Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Doping in cycling: arresting piece by Jonathan Vaughters + dispositions in Armstrong case

The subject of doping is again coming to prominence with a piece by Jonathan Vaughters, once a team mate of Lance Armstrong and now boss of the Garmin team, which coincides with the expected ruling this coming week by Judge Strauss in the Armstrong/USADA case.  

Vaughters tells here in The New York Times of the pressure to dope in the 1990s and early 2000s. He claims it was then easy to circumvent dope tests: 'When I was racing in the 1990s and early 2000s, the rules were easily circumvented by any and all — and if you wanted to be competitive, you first had to keep up.'

Velonation has details here of the latest moves in the Lance Armstrong/USADA case including WADA's backing of the USADA position.  


luc charlier said...

Jim, you will admit this is totally absurd.
The problem is not whether this or that court, or federal body, or set of rules is applicable to Mr. Armstrong.
The problem is: if there is any evidence – you like them and so do I – anywhere in the world, that he reacted positively to a test, it should be made available for everyone to see. Full stop.

Another view: do you know of any sport, any sport at all, where champions can be at their top as in the “Tour de France”, lasting for several weeks and a couple of thousands kilometers, and perform equally well after a break of just two weeks, as in the Olympics. The answer is no, no, no. Yet, your Sky cheats did just that.
For me, I don’t need any other evidence at all: it’s all clear to see.

By the way, this might interest you:

Jim Budd said...

Luc. As you well know there is no evidence that Sky cheated.

Ian Sutton said...

Are you calling Sky and the GB team drugs cheats?
If so, please share your evidence.

Jim Budd said...

Ian. A very fair question. I would be amazed if Luc had any evidence that would stand even a cursory examination in court.

'after a break of just two weeks'. It was a break of just ten days between Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour and his gold in the Men's Time Trial.

Sadly there remain doubters that cycling has largely cleaned up its act.

Luc Charlier said...

I had written a long substantiated answer to Mr. Ian Sutton, whom I don’t know personally.
It stated, in earnest, I had no “evidence” to present but explained the reasons of my “strong belief”. The “machine” refused it, not as a result of censorship - Jim is very liberal and my answer was honest and fair enough, mildly formulated – but because it was overlong (more than 4.000 signs).

I have forwarded it via e-mail to Jim Budd and asked him to transfer it further.

Jim Budd said...

Comment from Luc Charlier: (part 1)

1. Strangely, my comment was two-sided and only the second part elicited a reaction ... in Brits !

2. No, Ian I have no evidence. And had none at the time of Armstrong. Now, people speak of doubting his SEVEN wins altogether, and at court as well ! And I had no evidence at the time of Anquetil, of Merckx, of Pollentier (who was nick-named “peertje”, pear, as you well know ...).

3. Why do you need “courts” all the time ? In the end, one will not be allowed to say ‘the sky is blue”, without proving it by “evidence” (wavelength measurements for instance). And you will end up with only “anonymous” people or pseudonyms. I hate both.

4. If the time lag is 10 days, Jim, it is an even stronger argument. No active sportsman can peak for almost 3 weeks – in a strenuous discipline, no doubt about that and I admire the chaps who can endure it – stop competition for ten days (continuing training of course) and then go out and beat the others again. Nonsense.

5. There remain doubters that most professionnal sport is “dirty” (as opposed to clean, but it is you who choose the words) as a whole. Of course, there are individual exceptions.

May I remind you of Mrs Longo, the longest racing carreer ever. Her husband bought Chinese made EPO “for his personnal use”. This French justice has recorded. Of course, we all love to inject hormones in order to increase our hematocrit, just for fun. And the ephedrin at Colorado Spring has been recorded by officials (you like courts), and in the US to top the bill. Yet I had no evidence to wonder how she could repeatedly beat hard training youngsters of all countries that were not even born when she first won medals!

I insist my main concern – I used to be an M.D. in a not so remote past – is the champions’ health. Trainers, physiotherapists, team directors, pharmacists .... win big money destroying those people’s physical integrity and this revolts me. That is at stake. I know I should write “some” trainers, physio .... to please you and be politically correct (= a hypocrit).

And you, the fans, support all this just for the sake of your sheer enjoyment!

Would the performance and the rivalry be less interesting if they all rode on their own strength, that is 15 or 20 km/h slower? Would the climbing effort not be worth it if the top were reached half an hour later ?

