Friday, July 18, 2008

The Cobra Snared

Micera isn't supposed to be detectable by a WADA-approved test, and yet, it has been announced that Ricardo Ricco has been caught with exactly that substance in him. Provided the testing was performed reliably, this is great news for PRO racing. Ricco is arguably the highest profile rider at the Tour de France not riding for a team with a longitidunal testing program in place.

28 comments:

atomicecho said...

It's like the Death Star not being operational. Who on earth thought they were going to give them plenty of notice and announce they had a workable test? I laugh at the hubris of Ricardo Ricco, thinking he was able to beat the gods.

AH said...

Well, his hero *is* Marco Pantani so I suppose we shouldn't be all that surprised.

oldFonzie said...

You know, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt until he's exhausted all protests. He's innocent until proven guilty as far as I am concerned.

All you naysayers are going to look pretty lame when the truth comes out. I mean maybe he's going through radiation and chemotherapy. It could explain the positive result and the strange hair color. He might have some serious kidney condition -- that could explain the yellow shorts.

The point is, we don't know.

All we do know is the guy is an arrogant wanker who needs to join all the other debutants in rehab.

hincapie said...

oldfonzie....seriously, the guy comes out of nowhere in 2007 and wins some serious PRO events and stages...he climbs as if he has a rocket jet pack no his back...he made everyone look like they were riding tricycles on the Col d'Aspin...benefit of the doubt is what you are asking for? I dont think there is any doubt here...his arrogance and doomed desire to win remind me of Macbeth...this guy needs to disappear...I vote for ZERO tolerance...suspicion = guilt in my book...for PRO cycling at least

Death Bredon said...

The test may not be finalized, but valid enough to justify a "search warrant," where the authorities may have seized the actual needles and pins.

Looks like the trouble is all Spanish and Italian. PERHAPS, it is time for the North Classics and the ASO to ban Spanish and Italian riders until their respective federations crack down on doping as France and German have.

Also, the ASO and other clean-racing organizations should give entry preferences to teams with transparent self doping monitoring systems, such as Garmin, Columbia, and CSC.

We can win this particular war on drugs. We must.

Anonymous said...

The key to this whole thing is that *someone* who has been busted must come clean. Hamilton or Landis or Riis or Ullrich or Basso or Mayo or Millar (even) needs to sit down and document for all how they got the drugs, where they learned the regimens, how involved the teams were/are. Everything. Spill the guts.

The penalty system should be lifetime ban, unless you spill everything.

d said...
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d said...

While climbing and sprinting drug effects differ, the results on paper...

High Road 4 Dopers -3

who's the vegetable now?

C said...

"He's innocent until proven guilty as far as I am concerned."

Hate to say it but that's largely an American concept. Laws in Europe - and France in particular - are different. Also private teams have the right to sack a rider even without his being proven guilty (much like right to work clauses in the US allow a company to fire a worker for any or no reason)

"suspicion = guilt in my book"

Be careful what you wish for. There's a lot of suspicion around Lance Armstrong. Lance likes to point out that he never failed a drug test. Nice except that's the same line used by Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire. Not exactly a compelling statement.

What really amazes me is that so far I've yet to hear of any sponsors taking legal action against these riders despite some pretty tremendous bad PR. If I poured millions into sponsoring a team and then received a mountain of bad PR due to a doper I'd sue him for damages so hard his ancestors would feel it! You'd think at this stage sponsors would start putting damage clauses into rider contracts. Something along the lines of "Getting DQ'd from a race for a drug test will cost you your job AND 3 million Euros in damages" Maybe then these pinheads would get wise.

They need to start cleaning up with an amnesty period. If you come forward and tell all you're off the hook. No suspensions, no fines, nothing. Clean slate, start anew. Without that nobody is going to come clean. After that, take off the kid gloves. First offense results in a lifetime ban and a very severe fine (like 1 million Euros). No forgiveness, no suspensions, no second chances. Screw up after the amnesty period and you're gone forever including having ALL of your career results officially nullified from the records. You would literally be erased from the history of the sport.

Death Bredon said...

Lance did not fail a drug test. True.

BUT, a 2005 non-test analysis of a 1999 Tour sample "tested" positive for EPO. He was supposedly exonerated by a legal analysis that concluded that the sample was Lance's and that the sample did contain EPO but that it was metaphysical possible that the sample may have been tampered with despite the fact that no single person (or entity) had the motive, means, and opportunity to do so.

In short, the mere possibility of the most elaborate conspiracy in history is what he relies upon to clear himself. We also have sworn, subpeonaed testimony from a teammate that has never been rebutted much less refuted, that Lance doped and admitted the same.

