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Thursday 04, Jul 2013

  Enough Is Enough, Riders Say About Doping

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Enough Is Enough, Riders Say About Doping

On the eve of this year’s Tour de France, riders protested angrily against the burden of suspicion they have been forced to carry because of the doping practices by the previous generation.

In a statement, the riders said it is degrading to be dragged through the mud and be run down by some who look to make money on our backs. The statement was issued after Lance Armstrong was quoted by Le Monde newspaper as saying it was impossible to win the Tour de France without doping.

The cyclist, stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling, also said he still considers himself the record-holder for Tour victories. He added that his life has been ruined by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation and said the USADA investigation did not paint a faithful picture of cycling from the end of the 1980s to today. He added that all the investigation did was to destroying one man’s life that did not benefit cycling at all.

A few weeks ago, sports daily L’Equipe said a urine sample from Frenchman Laurent Jalabert in 1998 showed traces of EPO, the banned blood-booster, when it was re-tested in 2004. The rider issued a statement in response to the publication, “Enough is enough!!!!!!,” and added today the limits of the bearable have been reached and we have for many years shown our will to work for a flawless fight against doping. Jalabert also remarked if there was a culture of doping in the 1990s, in the past 15 years our sport has been fighting alone against the plague of doping. He added that we are professional bike riders and we are proud of that but do not treat us like sub-citizens as you have been doing for too long.

In another development, Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters said cycling was cleaning up its act and the science points to a trend that racing is cleaner, that it is possible to win the Tour de France clean. Vaughters said cycling cannot let its guard down and we should gather information from the past to find a way to correct those mistakes the next time around.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme backed the complaints of the riders and said almost every year a doping-related story breaks days before the Tour and remarked the Tour is a unique opportunity for some to communicate their message. Prudhomme said he can appreciate that some agendas have nothing to do with cycling but 14 times in the last 15 years, it cannot be a coincidence.

A former doper turned anti-doping campaigner, Garmin-Sharp rider David Millar, remarked it was important cycling learned from previous mistakes. The former Armstrong teammate said what needs to change is that we need complete truth and transparency into what happened in the 15-year era of the 1990s and early 2000s so we can understand what mistakes were made and we can make sure those mistakes do not happen again. He added this is because he thinks racing has cleaned up a lot, and he believes the Tour de France can be won clean.

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Tuesday 02, Jul 2013

  Armstrong Still Considers Himself Tour De France Record-Holder

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Armstrong Still Considers Himself Tour De France Record-Holder

American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was banned for life and stripped of his Tour de France titles, has remarked that he still considers himself the record-holder for Tour victories.

The disgraced cyclist said his life has been ruined by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation after which he was forced to step down as chairman of his foundation, Livestrong, and all his sponsors deserted him. The USADA investigation exposed as lies his years of denials that he and his teammates doped after which he was banned for life from cycling.

Lance Armstrong went on to say that winning Tour de France without doping was not possible. His claim was refuted by the Tour’s director, Christian Prudhomme, who said the cyclist was milking the race’s notoriety to further his own agenda. Prudhomme added that the cyclist is probably trying to find excuses for himself and say implicitly that there was nothing else he could have done when he said it was impossible to win the Tour during those years without doping.

Jean-Rene Bernaudeau, manager of the Europcar team, remarked that he does not think it is nice that a guy who embodies a decade we should completely forget gives us lessons on how we should behave, while we were the ones who suffered during that time. He added that it is almost surreal and is unacceptable. The French wing of the union, the CPA, said it is disgraceful to be systematically dragged through the mud and be denigrated by people aiming to make money off our backs or seeking notoriety. Jonathan Vaughters, a former Armstrong teammate and manager of the Garmin-Sharp team, said he really wish that we could get on with the truth and reconciliation committee.

Meanwhile, Armstrong said he would be prepared to appear before such a committee and remarked the whole story has still not been told. The cyclist remarked the USADA investigation that unmasked him as a serial doper did not paint a faithful picture of cycling from the end of the 1980s to today and it succeeded perfectly in destroying one man’s life but did not benefit cycling at all. The cyclist went on to remark that doping would never be eradicated and said he didn’t invent doping and nor did it end with him. The cyclist also claimed that La Liga ball clubs are behind the decision of Judge Patricia Santamaria to destroy the evidences collected from the laboratory of Dr Eufemanio Fuentes. He said he thinks La Liga football teams are pressuring the Madrid court judge to exterminate evidences that may link their players to rampant use of banned substance. Armstrong went on to add that doping in football was 100 times more sophisticated than the system employed by him during his cycling career.

Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, called the timing of the cyclist’s interview “very sad” and said in a statement that the culture within cycling has changed since the Lance Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean.

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Thursday 07, Feb 2013

  Doping Widespread In Australian Sport

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Doping Widespread In Australian Sport

An Australian Crime Commission inquiry has identified that drug use is widespread in Australian sport. The damning official probe revealed growing links to organized crime that points to “clear parallels” with the Lance Armstrong case.

The common use of banned substances such as peptides, hormones, and illicit drugs was identified by the inquiry, with no professional sporting codes immune to the scourge of doping.

Sports scientists, coaches, support staff, doctors, and pharmacists were involved in the provision of drugs according to the findings in the year-long investigation. In its report, the commission said peptides and hormones despite being prohibited substances in professional sport are being used by professional athletes in Australia, facilitated by sports scientists, high-performance coaches, and sports staff. It was further revealed that some players were even being administered with banned substances that have not yet been approved for use by humans.

Home affairs minister Jason Clare said the findings are shocking and will disgust fans of Australian sports. Jason added that officials from clubs have also been identified as administering, via injections and intravenous drips, and a variety of substances and this cheating but more than that, it is cheating with the help of criminals. He went on to add that multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of presently using or having previously used peptides, potentially constituting anti-doping rule violations.

The year-long investigation also disclosed that there were “clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) investigation into Lance Armstrong”, referring to the disgraced Tour de France cyclist, which underlines the transnational threat posed by doping in professional sport, both from a ‘fair play’ perspective and as a broader integrity issue. The project findings, USADA investigation, and previous high-profile doping cases in Europe and the United States make it clear that it is not only athletes who are involved in doping, but also athletic support staff, organized criminal groups, and complicit doctors. The report also disclosed that criminal networks were increasingly involved in distributing illegal substances and the links may have resulted in match-fixing and fraudulent manipulation of betting markets.

The threat of match-fixing was “extraordinarily serious” with organized crime involved, Crime Commission boss John Lawler said who also added that organized crime has many facets and it will go to where there are lucrative profits to be made, low risk, regulatory weakness, and they will exploit those vulnerabilities.

All sports had committed to work with the government, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), and law enforcement agencies to restore confidence in sport, said Sports minister Kate Lundy. She said the government this week introduced legislation to strengthen the powers of ASADA to enable the full and unhindered investigation of these issues and if persons of interest refuse to cooperate with ASADA investigations they will be liable for civil penalties. Kate also added that all major professional sports would establish integrity units to deal with doping, betting and ethical issues.

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