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« Stage Seventeen - Seen It | Main | Stage Eighteen - Seen It »

July 26, 2007

Comments

Camille

Sara, I agree with Phil, and I think you will feel better. Remember what Theresa said about exposing the wound to the healing warm light (reminds me of an aspect of childbirth -- sorry)... but maybe a great new day is coming where we don't have to think they're all on drugs as has been the case up to now. Okay, back to watching the stage in a second, but... you know, when I feel like you sound, it's usually because I'm hormonal. Enough said. I know the guys here are so happy I have no filter this morning :) Everything's gonna be alright, don't worry. The riders you interview may not be as skinny and wild-eyed but at least they'll be healthier. Chin up!

Camille

One more thing... I was just listening to Phil Liggett's oh-so-comforting voice and banter saying no matter what controversy, how it's still a beautiful race and sport, and it occurred to me that -- and this will only make sense to Jessica and Yvette or any other Harry Potter readers or movie fans -- that fill is kind of the Dumbledore of the Tour de France. He has that wonderful fatherly all-things-bright-and-beautiful protector presence that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or at least he has that effect on me. I rue the day he isn't commentating this sport anymore. I just won't thing about that though, I'll think about that tomorrow, Rhett...

Back to watching!

Camille

I think I must have been mouthing words as I type again when I typed "fill" for "Phil"... that's how that happens...

susie b

I panicked this morning. For some reason, I thought the Versus start time was 8:00 am eastern. I turn on VS, waiting to hear/see what the guys had to say &.... there was an infomerical for the old Midnight Special TV show's DVD. OMG! I thought either the Tour had been cancelled or Versus had pulled out like the Germans! I raced to work to get to the computer, so now, even though things are still not great, at least I know they ARE continuing, that I was mistaken on Vs start time (8:30), & that I'm not yet done with the sport.

"This world's gone crazy
And it's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today.
BELIEVE IT ANYWAY.

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
DREAM IT ANYWAY.

I sing
I dream
I love
ANYWAY.
Yeah."
(Martina McBride)


I am crossing my fingers & toes that NO more drug tests show up. I AM confused over the Rasmussen story as HE says he was NOT in Italy & only one guy THINKS he saw him. That's the team's PROOF? And I wish the damn journos would get the story right! In a few of the articles I scanned last night & this morning, they said Ras had CONFESSED to lying to his team. Get it right!

I do think this is catastrophic for cycling. As I said previously, BECAUSE of the past 11 months, THIS year's Tour needed to be pristine. However, MAYBE, just MAYBE, this will finally shock all the old-guard that think the past 11 months has just been "business as usual" & put THEM out of business. A clean sweep. New team directors, new sponsors, some new riders. Recognize the cliff-edge that this is & hopefully, back away & go off in a new direction. However, having the head of the UCI (McQuaid) state that "cycling is not in crisis" makes the sport even more laughable to the world. What kind of drugs is HE on?!! Just admit there's a problem, beg for forgiveness & go to REHAB! Don't these people know how it's done?! ;)

Oh, & Camille. Austin calls Phil "honey-throated"! Loved that. :)

Julie

According to the team, they didn't just take the journalist's word for it. From Cyclingnews:
"When Rasmussen was confronted with this information he confirmed to [team manager] Theo de Rooy he was at that moment in Italy," said Rabobank press officer Jacob Bergsma. "That was the reason De Rooy decided to get him out of the Tour and the team."

Theresa

I think what the riders are saying is the most important. And, trust me, you can't heal anything, without exposing it to the air and sunlight, shaking it out, like old dirty laundry. Then things can heal, emotionally and physically. I truly believe that.
There is always hope and faith. Without it were would mankind be???

Brad is racing in the Tour de Toona or was, rather, and he says the Pro-Tour boys did it to themselves, and it's just pitiful. That from a pro cyclist, who's clawing to find his road legs this year, after spending 1/2 his season on the track, winning medals. I think we should listen to the riders, themselves. And it's about time, they had a say in it. The teams always talk for the riders. I've no doubt that cycling will rise from this setback. With young riders, with new attitudes and new direction from lessons learned the hard way. The Festina affair was supposed to bring cycling to it's knees, and it didn't.

