.

To be fair, the blame is not entirely on the 7-time Tour winner. The system enables and allows a dominant rider to vitiate any real competition by collecting other favorites around him. Somehow there should be a rule limiting a team to one race favorite apiece. Imagine what a different, and exciting, Tour this would be if Lance, Levi and Contador were all heading different teams.

The scoring system also could be changed to mix things up a bit. Mathematically it might be tricky, but a system that put sprinters, climbers, team results and TT specialists on equal scoring in the overall standings would add huge intrigue to the race. By segmenting each cycling discipline, the Tour loses diversity and day-to-day rejiggering of race leadership.

Maybe if this is Lance’s last year in the Tour, racing will get more interesting next year. It’s also true that we still have two weeks of racing to go, and in upcoming days the mountains could shake things up.

But for that to happen, the Astana dynamic will have to change. Someone will have to try to lay his body on the line, and get some others to join him. Someone will have to say to himself, other challengers and the cycling audience of the world, it’s better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all.