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Tennis Fool
Jul 1st, 2006, 12:01 AM
Posted on Fri, Jun. 30, 2006



Armstrong may have last laugh in Tour de France doping scandal

TIM DAHLBERG
AP Sports Columnist
You have to love Lance Armstrong's timing.

He won his first Tour de France the year after its biggest scandal and retired the year before a scandal that will probably prove even bigger.

The French seemed awfully glad to be rid of Armstrong after he won his seventh straight Tour last year.

The American was too good, too suspect and, well, too American for their tastes.

"Never to such an extent, probably, has the departure of a champion been welcomed with such widespread relief," the nation's leading sports daily opined.

Wonder how they're feeling about it now.

Forgive Armstrong if he enjoys the last laugh.

Life after Lance was supposed to bring a great new day to the only bike race anybody outside of Europe cares about. Finally gone was the racer so good that almost everyone who has ever ridden on training wheels wondered if he was doped up.

The French went so far as to suggest Armstrong used EPO before his first win in 1999, and even the Tour's director claimed that everyone was fooled by the wily American.

Their logic was easy enough to understand. Cycling is probably the dirtiest sport of them all, with a long history of riders using everything from cocaine to blood tranfusions to try and get an edge on the competition.

So the suspicion was that the rider who wins everything has to be dirtier than anyone else.

The only problem was that Armstrong never tested positive for anything, and was never caught with anything. On the contrary, he's spending his retirement in what seems like a full-time job agressively fighting allegations made against him in various places around the world.

Now the guys who were supposed to replace him are gone, too. But, unlike Armstrong, they didn't leave voluntarily.

Thanks to some Spanish investigators who seem to be taking a page from their BALCO counterparts in the United States, the Tour de France field was stripped of some top names Friday when a number of riders were banned on the eve of the race.

Among them were favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, caught up in cycling's biggest doping scandal since customs officials got lucky in 1998 and found a large stash of banned drugs in a team car.

The irony is inescapable. All those years of chasing rumors against Armstrong, and now they end up getting the guys who kept finishing behind him.

Both tour and team officials moved quickly once Spanish officials gave them details of a raid earlier this year on a doctor's office that turned up detailed doping records for various riders, and numerous bags of blood.

Ullrich was riding in a team van on the way to a previously scheduled press conference when he got the word that he, teammate Oscar Sevilla and longtime adviser Rudy Pevenage were implicated.

"We kindly asked our bus driver to turn around and go back to the hotel," team spokesman Luuc Eisenga said.

If only Major League Baseball acted so quickly with the BALCO investigation. Because if these guys were members of the player's union, they would still be at the starting line Saturday.

If nothing else, the doping scandal ripped open an already wide open race in the wake of Armstrong's retirement. Whether anyone outside of France really cares remains to be seen now that the most compelling story line is identifying who is cheating and who is clean.

One of those cheaters is - or rather, was - David Millar of Scotland, who was banned for two years in 2004 after admitting using EPO. Millar returns this year, and should he win it might prove to Armstrong doubters that the race can be won without doping.

"This drug hunt in Spain will be fantastic for cycling because the new generation of riders are gong to be aware that doping is bad for their health and the sport," a repentant Millar said.

Perhaps. Either that, or they will find a new way to cheat because the money is too good and the glory is too great.

Armstrong, meanwhile, continues his fight to clear his name. On Friday he reached a settlement in his libel suit against the Sunday Times in London, and a few months ago he won a $7.5 million settlement over a bonus an insurance company refused to pay him for his 2004 win because of allegations in a book that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

So far, retirement is looking pretty good for Armstrong.

Maybe the French were a little too quick to bid him adieu.

---_

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org




© 2006 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
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vogus
Jul 1st, 2006, 12:18 AM
Armstrong won't be laughing last, because there are just too many people who are hot on his trail, and sooner or later he is going to get exposed. He won't be able to cover up for much longer.

LoveFifteen
Jul 1st, 2006, 12:35 AM
Armstrong won't be laughing last, because there are just too many people who are hot on his trail, and sooner or later he is going to get exposed. He won't be able to cover up for much longer.

God, I love your "guilty with no way to prove innocence" perspective. You'd make a great lawyer ... in a dictatorship.

Diam's
Jul 1st, 2006, 12:40 AM
Wow What a great article :worship: :clap2:



:tape:

hablo
Jul 1st, 2006, 01:05 AM
as if, this doping scandal only makes armstrong look even more guilty :lol::tape:

Diam's
Jul 1st, 2006, 01:07 AM
as if, this doping scandal only makes armstrong look even more guilty :lol::tape:

That's exactly what I was thinking :lol:

wta_zuperfann
Jul 1st, 2006, 01:23 AM
The authorities have had 7 years in which to prove any allegations against Lance. Each time that they tried, they failed. The only conclusion we can reach is that he is fully innocent.

