Friday, January 08, 2010

56 How Cycling Pro's Defeat Anti-Doping Control


There is doping in cycling, no doubt. However, as we have it, there's a fine line between talking about it and not talking about it. If you don't talk about it, like they say, ignorance is bliss and you have a million happy cycling fans who know little of the real going on's of cycling. If you talk about it, suddenly you're a hater of professional athletes and you are giving the business of cycling a bad name.

As the author of this blog, I cannot live with ignorance and naivety. Inaction is worse than silence. If we don't understand what is really going on in our sport, we will not have the power to help clean it up
as fans. The best way to understanding the doping issue is through education.

This Guest Post by none other than ex-racer Joe Papp (also a blogger) describes at length how racers subvert and escape doping control. Joe needs no special introduction. He's been there, done that and I think he's a fine candidate to tell us how slippery the pro's can get from the system. How are athletes tricking our intelligence into believing illegitimate sporting performances? Well, find out by reading the following eye-opening article.



When Ron asked if I would be willing to write a guest post for Cozy Beehive, I readily accepted, thinking I’d be able to oblige within a few days. It’s funny how life throws curve-balls, because it’s been a lot longer than that since I promised the piece, and several more drug scandals have hit cycling during the interim. The topic is but a general overview of some of the ways by which riders attempt to defeat anti-doping controls – a course of study that should have been read by Tom Zirbel and Nicklas Axelsson (at least according to their A-sample results).

The counter-measures an athlete will deploy in hopes of beating a doping control are all drawn from the same bag of dirty tricks, though the specific tactic ultimately depends on which doping product the athlete has ingested and where he can find a possible weakness in the testing protocol.


I. SPIKING WITH ENZYMES


Axelsson is accused of taking EPO, which is detectable via urinalysis. About the time of Operation Puerto, however, riders were defeating the urine-based EPO test by spiking their samples with small doses of enzymes like protease, which break down proteins — including EPO — in urine in the space of a few minutes.

Typically an athlete would conceal a supply of protease powder in his jersey before a test, transfer it to his fingers with a quick movement and then urinate over his hand into the sample bottle to ensure that the test is meaningless. Alternatively, once doping control officers (DCO’s) began to insist that the athletes wash their hands first, male athletes switched to secreting the powder under their foreskin and transferred it that way.


II. ILLEGAL POWDERS


A more sophisticated method was used in Spain, where, according to an acquaintance of mine who rode for Kelme during the Fuentes years, the procedure that Jesus Manzano described was their preferred tactic.

Manzano : "There is a red powder that's made in an illegal lab just for them outside of any controls which destroys the urine sample. This powder comes in the form of a grain of rice that we put into our penis before we pee…”


III. EPO MICRO-DOSING


Given that the UCI is now wise to this subterfuge and has instructed its DCO’s to be on the lookout for it, the best bet that a rider has for beating an EPO control is to micro-dose. EPO, typically produced from cultured animal cells, is detectable in urine for less than a week. A decade ago, before the development of the urine test, riders would gorge themselves on large quantities of EPO during the inter-race periods to raise their hematocrit levels, and re-dose prior to competition.

Now, there is a growing trend towards micro-dosing, where athletes take small, barely detectable amounts of EPO to maintain the slightly elevated levels with which they enter competitions. The UCI Biological Passport will make it difficult for dopers to manipulate blood parameters sufficiently to enhance performance without tripping a reporting threshold, and even with micro-dosing there is now no guarantee that minute changes in a rider’s hematological profile will go unnoticed. And if changes are noticed, watch out! The hematological profile itself can be used to open a doping case against a rider.

The UCI explains:

“The haematological [sic] profile opens new doors in the detection of riders who choose to manipulate their blood to unfairly enhance their performance. The scientific assessment of a rider’s profile applies similar principles to those used in forensic medical science to determine the likelihood of guilt. Once sufficient evidence is gathered which determines guilt at an agreed level of certainty, scientific experts will recommend that the UCI open disciplinary proceedings for an anti-doping rule violation. It is expected that a profile of six tests will enable the detection of blood manipulation. In some cases, a fewer number of tests may be needed to detect doping.

