apologies for the silence of late, been running around like a lawyer for Lance Armstrong recently.
how does he even still have lawyers anyway? thought he was broke? anyway he may soon well be, if his battles with the US government heat up as they seem to be doing. couldn’t happen to a nicer fellow, and i really, really, really, really, really, really mean that.
very interesting report on CyclingSnooze yesterday about new detection methods for new dope. amazingly enough, at an anti-doping held at the Spanish (yes I did say ‘SPANISH’) Olympic Commitee’s behest, Dr Cristóbal Belda-Iniesta explained how “there are substances that degrade in hours and can therefore be practically undetectable, but which leave a footprint in genetic memory that can be detected five years later”.
some of what the good Doctor has to say is fascinating – in particular, the stuff about how EPO increases tumor growth by 1,800 times – as opposed to just doubling if left untreated.
“Indeed, tumour cells feed off EPO and because of that they develop specific receptors. For that reason, we know all about EPO and we are learning how to fight that as part of the battle against cancer,” El País reported Dr. Belda as saying. Adding EPO to a tumor cell will increase it’s size by “1,800 in just five days when normally, without EPO, it would double in size at most over the same period.”
And how about it causing cancer in those who misuse it?
“It can be affirmed that doping substances like these are substances that can be used experimentally in a laboratory to produce cancers and cardiovascular illnesses. They are substances that help to create cancer.
“I have said experimentally because there are no epidemiological studies to back this up. But the scientific basis for this is simple: each cell has needed millions of years to evolve and reach a perfect state. When we modify it in an accelerated way with one of these substances we modify all of them, because they are all connected. For this reason, I want to fight against doping because it is a health issue.”
quake in yer boots, dopers. ’5 years’ the man said, ‘cancer’, the man said. if you don’t see the ethical reasons not to dope, maybe you can see the damage to health that you’re risking…
in other news, almost as heartwarming as that above, Tom Boonen looks to be heading for a return to the Tour.
“I was actually starting to miss the Tour. Winning is contagious and my heart bled. I missed the atmosphere of the team: fighting together for that one goal.”
safe to say the Tour missed him too. come on Stage 5!
“The therapeutic use of HGH is considered to be safe, and is legally approved. However, the off-label use and overdose of HGH for weight loss, muscle building, anti-aging benefits, etc. has been associated with certain adverse effects.”
HGH Benefits assessments on Strength, Exercise & Body Fat:
showed an 88% increase in muscle strength
showed an 81% increase in muscle size
showed an 72% improvement in body fat loss
showed an 81% improvement in exercise tolerance
showed an 83% improvement in exercise endurance
HGH Benefits assessments Skin & Hair:
showed a 71% improvement in skin texture
showed a 68% improvement in skin thickness
showed a 71% improvement in skin elasticity
showed a 51% improvement on wrinkle disappearance
showed a 38% improvement towards new hair growth
HGH Benefits for Healing, Flexibilty, & Resistance:
showed a 55% improvement of healing old injuries
showed a 61% improvement of healing other injuries
showed a 71% improvement on healing capacity
showed a 53% improvement on back flexibility
showed a 73% improvement on resistance to common illness
HGH Benefits for Sexual Dysfunction Function:
showed a 75% improvement in sexual potency and frequency
showed a 62% improvement in the duration of penile erection
showed a 57% improvement on frequency of nighttime urination
showed a 58% improvement on hot flashes
showed a 38% improvement on menstrual cycle regulation
L Cass Terry, M.D., Ph.D. and Edmund Chein, M.D
‘sexual dysfunction function’?
ok so, not only does HGH seem to perfect for pro athletes, it is also, it seems, perfect for the bedroom athlete too…
here’s a breakdown of what the drug will do over a 6-month period:
- FIRST MONTH of hgh use: more energy, better sleep, and a better attitude on life.
- SECOND MONTH of hgh use: better muscle tone, healthier sexual function, better nail growth, clearer skin tone, some weight loss and a better muscle tone.
- THIRD MONTH of hgh use: improved mental capacity, bigger muscles, less fat, hair growth, better mood, more flexibility and stronger sexual desire.
