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August 20, 2003

KRT Wire | Tour de France is for dopes

Finally they caught one. It has been announced that Pascual Llorente, a sorry Spaniard, was the only cheater who used banned performance-enhancing drugs among all those superhumans who bowed, for the fifth consecutive time, in front of semi-god and king of the Tour de France, cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. Ouf!, as the French say. An oustandingly loud sigh of relief was breathed throughout the ever-growing planet of pedaling humans and adoring fans.

So they are all clean and healthy sportsmen. All of them - Armstrong and his group - who, not so long ago, were engulfed in one doping scandal after another. All of them, that is, except poor Pascual Llorente, a 32-year-old suddenly unworthy rider whose career is drawing to an undignified end.

Supposedly the sole con man among hundreds of riders, he was caught using EPO, a growth hormone that brings more oxygen to your blood, letting you go faster and longer on your two wheels. The only cheater? Really? It took no less than three weeks for the nomenclature of professional bicycle racing to go through the hundreds of tests run throughout the Tour and announce their verdict: one poor Spanish journeyman. …

From a sports column, originally in the Providence Journal, by Jean Liseur.

Now, we are told, the sport has been cleaned up. All the riders run on pure water, sound training, hard work…

So how come they are going so much faster than when they were all cheating?

I think it's fair to believe that many, even most, Tour riders take every legal advantage within the UCI (cycling's international sanctioning body) rules. I don't necessarily agree that a faster Tour means that riders have to be doping, which seems to be Liseur's reasoning.

After all, a decade ago (hell, for Jan Ullrich, 2-3 years ago), it was common for riders to take as much as 3 months off the bike a year. They would gain some weight and lose some fitness, but it was thought that they would come back fresher and more motivated. Today, if you're not motivated all year long, you're off the back.

The widespread use of hyperbaric chambers gives endurance athletes the combined advantages of living at altitude and training at sea level.

And, of course, there are the supplements. Creatine, BetaGen and others have moved from bodybuilding into endurance athletics like cycling.

Add to improved training methods and supplements the greater emphasis on the Tour (compared to the World Cup and classics), and you can see why the average Tour speed is up. Think of all the stages this year that were contested almost from the gun. All of them contribute to the higher overall average speed.

Of course, it's possible that some riders are using drugs. EPO is effective partly because its effects linger after the drug is no longer measurable in an athlete's bloodstream. As a result, the UCI's approach has been focused more on regulating the effects of EPO (by banning riders with a high red blood cell ratio, or hematocrit, for whatever reason) than its use.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 20, 2003 in About the Tour | Permalink

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Comments

Hi.

Thanks for the great updates on all "bike-dom" i have you set up in my RSS reader, "shrook"

GO lance!

Posted by: me at Aug 20, 2003 12:51:49 PM

I hate lance armstrong he is a stupid ass phony. Yes iTs good that he survived cancer but bull shit he came back and won six tour de frances without some assisted help from a little friend called steroids. Im so tired of those dumbass yellow bracelets, they should read CHEATSTRONG on them instead of livestrong.

Posted by: Michael Stein at Dec 5, 2004 12:18:04 AM

Yes,Michael, more of us should hate Lance Armstrong. Speak up, you under-voiced minority, let your hate for this wretch become a comforting blanket. He is the benchmark for American hypocrisy. No wonder everyone loves him- he cheats and refuses to take responsibility for any of his actions. First, he refuses to go in for treatment for his cancer until it almost kills him, then he complains about it. His selfish desire to continue racing instead of seeking treatment is his own fault, own up to it Lance. Then, he goes on the juice, and becomes a dominant racer years past his physical prime after being a mediocre athlete during his athletic peak. He never appraoched winning the tour before he caught cancer, and afterwards he juiced his way to 6 wins (and, unfortunately, counting). Next, he has the audacity to deny steroid use when EVERYONE knows that he takes them. Finally, he tells everyone that he could not have recovered from the cancer that he basically caused in himself without the support of his loving family, then leaves them for Sheryl Crowe??????? WTF. That's right, I'm resorting to WTF. What a tremendous hypocrite. I don't even wish to make a moral judgment on his life, but when he routinely lies about his success, I have no respect for the ratbag scamp. Plus, he is responsible for a rash of infant suicides, the Catholic churches molestation scandal, and a sharp decline in humanity's utility.

Posted by: andrew at May 9, 2005 11:59:19 AM

I HATE LANCE ARMSTRONG! It gets on my nervous all these people going around with those stupid LIVEstrong bracelets just because everyone else is. The media has tried to make him the perfect person, the ideal American. Perfect my ass, he was all about his wife and kids and how much he loved them ,and they helped him through his cancer. And how does he repay them? He walks out on them as soon as he gets a little bit of fame for Sheryl Crow. This man is not someone that I want to look up to, and frankly I wish he would just go away.

Posted by: Sarah at Jun 15, 2005 11:40:07 PM

LA will NEVER be the equal to Merckx.

Just look at the records.

In his prime, Merckx competed in over 100 races a YEAR and won NEARLY HALF. He won 5 TdF, 5 Giros, and 1 Vuelta, in addition to 7 Milan San Remo, etc etc etc

Merckx DOMINATED cycling. LA won 6 TdF becasue that is LARGELY ALL HE EVER DOES...

Posted by: mike at Jun 23, 2005 11:37:58 AM

Man-O-Man,

If I could trade in a punch for everytime someone says Lance is God, I could punch out the whole wussy Live/Cheat Strong nation.

I can't remember the last time I disliked some one so much in sports other than Jeremy Roenick or Jari-queer Fagr of the Washington Capitals.

Anyway- today is rant day....

What is the real plausibilty of some guy with ONE nut to win 6 straight Tours without the convenience of his friends Mr.Ster Oids and Miss EPO. Every year, these dumb Americans band-wagon around some illegitimate 'Winner' and through them into Sainthood by revering them through any Media available.

Armstrong a surviving cancer victim ( the only good part)could not have possibly recovered in this fashion without the aid of contraban substances. The United States Athletic Associations on every level practically openly condone Cheating and use use illegal substances.

One only has to recall the last 4 Olympics to rememember the 'greats' like Montgomery, Gaines, Jones, Lewis... to name a few.

What a joke... The U.S. government apparently spends up to 12 percent of it's Olympic budget to foster experimentation of illegal substances and subsequent masking agents. This amounts roughly TWICE as much as any other 2nd or 3rd world nations entire budget. In Kenya, they get 3 cokes and run like hell. Reminds me of Indurain and his 'Wake-Up' tabs. Not as bad Asstrong, but close.

I ESPECIALLY hate the way OLN sucks the dhicks of Team Discovery 'cuz they're network kissing cousins.

The American media have no shame and absolutely no idea of what objective media coverage is all about. It's simply disgusting and embarassing.
Lance this Lance that, I hope they will pull their pants down and take it like a goat when everyone else finds out what we already know.

I hope dickweed Lance slides over a cliff and is left hang from a branch so he can redeem himself with ghosts of Merckx and the like.

It's shameful to witness this debauchery of my favorite summer sport.

And to all you Pro Lance/Cheaters/Blind/Fools who reply with venom... just wait and see. Cause the truth ALWAYS come around.

Posted by: sageroo at Jul 4, 2005 2:01:13 PM

Lance is a phony - plain and simple

Posted by: Danny Bleu at Jun 17, 2007 11:58:42 PM

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