Such a violation will be based on Article 21.2 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules – “The use or attempted use of a prohibited method". To support this rule, the List of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods maintained by WADA is incorporated into the UCI Anti-Doping Rules. Section M1 of the Prohibited List prescribes the “enhancement of oxygen transfer through blood doping” as a prohibited method.

The expected sanction for a first offence under this rule is a suspension from competition for 2 years. In addition, the detection of abnormal levels will cause a rider to be declared unfit and to be suspended from racing for an agreed period of time."


IV. URINE SUBSTITUTION


Not nearly as glamorous as spiking urine samples or manipulating blood profiles to thwart a doping control is the process of urine substitution, whereby an athlete’s dirty sample is substituted with that of another person (who presumably hasn’t consumed banned substances) or a synthetic sample.

While the Italian team I rode for never switched one flask of human urine for another, they did keep cartridges of synthetic urine in the team car in case of a random control. The powder within the cartridge would be poured into a small Mylar bag, and then, with the addition of lukewarm water, a “safe” sample would be ready. At that point, it was up to the rider and his team attendant to distract the DCO or otherwise subvert the sample collection process in order to deliver the synthetic urine in place of the rider’s own “hot” pee.

That same team was the one who gave me dose of synthetic urine after the final stage of the UCI’s Tour of Turkey in 2006 and told me to catheterize myself prior to reporting to doping control. I’d won the final stage, and obviously understood that the team believed I had something in my body that would produce a positive result, and they didn’t want to take the risk of even sending me to doping control without some kind of countermeasure. I couldn’t do it, however. There was no way I could self-catheterize myself, and so my career approached its end. Had I catheterized myself I would have committed a doping violation just as serious as if I’d been caught with EPO in my pee. For the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Code clearly prohibits the following (quote) :

"M2. CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL MANIPULATION

1. Tampering, or attempting to tamper, in order to alter the integrity and validity of Samples collected during Doping Controls is prohibited. These include but are not limited to catheterization [sic], urine substitution and/or alteration.

2. Intravenous infusions are prohibited except in the management of surgical procedures, medical emergencies or clinical investigations."


V. BRIBERY TO "CHANGE" OUTCOMES

Lacking the sophistication of a blood doper like Ferrari are the brute force cleaners who are called in to the sample collection site near the end of the session. When the guilty athlete can’t suppress his hot urine anymore, an agreement must be reached between all the stakeholders, like the Doping Control Officer, Lab Director, Race Director, rider, Team and Assorted Flunkies.

Quite simply put, cash changes hands based on the guarantee of someone in a position of power to ensure the outcome and the positive test is never declared, or, more likely, flushed before it is ever analyzed. The upside for the cheater is that were sample collectors to visit that same race the following season, he would probably be able to prepay to avoid any doping hassles.


VI. HIDING WHEREABOUTS

Of course, a rider might attempt to subvert a control before he was ever called to the collection station at a race. Providing inaccurate whereabouts and information so as to avoid out-of-competition testers (Michael Rasmussen), evading sample collection (Riccardo Riccò) or refusing it after having been notified of selection would probably not save the guilty, but would certainly provide fodder for the media and blogosphere.

* * *

I hope Joe's article convinced you that although difficult, there are multitudes of elaborate schemes dopers follow to defeat the system and lead us to believing in fantastic myths. As an inset, there is bribery taking place to twist outcomes bad to a racer's reputation as Joe mentioned above.

Cycling has now grown to be a sport where its definitely tough to make it to the cream of the crop, but once you slip in, the rewards for high performance promise to be high, involving millions of dollars of direct payouts and endorsement deals. There is no doubt in my mind that cheating at races and then collecting such prizes is akin to fraud and embezzlement, no different than that in any other aspect of human endeavor. Perhaps at this time, it would do the dopers good if they would study what exactly happened to Bernie Madoff at the end of an incredible fairytale. A fairytale setup in such a way that it would inevitably spiral into a mega catastrophe for a nation.