Matt

I couldn't even watch my recorded stage last night. Once I heard Rasmussen was gone, the stage lost interest. I HEARD that Levi attacked...good on him! I thought he HAD to if he AND conti had any chance. I will prob watch the stage at some point but for now, I'm all spent. I was supporting him all tour, innocent till proven guilty. I fell for his reasons/excuses he talked of during his press conferences. I also was rooting for Vino...who crushed me most of all I guess. I thought HE was possibly the hero of cycling...even moreso than Lance...not for his wins, but for his losses... and the never-say-die attitude/struggle. My rose colored glasses are gone, shattered into pieces and on the floor. Possibly unrepairable, can't say for now. I will be happy for DC, as it appears they will do well, but they would have nonetheless...only now, whoever wins will have that '*' by their name forever...the year 3 teams withdrew or were ejected...2 of them with true GC contenders. It's sickening. And so hypocritical! For Cofidis (the others on the team) I feel truly sorry. Same for Rabobank. But I think TEAM EVICTION and suspension is the only way to stop this. Apparently there are STILL riders out there who don't fear the testing. I think lifetime ban for the person (upon proper conviction) and TEAM suspension for 1 year from date of infraction...see how that cleans up things. But it might not even be necessary...the $$ may disappear so completly due to sponsors unwilling to be associated with the dirty sport that they will ride for glory and a T-shirt...much like the lower levels...weekend racers. Maybe that would be a good thin. Only we wont' be seeing it on TV...sure won't get air time for a sport with no big-$$ sponsors. I hope and pray Phil is right (that this will be looked at as the SHINING moment, not the darkest moment) but for now, it's VERY dark!

Julie

I agree with Phil too. There was a moment yesterday, when I wasn't feeling sad for the casualties, that I was excited. This feels more like real change than anything that's come before. Shoot, can't remember where I saw it, but someone noted that 10 years ago the riders did a sit-in to protest the doping controls, and yesterday they did it to protest doping riders.

It remains to be seen how successful the change will be, but if it's possible, I think it's on its way now.

Theresa

Oh, and Susie, nothing can be pristine, if it involves human beings! We can be our own worst enemy. I was glad the Rabobank guys started today. Even tho' Menchov abandoned the stage. Those guys deserve to ride into Paris on Sunday.

And the race isn't over! The TT on Sat is going to be critical to the podium places, and the riders maybe angry enough (Cadel) to really pull some surprises!

susie b

Julie - Ras is saying he NEVER told them he was in Italy & that he wasn't there. He's also calling de Root "mad". Not sure if he means "angry" or "crazy"...

This is why I get frustrated with the media on "breaking stories". They go with info that quickly turns out not to be correct. Who knows at this point?! Maybe Ras is lying NOW?

Unless the guy was TOTALLY "off the grid", how hard is it to confirm? He has to eat & sleep somewhere. Phone records, credit card receipts, etc. The fact that Rabobank & the UCI didn't feel the need to confirm anything before shows their own sloppiness. I bet all the other teams are gonna double-check all their guys whereabouts from now on! Maybe they'll just give them all GPS units to wear around 24/7... This is so bizzare to think it would come to that.

I do think ASO & probably the UCI pressured Rabobank. Nobody wanted him as the winner, so they finally got rid of him. I really don't know what to feel. I didn't want him in the yellow jersey, I think he doped, but I think his abrupt removal is terrible for the Tour & cycling. And as much as I love the Tour, I'm getting SICK of their constant pissing match with the UCI. The way they tried to blame the UCI for Vino & Astana, when THEY invited the wildcard team, was hysterical.

And Matt. Reading you so down, has me upset. Next it will be Theresa & then the world really WILL have gone crazy. I don't know about CDB, but I'm trying to figure out how to harnass my newly discovered "powers". If Horner DOES get into the Top 10, watch out world! Floyd's exoneration & Team Gladiator are but moments away. :)

Julie

Alright all you medical types, talk to us about cavernomas, because you know the questions are coming. This is what caused Contador's bleeding on the brain a few years ago. It's been suggested that could be related to drugs, but elsewhere noted that it's congenital. Insights?

