July 01, 2006
Why the 9 riders were suspended
What made T-Mobile so quickly sever its relationship with Jan Ullrich? What's been shown to teams so far is the 38-page summary of the 500-page Spanish Civil Guard report, and it turns out that Spanish Civil Guard authorities had phone and SMS records that appear to show a chain of communications between someone calling himself “Rudicio” and Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.
Late on May 17, Fuentes got an SMS message from “Rudicio,” trying to set up a conversation. The next day, around noon, he got a call from the same number, and told the caller he was busy, and could talk that evening. “But there's a time trial,” the dossier quotes the caller as saying. Ullrich's longtime trainer is Rudy Pevenage, and on May 18, Jan Ullrich won the Giro time trial.
Additionally, the codename ‘Jan’ (and I hope we somehow find that these guys weren't so dumb as to think ‘Jan’ is a good codename for someone named, um, ‘Jan’) is 4 times listed in a lab document concerning stored blood, human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor, and testosterone patches.
At Ignacio Labarta's home, police found documents on Francisco Mancebo's annual training regimen, with symbols the police recognized from other lab documents as relating to blood transfusions and medicines, and which the Civil Guard claims identifies Mancebo as client number 17 on the numbered blood bags.
Oscar Sevilla, Santiago Botero, and Jorg Jaksche were allegedly seen arriving with Fuentes and Labarta at an apartment where “four bags of blood were refrigerated.” I don't know if they mean the four bags were found when the raids went down, but I assume that's the implication.
As for Basso, the case against him seems more circumstantial: Investigators claim Labarto referred to him, and José-Enrique Gutierrez, on the phone with Fuentes as Fuentes clients, and the Civil Guard then made the link with the codename “Barrillo,” Basso's dog's name.
Manolo Saiz apparently established the relationship between Roberto Heras and Dr. Fuentes. When he was questioned May 24, Saiz told Spanish officials that Heras insisted on using Fuentes as his team doctor, over the objections of Saiz. That seems a little strange, given that Heras is out of the sport, but Saiz was still involved with Fuentes.
Finally, officials claim they found references to Joseba Beloki in a lab document with notations for HGH, IGF-1, testosterone patches, EPO, anabolic steroids, and blood transfusions.
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I read somewhere that lance would have the last laugh, but I'm not sure why. This merely shows how pervasive drugs and doping are in cycling. How could the winner of last year's tour have beaten all of these drugged riders? Well, I don't think a person could if he was not doing it himself. I had just been arguing with some of my friends and telling them that most of the riders in professional biking are not clean and this just proves my point. Sadly, bicycle racing is as much of a farce as professional wresting and professional bodybuilding because of the drugs.
Posted by: tough at Jul 1, 2006 5:56:26 PM
"tough" has it all wrong: yes there is doping, and yes it is pervasive. that does not make the sport a fraud or a farce. these are trained athletes pushing the human body beyond its limits, unlike wrestling. the person with the fastest time wins, unlike wrestling. the root of the problem is that there are millions at stake on the results, and riders do whatever they must to get results. "tough"'s comment seems to imply that drug use sullies an otherwise "pure" sport -- be it baseball, cycling, soccer, NFL. there is no "pure" professional sport. you want purity? head to the park and check out an ultimate frisbee game. otherwise, grow up, realize that this sort of thing is pervasive across ALL professional sports, but cycling is scrutinized far in excess of its relative market share compared to other sports. what if every MLB player who hits above .250 had to take a blood test after every game, and were subject to immediate 2 year suspension for the first violation? MLB would pretty much fold.
Posted by: vemos at Jul 1, 2006 7:17:55 PM
tough, this is a moronic statement:
"Well, I don't think a person could if he was not doing it himself. I had just been arguing with some of my friends and telling them that most of the riders in professional biking are not clean and this just proves my point. "
That's no better than l'equipe or the media in general, not to mention the messed up processes that were used to 'prove' Armstrong's guilt last year... it is unbelievable to me how some of these cases are built and riders assumed guilty before any sort of standardized process has been followed. Obviously, there's a lot of riders doping (including some of the riders just busted), and I am sure some of the people in the current scandal are, by the same token, falsely accused. The point is, you can't say "oh, they MUST be doping". That's horse s#@#. That's a witchhunt. Certainly there are riders who can win the tour without doping. They are rare physiological specimens to be sure, but they exist. It is documented that riders like Landis and Armstrong (and others) have bodies that are built for cycling. Which means it certainly is possible that riders like Armstrong never touched a single performance drug. While this doesn't prove anyone's innocence, in US we presume innoncence, despite hysteria, until guilt has been proven. I don't know what country you're from, but if you're from the US, maybe you should familiarize yourself with this tenet in case you have to serve jury duty some day.
Posted by: lerm at Jul 3, 2006 11:43:17 AM
Having competed in rowing at a high level and experienced the desire to be the very best that I could be, I can relate to the crisis that the professional cyclists continuously endure to perform beyond their human abilities. I am not condoning doping for one second but believe that the more money, the more the temptation to bend or break the rules. Professional golfers use beta blockers to calm their nerves, everybody uses caffeine and if you are one of the privileged few to reach the pinnacle of your chosen sport then you might be tempted to use something that is new enough not to be traceable. I don’t believe that suspensions and the like will make the slightest difference when the stakes are so high and we as a viewing public are most likely going to be entertained by all of the scandal that drives the press these days. I think that the best kept secret is most possibly what wins races or golf tournaments or marathons etc. Perhaps the best course of action would be to sit back and enjoy the show.
Posted by: Tarquilla at Jul 11, 2006 4:23:33 AM