- FOURTH MONTH of hgh use: improved mental capacity, bigger muscles, less fat, hair growth, better mood, more flexibility and stronger sexual desire. (Similar to the 3rd month)
- FIFTH MONTH of hgh use: significant weight loss and a more toned body with less fat, a healthier looking skin with better elasticity and appearance and significantly less wrinkles, and healthier hair.
- SIXTH MONTH of hgh use: most of the changes take place at this stage! the body becomes more contoured with less cellulite, the immune system strengthens, chronic pain might disappear, vision might improve, blood pressure might improve and cholesterol levels might drop.
and some of the side effects:
♦ Weakness in hand(s)
♦ Clumsy finger movements
♦ Elbow pain
♦ Finger and wrist pain
♦ Numbness/tingling in hands
♦ Muscle and joint pain
♦ Increased body hair
♦ Increased hunger
♦ High cholesterol levels
♦ Abnormal fat distribution
♦ Tissue edema
♦ Dry and itchy skin
♦ Altered glucose metabolism
♦ Liver damage
♦ Heart enlargement
♦ Hardening of arteries
♦ Gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men)
Anabolic steroid and peptide hormones or growth factors are utilized to increase the performance of athletes of professional or amateur sports.
Despite their well-documented adverse effects, the use of some of these agents has significantly grown and has been extended also to non-athletes
with the aim to improve appearance or to counteract ageing. Pre-clinical studies and epidemiological observations in patients with an excess of
hormone production or in patients chronically treated with hormones/growth factors for various pathologies have warned about the potential risk
of cancer development and progression which may be also associated to the use of certain doping agents. Anabolic steroids have been described
to provoke liver tumours; growth hormone or high levels of its mediator insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) have been associated with colon,
breast, and prostate cancers. Actually, IGF-1 promotes cell cycle progression and inhibits apoptosis either by triggering other growth factors or by
interacting with pathways which have an established role in carcinogenesis and cancer promotion. More recently, the finding that erythropoietin
(Epo) may promote angiogenesis and inhibit apoptosis or modulate chemo- or radiosensitivity in cancer cells expressing the Epo receptor, raised
the concern that the use of recombinant Epo to increase tissue oxygenation might favour tumour survival and aggressiveness.
Cancer risk associated to doping might be higher than that of patients using hormones/growth factors as replacement therapy, since enormous
doses are taken by the athletes often for a long period of time. Moreover, these substances are often used in combination with other licit or illicit
drugs and this renders almost unpredictable all the possible adverse effects including cancer. Anyway, athletes should be made aware that long-term
treatment with doping agents might increase the risk of developing cancer.
[taken from a pdf that can be found here: www.cenegenicsfoundation.org - entitled 'Doping with growth hormone/IGF-1, anabolic steroids or
erythropoietin: is there a cancer risk?' by Lucio Tentori ∗, Grazia Graziani, Department of Neuroscience, University of Rome]
so yeah, let them eat crack. let them all dope. they might die a premature death, but who gives a f*ck? it’s just the way the world is, right? our athletes are so driven to win, so blinded by the $ signs, so desperate to be praised and put on a pedestal for simply riding a bike fast or throwing a ball hard and accurately – skills which, just in case it need be mentioned, mean almost nothing to the kind of human being they are – that they will take the risk of having a cinder black colon by the time they’re 42.
and we can’t get enough of it. we’ve seen our sport’s stars driven to the bottle, the madhouse and the grave by whatever it was in them that made them do it and in us that cheered them on. more will die. right now there are men in their 40s who took all this crap who are pissing into bags or on their third stroke already, people you’ll never hear about cos they aren’t famous enough and they’re demise isn’t as spectacular as others. no, for them it’s a far more grisly, lingering descent into nothingness.
is the way it’s supposed to be? like many things in this world, i look at it all and figure it’s hard to conceive it could be any more wrong…
ok as you know i often decry the lack of top pros making their feelings about doping heard but, amazingly, today in CyclingSnooze there is a fine little article about the reactions from within the peloton to the news of Santambrogio’s doping positive.
copied here in full:
“I hope cycling followers realise that s(t)upidity of the individual can’t be banned. Damaging our credibil(i)ty anno 2013 deserves no 2nd chance.” Stef Clement (Blanco)
“I just don’t get it!!! What are they thinking? What actually goes on in their mind? STOP CHEATING DICKHEADS.” Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol)
“The peloton knew Vini Fantini weren’t trustworthy: was the talking point for the first week of the Giro (until misery & survival took over).
