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Watch Out France!

by asdf Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 01:17:10 PM EST

The Tour de France organizers may have shot themselves in the foot by making doping accusations against Lance Armstrong. To get revenge, he's considering a comeback!

"I'm thinking it's the best way to piss (the French) off," says Armstrong.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is considering coming out of retirement in a bid to take revenge on the hosts of the world's biggest race following a spate of doping accusations, the Austin American-Statesman newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Armstrong told the newspaper he had been thinking about a comeback for only the past two weeks, since French sports daily L'Equipe reported on August 23 that urine samples taken from Armstrong in 1999 during his first Tour triumph tested positive for the banned substance EPO.

The Texan has vehemently denied taking any performance-enhancing drugs however a number of experts and former employees have come out of the woodwork to denounce the Texan champion.

Could this foreshadow an eighth win in the world's most prestigious bicycle race?


Predict the future
. Lance wins again. France cancels all future bike racing. 75%
. Lance dies from drug overdose during training. 0%
. Lance is whumped by 18 year old French newcomer. 25%
. Lance crashes into boulder mysteriously appearing in road. 0%

Votes: 4
Results | Other Polls
Hah! America will TRIUMPH over France!


by asdf on Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 01:18:33 PM EST
You missed an option: Armstrong collapses from exhaustion while riding.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 01:24:16 PM EST
Are you implying something about Cheryl?
by asdf on Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 01:28:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, no.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 01:53:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf: The Tour de France organizers may have shot themselves in the foot by making doping accusations against Lance Armstrong.

Actually, it wasn't the organisers but a newspaper; and it wasn't mere accusations, but the results of conserved sample testing.

They tested 1999 samples for EPO, which wasn't yet detectable back then. Armstrong's protests sounded helpless - he pleaded for degradation of samples, but EPO is not a natural breakdown product of organic molecules in humans.

On the other hand, the question many asked: why now? Why wait with the testing of old samples after he quit? And the question simmering in my own mind is: what about the old samples of other riders? I have the faint suspicion that EPO doping was very widespread back then. (Some German press even aired dark suspicions about why Ullrich kept low profile in the 1998 scandal Tour and why he was really missing in 1999.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:01:13 AM EST
Hm. I looked it up; apparently, the tests were conducted in 2004 - but not announced publicly. And the old samples of five other, unnamed riders tested positive.

Regarding the authenticity of the testing, I found this:

Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said that he trusts the findings of the French laboratory whose evidence provides the basis for L'Equipe's allegations that Lance Armstrong used EPO in the 1999 Tour de France.
Speaking to Germany's NetZeitung, Pound said, "After we looked at all the documents in this matter, I see a very high probability that there was performance-enhancing drugs activity."
Asked how trustworthy was the laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry that found traces of EPO in stored urine samples from the 1999 Tour, Pound said the lab was one of the leading centres in the world for investigation of EPO use. "I therefore have no reason to believe that the analysis of the samples was not regular. Yes, the laboratory found EPO traces in many samples. It may be that EPO traces disappear gradually from urine, but it cannot be that no EPO should be in them and then it emerges as if from nowhere."
Pound explained that WADA had not been supplied with any names of the riders whose samples had been tested. "We only got the report from the French laboratory. Our information about Lance Armstrong came from the sport newspaper L'Equipe."
However, Pound admitted that it would be "legally very problematic" for WADA to take any action against Lance Armstrong. (source Cyclingnews.com)

Two old stories also come up in memory. One is former assistant Emily O'Reilly, who claimed that Lance asked her to dispose of used syringes (but didn't look what's in them), and to apply makeup to cover needle marks.

This one is a question of credibility, but for the second, only foolidhness comes as alternative explanation: on the 2004 Tour, Lance mobbed Italian rider Filipo Simeoni, calling him a compulsive liar for doping allegations. But in truth, Simeoni never said anything about Lance: he only destified against an Italian sports doctor, saying the doctor developed a method of EPO doping that evades detection. It was only newspapers who made the connection to Armstrong, who was in contact with that doctor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:29:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do note that the newspaper (L'Equipe) is owned by the same company that organises the Tour de France...

There have been several highly critical comments here in France about this "announcement". Le Canard Enchainé said that it was a cheap way for L'Equipe to get publicity in a fairly harmless way (not actually compromising a Tour or threatening any results), and a former Minister for Sports that was extremely tough on doping (Marie-George Buffet, now leader of the Communist Party) said that she did not understand why only one of the dozen runners apparently implicated in the tests was named and not the others, and said that she found such announcement unseemly.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 11:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, he would be more than welcome, as long as he brings with his lawyers also a certified DNA analysis of himself, so it can be compared to the DNA of the urine that is apparently his.

If he comes, it is not his urine, the only one suffering is Jan Ulrich, we would look forward to a fair fight.

If he does not bring his DNA, it is like an admission of his guilt and he should stay away.

by PeWi on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:31:59 AM EST
Thanks to Armstrong and his friends across the pound, this story is escalating to yet a new France-USA row, which is ludicrous.

The French view is that all top cyclists are doped, including the French. They are not that many top French cyclists left because doping is fought much more seriously in France than anywhere else (and that includes Italy and above any other country, Spain).

The other problem sof Armstrong is that he has no charisma, has made no effort to link up with the public, and has seldom shown any form of 'panache'. By contrats, former American champion Greg Lemond was quite liked by the French public, despite defeating a couple of French champions.

Hence, this is not another aspect of French anti-americanism, it is just a matter of an individual not being popular in France, irrespective of his nationality.

Actually, if he dared to come back, he would probably earn a lot of respect from the public for the risks he would be taking.

'La fin désastreuse a répondu aux moyens indignes' Germain Tillion

by Rom on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 08:14:52 AM EST
I don't know... I got the impression that nasty chief doper who wouldn't admit it even while all teammates admitted, Virenque, got away with it by now, at least concerning the public opinion. Meanwhile, I disagree that Armstrong doesn't have charisma or panache - he does have it, but maybe not the type liked by the European public.

BTW, what was that about Spain? Do you mean they dope much, or do you mean they come closest to France in fighting doping?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 08:39:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may be right on panache. The issue is more that he won without drama at all. All too easy for him, which obviously raise suspicions even higher.

Regarding Spain, I had in mind the fact that the best French cyclist of the 90s ran for a spanish team, hid there and would not run a race in France for a year by fear of being caught.

I also think that the absence of major doping scandals in a sport or country (Spain cycling, English football) does not tend to indicate the absence of doping but rather loose controls.

At least the Italian police raid the Giro every year for illicit substances.

And then, to be honest, I was trying to ignite a few bouts of chauvinism here and there...

'La fin désastreuse a répondu aux moyens indignes' Germain Tillion

by Rom on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 10:17:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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