Do you have any additional insights to share? What else do you think dopers are doing to subvert doping control measures? You're all welcome to chime in.



56 comments:

  1. Fascinating article, but, umm, "cultured animal cells"? That sounds almost like they're making yogurt. EPO is made from genetically modified hamster ovaries. (I lived in Longmont Colorado, where Amgen manufactures EPO and where I was neighbor to some lab techs who work there. They explained the process to me).

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  2. Fritz,

    That's a great question, I don't claim to know how exactly EPO is made but one quick search gave me the following on an encyclopedia. It said :

    "Because existing brands of pharmaceutical EPO are made in cultured animal cells, they have a different pattern of oligosaccharide residues than the native human form.

    Hamster is an animal, no? Do you feel the exact wording should be changed in the blog post?

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  3. Anonymous3:04 AM

    This makes a day. Time to email this to friends.

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  4. Anonymous3:07 AM

    Oh, and its Nicklas, not Niklas. Just thought I'd point out...

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  5. Anon : Yup thanks...I changed it now to Nicklas.

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  6. Charlie3:36 AM

    Yes people will always try to cheat the system. But what is this "fanatastic myths" nonsense you are chatting about? Don't over egg it. The methods described here are quite rare and difficult.

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  7. good read. thanks for posting this!!

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  8. Am I the only one who doesn't care about doping in cycling?

    I'm more interested in a fast race, good sprints, insane descents, crashes, leg busting climbs and awesome race routes. I don't care how they get there or how they do it.

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  9. spitfire10:05 AM

    @charlie : lance's epo juiced win in 1999 wasn't a myth? i think its a 'fantastic myth'

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  10. +5 Superhit , Ron!

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  11. Good article, but we are still ignoring the 300lb gorilla in the room; doping one's own blood. No good controls exist for this. The only way these dopers are caught is if the officials stumble onto bags of blood à la Operation Puerto.

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    1. I've read somewhere that it's possible to pick up traces of the plastics in blood bags in a blood sample test. That, of course, would mean storing the blood in some other way, but don't rule out the possibility of detecting stored and re-injected blood. Not that it means that the UCI is taking it seriously...

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  12. Anonymous10:28 AM

    GeologyJoe, you are not the only one. I have been saying it forever. When I ride it is sport, when the pros do it, it is entertainment. To sell entertainment, many people seem to do some shadey things and people always just to clamor for more - faster, higher, stronger, ..., prettier, more manic, longer lasting, more focused, etc. Let the entertainers do as they please to sell the wonderful circus that I enjoy! The role model / aspiring pro story doesn't cut it in my book. Rice in your penis?! I want to be like you when I grow up!

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  13. Great article. And Geologyjoe, with the article's final reference to fraud and embezzlement, I've been thinking of the economic flowchart behind a winner's paycheck. Isn't money from the pockets of spectators going into that big pie or am I wrong? (Ive not been to a watch a major pro race) If the public is paying for the doping 'circus' in town, and if they don't mind drug fueled entertainment, so be it. But from the majority of people talking against it, there must be a sign of morality in there somewhere. People have been disturbed with this in cycling for a long time.

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  14. Interesting read. I appreciate Papp's openness and contribution to this blog, and wish him all the best.

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  15. Anonymous11:42 AM

    If you're going to be a thief, steal big.

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  16. Velocodger : Good point. Doping with your own blood seems to be another method. Prentice Steffen, ex-doctor at US Postal said the following to L'Equipe in an interview on October 6, 2005. I quote Steffen :

    "Before going to the start of the Tour, the riders of certain teams, during their training camps, took EPO (which disappears from the urine within three days, even 12 hours when small doses are used) and took their hematocrits up to around 60. Then a doctor withdraws their blood, saving it in special containers, to lower their blood parameters into the accepted range (50) so that they pass without difficulty the medical controls before the Tour. Then, as the teams well know, during the race the vampires (2) can arrive any day but always between 7 and 8 in the morning. After that time, there is no more testing and the riders were able to reinject their own blood. They were racing the stage with an enormous advantage- their hemotrocrit in the 55 to 58 range during the race- then in the evening at the hotel, someone again withdraws their blood so that they sleep without risk (3) and, especially, they escape the possible tests the next morning.