“The UCI doping controls are there to catch the dopers when nobody else will stop them. It’s wonderful to see we can trust the system.” David Millar (Garmin-Sharp)
“It’s to be expected some will take the opportunity to cheat with big gains now cycling is much cleaner. Let’s hope we’ll never see them back.” Koen de Kort (Argos-Shimano)
“It’s hoped with the last shot of “flushing” we also released the last of the idiots! There are no words!” Manuel Quinziato (BMC)
and just, wow, awesome, great work guys! you’ve punked my crank for the day…
there is a significant doping problem in the Asian cycling scene and no one is taking it seriously.
in UCI races that I have taken part in here on the UCI Asia Tour, it is quite obvious to the majority of the peloton, the journalists, the team managers, the mechanics and even the dogs by the road that certain riders – and even whole teams – are doped up.
we all talk about it after the stages. at the hotel. the next morning. on the bus. someone says ‘man I was in the break with those guys, and i tell you, it was not natural.’
some guys appear to be on something like HGH, others on EPO. others still might be on something new altogether, or both. we know it, because we can see it and we can feel it. we see incredible feats not just by individual riders but by whole teams. four, sometimes 5 guys making the break and putting minutes into the chasing pack over nowhere near enough kilometers.
guys spending half an hour on the front then featuring in the sprint.
guys that weigh no more than 58kg powering for half an hour into headwinds and hitting top 5 places in time trials.
big, heavy guys flying up mountains without a care in the world.
i went to one high-level UCI stage race earlier this year and there was no testing.
the same thing in at least one other major tour this year, one i did not attend but heard about from several sources.
we see whole teams disappear for months then come back shadows of their former selves. then later, they are flying again. we see riders go off to Europe, ride like crap, then come back and thrash the living bejeezus out of us.
we hear about positives then see a rider disappear but see nothing on CyclingSnooze or on the regional sites. we hear rumors about cycling federations working to keep things hush hush.
you hear ‘this is ridiculous – ‘it is so obvious’ – ‘are they stupid, why do they win by so much?’
you feel like you are being mocked, blatantly, right out on the road under the full glare of the sun.
and also you will hear: ‘we should complain’.
but who to? what do we do? in fairness I have heard of one case of a concerned competitor complaining and, later, of guys getting tested, but the positives have not gone public and these guys come back and ‘resume’ their previously unbelievable levels of strength eventually. and whether the two were in fact connected i do not know, may have been coincidental.
however it is fair to say that IF that call prompted those tests and uncovered evidence of doping that more tests should have followed, and that certain riders should be highlighted for more consistent testing from now on in.
we want to talk about it. in fact, we want to shout, kick and scream about it. just last week a well known pro on the Asian scene mailed me to check on things he had heard about guys that are ‘heavily suspected’ of doping that are in our races, and we had a whole list of tales, but all are, unfortunately, unpublishable because we have no hard proof.
just last year a well-known journalist came up to me after a stage in a big tour here and said ‘Oh man, when X attacked with 5km to go we were all in the car [he and three other journalists] and we were all cheering when you guys caught him before the line.’
why? because there was/is a general consensus that this guy was/is dirty.
it’s hard to describe what it looks like, hard to say why we can be so sure that a guy is doping, to anyone who hasn’t themselves raced in these kind of races and seen what we see, on a regular basis. but we are fit men, strong, and we know what is possible on bread and water and what is not. we know what a small guy can do on the flat and a big guy on a hill. and we know the exceptional when we see it, can begrudgingly admit that someone is just a true natural. but there are times when you are in a race, going up a hill that is just so steep, so long, or flying into a strong headwind for two hours, and then you see a feat that makes you certain that the man (or in some cases several men, on the same team) performing it cannot possibly be chemically unassisted.
it’s not sour grapes. it’s not bitterness. it’s not because we are bad riders and burning with jealousy. we are indeed riding our own race within the race, fighting for scraps, but that is not the cause of these concerns.
we just know.
it’s 1993 all over again out here. it’s the Wild East. not as rampant as in the Euro peloton back then but here nonetheless. the drugs are so hard to detect and yet the testing is only done through urine, not blood. I could, if I was so inclined, dope my ass off and get away with it all, doctor or no doctor, just by reading the web and managing my doping schedule.