CASE CLOSED.

Sanneriet
Jul 1st, 2006, 02:05 AM
They tested him every day last year, raided his hotels and team cars and never found anything. I did not realize he was so much smarter than every one else:rolleyes:

Maybe that is really why he kept winning.:cool:

My personal opinion is that the cancer, with the massive chemo he had, plus the mental aspects of coming back are what account for it.

Diam's
Jul 1st, 2006, 02:26 AM
They tested him every day last year, raided his hotels and team cars and never found anything. I did not realize he was so much smarter than every one else:rolleyes:

Maybe that is really why he kept winning.:cool:



Where did you read that ? :confused:

But you are right, dopers are very smart!
They are always three steps ahead of the testers. :worship:

vogus
Jul 1st, 2006, 02:53 AM
The authorities have had 7 years in which to prove any allegations against Lance. Each time that they tried, they failed. The only conclusion we can reach is that he is fully innocent.

CASE CLOSED.


you wish, asshole. The real investigations by WADA undercover teams are just getting started. Armstrong is trying to buy time but he will be ratted out sooner or later by the people who were juicing him.

vogus
Jul 1st, 2006, 02:56 AM
They tested him every day last year, raided his hotels and team cars and never found anything. I did not realize he was so much smarter than every one else:rolleyes:

Maybe that is really why he kept winning.:cool:

My personal opinion is that the cancer, with the massive chemo he had, plus the mental aspects of coming back are what account for it.


i don't think Lance cheated in the last couple of Tours that he won - he had too much to lose by that point from getting caught red-handed. But he cheated earlier in his career, and he needs to face justice for that.

spudrsca
Jul 1st, 2006, 07:46 AM
Never tested positive. He doesn't know what he is writing.
He tested positive for Corticoïdes in his first tour de France but he gave the uci an anti-dated certificate of the doctor and a ridiculous excuse saying it was because he used a cream with cortisone for his pain in the ass.
There was also a reportage in France 3 television who shows many doping products throwed by his team in garbages.
You must be naïve to think that someone who had a cancer in advanced state can become athletically much better after without taking many doping products.
He must be superman to beat all these cheaters all these years with ease while being clean.

wta_zuperfann
Jul 1st, 2006, 12:32 PM
you wish, asshole. The real investigations by WADA undercover teams are just getting started. Armstrong is trying to buy time but he will be ratted out sooner or later by the people who were juicing him.



the true asshole is you, moron -- 7 years is more than enough time to conclude an investigation. George Bush had an easier time trying to find WMD than those people did in trying to find dope in Lance's system. And nothing will ever be found.

mandy7
Jul 1st, 2006, 01:19 PM
who cares about armstrong, he's not competing anymore
so he doesn't matter right now
unless you're american and depending on leipheimer for succes
then i understand why ya'd long back for the armstrong days i guess

vogus
Jul 1st, 2006, 02:06 PM
George Bush had an easier time trying to find WMD than those people did in trying to find dope in Lance's system. And nothing will ever be found.




Bad analogy. There never was any WMD, that was just a ruse cooked up by Karl Rove to distract idiot jackasses like yourself. But there WAS dope in Armstrong's system, all kinds of it, and the people who doped him up are eventually going to testify against him - just like with Barry Bonds.

Diam's
Jul 3rd, 2006, 10:55 PM
Interesting read :




Tour de France has learned drug testing's not the answer


- Gwen Knapp
Sunday, July 2, 2006


Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso never failed a drug test.

Jason Grimsley never failed a drug test.

The East Germans. World time-trial cycling champ David Millar. Yuan Yuan, the Chinese swimmer whose luggage for the 1998 World Championships contained 13 vials of human growth hormone.

Never failed a drug test.

It's time to apply the logic of Bill James, who famously redefined batting average as an overrated statistic, to this phrase. "Never failed a drug test'' is virtually meaningless.

When Congressional pressure forced baseball to dramatically increase penalties for failed drug tests last year, trumpets went off on Capitol Hill, naively declaring a major victory. Drug testing alone can't effectively police the chemical shenanigans of the sports world. It's a sieve and a farce. It's Barney Fife in a lab coat.