Matt

OK..here we go...WADA to the rescue! (envision Dick Pound wringing his hands in glee like Monty Burns in the Simpons...EXXXXXCCCELLLLLEEENNNNTTT!) http://velonews.com/tour2007/news/articles/12955.0.html
yes, Dick Pound will be the hero here...you just watch! I'm going to go vomit now.

cat

Julie, cavernous malformations are vascular lesions that are a collection of vessels that grow spontaneously or are congenital. They can enlarge and cause siezures or rupture and bleed. The best treatment is surgery, and if one is genetically inclined, they can reoccur, but they usually don't. Where they occur (the location in the brain, and spine), and whether they rupture or grow quickly, determines the damage. To my knowlege they are not caused by drugs, but I am sure HGH could increase it's growth.

Julie

Thanks cat!

Sara Best

I just received the following press release from the UCI -

UCI response: Michael Rasmussen

Under UCI Anti-Doping Rules and the World Anti-Doping Code, certain riders are required to provide details of their daily locations to ensure that unannounced out-of-competition testing can occur. Such riders are formally advised by the UCI that they have been included in the UCI’s Registered Testing Pool and are therefore required to provide daily whereabouts information.

Acknowledging the administrative challenge of providing detailed daily information up to three months in advance, the UCI rules allow a rider three warnings before disciplinary proceedings are commenced. The UCI rules also allow for warnings from other anti-doping organisations to be considered in a decision to open disciplinary proceedings.

On 29 June 2007, Mr Michael Rasmussen received a final warning from the UCI with respect to his whereabouts obligations. Mr Rasmussen was informed that a further failure to provide accurate whereabouts information would result in the opening of disciplinary proceedings.

The UCI will examine the reasons for his suspension from Team Rabobank last night. If we become aware of additional evidence indicating that Mr Rasmussen has failed to provide accurate whereabouts information, the UCI will open disciplinary proceedings against him.

Concerning article 220 of the UCI anti-doping rules, stipulating that in case of a recorded warning or a missed test in a period of 45 days before a major Tour, the rider is not allowed to participate in that Tour, this article was introduced to ensure that riders were available for testing prior to the Major Tours. In Michael Rasmussen’s case, the UCI was able to conduct testing on him in the 45 days period before the Tour. The testing results were negative.

During the implementation of the whereabouts system, it has become obvious that Article 220 is overly harsh if it is used to deny a rider the right to participate in a race because of an administrative oversight (as was, on 29 June 2007, apparently the case with Mr. Rasmussen).

The article results in a penalty that is disproportionate to other anti-doping rule infractions. It is in conflict with the three-warning system designed to ensure a rider has the opportunity to address administrative failures. A decision has been made to recommend the formal abrogation of the Article, which will in no way affect the whereabouts system as provided for by the UCI anti-doping rules (article 86) and the World Anti-Doping Code.


UCI Press Service

Matt

Ooooo-kaaaaaayyyyy...(so, what does that mean?) I'm seeing multiple conflicting things in there...but then I'm bleary eyed...need to step AWAY from the computer!

Sara Best

I have no idea what it means Matt. I just thought I'd share it in case anyone else knew.

Not sure what Article 220, or what role it played in getting Rasmussen fired, but it sounds like the UCI has decided to rethink that particular section of their rulebook.

Sara Best

Oooo, Dick made UCI mad...

Press release number two from the UCI today in my Inbox:

Summit meeting on doping in cycling

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has just unilaterally announced that it is about to call a summit meeting to deal with the problem of doping in cycling.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has stepped up anti-doping measures before and during the Tour de France. The out-of-competition and in-competition tests as well the commitment signed by riders, were aimed at detecting those who have not been dissuaded, to exclude them from the competition.

180 out-of-competition tests were carried out before the Tour de France. 540 samples are being been collected in the Tour and analysed using the most sophisticated techniques. Some of the samples have been kept for later analysis using methods which are still being developed.

These measures have enabled the UCI to detect and exclude riders from the race who have possibly breached the anti-doping rules.

WADA is now criticising the UCI for having found banned substances, which is the consequence of any effective anti-doping campaign, and is preparing to stage a show trial instigated by its President Richard Pound, who during the Tour de France, has constantly made condescending comments about cycling.

The same Richard Pound, under threat of a libel complaint, retracted previous statements by sending a letter to «The Guardian» newspaper confirming in particular that: «I acknowledge that with the information that I now have, my opinion is that the UCI is not turning a blind eye to doping. On the contrary, the UCI is committed to fight doping in cycling. I would have made it clear that the UCI has indeed a watchful eye on the matter of doping».