now, at the same time, we have a governing body and national cycling federations that regulate the testing of these events and yet have a heavily vested interest in the image of the sport being – if you’ll excuse the tired old pun – a positive one. they want the sport to succeed in Asia for largely economic reasons, and yet are supposed to be testing for doping infractions.
is that not a conflict of interests?
this is the major factor in the problems we see now in Europe. and i’ll tell you, bring in blood testing over here and you will see something similar.
institutionalized doping on certain teams, with the knowledge and assistance of the management, and ‘rogue’ individuals on other teams that are doping themselves. there is, amongst the peloton, no doubt that this is the case.
and how can you have ZERO testing at an international cycling event? how is this even remotely acceptable? and what does this communicate to the peloton? any guesses?
at the end of these stage races yes, sometimes the guy in the jersey is clean and the majority would agree with that – and I’d still say that for now at least, the majority are clean in the pack – but sometimes the result is a joke. and then it’s another victory for a doper, for incompetence, and for greed.
then there is the issue of ‘ex-dopers’ who have been busted in Europe and South America ending their bans, coming to Asian teams and winning races here. we have issues with that too, and yet there is nowhere we feel we can complain to. want to go to the officials and ask then why there is no testing? want to ask them if they believe that performance was possible?
go ahead, but your manager will most likely not be happy. and you might find that your team doesn’t get into the race the following year. these are the bare bones of this situation, f***ed up as they are.
we need the same level of testing here that they have in Europe, or we will be looking at the same problem we have there with an entire generation of Asian racers.
forget cutting corners and tackle this problem seriously, right now, when we still, barely, maybe, just, have a fighting chance.
so did the journalist Stuart Stevens. so, he took it.
many of you will have read this fascinating account in Outside Magazine of just what it feels like to be juiced to the eyeballs, but if you haven’t it is a must read.
and even if you have, it is worth reading again. how to become Superman…
‘“OK,” the doctor said when we settled into his examination room. “What do you want to be?”
I looked confused, so he explained.
“You want to be bigger? Leaner? Faster longer or faster shorter? More overall endurance? You want to see better?”
“Human growth hormone does that for some people. It improves the muscles in the eyes.” He tried again: “So, what do you want?”
This was quite a concept. Freud wrote that anatomy is destiny, and here was a doctor giving me a chance, in my late forties, to alter my body in the most fundamental way. It was strange, but also strangely alluring…’
yeah you read right. i’m a couple of months behind the wagon on this one but after being sent the link to this story, i knew i’d found the material that would hump my leg out of hibernation. utterly, fantasmagorically unbelievable as it may seem, someone, somewhere, has their mouth wrapped around a hosepipe that’s attached to the back of a family four-door saloon. and the really sad thing is, they’re not trying to end it all…
when we put those two words together, ‘cycling’ and ‘cancer’, one thing, one name, immediately pops up in our heads: Lance Armstrong. google pro cyclists cancer and you’ll be met by page after page of news on LA and the Livestrong foundation and on his battle against testicular cancer, which, fortunately of course, he won. but is there a deadlier connection between cycling and the disease that is characterised by unregulated cell growth and that proves so devastating for so many?
in the news today is a story on the former U23 European Champ, Italian Graziano Gasparre. now 34, Gasparre recently had a tumor unceremoniously removed from his left butt cheek. he had a pretty underwhelming pro life, though did ride the Giro twice and won a stage at the Tour de l’Avenir when with Mapei, and is perhaps better known for giving information to the Italian authorities on doping towards the end of his career. Gasparre though doesn’t look back on his time in the peloton with any great fondness -in fact, he links his cancer directly to his racing career:
“If today I’m stricken by this problem, it’s probably the fault of doping. For many years, to remain at a certain level, I had to adhere to the system, ruining my health, and not just that.”
you know the guy (ok neither did i), he was on LA’s team in the ’99-2000 season with US
Dopal Postal, where he really learnt to suck it up – EPO from the vial, that is. in day-old news (one thing crankpunk can promise is that absolutely nothing you find here will ever be fresh, we wouldn’t want to spoil you), it seems that the 36-year old GeorgeyBoy tested positive for the drug that bestows upon its adherents lengthy careers, wealth, victories, country-pop crossover singers, smug and imminently punchable smiles and, ultimately, comeuppance in the shape of Travis Tygart.
excellent article from Stuart Stevens in Outside Magazine, first published in 2003 but just as relevant now. Stuart was fed up with reading about all these athletes on EPO and HGH and decided to actually take the stuff then write about it. great read!
an interview here with Max Torque, pro rider at Rabodale-Caisse-Tana, who recently tested positive for EPO, HGH, blood transfusions, Eskimo Placebo, High Grade Spanish Bull Faeces (99%) and pregnancy.
