UCI Launches Anti-Doping Education Program

September 28, 2009

In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics. – Ferris Bueller’s day Off 1986

Professional cyclists must be feeling that their profession is becoming more like a job every day.  The latest is the mandatory training program on doping.  Riders must complete a DVD or online “training” course by the start of the Tour de France next year or lose their ability to race. 

Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon . . . you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time. George Costanza Seinfield

I put training in quotes because if you listen to the UCI, the main goal is more CYA than education.  The UCI wants to squash any excuse of “I didn’t know” or the old “Was that wrong?” I have to tell you, I have sat through many of these type of education courses.  When written to cover a rear end, there is no more boring course on the planet. 

I wonder if Ben Stein is the host?

Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller?

Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller?


Will Greg LeMond shut up?

July 24, 2009

Bitter at anyone who shows greatness, Greg LeMond seethes bitterness at his new target, Alberto Contador. Looking at the final climb of Mt. Verbier.

“Never has a rider in the Tour climbed so fast.”

Where does he get his opinion?  LeMond takes some postulations from Antoine Vayer, former Festina Trainer.  The face that Vayer clearly states that he makes a significant number of assumptions in his calculations  did not sway the former Tour Champ.

“Contador would have needed a VO2 max  of 99.5 ml/mn/kg to produce such an effort. To my knowledge this figure has never been achieved by any athlete in any sport. It is a bit like if you took a nice Mercedes out of the car showroom, lined it up on a Formula 1 circuit and won the race. There is something that is wrong. It would be interesting to know what is under the bonnet.”

The Science of Sport outlines these assumptions (including a big assumption of a 490 watt output) and how any conclusions made from watching TV are not worth the paper they are written on.  From article:

  • Last week, we looked at Contador’s climbing rate (VAMs) and using Michele Ferrari’s formula, arrive at a power output of 6.78 W/kg, or 420W.
  • Alex Simmons very kindly provided some calculations for the climb, given the speed and gradient, and he arrived at a value of 422 W. He went on to show that if you assume even a small following wind, this power output drops to 397W.
  • Using the same principles, but making more “aggressive” assumptions, I have calculated the power output at around 440 W - this is an upper end, call it the “worst case scenario”, because I think Alex has pretty much arrived at the accurate figures using his equations (which match the estimation of the Ferrari equations based on VAMs)
  • Given the seriousness of doping allegations, you better be damn sure of your facts Mr. LeMond.  You are the first to sue based on baseless allegations.  You of all people should understand the damage you can do by lobbing these type of grenades.


    Summer Book Review

    August 11, 2008

    Summer is generally a time for escape. For confirmation, look at the typical line-up for movie goers. Action/Adventure films are generally released in the summer while serious Oscar contenders are released towards year-end. Barnes and Noble will greet you with shelves full of brain candy moving the more serious works of literature towards the back.

    I can’t say I wasn’t a little concerned when my copy of Dope: A History of Performance Enhancement in Sports from the Nineteenth Century to Today arrived. I am a big fan of the author, Dan Rosen and his blog so I knew it would be well researched and well written. Would my brain be ready? Would it come off like a medical textbook?

    I put the book aside until the Tour was over. Not for any of the above concerns but I was enjoying the Tour and did not want to be reminded of the darker side of the sport. So it waited until the Monday after Carlos Sastre crossed the line in Paris.

    What I found was an engaging story that took me through the history of doping in sports. All sports, not just cycling. Some of the stories, I knew some I didn’t. Throughout, Dan told me enough science to allow me to understand the story. Never more.

    Dan shows us how doping was originally encouraged by governments and governing bodies. Even as testing came into play, official counter measures were put into place to circumvent the tests. As the war raged on, governing entities turned a blind eye to any practices in the ultimate “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” policy. Finally, most organizations have taken up the fight. What is more astonishing is how recently we have come from empty platitudes against doping to where we sit today.

    Dan tells us all this in a non-judgmental manner that allows us to form our own opinions. Heck, even Dick Pound has his good points. The story is well told and well documented.

    Forgetting what I said at the beginning of this post, I actually feel the timing is great as the Summer Olympics are upon us and we are already seeing reports of altered passports of gymnasts and other formalized slights of hand that tells me we still have a long way to go.