    L'EQUIPE:

    This practice was used every evening during the three weeks of the Tour?

    STEFFEN:

    No, just for important stages in the mountains or maybe for a time trial. It's so simple to do and there's no risk of being caught unless the police intervene. The blood was shuttled by motorcycle in a refrigerated compartment... "

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  17. Joe this is a great article and thanks for writing to us. The reference by the admin to Bernie Madoff hits the nail on the head because cycling at the top ranks is somewhat like Wall Street. If you have a high stature and you do wrong, there is nothing that says you should turn the person in , infact influence, power, money and greed keeps feeding the fraud without encouraging dissent. Think about the Omerta in cycling.

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  18. JWPIERMONT12:14 PM

    Let's for a moment ignore the moral issues. Doping is still wrong for professional cycling on economic grounds. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Doesn't the sport depend almost exclusively on sponsorships? I for one would not want my company to be associated with fakes for the public might start perceiving my product as a fake, too. Those athletes who have been found doping and sanctioned should be sued by the companies that sponsored their teams to recover their salaries. Hit them in their pockets where it really hurts.

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  19. JWPIERMONT :

    Thats a very good point you have. I don't know if you read the news but the German dairy company Milram said it is unlikely to renew its sponsorship of its top cycling team after their mutual contract expires at the end of this year.The image of cycling in Germany has suffered badly from doping controversies, and the recent global economic crisis has also prompted many sponsors to think twice about investing their money. Milram spokeswoman Godja Soennichsen explained: "As things currently stand, a renewal of the contract is not something we're considering."

    Germany has been hurt by doping scandals left, right and center.

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  20. The anti-doping world needs to read this article. I wonder if they know these facts. The other ramifications of writing this is exposing these methods to new racers. Any guarantee they wouldn't want to 'try' the trick themselves? It can be useful both ways.

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  21. Captain Morse1:09 PM

    I would second Marcus' comment. Knowledge of doping practices will suit both the crooks and the doping police. Having Joe to talk about doper's schemes is a good step. Recall that IT companies sometimes use ex-hackers to help them discover the dirty tricks of hackers to protect their network. Its like that. You can only use help from a person who has been there in Joe's case, he also fell into the trap of doping himself.

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  22. @JWPIERMONT : Surely most of it comes from fans' pockets.

    Salaries: From company sponsors. Sponsors who make their money from the public and only do it for advertising, which must generate more income otherwise they wouldn't do it. Also from merchandising. Again, public money.

    Prize money: I would assume again from the sponsors, which are companies etc, and from merchandising, as above.

    Maybe there are some rich benefactors out there, but I doubt it. Of course, LA is one. His "donations" to the UCI must be being distributed somewhere.

    Maybe the link between doping and public money should be highlighted more. Then maybe there'll be less of the public ignoring it.

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  23. Ron & Joe : You probably watched Millar's Tale, video clearly shows the pressure and stress racers are in before they follow their team towards doping. So its not just blatant wrong doing for the money...money is a factor, but extreme pressure on the job and the fear of not doing well is a big factor.

    One of the things I've always wanted to tell someone in charge of such big races is why don't they consider making races a little less extreme? Like the Giro this year, the stages were massive for a total of 3 weeks, but will it cost organizers an arm and a leg if they reduced the severity of such competitions? What is the entertainment value of making others suffer like absolute animals? Don't tell me its beyond the point, it IS the point. Cycling's culture is one of suffering, ever since the six day races began, bicycle races have gotten so close to the point of sheer human rights violations. Today, in the name of entertainment, business and athletic prowess, you don't talk about big stage races as human rights violations. But one could argue for it by talking to racers and what they go through.

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  24. Great job Ron. This description is one of the reasons I love reading your blog. You seem to know the right people in the right places.

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  25. Ron, I hope I don't come across as too uptight on the wording, but it jumped out at me in the same way goofy marketing claims in bike adverts might jump out at you. To me, "cultured cells" means bacteria or mold. It's possible Amgen and the other synth EPO manufacturers might prefer this wording now because of the negative connotation with GMO these days.

