Wired Science cites a study in which it's been determined that a placebo is just as effective as a pain killing opiate for athletes as the real deal:
The World Anti-Doping agency allows competitors to take opiate painkillers while training, but not on the day of their events. However, if a placebo can trick their opiate-conditioned bodies into a feel-no-pain state, they'll get the same boost that would be illegal if produced by the real drug.
The CyclingNews plays catch up and posts Sunday's comments from Prof. Bruce Goldberger on the Landis case. It also looks like another tell-all book about Jan Ullrich is in the works. This afternoon's CyclingNews update contains a number of interesting items. Michael Rasmussen will hold a press conference and make what appears to be a preemptive statement about his removal from the TdF last summer and subsequent firing from Rabobank. Also, Armand Mégret, the official doctor of the Fédération Française de Cyclisme (FFC) has responded in an open letter to the UCI's proposed blood passport. According to Mégret, the project sealed by the UCI and WADA at an Anti-Doping summit in Paris two weeks ago is still much too vague:
"The World Anti-Doping Agency has imposed a [detection -ed.] method of which we ignore the application modalities, the cost, or the persons that will be tested," Mégret stated. "We don't know if this will be considered a tool in the fight against doping [resulting in suspensions - ed.] or a medical procedure leading to a no-start."
The doctor also wondered about the methodology of the tests, as well as legal aspects. "It is also necessary that the detection values be clear. Doping is not the only factor that can lead to these kind of variations. We have to be able to exclude biological anomalies caused by possible health problems of the athletes," he continued. "For this method, there is no operative system, no organisation, no method, no technical details to be applied by the labs, no kits or protocols to be used. Riders will only turn to courts, which will appoint experts to show the method is flawed, as usual."
In a further update The CyclingNews reports that Michael Rasmussen has admitted lying to the public but NOT to Rabobank about his whereabouts last spring:
I would like to clearly state that I was not in Mexico in June. I have therefore misinformed both the UCI and the public. It is however important for me to stress that at no point did I lie to the Rabobank team," Rasmussen said. Rasmussen insisted that his employer Rabobank knew the truth. "I have never told lies to Rabobank. They knew all the time where I was and why."
ESPN reports that Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe has been cleared of doping charges by FINA. And in another ESPN story it's noted that perhaps as a result of Operation Raw Deal the Chinese promise to clear out doping labs before next summer's Olympics in Beijing.
The San Diego Union Tribune notes that among many professional "stick and ball" athletes caught doping the worst punishment they may get is a pay raise. Floyd Landis is only mentioned in passing and is used to point up the injustice of the consequences some athletes face.
The Star Phoenix snarks that if you couldn't count on "humble Mennonite boy" Floyd Landis to compete fairly who can you count on?
Rant was going to write more about cortisone when he saw the Matina Hingis WILL fight a positive for cocaine use after all and Ian Thorpe has been cleared by FINA. The cortisone discussion will continue at a later date.
PrawfsBlawg has quite a bit to say about the increasingly present asterisk in sports.
Ken Ungar feels the real victims of bad behavior by athletes are the athletes themselves, and they can go a long way in ameliorating this problem by taking responsibility for their actions.
Racejunkie is on the ball this afternoon with comments on today's Rasmussen press conference, and on Prof. Bruce Goldberger's statements concerning the LNDD's "lab work" in the Landis case.
Astropost says it's all right there in the stars, Neptune, and the hard aspect between the Sun and Jupiter. It's a bad omen for Floyd Landis, Marion Jones, and Michael Rasmussen. Who knew?
Black Chick on a Bike just read the CyclingNews post containing Prof. Goldberger's comments about the LNDD's testing practices and Floyd Landis, and she is horrified that such sloppiness is in any way acceptable in a professional lab:
I can't believe what I have just read at the above link concerning Floyd Landis's case! The use of WHITE OUT in a forensic toxicology testing lab??? I would totally get my ass fired if I did that! Whenever we make a mistake ANYWHERE, in our personal lab book, in our Calibration, Reagent Prep notebooks, on labels, etc. we HAVE to cross it out once and initial it. If we tape or paste anything into a book, notebook, etc. we have to initial it on two edges and date it. Our initials are kept in a record book next to our printed names and signatures so that people know if someone else is forging our initials. It's so anal, and only gets more so! Every sample, solutions, etc. is obsessively tracked and recorded a zillion times. Everything is labeled and stored correctly. It's crazy. I swear we spend most of our time doing this versus actual testing experiments. I'm not saying this is grounds for innocence, but, I would TOTALLY have his A-sample retested by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing lab here (at a competent facility)and then if positive, have the B-sample tested.