July 11, 2008

Tour of France rider Beltran in custody after doping: "When are these idiots going to learn that it's over?" Thats why they call it dope, buddy. The Tour continues its downward spiral into cheating scandal hell.

posted by irunfromclones to other at 04:51 PM - 21 comments

That it's Beltran, who rode with US Postal / Discovery between 2003 and 2007, is obviously going to get people talking about Armstrong again.

posted by etagloh at 05:25 PM on July 11, 2008

And just yesterday I was thinking to myself "Is the Tour de France even going on?", I couldn't figure out why I had almost zero interest in the event. Now I remember.

posted by dviking at 06:49 PM on July 11, 2008

I hope you have no interest in football or baseball either. There are dopers in every sport.

posted by apoch at 08:03 PM on July 11, 2008

Amazing that an agency chief would call a rider an "idiot" without knowing all the facts of the case. Yes, there is a problem of doping in cycling, but there is also a problem of testing agencies and their chiefs losing credibility by spouting off when a rider is accused. These agencies are supposed to be independent and neutral, but they can't seem to reign in the egos of the men at the top.

posted by dusted at 08:30 PM on July 11, 2008

I've been watching it every morning, just like last year and the year before. It seems they caught him, he's out of the tour, he's actually gone to prison, and so that's it. Yes, another quality rider bites the dust, but we're just in the middle of the dark ages of the sport. Watching it, watching the fans and the reaction of the commentators and the reaction of the non-US press, I now am pretty sure that the Tour (and thus, the sport) will come out the other end of this and be okay again, and relatively soon. The egos are always going to be there. They'll have to be checked in some other loophole-free way in order for the sport to move forward, but I believe (foolishly, maybe, but still) that that's possible. The meatheads in the ESPN multiverse didn't give a damn about cycling before the drug stuff hit the sport, and they won't afterward, and compared to other sports, that doesn't touch cycling all that much. If you're taking your cues about sport from Jim Rome and Jay Mariotti, headlines like this aren't gonna help you get into cycling, but right now all they have going for them is that the core fans are going to be able to maintain it until they can figure out how to regulate and enforce the doping issues properly, at which point the sport's international (and North American) profile will start to rise again. It does suck for fans of the sport in the present tense, though.

posted by chicobangs at 08:50 PM on July 11, 2008

I hope you have no interest in football or baseball either. There are dopers in every sport True, there are cheaters in all sports, and it has diminished fan interest. The Bonds saga lessened the excitement of his breaking the home run record, and the continuous coverage of steroid issues in cycling has done the same to the tour. As someone that has loved competitive cycling since I was given a Motobecane Mirage for my birthday back in the 70's, I normally follow the tour from start to finish. I have not been compelled to care this year.

posted by dviking at 09:34 PM on July 11, 2008

Well as someone who is against doping in sports and a lover of cycling you should be watching Le Tour and chearing on one of the three teams with extensive anti-doping procedures. Garmin-Chipolte, Team Columbia, and Team CSC/Saxo Bank are all doing quite well. Kim Kirchin of Columbia currently holds the Yellow. If one of these teams can win the Tour how good will it be for the sport?

posted by apoch at 02:57 AM on July 12, 2008

BWAHAHAHA! After ALL the shit of the last few years, and this fucking moron is doping... I am honestly surprised they are even bothering running this utter farce of a race anymore. There may be some good guys out there (Apoch above has named some) but honestly, these stupid fuckhead cheaters are destroying the sport. I don't like cycle racing, it does nothing for me. But it pisses me off when ANY bastard cheats, regardless of the sport, as, and maybe I'm old fashioned, I still consider sport (or rather WISH it was these days) a noble, honest endeavour.

posted by Drood at 05:30 AM on July 12, 2008

It isn't the cheaters that are destroying the sport, it is the imbalance in media coverage of the dopers. When a cyclist dopes the media (and a large portion of the general public) act like he's the devil and single handedly ruins the sport. When a football player gets busted for doping he misses four games and everybody pretends it never happened after that. Take half a glass of media bias, add a splash of doping history, garnish with an antidoping and arbitration system that assumes the athlete is guilty and makes it almost impossible to prove otherwise, top it off with incompetant labs and news leaks, and you have a nasty cocktail. Which cyclists are forced to drink every day of their professional career.