    Keep up the great work on this blog.

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  26. Phil : Well said. There is a lot of truth to that and Joe would probably attest to it better than most people could. The Giro was epic. Di Luca juiced. Someone fell into 60 metres into a ravine. One of two people died as a result of a motorcycle crash (was that the Giro or the Paris Roubaix?). Now the Giro folks want to start the first stage in the United Staes, then fly over back to Italy for the rest of the stages. Add jet lag, more stress and nervousness for racers. All this so the Giro can be seen in public as at par with the Tour de France. Sad. Will we see more doping as a result? I think you could.

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  27. Fritz : Do you mind briefly telling readers here what your neighbors who were lab techs at Amgen told you about the EPO manufacturing process?

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  28. Anonymous2:57 PM

    The protease trick should be obsolete if the rules are written properly. It would be obvious to the tester in the lab that the sample has been tampered with in this way because there would be no signal at all, even for the rider's natural EPO. This lack of signal should be considered a violation under the sample tampering regulations. Other enzymatic tampering methods might not be as obvious, but would still be detectable.

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  29. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Doesn't matter, Doping can't solely win you the Tour or even achieve cycling success. For every doping "success", there is a David Millar.

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  30. I hope you all have enjoyed reading the post, which for me was a privilege to write. I recognize that there is a bit of danger in describing all these methods in detail in one place on the internet, but I believe the information is already available to those who would be so inclined to attempt to manipulate the doping-control process.

    As for the omission of blood doping - the post wasn't intended to be comprehensive. Remember, I described it thus:

    **"The topic is but a general overview of some of the ways by which riders attempt to defeat anti-doping controls..."**

    I also wanted to stick to things that I knew most about and/or had the most experience with...

    Lastly, regarding Ron's framing the subversion of the anti-doping process as something akin to fraud and embezzelment - though I don't condone what's outlined here, those two comparisons are Ron's, and not necessarily reflective of my personal viewpoint. What I mean to say is, I wrote the piece from a neutral point of view, to provide information on methods and techniques used to thwart doping controls. No more, no less.

    Hope it was informative and entertaining.

    Best,

    Joe

    http://joepapp.blogspot.com

    Finally

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  31. I agree with Joe Papp. Please note (to others) that the last couple of strong opinions in italics on fraud and embezzlement are mine, not Joe's. Those opinions are shared by a lot of people though. There is public money in winner's prizes.

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  32. Very cool discussion. I agree doping isn't an all-or-nothing deal. Cheating is part of the game, not just doping but all sorts of cheating. Center line violations. Deal-making. Intimidation. We know this, yet we still enjoy the sport. But the point of enforcement is to keep a check on the cheating, to reduce the incentive for extreme behavior. And as it is clearly having an effect, it's worthwhile, even if the winners are likely among the best not just at riding, but at also beating the system.

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  33. The largest connection to the public is that the race invariably takes place on public roads, and that means that at various levels the community has to sponsor or support the race. Everything from road closure permits to police presence and medical support to volunteers. That's also why it's free to attend! But you are also being bombarded by the corporate sponsors.

    The analogy that keeps coming to mind is network TV. The networks use public airwaves (they secure a portion of the spectrum) to provide "free" content to anyone willing to accept exposure to corporate messages (i.e., commercials).

    In both cases, the actors and riders do not directly derive their income from the public. But without the use of public property, there would be no way for the race or programming to exist.

    It's that connection that allows public participation in debate, I think. We own the public spaces these people race in. We have a stake in the what happens.

    If all this happens in a private velodrome where people have to pay admission, then I think that the public has a direct connection to the rider's salary and can vote with their dollars by packing the place or not attending.

    Just my opinion.

