December 01, 2004

Hero to Zero: Tyler Hamilton gets the boot.

posted by Fat Buddha to extreme at 09:00 AM - 23 comments

why couldn't he just use a better masking agent?

posted by garfield at 09:29 AM on December 01, 2004

Hamilton is one of my favorites, but if these tests stand and he's found to have been doping, transfusing, or otherwise cheating, he should be banned for life. The year, or two-year suspensions just aren't cutting it.

posted by 86 at 09:47 AM on December 01, 2004

Aaaaaaaagh. Awful.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:49 AM on December 01, 2004

My guess is that the majority of the pro peloton is taking some sort of performance-enhancing substance. Given the level of competition and the money involved, it just seems like a no-brainer. 'Course I am a cynic :) That said, Tyler's case is sad as is the fact that Phonak still can't get a pro tour license even after getting rid of him.

posted by JohnSFO at 11:05 AM on December 01, 2004

This sucks for the sport, even more than usual. He could have been the next Face Of Cycling for the world, and now, who knows what he's going to do? Coach, amybe. Still, if they have to sacrifice a few top-level names to shake the sport clean, so be it. Shame for Tyler to take the fall, but it sounds like someone was going to have to. Hopefully something will come of this, more than just a little tut-tutting.

posted by chicobangs at 02:50 PM on December 01, 2004

He got caught cheating... twice... so good riddance to him. The two-year ban pretty much means his career is over now anyway, he is older that Armstrong after all. And JohnSFO, Phonak have also sacked Oscar Camenezind (sp) in the past year for failing an EPO test, plus Santi Perez (who came from nowhere to finish 2nd in the Vuelta) failed the same test as Hamilton. So Phonak being denied a Pro Tour place is not all down to Tyler. There's obviously something very dodgy going on at that team, so IMO they should not be allowed in. The UCI should give their place to Kelme, but for some reason they decided to just reduce the roster to 19 teams, which sucks for Kelme.

posted by afx237vi at 03:16 PM on December 01, 2004

Aren't Performance Enhancers pretty much common place in pro cycling? Or is that my negative-info-filter misleading me?

posted by garfield at 03:27 PM on December 01, 2004

Aren't Performance Enhancers pretty much common place in pro cycling? That's why they gotta start busting people, garfield.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:32 PM on December 01, 2004

Well, that's how I felt a while ago. and generally, I hold the line; no dope in all athletics. But I remember reading here on spofi during the Tour how drugs are so pervasive in cycling that busting people would bankrupt the sport, which isn't the way to go. I'm as disappointed with Hamilton as much as I can be. I've sung his praises after being wowed by his 03 Tour performance. But seriously, the Olympic Champion time trialist just got booted from his team for failed dope tests. That sentence barely has an effect on me. And I'm wondering why.

posted by garfield at 03:47 PM on December 01, 2004

also consider the stories of Millar and Pantani. and to correct the above, 'i'm generally anti-doping'......I've been extremely diligent in following doping stories the last few years as the frequency seemed to multiply, and my stance has been rock solid. but with this, it just seems, i don't know. I just don't know about doping and cycling.

posted by garfield at 03:57 PM on December 01, 2004

"I'm as disappointed with Hamilton as much as I can be. I've sung his praises after being wowed by his 03 Tour performance." Makes you wonder how he managed to finish an entire tour with a broken collarbone, eh? Also consider: JM Jimenez. Drugs in cycling is bad. It kills people. Drugs cheats should be thrown out.

posted by afx237vi at 04:08 PM on December 01, 2004

Tyler Hamilton's statement. Also, something else I just remembered... what's going to happen to Floyd Landis? He joined Phonak before Hamilton and Perez failed the tests, so I guess he was looking forward to riding in the Pro Tour next year with what would have been a brilliant team... I feel sorry for him. He's just had the best season of his career and now he's landed in the middle of this shitstorm through no fault of his own. I hope for his sake he can manage to find another team.