posted by apoch at 08:14 AM on July 12, 2008

The main difference between cycling and many other sports --- Cycling cheaters are caught and punished. I've said it before and Iíll say it again: Some of these guys are still cheating despite the comprehensive anti-doping programs in place, deep impact on their sport, obvious personal repercussions and the threat it presents to their entire team. Now, take a moment and imagine what a (fill-in-any-sport-here) player is doing when he faces much more limited testing and, by comparison, virtually no consequences at all. Now, that is a farce. Even with all the crap involved, I'm perfectly happy to enjoy a sport that takes these matters seriously rather than putting on a show and sweeping things under a rug. And I'm with apoch, cheering on Highroad/Columbia, Slipstream/Garmin-Chipotle & CSC/Saxo Bank.

posted by 86 at 08:44 AM on July 12, 2008

Bullshit, not all the cheaters are caught and punished, just the sloppy (like that idiot Floyd Landis - oooh, nobody will suspect my all-time dominating ride a day after I nearly dropped out of the Tour from fatigue!) or unlucky ones (like when Vinokov's wife got caught with a car full of dope; or all the guys that went down with Operation Puerta). Anybody who believes that over the past decade or two the top cyclists weren't ALL doping is deluding themselves. Cutting edge doping techniques are far more advanced than testing techniques. That's why teams with the big bucks who can afford the best "doctors" and techniques generally don't get caught (US Postal). The sport has become a farce. sincerely, disgruntled ex-cycling fan.

posted by sic at 09:04 AM on July 12, 2008

sadly, I lean more to sic's side of this issue. Too many are being caught for me to believe that it is not widespread. The fact that numerous of Armstrong's teammates have now been implicated leads me to believe he was involved. Hard to believe that he didn't at least have knowledge of the abuse. As I have stated, I'm not burying my head in the sand and pretending that this is not going on in other sports, just that I have lost a lot of my interest in cycling due to the widespread level of involvement. I am glad to see that most sports organizations are starting to address this more aggressively. I will end with this statement from the French anti-doping agency. The agency announced Friday that some 20 riders had abnormalities in their tests and Bordry confirmed that other riders were also being targeted, but declined to say who. Looks like a long week ahead for the tour.

posted by dviking at 10:27 AM on July 12, 2008

Sic: I believe that 86 meant that the cyclists that test positive are punished. Obviously there are more guys out there that think and do believe they can get away with cheating. But if you are a stage winner or one of the guys in the yellow, green, polka dot or white jersey you are tested every day right after the race (before they are presented on stage). I was surprised it was Beltran, but heard this morning that he is 37 and so that may have played a large part of him doping. He had no way of winning and so he probably figured he could get away with it. And how can you not watch the Tour when Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin call the race? They make it exciting and the phrases they use to describe things (completely and utterly) are a riot! Dviking: do you know if any of Armstrong's teammates were caught while riding with him? I believe they were caught when they were riding with other teams. If that is the case, then Armstrong would have no knowledge. As far as I know, no US Postal or Discovery rider was dropped for doping and they were heavily tested during the Tour because Armstrong was always suspect.

posted by lil'red at 10:30 AM on July 12, 2008

Do you folks who have 'given up on cycling' watch other sports and just pretend no one is doping/juicing? Do you just ignore the fact that the same problem is as common (if not more) in other sports. Or have you just given up on all of them. When I look at other sports I think to myself, "Too many are getting away with it for me to believe that it is not widespread." I give credit to cycling. At least they try.

posted by 86 at 12:31 PM on July 12, 2008

Umm, 86 did you actually read any of my posts? I clearly point out that the steroid issue is present in other sports, and that it has lessened my interest in those sports (and the general public's interest as well, as judged by the lack of interest in Bonds' HR chase) lil'red, while I suppose one could hold to the belief that all of Armstrong's past teammates waited until he retired to start using the juice, I find it hard to believe. Beltran is actually one of Armstrong's mates that I would question the most. He was the rider that pulled Armstong along in the most difficult mountain stages, the very stages in which steroid use would show it's greatest benefits. No, I have no proof, the focus was always on Armstong, so I don't know how closely some of his teammates were monitored. Also, the testing is better now, so I do not find it hard to believe that riders like Landis or Beltran were on the juice earlier, and have only been caught now due to increased scrutiny and better test procedures.