Ullrich and Basso got the boot from the Tour de France on Friday because of a real police investigation. Confronted with a report on that investigation, which targeted a doctor in Spain, Ullrich and Basso's teams sent them home the day before the start of the Tour. Under the new cycling code of conduct, teams have agreed to bench riders implicated in doping scandals, but only if the allegations appear credible. The very existence of such a code reveals the a lack of faith in the testing process.

Millar's two-year ban, which ended this year, added to the skepticism. The Scotsman confessed to using EPO after police raided his home in France and found evidence of the endurance-boosting drug. His bust echoed the lessons of 1998, when police caught Festina team staffer Willy Voet -- the name has become cycling shorthand for scandal, a la Watergate -- with a car full of drugs as he crossed the border on his way to the Tour.

Richard Virenque, Festina's star, spent two years in strenuous denial before confessing to drug use. The Frenchman wrote a book in his own defense, titled "Ma Verite'' or "My Truth.'' He argued that he was the victim of a conspiracy, which didn't make much sense. Why would the French police and race organizers target their country's best hope for a Tour victory? Why, for that matter, did the French pursue a case that undermined their most hallowed sporting event? If it weren't for their aggressive action, the Tour would have been in the clear. Most of the drug tests were coming back clean.

In baseball, sports fans and journalists routinely assume that players stopped shooting up the minute stringent testing went into effect. Apparently, the main lesson of BALCO has been lost. The case did more than expose a drug ring dedicated to star athletes; it revealed that Victor Conte's lab peddled a drug, THG, that had been specifically engineered to avoid detection.

The feds knocked on Grimsley's door because he was receiving growth hormone, a drug that can't be reliably detected in urine samples. In the affidavit based on his interview with federal agents, Grimsley makes it clear that baseball players adjusted, but didn't abandon, their drug use after testing became more stringent.

Savvy athletes don't fear drug testing. They regard it as a small, irritating obstacle. When they get caught, it's like a college team losing to a nonconference cupcake that was supposed to pad the schedule.

These days, though, they might be afraid of the police. They never know when some officer of the court will turn into a party pooper and actually enforce the law against the rich and famous, instead of just against the lackeys who deliver drugs to the rich and famous.

So far, that hasn't happened in the States. If he had continued cooperating with investigators, Grimsley probably could have gotten away with using growth hormone until the end of his career. Only when he stopped talking did agents decide to go public with the accusations that led to his ban from baseball.

It would be an enormous relief for everyone -- from fans to journalists to competitors -- to believe that testing works. The cynicism and distrust are almost as bad as doping itself. But the safety net isn't there, not to catch the cheaters or protect the innocent from floating suspicion.

Lance Armstrong, who has fended off accusations for years, made the point as well as anyone last week. In a long explanation of his history with doping controls, Armstrong told ESPN's Bob Ley: "I'm not saying my best defense is I've never tested positive.''

Five days later, the Tour de France began with a reduced field because banned riders, such as Ullrich and Basso, were not replaced. But things may balance out, because some gaps in drug testing were filled.

wta_zuperfann
Jul 4th, 2006, 06:27 PM
As far as I am concerned the burden of proof is upon UCI to prove that there is conclusive evidence of violations before a participant is to be disqualified. Prior to this time, I had never heard of the rule that one may be suspended on mere suspicion of violations. I see from your article that new rules have been imposed by UCI. Rules that appear exceedingly harsh. I wonder why the racers acceded to these stringent codes or if they had a choice in this matter.

As for Lance, no other athlete in history has ever been subjected to as many tests as he has. And he passed them all hands down. My hope is that Ullrich and Basso will also be fully vindicated.

Kart
Jul 4th, 2006, 06:41 PM
I like believing he is innocent.

Maajken
Jul 4th, 2006, 07:04 PM
armstrong is just as innocent as ullrich and basso. all three have never tested positive so they must be clean, right? :rolleyes:

there's absolutely no way a cyclist can perform at the highest level for three full weeks without that little something extra. the fact that they've never actually been busted is mute because a lot of substances can't be traced in urine nor blood (and blood doping is one of them).

ullrich is really one of my faves but not once did i think he was clean. everyone's doing it, there are no exceptions.

wipeout
Jul 4th, 2006, 09:10 PM
I'd like to believe Armstrong is innocent but so many different pieces of evidence from so many directions have pointed the opposite direction. The Tour itself has had a bad reputation for doping a long, long time. Lance wouldn't be the first or the last, just one of the best.

kosmikgroove
Jul 4th, 2006, 10:29 PM
I don't quite follow cycling so perhaps someone could give me the abbreviated version of events to explain the following.