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  34. Dr. Rich10:25 PM

    Really interesting article, thanks Joe. I'm a doctor but I also have a medical lab research background. Regarding EPO manufacture, it's generally produced by hamster ovary cells or similar easily maintained animal cell lines in flasks in a lab, the culture medium tapped off and EPO protein extracted by means of purification columns. As was posted, animal cells add slightly different side chains onto proteins they produce due to differences in the internal protein synthesis pathway compared to human cells. Want to beat this as a detection point? Manufacture EPO from human cells. Possible- yes. Cheap- not a hope. Easy- hell no, just the ethics to get the cells going is hard. Short answer- never going to happen.
    There are many ways to beat current doping measures, but it's very expensive. Best way is blood testing. Urine substitution with a catheter would work, unless the cells were spun down in the lab and dna tested. Enzymes should be a no brainer for detection, as everything is destroyed. However, one could counter the analysis by saying it was a lab or collection error.
    Blood doping? Homologous is obvious, and insanely stupid. Autologous detection requires the smart kids at ASADA to test using the RBC age related changes etc. If the blood was withdrawn only 1-3 weeks pre-test though, the detection is nearly impossible. Maybe test for citrate or heparin? This might be residual in the system post-transfusion ? But half life is less than half a day or so I think.

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  35. As a former member of the US Cycling Team I can tell the other readers that taking drugs was very prevalent when I was racing in the 1980's thru the 1990's. These were mostly limited to pills (speed) and caffeine which at the time was not deemed to be a drug - it is in certain quantities now.

    But it is first necessary to explain the drugs function which the article did not address.

    Without any performance enhancing 'drugs' your body is physiologically only capable of 'running' at say 80% - after that you hit the wall which is the body's natural defense mechanism so that you do not create any damage or even die.
    What drugs do is push the natural limit from the 80% to perhaps 95% - the higher the limit is pushed the more danger that you are creating - in the sense that your body will not be able to define a barrier now and death could result if one goes over the 100% of the body's capacity.

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  36. Anonymous11:14 PM

    LANCE HAS ALWAYS RIDDEN CLEAN. Anyone who says otherwise is just a jealous second-rater.

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  37. Anon,

    I wouldn't be surprised if next week LA was revealed as being a doper (w/ irrefutable evidence), but STILL got a pass by playing his trump card: Cancer.

    Maybe on his deathbed Dr. Ferrari will confess to having doped not just Simeoni but also Armstrong and others...until then...

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  38. You are providing an excellent service to the cycling world. It is guaranteed you won't find something like this in a mainstream cycling publication sponsored by company ads which is pretty sad. I guess you just have to dig out where you want to hear your news from.

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  39. texan6:21 PM

    Indeed phew what an eye-opener. I never knew they went to the extent of having things inserted into their cocks and assholes.

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  40. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Bribery is flat out wrong and should come with strict punishment for both parties.

    "Performance Enhancement" itself is a complicated issue that shouldn't be so quickly called "cheating".

    What happens when artificial body part replacements are actually better than the real thing? Somebody gets in a wreck, needs a new joint, and suddenly becomes disqualified from racing ever again because he's "artificially better than normal"?

    And comparing dopers to Bernie Madoff basically ends your attempt to come across as an intelligent person.

    I think you just need to realize that even if everybody was clean, you still couldn't compete among the top end pros. They really are that good.

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  41. "And comparing dopers to Bernie Madoff basically ends your attempt to come across as an intelligent person."

    Anon,

    Fraud is fraud. I cannot sugarcoat it. Let me say this again. Cheating to win and then collecting the big prize money that follows it is unethical and akin to stealing what isn't rightfully yours. If you want to prove it is yours, play clean like the rest of them. Otherwise, lay the money on the table and go do something else for a living. Perhaps Wall Street would accept such swindlers at the trading floor. This goes for cheating racers, their coaches, their directors and the the doctors behind them. Riders alone are not responsible for this sore cancer in our sport.

