Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: PED Allegations Against 2009 Astana Team

I had a reader send me a link to an article on CyclingNews that discusses an investigation against Astana during the 2009 Tour de France. Racing for Astana in 2009 was Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and, overall winner, Alberto Contador. The CyclingNews article states that French authorities have...

uncovered "suspect" syringes of various sizes in the medical waste disposed by the Astana team. The latest finding states that infusion equipment, which was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)  in July of 2008, except in cases of medical emergency, was among the material. The possession of materials such as intravenous drip bags could constitute a breach of French law banning the sale or possession of illegal drugs. ...  Also seized from the Astana team were anti-hypertensive drugs.
Two things strike me regarding this article. First, I haven't heard word of this. It came out on the day before Christmas so maybe that is why. However, what has happened since then? Does anyone know? (Update: see this link for an update by VeloNation on this case.)

Second, I thought it was interesting that they found anti-hypertensive drugs. I read on VeloNews that these drugs can be used to reduce hypertension for those who are blood doping or using EPO. Apparently, doping in this way causes hypertension.

In addition, the CyclingNews article discusses the tension between the UCI and the French anti-doping authorities. In particular,  the article says:
The AFLD lodged repeated complaints this summer that the Astana team had been given preferential treatment by the UCI during the Tour de France, charging that riders were allowed to delay giving their samples by nearly an hour. The team denied holding up the proceedings, stating that the testers arrived earlier than expected and waited voluntarily.
We know that many cyclists and doctors have said that, with 20 minutes, many of the PEDs can be concealed from the tests. I thought it was interesting that Astana apparently admitted that the UCI drug testers waited voluntarily! Why did the team need them to wait?! I can just imagine: "Oh, you're here earlier than I expected. I need about 20 minutes to freshen up so please just make yourself comfortable while I go in the other room."

I've always thought that Lance would not risk getting caught doping in his return to pro racing in 2009 because he had too much to lose. However, if Astana was able to secure an arrangement with the UCI to give them warning so he could avoid detection then that would allow him and his team to dope with little risk of being caught doping. Just sayin'....

1 comment:

  1. Just look at what Contador did in the last time trial in 2009 compared to 2010. No doubt he was doped....oh and of course...he was named in Puerto and then his own federation. Nevermind that Saiz hand-picked him as a teenager to develop and mentor....but during all that time...he was never doping? To believe 2/3 of Liberty Segorus was doping, but not Contador? When he was toxic due to puerto who through him a lifeline? Bruyneel of course...along with Basso...seems like Bruyneel has/had a special place in his heart for those tainted by Puerto.

    Will the federal investigation go after foreign members of the Postal Service team for testimony? I'm sure Heras has a few things to get off his chest...