Some people vehemently back the notion that Lance was juiced, saying that different sources are going to come out and expose him in the near future and that he is buying time. Where are these sources and how is he buying time?

Giuliano
Jul 4th, 2006, 10:44 PM
So Ullrich and Basso were completely doped up, but never managed to beat Armstrong who was only drinking mineral water and eating pasta... They must be the biggest losers ever.

Scotso
Jul 4th, 2006, 10:52 PM
you wish, asshole. The real investigations by WADA undercover teams are just getting started. Armstrong is trying to buy time but he will be ratted out sooner or later by the people who were juicing him.

You hate your own country sooooo much. When are you moving?

CrossCourt~Rally
Jul 4th, 2006, 10:59 PM
God, I love your "guilty with no way to prove innocence" perspective. You'd make a great lawyer ... in a dictatorship.

:haha: :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha: POST OF THE WEEK! :spit:

vogus
Jul 4th, 2006, 11:09 PM
You hate your own country sooooo much. When are you moving?


I think my country is the best country in the world and that's why i live here. But if people aren't held accountable for lies and criminal behavior, it's bad for society.

Diam's
Jul 4th, 2006, 11:12 PM
French trial starts for 27 accused of giving cyclists drugs

Associated Press


BORDEAUX, France - Twenty-seven people went on trial Monday for allegedly supplying professional and amateur cyclists in France and Belgium with a cocktail of amphetamines, cocaine and heroin.

The prosecution alleges that former professional rider Laurent Roux, and his brother Fabien, offered 2,000 doses of the cocktail to cyclists from 2002-05.
The brothers were allegedly supplied with the drugs by Freddy Sergant, a former trainer for various professional teams from 1980-2001.

French prosecutor seeks four-year sentence
Associated Press


BORDEAUX, France -- A French prosecutor requested a four-year sentence for former trainer Freddy Sergant, a central defendant in a trial of 23 people accused of distributing amphetamines, cocaine and heroin to cyclists in France.

Prosecutor Denis Chausserie-Lapree asked the court Wednesday to hand down three-year sentences -- with 18 months suspended -- against former professional rider Laurent Roux and his brother, amateur cyclist Fabien Roux.

Prosecutors say some 2,000 doses of the performance-enhancing mixture -- often called a "magic cocktail" -- were sold in France and Belgium between 2002 and 2005.

Sergant, a former physical therapist alleged to be the lynchpin of the vast doping ring, and the two brothers are accused of distributing the performance-enhancing cocktail to cyclists across southern France.

"I have no mixed feelings about Freddy Sergant, who is at the origin of this affair. He is the only one who didn't take the product, but he sold it and made a big profit," Chausserie-Lapree said.

In earlier court testimony, Laurent Roux acknowledged having taken growth hormones, testosterone and the endurance-boosting substance EPO. He said doping was widespread in French cycling.

"Products, everybody takes them -- from the mechanics to the riders," he said. "If a team does not have the results, the sponsor pressures the head coach, who goes after the rider."

The prosecutor said he sought reduced sentences in some cases because the defendants were consumers rather than dealers.

Defense arguments end Thursday, when the verdicts are expected.

Former trainer among 23 sentenced in doping case
Associated Press


BORDEAUX, France -- Former cycling trainer Freddy Sergant was sentenced to four years in jail Monday in a trial centered on a doping ring that supplied a cocktail of amphetamines, cocaine and heroin to riders in France and Belgium.



Sergant received the harshest of 23 sentences, with none of the defendants escaping punishment.



The sentencing comes amid a scandal that threw the Tour de France into chaos on the eve of the race. Several top cyclists were withdrawn Friday because of a doping investigation in Spain.



Sergant, a Belgian believed to be the key figure, also was fined more than $230,000. His wife, Monique, was given a one-year prison term.



The other sentences ranged from about $1,900 to a 2½-year prison term, with 20 months suspended, for former pro cyclist Laurent Roux. He said he would appeal.



His brother Fabien was sentenced to two years, with 15 months suspended. The brothers, each having already has been jailed eight months, were ordered to pay more than $230,000 apiece in fines.



"I have the impression that, despite what just happened in the Tour de France, that I'm the [scapegoat] for a totally corrupt system," Laurent Roux said.



About 2,000 doses of what is often called a "magic cocktail" or "Belgian cocktail" were sold in France and Belgium between 2002 and 2005, the prosecutor said.



French Cycling Federation lawyer Paul Mauriac called the verdicts just.



"Let's stop saying that others dope, everyone dopes, so I will dope," Mauriac said.

:sad: :tape: