Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fallout XIII

The Times has Paul Kimmage catch up with Allen Lim and Slipstream at the Tour. Kimmage was always convinced Stage 17 was dope fueled, and thought Lim the Svengali. Kimmage seems taken and tries to work Lim into a corner about Landis, where he won't go.

How did you hear of it?” “Just like everyone else.” “A news report?” “Yeah.” “What did you think?” “I was totally floored: I was like, ‘Wow! Are you kidding me?’”

(Long pause.) “Go on,” I urge, “keep going. You say you were floored.” “Yeah, I was very surprised.”

“Is that all?” “Yeah, I mean I felt . . . eh . . . I was just very surprised, because it was totally unexpected. It would be the last thing I could ever dream of.”

“That’s interesting,” I observe, “because it’s the first thing I would ever dream. Are you just incredibly naïve or am I just incredibly cyni-cal?”

“Maybe a little bit of both,” he smiles. “I don’t think I’m naïve, I just like to believe in the best of people and stay focused on the positive and do the best that I can. There is so much that we cannot control.”

We note the start of a continuity problem - Kimmage goes on to write:

“What about Floyd? When was the first time you met him after the positive test?”

“Jeez . . . it was probably four or five months later at a fundraiser.”

“Did he say anything?” “No, he just kept on ranting about the testing.”

No surprise about the ranting, but the rest contradicts what we heard on the Simply Stu podcast of July 31 2006, where Lim had talked right after the A sample announcement:

Long tech talk about Morzine and time trial, then into allegations: Huge surprise, result was T/E report, not exogenous. Immediate reaction was that it's an unreliable test, wait for B sample, lab ethics problems, best not to speculate. He knows Floyd, doesn't believe it. He was with Floyd a lot during the tour, Floyd very competitive, but very relaxed, simple, humble. Says he and Robbie are just so bummed, because he couldn't have done it. About 30 minutes in, Lim says he asked point blank [if he did it] and Floyd said, "No."

This says Lim was with Landis at the time of the AAF, not in Boulder, and asked him if he doped ("because you have to ask") and was told he didn't. In August 2006, Lim believed. Lim probably was in Boulder at the time of the B sample testing and result, and the "Jeez" may reflect confusion and unsorted memory. But the story is at odds with previous versions.

Lim had split time in January 2007 between Slipstream training camp and a one Cycleops ran with Landis. He was also at the Malibu hearing, available to testify. His power data is in the record. Relations had not been notably strained by the doping allegations at that time -- TBV spoke with him at the Pepperdine Cafeteria.

However, after The Call, Lim seems to have fully devoted his time to Slipstream, and had refused any comment on Landis until this Kimmage interview.

We don't know if Lim has had a personal change of heart on the doping allegations, is (still) mad about The Call, or if he's been told to shut up publicly about Landis for the good of the team, being Slipstream.

Kimmage would like us to think Lim is hiding belief Landis doped, ands writes as if that were the underlying fact he is unearthing.

At Versus, another intrepid scribe, Bob Roll, exclusively reports that Beltran made a full confession when challenged with his test result. This kept Liquigas from being expelled. We don't know why no one else seems to have reported about this admission. Did no one believe that Beltran said, "It's a fair cop, guv"?

The AP writes a follow up on the Beltran EPO positive saying Christian Prudhomme will issue further statements later today. In the meantime Pat McQuaid chimes in even though "Le Tour" is not being run under UCI auspices:

"When are these idiots going to learn that it's over?" said Pat McQuaid, head of the International Cycling Union. "They continue to think that they can beat the system. They're wrong. The system is catching up all the time."

Yahoo Eurosports' "Blazin' Saddles"
has a raison d'être again, despite his fears of a "clean Tour de France," due to the positive doping test revealed yesterday:

And just as Blazin' begins to lament the good old days of cycling, the days when whole teams were caught out, when housewives' favourites like Richard Virenque were reduced to tears, when the Landises and Vinos and Rasmussens of this world made us briefly believe in heroism on two wheels, just when he begins to lament this seemingly bygone era, he decides to check (admittedly to see how many more readers had called him a 'jerk' in the course of the afternoon) and is greeted with his saving grace: Manuel Beltran tests positive!!!

