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Tour De France: New Doping Scandal


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So, here it is what we all had to expect: T-Mobile's Patrik Sinkewitz was tested positive for testosterone on a training unit on June 8. He was immediately suspended by the T-Mobile team today. And for the time being, German networks ARD and ZDF have backed out from broadcasting the Tour de France.

German TV terminate Tour broadcasts

This is a serious blow to the Tour de France and also to cycling in general since if ARD's and ZDF's withdrawal should be permanent, a lot of money will get lost for all organisers of major cycling tours. I think that this is the end of cycling, maybe also for the Olympic Games. Congratulations, Mr Sinkewitz! That's also a way to make history. Damned prick.

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Well, maybe this is not the end of cycling in general -- but it's nevertheless a whole new chapter in the relationship between the media and the sport.

Meanwhile, the private German TV channels SAT.1 and ProSieben have bought the broadcasting rights for the Tour de France. They started their live broadcast already today. That means that the pull-back of the former broadcasters ARD and ZDF will be permanent for this year's tour, all ARD and ZDF staff members will lose their accreditation.

Tour organisers lease TV rights to Sat 1 and Pro Sieben

Additionally, the pull-back is being discussed very controversially in the German public. While especially many politicians and officials welcome ARD's and ZDF's decision, many viewers are angry because they claim that they have a right of watching the Tour for paying their monthly TV licence fees. They also consider the decision a wrong signal for the clean-up in cycling.

Tour boycott by German networks draws mixed reactions

These are crazy times we're living in!

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And now team CSC has suspended the current bearer of the yellow jersey, Michael Rasmussen for not having informed the drug-testing officials of his whereabouts. The craziest thing about this story is that CSC has made its decision already on June 21, two weeks before the Tour's start. So no one knows why it waited with announcing the decision until now, until Rasmussen is amidst the Tour and already bearing the yellow jersey since several days.

Rasmussen dropped from Danish team

So what is that? A sport or a grotesque soap opera? :blink:

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I think its a great sign that CSC is willing to boat their team leader and race leader because of a minor drug infraction as not providing his where-abouts. Hardlines like this are what is going to clean up cycling and I applaude CSC for taking this action.

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Sorry, I misread the news about Rasmussen. First of all, Rasmussen is not riding for the CSC team, but for Rabobank. And secondly, it's not his Rabobank team who suspended him, but the Danish national team. That means that the suspension doesn't affect his participation in the Tour de France, but in the upcoming World Championships in Stuttgart and the Beijing Games.

However, it's a serious blow to his Tour campaign, too. One will see how the organisers and his Rabobank team react.

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The writing is on the hall for Rasmussen, now that 3 Astana riders are in the top 10 and all 3 are poised to attack. Evans can be shacken off on the climbs and I think it would be possible for a 1-2-3 finish for Astana if there is no infighting between the riders and they agree to let the final time trial settle which of the 3 win.

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This whole thing really makes me sick. Read yourself:

Following these missed tests, he received two letters of warning from the UCI and a further two letters of warning from the Danish antidoping authority for the missed tests carried out by the DCU. When journalists from Danish national television learnt of the missed tests and the letters of warning, Worre was forced publicly to confirm the story and he added that his federation would not consider Rasmussen for selection until after the Beijing Olympics.

It is normal that after three missed tests, an athlete is considered to have returned a positive test and sanctioned accordingly. Because two different agencies were involved, Rasmussen escaped with four letters of warning. Reacting to the news that he would not be selected for Denmark in the immediate future, Rasmussen accepted responsibility for not informing the antidoping authorities of his whereabouts.

“I do admit I committed an administrative error,” he said. Athletes such as the Briton Christine Ohuruogu who have been suspended for missing three drugs tests will wonder how Rasmussen could miss four and not be sanctioned. Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme who had been stridently antidoping in the lead-up to the Tour, complained that the release of the missed tests was an attempt to discredit the race.

“If the Danish federation knew of this at the end of June, why did they not tell us at the start of July, or at least before the start of the Tour? Why are they suddenly deciding that Rasmussen can’t take part in the world championships and the Olympics?”

Prudhomme did not comment on the issue of the four missed tests by the man wearing the maillot jaune.

Quoted from Times Online - Rasmussen rides into new storm (The article also includes exclusive information from cyclist Whitney Richards who has allegedly been asked by Rasmussen to smuggle human blood substitute for him.)

What makes me sick is not only that Rasmussen benefits from an incomprehensible gap in the rules (why aren't the warnings issued by UCI member federation DCU recognised immediately by UCI so that Rasmussen can be quickly taken out of the race?) -- but also that a man like Christian Prudhomme even covers up the story for Rasmussen. Doesn't he realise that it's a much bigger discredit to the race when he doesn't show rigour towards his obviously fraudulent riders? How is it possible that someone who has obviously something to hide is still able to compete in the world's most important cycling race and receive further accolades for still carrying the yellow jersey? I'm feeling sorry for all who haven't realised yet that something is still going terribly wrong in cycling -- obviously, the sport hasn't learned at all from the scandals and relevations of the past 12 months. This sport is digging its own grave.

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This whole thing really makes me sick. Read yourself:

Quoted from Times Online - Rasmussen rides into new storm (The article also includes exclusive information from cyclist Whitney Richards who has allegedly been asked by Rasmussen to smuggle human blood substitute for him.)

What makes me sick is not only that Rasmussen benefits from an incomprehensible gap in the rules (why aren't the warnings issued by UCI member federation DCU recognised immediately by UCI so that Rasmussen can be quickly taken out of the race?) -- but also that a man like Christian Prudhomme even covers up the story for Rasmussen. Doesn't he realise that it's a much bigger discredit to the race when he doesn't show rigour towards his obviously fraudulent riders? How is it possible that someone who has obviously something to hide is still able to compete in the world's most important cycling race and receive further accolades for still carrying the yellow jersey? I'm feeling sorry for all who haven't realised yet that something is still going terribly wrong in cycling -- obviously, the sport hasn't learned at all from the scandals and relevations of the past 12 months. This sport is digging its own grave.

Take comfort that we won't win.

I find it even more sicking that Landis still holds his crown from last yeare a year later. Its terrible

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And another prominent rider has been caught: Astana's Aleksander Vinokourov was tested positive for blood transfusion last Saturday, the day he won the individual time trial in Albi.

Report: Vinokourov positive for transfusion

So this is is the first doping case committed during this year's Tour de France, although the riders had signed a declaration beforehand that they won't use doping. One could really cry about the incredible farce this sport has rotten to.

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And another prominent rider has been caught: Astana's Aleksander Vinokourov was tested positive for blood transfusion last Saturday, the day he won the individual time trial in Albi.

Report: Vinokourov positive for transfusion

So this is is the first doping case committed during this year's Tour de France, although the riders had signed a declaration beforehand that they won't use doping. One could really cry about the incredible farce this sport has rotten to.

From everything I know its impossible to test positive for a blood transfusion. Any smart doper would have used their own blood making it impossible to differentiate, while even if it was someone elses with the white blood cells could have been removed therefore no markers because plasma, platelets and erythrocytes have no DNA and the markers on erythrocytes mean that if they were different from the rider it would kill him.

The only possible way of testing is oxygen % and if its above the limit, but this test is also used for EPO.

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From everything I know its impossible to test positive for a blood transfusion. Any smart doper would have used their own blood making it impossible to differentiate, while even if it was someone elses with the white blood cells could have been removed therefore no markers because plasma, platelets and erythrocytes have no DNA and the markers on erythrocytes mean that if they were different from the rider it would kill him.

The only possible way of testing is oxygen % and if its above the limit, but this test is also used for EPO.

Apart from that I didn't really understand your explanation: Obviously it is possible to be tested positive -- otherwise Astana wouldn't have immediately abandoned the Tour.

See Tour team quits after Vinokourov scandal

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Apart from that I didn't really understand your explanation: Obviously it is possible to be tested positive -- otherwise Astana wouldn't have immediately abandoned the Tour.

See Tour team quits after Vinokourov scandal

I still don't see how they did this, Vino must have screwed up with the transfusions to get caught. The only way I can see if is they tested the RH factor was different between the two bloods. Though its great that he got caught, the more riders that do the more it gives the impression to the other cyclist that it is unexceptable to dope and if you do you will be caught. However they tested him, I am absolutely astounded and happy that they went to these lengths to catch drug cheats. Though I do feel for riders like Kloden and Kashechkin of the team that have to now abandon their race. Why wasn't t-mobile asked to withdraw with their doping rider?

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Why wasn't t-mobile asked to withdraw with their doping rider?

First of all, Astana has apparently decided on its own to withdraw -- there was no obvious pressure from the tour organisers.

And secondly, T-Mobile most likely didn't withdraw because Sinkewitz' doping case took place before the tour. Vinokourov's case is more severe because it occurred after he and the other Astana riders had signed the UCI's "commitment to a new cycling".

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First of all, Astana has apparently decided on its own to withdraw -- there was no obvious pressure from the tour organisers.

And secondly, T-Mobile most likely didn't withdraw because Sinkewitz' doping case took place before the tour. Vinokourov's case is more severe because it occurred after he and the other Astana riders had signed the UCI's "commitment to a new cycling".

According to BBC Astana was asked to withdraw

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