Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Not MY Choice - My Ego Makes Me Do It....

Acqua e Sapone, the team which likes to curse the Garmin riders as they pass by, and a team which has had three riders given bans for their involvement in the Oil for Drugs case. Bettini, who refused to sign the anti-doping pledge, and openly threatened Sinkewitz for breaking omerta. And the sorry remnants of dope-soaked Saunier-Duval, which never showed any interest in facing up to their problems. Instead they ran away, pretended to be shocked, and now they have changed their name, as if a new name can somehow hide what lies beneath. A dirty team by any other name, and with any other owner, smells just as rotten.

Lance Armstrong has begun training with the Astana team in Spain, but as of yet he has not started his promised internal testing program with Dr. Don Catlin. Armstrong is claiming that it is a very complicated program to begin, and that they are working to get the program off the ground. Interestingly, Catlin seems to not know when the program will start, as he told the press that he and Armstrong's camp "are chatting" about getting the program started.

Meanwhile, the challenger to perceived dopers in cycling, wonders whether Armstrong is purposely holding off on the program so that his baseline measurements aren't drastically different from those taken during racing season come January at the Tour Dwon Under. Although a bit of a stretch, CFA's question should be addressed. Without early season values, it would presumably be possible for a rider to prepare themselves for racing with illegal means, and then show "normal" blood values once the actual season begins.

The early criticism that Armstrong is facing is just the beginning for the aging champion, as he begins his comeback bid. As a part of the old guard, Armstrong is inextricably linked to cycling's cloudy past, and even though he never failed a control, he is still viewed as a cheat by many cycling fans. With every passing day without an internal testing program, Armstrong undermines his desire to show himself as a clean athlete.

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