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Monday 24, Jun 2013

  Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

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Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

The USADA report on testing numbers by sport in 2013 has revealed that whole track and field conducted 496 tests (392 out of competition, 104 in competition) while tennis only had 19 (all out of competition). The report also disclosed that out of all the sports that the USDA listed, tennis comprised just 19 of the 1,919 tests, while curling had 35 tests and the luge 25.

Don Catlin, president and chief executive officer of Anti-Doping Research, remarked if you’re only taking two steps when 100 are needed, it’s not going to work and also added that if you started with the top 100 male players, that would be a good representation and then if you test them five times a year but [tennis] probably doesn’t want to and if you don’t start with something of that magnitude, you’re not going to get far. Catlin, who ran the respected UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, in March 2013 issued a damning indictment of the sport’s attempts to step up its drug-testing program and questioned whether it has the money or the desire to make it work. He remarked the theory (of the passport) is you get the right person at the right times and test them four to five times and then they’ll move toward a mean (in their levels) and then if they depart from that mean in the future you can nab them.

These revelations may not appease tennis authorities after the International Tennis Federation’s anti-doping program budget in March this year was given a boost by the Grand Slams and the two tours, going from about $2 million annually to $3.6 million, to allow for more testing. The funding partners in the program, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Association of Tennis Professionals, Women’s Tennis Association, and four grand slam events, agreed to increase their contributions, lifting the overall budget to an estimated $3.5m. This year, the ITF will be introducing biological passports for players wherein test results would be collated over a period of time to assist anti-doping authorities to track any changes, which may indicate doping. But the proposed anti-doping measure has not gone well with Catlin, one of the world’s most eminent anti-doping experts, who said tennis is wasting its time adopting a biological passport program and added tennis is better off to increase the number of tests they do rather than spend it all on the passport as doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in and you need data over four or five years.

Meanwhile, the ITF has defended its stance and policies and remarked the Anti-Doping Working Group has identified the introduction of biological passports as a key enhancement of the detection and deterrence of doping under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, said program chief Dr. Stuart Miller and added the implementation of the passport in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency recommendations, including the required budget, is now being discussed by the four parties in the program.

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Sunday 03, Feb 2013

  UCI Assisted Armstrong To Cheat

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UCI Assisted Armstrong To Cheat

The head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, has claimed that the director of the drug testing laboratory in Lausanne told him that he offered disgraced cycling icon Lance Armstrong and his team manager, Johan Bruyneel, with information to avoid positive tests for EPO, a blood-boosting agent.

It was revealed that the world governing body of cycling, the UCI, arranged the meeting Lance Armstrong, Bruyneel and Martial Saugy, the director of the laboratory in Switzerland. However, the UCI claims that meetings were set up as a deterrent to show riders that the cycling world body was getting tough on doping and not to show them how to beat the testers.

The name, reputation, and money of Lance went to a sudden toss down after the release of reasoned decision by USADA. It was concluded by USADA report the that Armstrong enforced “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”. The cyclist is the founder of the Livestrong Foundation, originally called the Lance Armstrong Foundation, but stepped down as the chairman of the Livestrong after the USADA report.

Tygart said that the meeting occurred the year after Armstrong had provided a suspect sample at the Tour of Switzerland that had been tested in Lausanne. The UCI is already amid allegations that it accepted a donation of £125,000 to cover up those test results of Lance Armstrong. Though the UCI established an independent commission to examine the charges against itself, it recently disbanded the commission saying that WADA had termed it as “useless.”

Meanwhile, the cyclist who admitted to using banned substances throughout his seven consecutive Tour de France wins, recently remarked that a truth and reconciliation commission is the only way for cycling to move on from its drug-addled past. The cyclist went on to issue a warning that doing nothing would consign the sport to stagnation and decline. Armstrong also said that no one will show up without an amnesty and said no generation of professional cyclists was exempt from doping and WADA should be taking the charge of the amnesty process and not the UCI.

Lance Armstrong also remarked that he was the victim of cycling’s doping culture and said he was made the ”fall guy” for the sport’s problems. The cyclist said he was the product of cycling’s cheating down the years and said he would be the ”first through the door” at any truth and reconciliation commission. While referring to the American authorities who have given him a deadline of February 6 to come clean about his doping past if he wants to reduce his life ban, Lance said that was a stunt by Travis to make me look self-serving.

The UCI has come under dark clouds of accusations and has been accused of turning a blind eye to doping activities of Armstrong and mass doping within the peloton. To add to its woes, WADA and USADA are not happy with it over its refusal over the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission and in particular an amnesty for drug cheats.

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Monday 07, Jan 2013

  Armstrong Calculating Price Of Confessing To Doping

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Armstrong Calculating Price Of Confessing To Doping

The New York Times has revealed that Lance Armstrong, the cyclist who shot to fame by winning seven consecutive Tour de France titles after surviving testicular cancer, is thinking on the lines of a possible forthcoming confession. The New York Times added that the cyclist met Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, in an effort to mitigate the lifetime ban imposed on him for playing a lead role in doping. The New York Times reported that the disgraced cyclist has told associates and anti-doping officials he is considering making a public admission that he used blood transfusions and banned drugs during his cycling career to restore his credibility to some extent and become a competitive athlete again.

However, Tim Herman, Armstrong’s lawyer, told the paper: “Lance has to speak for himself on that.” Herman added that he had no knowledge of the cyclist considering a confession and said, “When, and if, Lance has something to say, there won’t be any secret about it.” Armstrong’s attorney, Tim Herman, told the newspaper, “I suppose anything is possible. Right now, that’s not really on the table.”

It is believed that the Texan rider might be thinking of a doping confession to reduce his lifetime ban from cycling and Olympic sport so he can return to competing in triathlons and elite running events.  Armstrong’s lifetime cycling ban does not allow him to compete in athletic events sanctioned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency. Though the cyclist had lost most of his personal sponsorship worth tens of millions of dollars after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) issued its reasoned decision against the cyclist, Armstrong still wields a fascination that still trumps people across the world and there may still be some value in the charred remains of his infamous achievements.

Some believe that the directors of Livestrong foundation that has been fatally wounded after the USADA report have reportedly beseeched him to make a confession so that the charity gets an opportunity to move on. The foundation may prove to be the biggest reason behind Armstrong’s confession as it is facing an image problem due to its association with its famous founder. The fact that the corporate sponsors who abandoned him might support him again if he confesses may also be a trigger to make a confession. The World Anti-Doping Code that allows for lightened punishment for those who fully detail their doping protocol in a confession may be the next best trigger for a complete confession.

As on today, there seems to be no end to his problems with all his sponsors abandoning him and the U.S. Department of Justice evaluating whether to join a federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate, Floyd Landis. The British newspaper The Sunday Times has sued the Texan rider to recover $500,000 paid to him to settle a libel lawsuit, while a Dallas-based promotions company has also said it wants to recover several million dollars paid to the cyclist in bonuses for winning the Tour de France.

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