Thursday, May 24, 2007

The whole truth

Some notable professional cyclists are confessing to doping these days, but the picture that they paint just strains my credulity.

"Aldag said he carried out blood transfusions to increase his red blood cell count and bought EPO on the Internet. "In 1997, for the first time I began to have a guilty conscience," Aldag, 38, said.

* He bought EPO on the Internet . . . in 1995? From whom? Drug-trafficking internationally? What, over a BBS? The Internet wasn't like it is today - eBay was only started in late 1997, was only first launched in 1995.***

"Zabel said he only took EPO for one week in 1996 before abandoning it because of the side-effects."

* Even though there are few side-effects discernible to the user, and Aldag said he could feel no side-effects. I'd venture a guess that Zabel's side-effects of winning two stages and the sprinter's jersey at the 1996 Tour de France might have been considered worth it.

* Even though an EPO test was only introduced to professional cycling in 2000, 3 to 4 years after the allegedly final doping incident. And Aldag says he used it up until 1999.

How about the whole truth, guys?

I didn't think it was possible, but the Bjarne Riis non-admission doping admission sheds even LESS light on the subject. That may take the record for the longest press release which says precisely nothing.

He was only slightly more explicit in the live press conference.

What's the French statute of limitations on such things? Would it be cynical to guess that everything these guys are confessing to happened well prior to the statute of limitations?

***Ah, Aldag's purchase of EPO on the Internet took place in 2002, which makes much more sense. Which he said he didn't use. Which doesn't.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More victories for former Lanternes Rouges

Leonardo Piepoli, climber extraordinaire of Saunier Duval and Lanterne Rouge for three stages of the 2005 Tour de France, won the brutal 250-km 3-climb tenth stage of the Giro D'Italia. That launches him up into 14th place in the General Classification.

Janeck Tombak, now riding for Jartazi Promo Fashion, and Lanterne Rouge for two stages of the 2005 Tour de France, last Sunday won the second of two stages in the Tour de Picardie and second place overall on the podium.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

And the last shall be first

Danilo Di Luca, a former Tour de France Lanterne Rouge, is still leading the Giro d'Italia. Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner rider who finished 151st of 155 riders completing the 2005 Tour de France, was successful in earning another stage win at the Giro today. Congratulations to them both!

I've been trying to ignore the pro cycling doping news and scandals for the most part on this blog, because the Lanternes Rouges tend not to be the targets of these investigations, but I have been following the cases closely.

I've been riveted by the ongoing blogging from the Landis-USADA hearings at Pepperdine at Trust But Verify. Well done, fellow bloggers! Just a few short years ago this kind of up-to-the-minute, blow-by-blow coverage and analysis wouldn't have been available to the general public - and certainly never before in a hearing for an athlete accused of doping!

Tyler Hamilton put up his first statement today about not riding in the '07 Giro. It left me feeling like it was a fairly evasive statement, mostly concerned with his dental work, but at least for once he didn't protest his innocence.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Di Luca takes the Giro lead!

The Lanterne Rouge from Stage 1 of last year's Tour de France has taken the lead in the General Classification of the Giro d'Italia! Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas is a strong contender for podium placement if he remains strong throughout the Giro.

It always makes me feel good to see former Lanternes Rouges ride successfully in their subsequent cycling careers - it shows what amazing professionals these riders are, even when they occasionally wind up in the bottom of the standings while working tirelessly for their team leader.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Joly's TT success no fluke

Following up an excellent performance in the Paris-Nice prologue, and a victory in the Paris-Camembert race, Sébastien Joly of Française des Jeux (who spent eight days as the Lanterne Rouge in the 2006 Tour de France) took third place in the initial individual time trial at the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque race, behind Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) and William Bonnet (Credit Agricole).

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Another black day for professional cycling

And I was such a fan of Ivan Basso. . . .

I guess I'll just have to continue cheering for the Lanternes Rouges who do the hardest work in the peleton and get the least glory.

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