Were he not a (white?) "American hero" playing the sympathy card, the press and public would have judged him as they did Barry Bonds a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

from what I can tell, the only riders subject to longitudinal testing are any rider residing in France, and all the riders on Columbia, CSC, and Garmin. In other words, I don't see Evans, Kohl, Menchov, Efimkin, and Astarloza getting longitudinal testing. maybe I'm wrong

bikesgonewild said...

..."what goes around, comes around"...well maybe not all the way around france, if you're on both drugs & a bicycle...

...forget two year bans...if you're out, you're out...there will always be someone willing to take your place...hopefully someone w/ real talent, not enhanced bullshit...

...the "triky rickie riccardos" are nothing but heart breakers for the fans, the sponsors, the organizers & even their team-mates...why should they get a second chance ???...

Andre said...

Does everyone really have so much faith in the anti-doping agency 'professionals?' A bunch of people with little to no oversight and an assumption that every rider dopes running around Europe with little to no care for the riders well being and without any advocate for the rider using tests which have no strong case for their validity.

Just because the official are fighting cheaters doesn't mean that they don't deserve their own scrutiny. It just seems like a process waiting for abuse.

Andre

Death Bredon said...

Andre,

Unfortunately, for about a decade now, the overwhelming evidence is that nearly all the top tier cyclist having been doping (EPO). Moreover, some amateurs have tried to emulate the pros and paid with their lives due to EPO ODs.

Consequently, to preserve the greater integrity of the sport, the burden of error is going to be borne by the cyclist for awhile. Personally, I believe that Floyd Landis MAY have been one of the first instances of collateral damage.

Still, one of the possible checks against "witch hunting" dope controllers is for the teams/riders to employ transparent, independent, certified, internal testing. Such testing not only preemptively weeds out cheats, its data could also be used to rebut any false positives claims by overzealous controllers.

Joe said...

Given that here is so much happening at the Tour that is actually PRO, I am surprised to see this is what BKW focuses on. We all know about RR, and we've read and heard the details in greater depth. BKW is under no obligation to provide me with a dose of warm fuzzy PRO per day, but by bogging down in the same discussion being repeated at every 2 bit cycling forum on the web, it ceases to distinguish itself as one of the best spots on the web for insight into cycling ethos. That bums me out worse than RR did (the jerk.)

Il Pirata said...

VIVA LA COBRA... UN BELLISIMO CICLISTA!

Erik said...

The thing that concerns me is the discussion that his wins were just too good to be true. I was just starting to like him and then this happened. But another rider I'm starting to really like is Mark Cavendish. Four stages in this Tour de France. He too seems unbeatable in his own particular discipline. Does riding for Team Columbia somehow make him immune from similar scrutiny?

This is not to say that Cavendish is doing anything wrong. I don't think that he is. But I think a lot of people just didn't like Ricco because he is such an arrogant egomaniac. I think if a rider like Cavendish tested nonnegative, the discussion would be different.

Vive le Tour!

Ed O'Shea said...

The bottom line is that quite a few of these teams are guilty of a systemic doping process. Anyone who thinks that SD Team management and medical personnel had absolutely no idea, that Ricco and (possibly???) Piepoli, were doping is kidding themselves. These guys just think they can beat the system with the latest and greatest. If the teams were not involved then you would see the riders getting sued by the Team for sporting fraud, defamation and a host of other reasons. They would want to get back every penny they could from the riders caught embarrassing the team, the sponsors and the sport. Truth is the riders are metaphorically like a Government agent who gets caught on a covert mission in enemy territory, on his own and made the scapegoat if caught.

These teams and riders are killing the sport, and soon the big sponsors are going to be gone. The all these arrogant elitists in the UCI, ASO and most of the guilty team "leaders" out there will be left to bare the burden of how they killed modern professional cycling. I know Lance has a mental will and toughness that is well beyond most other riders or athletes. I feel the need to say it, though it pains me? Lance did it 7 times clean??? I think not! The facts just don't support it. I know these guys are being stuck like pin cushions, with everything from electrolytes, to vitamins, too getting tested, but come on. So I am quite sure even some of the riders "don't ask don't tell" what they are being injected with, as long as I am faster than the other guy and on the front page of all the papers, keep it coming. But the ones that agree to be "hit" with the go go juice, got the memo that if they get caught, they're on their own. And some think that they can use plausible deniability when/if they get caught. That's the price they pay for being at the top of the sport. And now we are paying with the witnessing of the sport of cycling being dismantled in front of us. What a shame.