    This book is a must read for any sports fan, not just cyclists. If you enjoy professional sports, Olympic sports, or just fair play, you will not be disappointed in the time spent reading Dope. My only negative is Dan used a photo of my pecs for the cover of his book without my permission.


    Cobra accused of having venom in his veins

    July 17, 2008

    Italian climbing sensation, Ricardo Ricco, has been expelled from the Tour de France and accused of doping.  The news was broken by the official publiciation of the French Anti-Doping Agency (ALFD), L’Equipe.

    In response to the largest test of this year’s Tour, the entire Saunier Duvalteam has withdrawn from racing and has suspended its racing operations until further notice.

    As an interesting sidenote, Cycling news is reporting that the brand of EPO that Rico is accused of using is called Micera and manufactured by Swiss based Roche. Micera has the longest half-life of all FDA-approved erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) — up to 6 times longer than darbepoetin alfa and up to 20 times longer than epoetin. Currently, there is no validated test for Micera from WADA.

    Cyclingnews has a brief interview with Michael Audran on the topic.


    One last cry “Habemus Judicium!”

    July 1, 2008

    It figures the judgement would be handed down while I am away from vacation and trying to stay away from the laptop.  In a not too surprising decision, the CAS decided to take a pass on the Floyd Landis case by dismissing Floyd Landis’ Appeal immediately prior to the start of the 2008 Tour de France.

    What strikes me is the CAS ostensibly added 6 months to his suspension by setting the start date as January 30, 2007 instead backdating it to the last date of competition as they have had in the past.    That seems to be a little gratuitous.  Don’t you think?


    What does ASO do with Astana now?

    June 3, 2008

    You have to think that ASO president Patrice Clerk and his lieutenant Christian Prudhomme are wringing their hands after the defending Tour de France Champion Alberto Contador won the Giro D’Italia.

    I figured I would take a look at the reasons given for excluding Astana from this year’s tour. In order to do that, I’ll pull some Shakespearean quotes. Why Shakespeare? Well, as my high school English teacher said. “Shakespeare loves a bloodbath.”

    Back on February 13th, Christian Prudhomme announced that Astana and Contador would stay home this July. His reason?

    “The damage caused by this team to the Tour de France and cycling in general, both in 2006 and 2007 led to their exclusion.”

    Hmm. So T-Mobile who had two past winners involved in doping will also be excluded?

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    T-Mobile first cleaned house. But, so did Astana. Ah, T-Mobile changed it’s name. That must be it. Teams that keep their name are excluded.

    CINNA THE POET
    Truly, my name is Cinna.

    First Citizen
    Tear him to pieces; he’s a conspirator.

    CINNA THE POET
    I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet.

    Fourth Citizen
    Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.

    CINNA THE POET
    I am not Cinna the conspirator.

    Fourth Citizen
    It is no matter, his name’s Cinna; pluck but his
    name out of his heart, and turn him going.

    I guess, just like the play Julius Caesar Astana is being killed only for their name. But wait, What about Cofidis? This group did not change their name?

    I’ll end with a quote from The Taming of the Shrew.

    “Asses are made to bear, and so are you”


    Still Waiting

    May 28, 2008

    I have not filed reports from the square because, quite frankly, there has been nothing to report.  The CAS remains in conclave and with the exception of the occasional pizza delivery guy, there is not much action.  A few of us hard core Landis watchers keep the vigil while the locals sneak away to watch the Giro.

    Rest assured that Endless Cycle reporters are on the scene ready to bring you the decision in the final chapter of this drama.


    Back in the square

    April 20, 2008

    Did you ever have a friend that no matter how long you were apart, you seemed to just pick right up where you left off?  That’s the feeling around the square.  It is hard to believe that it has been 7 months almost to the day since we broke camp.

    We have resumed our spots for the final time as the Floyd Landis Conclave enters its final session. 

    Having learned from the last conclave that 10 days may not be 10 days, we have all brought plenty of supplies for an extended vigil.  As mentioned by Rant, it could be June before the doors open and we hear “Habemus Judicum!” for the last time.


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