August 25, 2005
Armstrong to appear on Larry King Live to discuss L'Equipe allegations
Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong will appear on CNN's Larry King Live tonight, to discuss the L'Equipe story from earlier this week. It airs from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. Eastern time.
You can submit questions on the Larry King Live home page.
Update: Bob Costas will be the interviewer, so Armstrong shouldn't get a lot of "What do you think of Ashlee Simpson?" questions.
August 23, 2005
L'Equipe story accuses Armstrong of 1999 EPO use
So the story linked above is getting a lot of play this morning, and a lot of the headlines I'm seeing totally miss the point. "Armstrong tested positive in 1999," screams one.
Well, no. There was no test for EPO until 2001, and Tour riders weren't specifically screened for it until 2004. What L'Equipe has done is built what they claim is a paper trail, linking Armstrong's "B" samples, collected in 1999, with samples that were provided to the World Anti-Doping Agency for use in developing the EPO test.
blood urine samples in question were allegedly anonymous, with only a numerical identifier, but L'Equipe claims to have copies of Armstrong's medical certificates, signed by both race doctors and the rider after doping tests, that show the same numerical identifier as the WADA samples.
Armstrong is unlikely to be sanctioned, since there's no corroborating sample available, and since the French national lab provided them to WADA “on condition that they could not be used in any disciplinary proceeding.”
Armstrong responded as expected:
"Yet again, a European newspaper has reported that I have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Tomorrow’s L’Equipe, a French sports daily, is reporting that my 1999 samples were positive. Unfortunately, the witch hunt continues and tomorrow’s article is nothing short of tabloid journalism.
The paper even admits in its own article that the science in question here is faulty and that I have no way to defend myself. They state: “There will therefore be no counter-exam nor regulatory prosecutions, in a strict sense, since defendant’s rights cannot be respected.”
I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance enhancing drugs."
Best quote of the controversy (so far, at least) is Laurent Fignon, who Eurosport quotes alongside Jean-Marie Leblanc, Hein Verbruggen, and Jacky Durand. Said Fignon:
"I don't give a sh**. 1999? This is ancient history. What does this prove and what does this solve?"
"What interests me now is keeping the next generation of cyclists clean and drug-free."
August 18, 2005
Leipheimer takes Tour of Germany lead
Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer took Stage 4 at the Tour of Germany Thursday, jumping into the overall race lead.
Leipheimer's teammate Georg Totschnig was 15 seconds back for 2nd on the day, a 171.6-km stage finishing atop Austria's Rettenbachferner. T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich was 3rd, losing only 55 seconds to Leipheimer.
It was the highest mountaintop finish of the Euro season, at 2670 meters (8,760 feet) above sea level. Leipheimer called it “the most difficult climb of all the races we've done, including the Tour de France.”
Leipheimer and Totschnig's group shed Tadej Valjavec, Marco Fertonani (survivor of an earlier break), and Jorg Jaksche, leaving the two Gerolsteiners riding with one and a half T-Mobiles (Ullrich and Evans, who joins the team for 2006). Two kilometers from the top, the wasser boys began to gap Evans, and pushed the pace. When Totschnig couldn't hold on, Leipheimer rode away from his teammate late on the climb to try to gain maximum advantage on Ullrich ahead of Monday's time trial.
"I feel a little bit guilty because I know Georg wanted to win, but I felt so strong and I know he won a stage in the Tour," Leipheimer explained in the finish. "I hope he will forgive me. I hope to repay him in the next few days.
Top 10 overall after Stage 4:
1) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, in 19:17:02
2) Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner, at :18
3) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, at :56
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at 1:22
5) Jorg Jaksche, Liberty Seguros, at 1:28
6) Tadej Valjavec, Phonak Hearing Systems, at 1:51
7) Saul Raisin, Credit Agricole, at 2:56
8) Fabian Jeker, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 3:16
9) Patrik Sinkewitz, Quickstep, same time
10) Wim Van Huffel, Davitamon-Lotto, at 3:58
August 17, 2005
Guidi joins list of Phonak positives
Fabrizio Guidi, who joined Phonak from CSC at the beginning of this season, has tested positive. Guidi apparently tested positive at the ongoing Tour of Germany.
The team has suspended him in advance of the 'B' sample results.
Guidi joins Oscar Camenzind, Santiago Perez, and Tyler Hamilton as Phonak riders to test positive in a little more than a year.
The UCI has also announced that it will NOT pursue action against a rider who tested positive for pseudoephedrine and norpseudoephedrine, which can be created by the body when riders take permitted cough medicines. In all, 164 drug tests were administered during the 2005 Tour, all negative.
August 02, 2005
Hamilton hearing set for Sept. 6
Tyler Hamilton's hearing with the UCI has finally been definitively scheduled for September 6.
Hamilton will try to convince a panel that the blood doping test which implicated him at the Vuelta, and potentially at the 2004 Olympics (without the confirming 'B' sample, his guilt couldn't be definitively established) is badly flawed and should at the very least include a threshold value below which athletes would be cleared for competition.