The UCI refuses to be subject to a farce.

On the contrary, the UCI is totally willing to discuss and share its experience with any neutral organisation capable of proposing improvements to its anti-doping programme in a constructive manner and under acceptable conditions.


UCI Press Service

Janann

Susie - LOVE that song by Martina!! I can see why you panicked this morning. When I got up I was a bit afraid to turn it on, in case the Tour had been called off.

Well, I'm glad that the Rabobank riders did get to start today. They definitely deserve to say that they finished the Tour and enjoy the ride into Paris, though it was pretty sad to see them all dejectedly riding in a group at the baaaaack of the peloton.

I also felt bad for the Discovery guys that everyone, of course, wanted to interview. Yeah, they stand the most to gain from that decision, but you could tell that no one was happy about it. But, they headed out, heads high, and led the peloton today with pride in their team. Good for them...

Actually seeing Jens Voigt in his traditional spot in the breakaway today seemed to make me feel better :) I love watching him drive the break and it somehow made it seem as if the Tour would be fine again. I'm also hoping that Phil is correct -- and he really is a guy who has 'seen it all' so to speak.

Boy....not sure WHAT to think about everything coming from UCI. A lot of things are still really unclear.

Janann

Sorry -- I wasn't posting in the right section today -- I'll pay better attention to the 'Haven't Seen it' :)

jessica

I can't help it, I'm of two emotions today but Camille, you and I are of one mind! Laying in bed, mulling again, all about this hoo-ha, it came to me " I just want to see what Phil says, can't they interview him?"

!!! I COMPLETELY agree (and yes, that was a shout), he is dumbledore. So funny you said that, I didn't even notice the "fill". =)

Sara's sadness was being felt in my house too and yet, I had that thought that maybe this is the mayhem & shake-up that the tour needs.

Did anyone else hear the british journalist on Public Radio International today, I think he writes for the London Times? He said, basically, that while the paper in France stated "death of the tour" that it really is so ingrained in the community of France, it's nostalgia, so commonplace like the weather, it couldn't die. BUT then he went onto say that the French feel sorry for the riders for being forced to clean up! I'm sorry but that thinking is so....french.

"ah-ma oui, let us not sully the properness of our lovely charming event with such ugly discussions, you disgusting westerners"

Did you see the riders waving angrily at the camera scooters again today, just like Rasm. did yesterday? I cannot imagine how they feel.

catherine

Jannan don't worry. I will always be more spacey than you and post in the wrong spot. Hell, I've posted on the wrong blog TWICE!!!

catherine

Well my freinds, I have a terrible admission to make. I have been WAY over committed and have missed (prepare yourself) the last THREE stages and the rest day. (I've also missed three exercise classes!!) That's why my posts have been so late. I hop online to find out what happened, then share a little. I've caught a bit here and there, videos, articles, but mostly from you guys and Velo news. The links here and at Marty's have been a big help too. Maybe it is best. I have felt depressed even without seeing the "real thing." Hope to catch the stage today, but I missed two mountain stages which are my favorite. The climbs, the descents, the strategy, the crazomanic fans...

I don't think the French will let the TdF go down. Too much pride. Would we ever let football or baseball go down?

Camille

Catherine, exactly. If you're a die-hard cycling fan, no amount of soap opera will keep you away for good, or it isn't likely. Darn, I just disproved myself right as I was saying that, because I dropped out of being a baseball fanatic during a strike one year in the 90's I think it was. But I guess if I were a TRUE fan I would have hung in there. Anyway, the sports themselves go on, and people just "hold on and suck in" as Mammie says in Gone with the Wind. This is my week for GWTW quotes, by the way.

Jessica, glad you liked the Dumbledore analogy! And it's not just his voice, it's that sweet face, the kind eyes and his never failing way of getting the subject back to the happy place. I just love him! Al always has to play devil's advocate to Phil's Pollyanna, but that's fine, I just listen to Phil. :)

catherine

T, I have been meaning to ask if yu check your email. I sent you a question from a commenter @ MDs site about inhalers. Did you get it?

(Camille, I hope you family is doing well. Thought of you today when I had a young woman come in to ICU after a bil. mastectomy-nipple sparing- & prophy oopherectomy. Lots of family history for her. Hope your sister is doing well.)

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