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  42. if a doping athlete is advised by a top professional - several are former ad lab employees - it is exceedingly difficult to catch him/her. even by a well designed series of unannounced ooc tests. those caught don't follow instructions well.

    manipulating dozes and schedules was is and will remain the main method. the idea is to reduce the drugs concentration in the system due to normal (or ‘assisted’) clearance and pass a notoriously unselective screening test.

    another sure fire option is to take a drug that is not being monitored for. in other words the ad laboratories can not test for something they dont know about (dont have chemical signature of). the various general screening indexes like t/e are almost useless against a designer steroid. worse, steroid profiling is not in the uci biopassport currently.

    take a note, one multiple tour winner tested positive at least two times retrospectively assuming (rightly) the test did not exist when doping. same with several other big names who were less lucky.re

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  43. Willie11:43 PM

    This is an amazing article. It really shows all the dirty little tricks you can employ to cover up cheating, some are so simple as to pee on your hand. One can only wonder what could have been done in the space of time of 20 minutes, ala Lance insisting on taking a shower when the anti-doping folks showed up. Ofcourse, I'm not suggesting he did but you can do but wonder...

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  44. Some years ago, Adam Hansen, used to ride for a smaller Austrian team and used to visit the a cycling forum. In a topic he reported a "funny" situation happened at a Tour of Austria where the winner of one stages was asked if he wanted to go for the doping control from a doping commissarie but he said "no" and he was free to go.
    He reported the fact cause that day he got the prize as most combattive cyclist of the day and was there in front of the doping control "office" waiting for go in.

    Great article and Ive even got the chance to meet Joe at one race while he was in Italy.

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  45. He said "No" and that's all it took?! Darn, I should have thought of that in Turkey! lol/jk.

    Ciao Michele!

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  46. Ciao Joe!

    I know it sounds funny but thats what Hansen reported.
    I guess they had some sort of "agreements". ;-)

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  47. Fantastic article, Joe and Ron. Very enlightening and thanks for sharing!! Please don't be discouraged by the fools with their heads in the sand. Those who believe Lance and Landis race clean also believe the Earth is flat and at the center of the universe. Laughable.

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  48. Liggett,

    The flat earth society of cycling are the ones who believe our sport is squeaky clean. You cant ride the Tour de France and other big races on mineral water alone. I'll do my best to strip cycling naked and expose its dirtiness. This is reality.

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  49. Marty7:18 AM

    ah yes, but you are aware that the Earth is NOT round right?

    Its "Squamish".

    great article and overall discussion. Fantastic to find somewhere that can talk about this topic without degenerating into baseless liable and slander.

    One thing though, regarding dear Bernie, its incorrect to imply that somehow it was him that kicked off the GFC. (seems that way in what you wrote). Yes he committed fraud etc but if he is to be seen as a corrupt rider then it is the Banks and US Fed that should be seen as a corrupt and incompetent cycling federation. His fraud would have kept ticking for years if it wasn't for the bank's poor home lending pratcises.

    But I digress...

    With the exception of recent cases such as Lance being able to keep the testers waiting while he had a shower, is it really the case that the testers themselves are as corrupt as they potentially were a few years ago? I recall reading recently of someone being tested in public at a resteraunt... sounds a bit the far side of bribable to me...

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  50. Anonymous11:23 PM

    Hi, I believe Joe Papp is the worst kind of cheating, doping, piece of shit criminal there is... he is a rat!

    But I am glad to see he has gotten all self righteous. I cannot believe you would this a soapbox to stand on.

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  51. Anonymous2:21 AM

    Oh shut up smutface above. Everyone makes mistakes. Joe's gone through a shit lot and basically has learnt to use his maturity to help fight a problem in cycling that even he had himself. You have a problem with people trying to clean up the sport? What do you suggest, we embrace the Omerta? Get a bike and ride it sometime u nut.

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  52. Anonymous10:58 PM

    I'm in the UK & met someone who'd tried to become a pro. Had to ask if the doping stories were true & he said yes, absolutely. Also that friends who had ridden for pro teams had been messed up by the doping. And that he knew people who'd given it up when they'd realised that doping was considered essential. I'm not sure that I believe that they ALL do it, but I wouldn't be surprised if some or even most teams insist that riders do as they're told.

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  53. Most smart athletes today are taking homeopathic hgh oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, red bull, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.

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  54. Well can't come as a surprise to anyone, it's just we all have been expected for years.

    regards,
    Låne Penge

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  55. Cozy Beehive, your the shiznits! keep it up.

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