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Tour de France Rocked by new drugs scandal

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posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 06:04 AM
UK Yahoo Link

Spain's Moises Duenas Nevado (allegedly) tested positive for the blood boosting drug EPO after the fourth stage of the Tour de France, according to the French anti-doping agency.

Shame. Bear in mind this is just the A sample and unconfirmed until the B sample is run. So I inserted an 'allegedly' comment to be fair.

EPO testing is still having the bugs worked out and different labs sometimes give varied results.

Regrets to Team Barloworld.

posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 09:34 AM
Riccardo Ricco is now out of the tour and subject to questioning by French authorities. He's been allegedly accused of using a substance thought to be undetectable. This substance has been available in Europe and is subject to litigation in the US so unavailable, according to sources at cycling news dot com.

Cycling News

MA:It's a delayed-action EPO, which has a different molecular mass from EPO. It's only been commercially available since the start of the year. We can tell when someone's used it but we can't declare them positive. In that respect it's like Dynepo, another EPO-like product. We know that Micera was being used on the Giro, so I'm not surprised that it's also turned up at the Tour. But I would be very surprised if they AFLD had declared Riccò positive for Micera, for the reasons I've just mentioned. Maybe they searched Riccò's room and found the product itself...

This substance and items like it were probably available only to the elite in years past, and along with various masking agents is responsible for blood profiles with hematocrits above 50 percent (the usual cut-off), but officials couldn't do much about it. Riders would obtain CUEs (exclusion certificates allowing exceptions to the cut offs) for various reasons with a doctor's excuse.

It was learned last year that one method of 'masking' these agents in the urine was done by putting a flake of enzyme-containing dish detergent on one's thumbnail, which, when dissolved in the sample, would inactivate all EPO, including endogenous forms. Puzzled officials could not, at the time, understand the completely negative results found in some samples.

Because testing was in the early stages of development, they may have thought it was an anomaly.

Some famous riders had confidently announced back then that their team is completely clean and no traces of exogenous EPO would be found in their frozen sample.

It's still thought that the elite riders have substances available to them which are undetectable, and only those who carelessly leave samples lying around will face banning. The top tier teams and riders can afford their own development services for these things, it is alleged. Just like radar and radar detectors, the latter lags behind the former by a couple years.

It does appear that the Tour organizers are now very serious about eliminating these PEDs.

It is suggested that top riders, like Cadel Evans and Schlecks, Sastre, and Kirchen are completely clean, explaining why they need to work hard and are unable to launch spectacular efforts off the front. Good for them.

posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 09:43 AM
It has also been reported that the entire Saunier Duval team has voluntarily withdrawn from the Tour.

In years past, the management insisted that riders take 'the hot sauce', and in later years, they had a policy of 'plausible denial'. Those riders caught were declared 'on their own'.

It's naive to think that the Directors Sportif are unaware of such things, which may explain the decision to withdraw, rather than face more daunting charges, indicting the whole organization.

It's not clear how riders continue to ride nearly 18mph (28.9kph) uphill, but it's not being done on mineral water, I fear.

posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 07:33 AM
From Cyclingnews.comCyclingnews

The fallout continues after the positive test of Riccardo Ricco. As Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo wrote yesterday, WADA had worked with Roche, the company developing CERA, in order to prepare a test for the substance. If the B sample is confirmed, it was this collaboration which enabled the young Italian to be caught.

Let's keep all the 'negative' PEDs info in this thread, please.

posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 08:26 AM
Thanks for all the updates Badge,
Sorry i posted on another thread on this topic.
What a shame hey, just as the race was building for some great battles in the approaching Alp stages, the race is rocked by these positive drug tests.
I have heard reports that Ricco was found in possesion of vials of EPO and was now being investigated by police and may face charges. Have you seen anything in regards to this? I wonder what this will mean for the team and its directors. Who will be implicated etc, and what further action will be taken by the Authorities(both sporting and law).

posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 09:30 AM
reply to post by atlasastro

179 Leonardo Piepoli is now out, too, recorded as a breach of ethics. Unconfirmed.

No problem on where to post. Tip of the hat to Cadel, actually, is my motivation.

We'll, no doubt, see more.

It may be that Astana was done a favor by being asked not to attend. I'll let others read between the lines.

I tend to doubt that Roche was able to rush a test into production this quickly, but all's fair in cycling and the AFLD.

You can read more here: (Pdf file)

WADA says 'they' developed the test. (link removed due to site being about steroids).

I -seriously- doubt that. Even if Roche tagged the molecule top tier cyclists have ways around that, I suspect. (company insider?). I'm totally just guessing.

From the latter site (quote removed, paraphrased):

WADA frequently overstates their ability to detect PEDs.

See, toldja (just read it after posting).

OMGZ, TUEs (Therapeutic exemptions) were granted for:
o Anabolic Steroids
o Asthma drugs (exercise-induced asthma is the 'excuse')
o Cortico-steroids

60% of the riders, according to authorities had a TUE in the '06 Tour.

This is quite surprising. Wonder how someone got a TUE for anabolics?

[edit on 18-7-2008 by Badge01]

posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 06:36 PM
This just in from my friends in France:

The police allegedly found no doping products belonging to Riccò according to French TV, who announced that he would not be indicted for possession.

The team director has stated that they had no knowledge of any doping by its riders, and remarked that Riccò swore on his mother's head that he had never used illegal substances.

Riccò may have been being (generally) truthful.