posted by dviking at 01:13 PM on July 12, 2008

I give credit to cycling, as well. Whether or not their efforts and methods are foolproof, they are trying extremely hard (with debateable success) to clean up the sport. Although, when you spend many years with your head in the sand (you listening, MLB?) it's going to take some time to make a full recovery from the impact of the juice. There is a great article in this month's Men's Journal on Greg Lemond and his feud with Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis, as well as with American cycling in general. After reading it, it became clear to me that American cycling has been, for the last decade plus, a race between pharmecutical companies and regulatory bodies. Whether you like Lemond or think he's a sour grapes spewing crackpot, he has lots of very informative things to say about the state of cycling today. And it is kind of frustrating to try to be a fan with all of the allegations swirling. On that note, thanks to apoch and 86 for the leads on the clean teams riding these days. You sure can't count on our sensationalistic media to profile them when there is a juiced rider to talk about!

posted by tahoemoj at 01:54 PM on July 12, 2008

It isn't the cheaters that are destroying the sport, it is the imbalance in media coverage of the dopers. When a cyclist dopes the media (and a large portion of the general public) act like he's the devil and single handedly ruins the sport. When a football player gets busted for doping he misses four games and everybody pretends it never happened after that. Apoch, I don't think "everybody pretends it never happened..." just that things are different in football (you are talking NFL, right?) TDF teams have, what, 5 team members that race every segment? My knowlege is minimal. Football, a guy screws up, there are at least two guys on the bench who can step up and perform, hopefully, just as well. Also, a football team has 10 other guys on the field so 1/11th suspended isn't going to have as much of an impact. I don't like doping in sports, but it is a fact, even in my beloved NFL. What are you gonna do? I am amazed that Beltran even thought about doping in light of recent events in the TDF. I don't think he thought his cunning plan all the way through.

posted by steelergirl at 01:58 PM on July 12, 2008

Some Tour photos.

posted by yerfatma at 11:01 AM on July 14, 2008

Apoch, in cycling there is no "bench." Everyone is in the game from the starting gun, and there are no time outs. In the NFL & MLB, not only is steelergirl right about more players, but you've also got 3 or more people per position on the depth chart ready to jump in the game if you go down. Cycling isn't like that. Every team has one rider going for the overall championship, but the whole team has to run the whole race, and there's a time limit every day too, so if you finish a certain amount of time behind the winner in any stage (I think it's a half hour), then you're automatically eliminated. For sprinters, the mountains are hell for this. You'll see a few of them drop off the end every day, especially through the alps. The structure of the sport is wildly different. And yes, the fact that they're actually prosecuting people, and harshly, means it looks worse for cycling than it is, but that's because unlike the North American sports, they're not sweeping it under the rug anymore. There will be a bad few years, and then it'll get better. I'll stick with it through this hard time, but I know most people won;t. That's fine. Better this than having drugs (and people trying to hide them) kill the sport completely. You think that can't happen to the NBA or the NFL? Really?

posted by chicobangs at 12:29 PM on July 14, 2008

Pseudo-related question: I know that the NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB anti-doping policies are laughable. What does EPL testing/punishment look like? And other Euro-centric leagues/sports? Is the testing comprehensive? Punishment severe? For what it's worth... Today's stage was awesome. I won't go into to detail for fear of spoiling anything for those in North America still waiting to watch the replay this evening, but it was great. And thanks for the photos, fatty. Good stuff.

posted by 86 at 03:21 PM on July 14, 2008

As far as I know, no US Postal or Discovery rider was dropped for doping and they were heavily tested during the Tour because Armstrong was always suspect. That's my understanding as well (though I'm far from an expert). If Armstrong was doping, how did he do it? Was there an opportunity to switch urine? Were the drugs he was using simply too sophisticated for the drug testers? Are there other considerations I'm unaware of? (Probably) As others have stated, there have been many rumors floating around about Armstrong but the fact that he was heavily tested makes me doubt their truthiness (as Mr. Colbert would say).

posted by cjets at 01:36 PM on July 17, 2008

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.