You had to know it was coming.
Yesterday, anti-doping officials in Italy flagged drug test results from four of the top finishers at the 2007 Giro. According to Velo News, the samples of third-place finisher Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana), fourth-placed Gilberto Simoni, sixth-placed Riccardo Riccó (both of Saunier Duval) as well as 2007 Giro winner Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) raised the suspicion of testers.
But the funny thing this time around is that the tests were flagged, not because they contained banned substances, but because the hormone levels in their tests were actually considerably lower than normal!
In an interview with Velo News, a spokesman for Italy's National Olympic Committee explained, "The results are of concern, because all four show hormone levels that are not normal for adult males," the spokesman said. "These results would be more likely to have come from a child rather than a fully mature adult. The fact that four men all produce such results on the same day is extremely bizarre."
Now, let's not forget that we are talking here about adult males who spend eight hours a day in a tight huddle with a bunch of other sweaty men before heading back to the hotel room to sleep in a room with a bunch of other guys. Adult males who wear spandex for a living and shave their legs. They're not exactly the type that you imagine to be dripping with testosterone (regardless of what danger Dick Pound imagines that local virgins are in).
Apparently the anti-doping officials suspect that the low hormone levels may actually have been created by something that the atheltes might have been taking to mask their use of contraband drugs.
Too much testosterone and you're in trouble. Not enough and you're still in trouble. Admittedly I know next to nothing about how or why or when the body produces the various hormones that it does. But, it seems to me that when you take a guy who puts his body through the kind of stresses that these guys endure on a daily basis, losing weight faster than they can put it back on, sleeping in altitude tents, dehydrated on a regular basis, fighting infection at every turn due to their ultra-low body weight and weakened immune system, you can't expect their endocrine systems to just function as a normal adult male's would. Look at how young female gymnasts at the top of the sport often stop having periods due to the stress that their bodies are under. That's just messed up.
That was always my theory about why Floyd's hormones were all screwed up after Stage 17 and maybe it's what's going on here too.