But I’m not talking just cycling, and not just EPO or anabolic steroids.

Beta-blocking agents, “banal” anti-inflammatory drugs, pain-killers, psycho-stimulating drugs are all as bad.

I’m Belgian-born and worked at the teaching hospital of a university located in the middle of the racing area of my country where the “courses de kermesse” are held. You should have seen how many prescriptions were requested from me, openly, for cousins, or sons, or brothers who were racing, even as amateurs. I never yielded.

My second son had a school-friend who played rugby (in Belgium !!!). His parents left to open a B&B near Béziers (an acclamed rugby-city) and he joined that club, still very junior. It seems he was good, I’m not an expert. As of the second training session in France, he was given “tablets” by the staff. Even if that was “only” creatine and vitamins, it is already too much.

Look arond you without blinkers: it is all there to see.

Why does Bolt (and all the others) have those huge shoulder muscles? To stay “on your marks” for 3 seconds ? Surely, he would run even faster if he were carrying less unnecessary weight.

Why are many female tennis players (I don’t talk teen-agers, full-grown adults) covered in facial acnea? Because they are stuffed with “unbalancing” steroids, as if it were a wrongly chosen contraceptive pill. Why do lots of them experience difficulties getting pregnant once they quit ? Surely, they know the “instructions for use” for pregnancy as well as anyone else.

Jim Budd said...

Comment from Luc Charlier (part 2)

Why can so many football attackers run the 100 m in 11 sec or less?

All this is NOT within the reach of naturally developing human bodies.

Nor jumping above 6 m with a pole.

Nor doing a “double triathlon”.

I stop, my message is clear enough. And the “show the evidence” is too easy.

People denied Auschwitz-Birkenau for a long time as well, whereas all the Western intelligence knew of it. Yet, I could not have provided “evidence” at the time.

When Jim first began about, all he had were declarations (in writing) of unsatisfied clients, hardly a valid evidence. And the company is still trading, by the way !

Jim Budd said...

Luc - point of information:

When I first started writing about 1855 I had evidence of orders placed as well as emails sent by 1855 promising delivery.

Ian Sutton said...

We've certainly seen examples of people who achieved extraordinary feats, who it later transpired were drugs cheats. Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Floyd Landis, etc.

Only in a small few cases are the warning signs there in their performance - I chose Floyd Landis specifically as his miracle recovery from being badly dropped on one stage to launching off the front the following day was truly unbelievable at the time.

For other great performances it may be impossible to spot the drug-assisted achievements. Michael Jordan consistently played brilliantly, spending more time on court (and doing much more) than anyone else, yet was able to do this in consecutive nights, or 2 nights later with an intervening flight. For other players this wasn't possible. For him it was normal.

Ed Moses went undefeated for years - a seemingly impossible feat, yet he did it.

Great performances don't mean drugs (thankfully), even if sometime that is the reason.

Was Wiggins pushed to his absolute limit by the tour? The impression was that he wasn't. As such we're not looking at a Floyd Landis style miracle recovery. Perhaps the more pertinent question would by how he was able to dominate in the tour?

What I saw was a much slimmer rider, who has always had exceptional Time trial skills and on a course aimed at TT specialists. Someone who was also following strict guidance in how he used his energy (slowly not in bursts). He had a very strong supporting team - Porte, Rodgers, EBH, Froome.

Finally look at the GB team at the Olympics and there is clearly as a team they are outperforming all the other nations.

In short, there are plenty of visible reasons for the performance.

Interestingly Gregory Bauge implied something untoward about Jason Kenny, that he was suddenly much better than the rider he beat in 2009. So lots of accusations flying around, including the engine in the bike one. All of it with nothing to back it up.

As Jim alludes to, unless you have some kind of evidence, then it's a brave person that makes such accusations.

Jim knows that if he had no evidence about 1855, then making accusations could have ended him with a very big legal bill.


Luc Charlier said...

Thank you, Jim.
This is very loyal.
I will leave it at that, our points are clear enough, and not to be reconciled, I’m afraid.
Moreover, there are so many things we both like, and very enjoyable and that’s what this blog is all about. I’m very fond of you and don’t want a quarrel to start about that.
Keep taking smashing snapshots and showing them !

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