Paradoxically, some of the cleanest riders, as far as we know, are the sprinters. Though these guys are phenoms, able to turn out over 1200 Watts[3] for short periods, they are simply, it is thought, genetically gifted. They have attributes, such as favorable body size, and predominantly fast-twitch muscles. Many have large egos and are highly aggressive in competitively driven. And they are highly paid.

[3] Recreational riders typically turn out 120-200 Watts in contrast.

Are things truly better and getting better? Only the riders know for sure.

Hopefully this is the end of the scandal for this year. Maybe not, since it was rumored that 10 riders were on the watch list for having unusual, but not strictly out of range blood profiles.

posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 06:37 PM
Here's a rather humorous scene from the 1923 Tour:

The roads were muddy and the bikes only had two gears. To change gears you had to dismount and flip your rear wheel over.

The winner of this stage, which was over 270km, took more than 12 hours.

The last rider came in more than 5 hours later.

[edit on 18-7-2008 by Badge01]

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 04:09 AM

Amgen's EPO is Aranesp, the second generation of Epogen (epoetin alfa), both involved in Amgen's lawsuit against Basel, Switzerland-based
Roche, which wants to introduce in the U.S. its competing red-blood cell booster, called continuous erythropoiesis receptor activator (CERA),
now branded Mircera.
How were that able to come up with the test for a third generation CERA, or EPO so quickly. I agree with you, this is starting to smell and ASTANA got off with easy with what was going to go down in this years tour. You know, they made no real effort to gain entry after failing to get an invite. Why?

Tour de France dope quatro: Leonardo Piepoli sacked from the 2008 Tour by team; Ricco in jail
Number four -- and counting -- gone from the 2008 Tour de France. This time veteran cyclist Leonardo Piepoli ended up sacked by his team Suanier Duval-Scott for ethics violations, in conjunction with the doping violation of teammate Riccardo Ricco. Ricco checked out a room in jail last night. To Cycling News:

Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli have both been fired by Saunier Duval-Scott for "doping practices", the team announced Friday. Team spokesman David Garcia told Reuters: "[Team manager] Mauro Gianetti has lost faith in them and he decided to fire them from the team. They have been fired for doping practices."

The news follows Riccò's failed test for a third generation form of the blood boosting drug EPO and the team's subsequent departure from the Tour de France on Thursday morning. Riccò spent Thursday night behind bars at a police station in Mirepoix, while the Saunier Duval bus was stopped and searched around 17.30 local time as it made its way from the race.

Riccò appeared in court in Foix on Friday morning to face charges relating to his failed test. The possession and use of banned substances is illegal under French law.
There are also some questons raised about spainish riders in general and spanish sports surrounding these latest drug positives and the link with Alberto Contador and Operation Peurto that linked riders like Ulrich, Basso and others, it is now coming back to this years busts. Unbelievable. Did Astana get a heads up when they were asked not to participate in this years tour. I had previously heard that there exclusion was a get square with Astana's team director and Lance Armstrongs former Team Postal Director Johan Bruyneel. With Astana's great team of Alberto, Levi Leipheimer, Chechu Rubiera and Andreas Kloden, it would have been near impossible to keep this team out of yellow IMHO. Perhaps the links to thier many spanish riders was another reason not to participate.

[edit on 20-7-2008 by atlasastro]

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 05:02 AM
reply to post by atlasastro

Well-l-l, I could write a book on what's going on and what I think is happening, but suffice it to say, not all is what it appears to be.

On the test for a third gen substance, basically, the first gen stuff was manufactured using a guinea pig clone, I think it was, and thus the structure of the compound was a little different than human hormone. That made it possible to test for it and then make a determination.

The next stuff had a human clone and it was harder to test for, but they also used indirect methods, such as the amount of new/immature RBCs present, called 'reticulocytes'. If you have too many of those it means you've gotten your progenitor cells stimulated by something.

Now, that's complicated by other stuff, such as guys using altitude tents (actually the have lower oxygen than usual, simulating high altitude, which causes the body to make more cells). And it's complicated by people who go out and train at high altitude. Those both end up with higher retic counts and higher hematocrits.

With the third gen substance, which is 'pegylated' or has a molecule which slows the breakdown and clearance of it, the dosing can be a lot less frequent.

Anyway, I doubt they had a test for it, unless the manufacturer secretly 'tagged' the molecule, allowing them to run a test for that tag.

That's the gist - it's even more complicated but that's it in a nutshell.

On the Astana situation, I seriously doubt they did it to 'pay back' Lance or Johann. After all, it was because of them that the Tour made so much money, and Lance even donated $400,000 to the coffers.

I'm not sure why Astana was excluded but it may be multi-factorial. Maybe they had something on them, maybe they wanted French riders to win more stages and break the dominance that 'the house that Lance built' had going for 7 years or maybe they just felt that there was ample evidence against some of the riders who were still on the team.

But as it turns out, it might have been a blessing in disguise for Astana.

Did you know that even though Boonen is out of the TdF, he's riding the Tour of Austria? LOL. He even won a stage the other day.

Levi and Horner won some races in the US, small ones, but made some pocket money tearing up the domestic riders (who, incidently are probably cursing the French for Levi and Horner being over here winning those little races, haha).

Almost time for it to start here. Thirty minutes.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

posted on Jul, 23 2008 @ 05:14 PM
Lots of riders dug completely and utterly into their Suitcases of Courage today on the Alpe d' Huez.

(Let's hope that is all that was contained therein. :!

Go CSC!!

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