posted by afx237vi at 04:41 PM on December 01, 2004

half/joking: how long until it's revealed that Lance has been taking some sort of dope? I figure the way many riders (or athletes in general) get around the drug tests is by taking substances which cannot yet be detected or are not yet on the prohibited list. With the amount of money involved in pro sports, individuals and teams will do whatever it takes...

posted by JohnSFO at 04:42 PM on December 01, 2004

>>>what's going to happen to Floyd Landis? As according to a letter at Velonews, Landis has an "out" in his contract with Phonak if they don't make the pro tour. I'd imagine quite a few teams would be interested in him, maybe even postal/discovery...

posted by JohnSFO at 04:48 PM on December 01, 2004

Technical foul and automatic ejection, drewboy. Back to your hole.

posted by dusted at 06:29 PM on December 01, 2004

Drugs in cycling is bad. It kills people. Drugs cheats should be thrown out. "Offensive lines in football are bad. It cripples people's knees and backs for life. Offensive lines should be thrown out." "Hits in hockey are bad. They cause concussions and brain damage. Hits should be thrown out." "Mountains in cycling are bad. They kill people. Mountains should be thrown out." Whether or not they kill people really shouldn't be relevant to the doping discussion- we let people do health-threatening things in the name of sports all the time. I wouldn't take steroids, but I wouldn't let several hundred pound men try to tackle me, and I wouldn't ride a bike down a mountain at 50 miles an hour either.

posted by tieguy at 08:49 PM on December 01, 2004

false analogies, tieguy. The problem with steroids isn't just that they're harmful, it's that they're harmful and they create a performance advantage. So an athlete in a steroid-ridden sport has two choices: take a health-endangering substance; or don't take it, and fail to be competitive. Either way, in a sport like cycling, if you nod and wink about steroids, what you're saying is that no one is effectively allowed to compete at the elite level unless they take this poison.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:03 PM on December 01, 2004

"I just don't know about doping and cycling." I don't understand what the question is....where is the grey line here? Some of your are against getting rid of dopers because it would bankrupt or ruin the sport. It's not a friggin real sport you're watching, people, if everyone is on dope!!! It's dope competing against dope-not people against people! It's got nothing to do with finesse and talent and working hard and mind over body and all that stuff that sports competitions are supposed to be about. You're not watching real're watching who got what better drugs. That's no sport.

posted by aacheson at 02:32 PM on December 02, 2004

my ambiguity stems from my worry that cycling has passed the point of no return, i.e. doping is so pervasive in cycling the sport might not be able to survive the clean up.

posted by garfield at 02:54 PM on December 02, 2004

The "point of no return" was surely the Festina scandal and the Tour of '98... if the sport of cycling can survive that then I think it can survive anything. At least the authorities are doing something now. They need to be harsh. Cycling is in a bad state, doping-wise, but it's bad reputation stems from the fact that it's survived for so long with sly nods and winks. They're now testing for things they haven't tested for before -- the blood-doping test that Hamilton failed is a brand new test, and I believe the EPO test is quite new too -- so hopefully this is the start of a concerted effort to clean up the sport for good.

posted by afx237vi at 03:32 PM on December 02, 2004

glad to see the optimism, afx, but what indications have you seen that would make you think they will be stern this time 'round.

posted by garfield at 03:52 PM on December 02, 2004

Well, they've just kicked out possibly the second biggest name in cycling for a start -- that's quite stern. I don't know though, cycling is entering a new phase with the Pro Tour and a lot of money is being pumped into the sport by companies like the Discovery Channel and T-Mobile, it's not in their interest to be backing a dirty sport. Look what happened to Festina... where are they now?

posted by afx237vi at 03:57 PM on December 02, 2004

Am I correct in assuming that there is still no direct test for blood doping; instead, the levels of various components in the blood sera are tested and if they are found to be abnormal, a positive test is determined? Obviously, given this protocol, the issue will turn on what is abnormal; this is how scientists can differ on whether Hamilton doped or not. Also, if the component levels are markedly different between samples taken at the same time, I think Hamilton has a point: Why have the samples not been compared through DNA analysis? Is the WADA protecting a corrupted protocol?

posted by docgonzo at 10:52 AM on December 03, 2004

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