Torque, who’s won jack-all in his 11 years as a pro, was banned for 23 days (retroactively), a decision he feels was unjust. he denies any wrongdoing whatsoever and challenges all the positive test results (apart from the pregnancy – he’s due in January). he contacted crankpunk in a bid to clear up the issues surrounding his case.
crankpunk: hello Max
Max Torque: [silence]
cp: er… now then Max, there’s been a lot written in the press about you recently
MT: i bring the ruckus, that’s why
cp: … what does that mean?
MT: … i’m not sure… whatever you want it to mean. are you recording this?
cp: yes, i told you i was. it’s an interview.
MT: are you a Fed?
cp: what….? no, i’m a journalist.
[at this point Torque subjected crankpunk to a body search, leaving me shaken and a little disturbed. later, i noticed my wallet was missing. Torque has yet to return my calls and texts regarding its disappearance]
MT: hmm, ok. i will have to see that you eat this tape though after this interview is over.
cp: are you serious?
MT: nah i’m just fooling! but, you will have to eat it.
cp: … now then Max, if we can begin. essentially you deny all accusations of doping.
MT: i do
cp: despite testing positive for EPO, HG-
MT: ok ok, i know what i took – i mean – what… i’m accused… of taking. and it’s all a lie.
cp: but you tested positive for everything, twice within 12 days. that’s 6 tests, double samples, so effectively 12 positives. the lab said they’d never seen such a high percentage of Spanish Bull Faeces. you were almost off the charts.
MT: … what are you saying?
cp: that you’re full of bullsh*t.
MT: look, i was spiked. or the testing procedure was wrong. or the lab rats were paid to return those positives. or you’re lying. and i eat a lot of beef, i mean, i practically bovine. or – [at this point a lawyer came into the room and whispered into Max Torque's ear] – ok, he said i’m gonna have to bake the spliff. i’m baking the spliff, all the way. i’m baked.
cp: what? baking the… do you mean taking the 5th?
MT: [again, the lawyer whispered into Torque's ear] Shut up. Just stop talking.
cp: … did he just tell you to shut up and stop talking?
MT: look, let me be clear on this – i cannot answer that question without implicating myself and so i say to myself to the best of my abilities that i love the sport and that you should too and that you should believe better than you do, cos it’s a beautiful thing and i want to thank my sponsors and yes, i believe you are correct on that point but in fact i do not recall the original question nor the date you mentioned nor the thing we are actually talking about.
cp: [at this point the lawyer sighed heavily before leaving the room] ok, Max, in your own words, how do you actually think the EPO, HGH etc etc came to be in your system?
MT: i never doped. let me be clear on that. it may have been that i was drugged, however, without my knowledge.
cp: are you saying that your team doctor doped you?
MT: did i say that? jeez i am on so much stuff right now i can’t remember what the heck i had for breakfast. look, there was a day i remember, vaguely, when a doctor somewhere told me to take some stuff and it was in a bag. it was hanging on the wall, on a picture hook. it had a brand name, on the bag if i remember, OPE, something like that. it’s all very vague, there were so many days like that. i mean… it happened once.
MT: oh yeah man, i took truckloads of the stuff. that and HGH, spelt funny, like, backwards.
MT: yeah, actually there was another one called OMIKSE something or other.
cp: so, your defense is that you didn’t know that OPE was EPO, that HGH ‘spelt funny’ wasn’t in fact Human Growth Hormone with a backwards ‘G’, and that OMIKSE wasn’t in fact Eskimo Placebo? seriously?
MT: look, you can put words in my mouth and drugs up my nose all day, but the fact is -
[at this point the interview had to be terminated. the fire alarm rang and the hotel was evacuated. there was never any fire discovered. Torque has not been seen since]