The CyclingNews notes that "Triki" Beltran was taken into police custody for questioning, and that his room was searched after it was announced he tested positive for EPO yesterday. Despite "initial" reports, even if Beltran's "B" comes back positive Liquigas may remain in the Tour. It has also avoided a 100,000 eruo fine because it immediately kicked him out of the race. The AFLD has confirmed that it will share the results of pre Tour testing with the UCI despite the rift that exists between the two alphabet entities:

The AFLD performed blood tests on riders "to allow for subsequent targeted doping tests during the Tour de France," the agency announced Friday, but did not name any riders. That targeted approach yielded the positive of Liquigas' Manuel Beltrán.

Of the controls performed prior to the Tour, some ten or twenty riders showed hematocrit values near the limit of 50%. "Around 20 riders have results a little high, right on the limit," Philippe Sagot, deputy secretary general of the AFLD, told The Associated Press. "There are no infractions, but some figures are very close to the limit, particularly as regards the level of hematocrit," Sagot said.

ESPN updates the Beltran bust by saying that other Liqiuigas team member hotel rooms were being searched as well.

The Earth Times says that in accordance with France's tough new anti-doping laws Manuel Beltran could face up to five years in prison if any evidence of doping is found in the search of his hotel room. It is also reported that Beltran's team Liquigas may not be welcomed at the Vuelta. Doping news "bellwether" L'Equipe reports today that we may not be finished yet:

L'Equipe also wrote Saturday that five riders had returned abnormal blood levels with Italian Ricardon Ricco, winner of Thursday's sixth stage, believed to be among them.

The sharks are beginning to circle.

The AFP reports hints that Vino, Heras, and Moreni are going to be up against criminal charges over last year's race.

The NY Times posts an interview from the Tour with visiting former champ Greg LeMond who says that had he been tempted the way today's riders are he isn't sure what he would have done. Still, he sees hope for the future despite cycling's current issues, just as he saw hope for cycling when he retired from it:
“When I retired everybody was like, oh, the sport is dead,” LeMond said. “But there was a whole other generation. And there’s going to be another one.”

Chigago Tribune/Phillip Hersh looks at all of Armstrong's subsequently doping teammates, and smells smoke.

The Daily Peloton pens a farcical and rather obscene "fantasy" about Floyd Landis' "defense".


The FredCast celebrates its "century" and in the podcast reports on the Landis CAS award.

Oliver Starr looks back at Stage 17 to Morzine, and argues against it being dope-fueled, with detailed explanation.

Yes, it was an exceptional effort. But was also the culmination of a series of factors and events that created a “perfect storm” for a miraculous solo win. Also, don’t underestimate the fact that this was an enormous tactical blunder on the part of all the teams that should never have let Floyd gain so much time. By the time these guys realized that they had an emergency on their hands it was already too late to do anything about it.

Honestly - and I hope by now you can see that I really do call it the way I see it - I don’t see how you need doping to explain Floyd’s results on this stage.

Starr and Kimmage should sit down and do lunch one day.

QuickRelease.TV has an article on a really peer-reviewed medical journal article that says The War on Sports Drugs isn't Working. The cited British Medical Journal says:

The reasons advanced for anti-doping policy are flawed and do not warrant strong punishment and costly repression of doping practices;


Bill Mc said...

ASO and AFLD are just pursuing their goal of a "clean" TDF. "Clean", when translated into their special French dialect, means that a French rider wins the TDF once all of the "dirty" (i.e., non French) riders are eliminated via doping allegations.

One wonders how much longer the riders will take the abuse being heaped upon them. They have to realize that they are all, each and everyone of them, just one whim away from ruin.

What a sad time for cycling.

racejunkie said...

There's no way that Riccardo Ricco could be among the doping positives. He's jailbait, and we all know that doping is the exclusive province of the evil creaky old-school guys!

pensum said...

Versus has a brief update on the Beltran situation, that includes this nugget: "Beltran’s team was lucky that it did not get kicked out of the Tour as well. That was because Beltran made a full confession to his transgressions immediately upon receiving the information that he tested positive for EPO." full article at

MMan said...

So let's see: we have arrests, we have police searching rooms, riders are going to stand trial ...

So why then is this thing called WADA involved? They aren't subject to any rules of evidence, keeping a chain of evidence, they can't be voted out of office or recalled or impeached or subpoenaed in their own "courts" ...