And if I see David Miller out there opening up his pie-hole one more time I am going to throw up! I can appreciate that he has come back clean, but to beat up on Ricco (though he's an idiot) is like the pot calling the kettle black. OLE Dave should be a little more humble in his opining, because he's just as guilty for our present state as anyone. He just chose to take it on the chin himself, somewhat commendable, instead of giving up the team and the doctors for the doping system they had. Slipstream, and though this pains me too, some of the French teams seem to be the only ones that got the NO DOPING memo. And That might be a plausible reason that the French have not had a winner in quite some time. Though, Virenque, Jaja, festina and quite a few other French morons have gotten caught with their hands in the cookie jar, or moved to another country before getting caught. I will say I do respect the French and all the other teams that are racing clean, but I think there are only a few of them.

We shall see, but I figured I would supply some food for though, for the discussion. Ride safe.

granny gear said...

doping is cheating. cheating is societal. Ricco is a scumbag and there will be no love for whatever team/equipment he rides in two years. toxic stew anyone?

Anonymous said...

Not only should Ricco have gone to jail by himself, but the doctor that supplied him with the drug, and his team manager. To deter guys from doping, a lifetime ban from the sport and real jail time. Someone told Ricco that it wouldn't yet be detected and that person should go to jail as well.

AJVELO69 said...

On the day before the news about Ricco I was sitting at a cafe for the usual post ride coffee and a bloke on at the next table talking about Ricco said "we haven't seen climbing like that since Rasmussen and we all know what happened to him..."

Its about time cyclists realise that they aren't bigger than the sport, although their actions are destroying it.

The authorities need to get tougher and introduce at least a minimum 10 year ban, which would effectively end most dopers careers.

Colton said...

Where can I get myself one of those cute little Gendarme hats?

brettok said...

hincapie said...
seriously, the guy comes out of nowhere [in 2007] and wins some serious PRO events and stages...he climbs as if he has a rocket jet pack no his back...he made everyone look like they were riding tricycles on the Col d'Aspin...benefit of the doubt is what you are asking for? I dont think there is any doubt here...his arrogance and doomed desire to win remind me of Macbeth.

Sounds a lot like Lance...

Jim said...
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Jim said...

Sounds a lot like Lance...

Yeah, just like Lance, totally came out of nowhere and just became this cocky young guy. Because Lance was never a ProTour rider before winning 7 Tours, never won a classic, Worlds, or a bunch of elite junior triathlons or Exterra events, wasn't really even on the physios' charts for having freakish natural VO2 capacity.

Oh wait a minute...

Anonymous said...

Come on Jim, don't be so naive. Seven consecutive times clean, huh? Ok.

juzme said...

On U.S. network TV coverage of le Tour, we're treated to advertisements for a contest during the commercial breaks from Tour action. I misinterpreted it as the Sob, Watch, and Win Sweepstakes because I thought they were referring to the way Cadel Evans rides. Sobbing at every victory is decidedly not PRO. Slowing down and getting in the draft in order to Watch the hindquarters of his competitors is definitely not PRO. He seems to be pretty tough, though, so let him Win the Sweepstakes, so Lotto's money is well spent.

But maybe it's the fans that should sob and watch, except instead of winning they lose, when hopes for an exciting new Italiano grimpeur are systematically crushed then subsumed to a boring excercise in G.C. wheelsucking, albeit punctuated by some very exciting individual stage racing.

Shed those tears for Ricco, the arrogant kid screwed up by getting caught. But go on watching the Tour, fully assured that Cadel or others aren't doped. Don't worry, the really successful (wealthy) racers aren't buying the newest undetectable cheating methods.

Don't any of you consider the possibility that when these drugs are developed and released, someone (probably not the manufacturer) already knows 1) the test to determine if it's present; 2) ways to get around the test; 3) the next generation of dope (or DNA manipulation) that will supersede the current form once WADA figures out how to test for it?

Maybe Cadel isn't getting caught because he can afford the most expensive "treatments" plus the French love a good cry. But Ricco got caught 'cause he couldn't affford the latest doping regime. Plus the tyke has a smart mouth so he's got it coming, huh.

Don't the dope controllers have ultimate ability to give a pass to whomever they choose? Also, what if they found no dope in anyone? Wouldn't their jobs go away? Do they have a motive to perpetuate the doping system? Why aren't they testing everyone?

Are "they" --whether ASO, WADA, etc.-- able to determine the winners based on determining who gets tested?

Are we enthusiasts witnessing an economic system that victimizes the riders and the sponsors? No dope controller really wants the peloton clean-- they'd be out of jobs. ASO doesn't seem to want everyone tested.

Ricco may be a victim of his own arrogance, but the idea of a dope-free egalitarian peloton is at present desirable but unobtainable, plus it could go against the best interests of the antidoping industry, maybe against the best interests of the sports-betting world, maybe the promoters, too.

Magoo said...

If proven guilty, he should get a lifetime ban from the pro tour (which doesn't exist any more, but...)

The cobra... is a worm.