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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I searched and didn't come up with a thread for the '06 TDF, so I figured I'd start one - since it starts this weekend. I'll post news articles as they come across my Reuters terminal, since the story doesn't always hit air right away. This year is looking to be VERY interesting with the mess that erupted today (story to follow for those who didn't hear).

Happy TDF! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
TDF stripped of three top riders

By Julien Pretot

STRASBOURG, France, June 30 (Reuters) - The Tour de France was stripped of three of its biggest names on Friday after Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo were implicated in a doping investigation in Spain.

German Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997, Spaniard Oscar Sevilla and Belgian team manager Rudy Pevenage were banned after their German T-Mobile team was notified by race organisers ASO that the three had been named in the probe by Spanish police.

“I feel I’m a victim,” Ullrich told ZDF television. “I am in absolute shock. It’s the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my career. I can only say again that I have nothing to do with this thing.”

The CSC team withdrew Italy’s Basso, winner of the Giro d’Italia race in May, when all 21 teams decided unanimously to exclude anyone who featured in the investigation from the Tour which starts on Saturday.

The AG2R team followed suit by withdrawing Spain’s Mancebo. He was also on the list of nine Tour riders provided by the Spanish police to an investigating magistrate.

Basso finished second in last year’s Tour behind American Lance Armstrong, now retired. Ullrich was third and Mancebo fourth.

“It is difficult for us to believe what is happening,” said CSC team manager Bjarne Riis. “It’s a huge blow for everybody.

“We did what we had to do in a situation like that. It’s not about pressure, it’s about being responsible.”

The doping scandal erupted last month after the Spanish Civil Guard raided a number of addresses to find large quantities of anabolic steroids, laboratory equipment used for blood transfusions and more than 100 packs of frozen blood.

Earlier on Friday, ASO announced it was in possession of a list of more than 50 riders involved in the probe after being handed a 37-page document by the Spanish Cycling Federation.

The UCI said it could not be assumed all nine were guilty of doping offences. The Spanish federation took a different approach.

“The degree of presumed involvement in doping is of varying degrees and it is not possible to generalise when talking about names, substances or the practices that were used,” the federation (RFEC) said in a statement.

On Monday, Ullrich and Pevenage had issued strong denials about their involvement in what could be the biggest doping scandal in cycling since the Festina affair in 1998.

“At first we had no reason to doubt the riders’s statements. Therefore we couldn’t make any decision merely based on speculations, rumours and guesses”, said Christian Frommert, director of sports communication for T-Mobile International.

“This situation has now changed profoundly. Accordingly we will now live up to our responsibility towards making cycling a clean sport.”

Tour organisers congratulated T-Mobile on their bravery in tackling doping, which has dogged cycling for years.

“I think it is a brave move and a good example sent to the other sport directors. Today, we can do only one thing: be brave,” Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc said in an interview in French daily Le Monde.

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who has worked with a number of cycling teams, and Jose Luis Merino, the head of a clinical analysis laboratory, were released on bail after being questioned by Spanish police.

“There was clearly contact between the Spanish doctor and Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage, which all three had previously ruled out as having taken place,” T-Mobile media spokesman Stefan Wagner told German television on Friday.

The assistant director of the Comunidad Valenciana team Jose Ignacio Labarta and the sporting director of the former Liberty Seguros team Manolo Saiz were also detained for questioning by Spanish police and then released.

Both men have since left their posts. Insurance giants Liberty Seguros withdrew their sponsorship of the team who have now changed their name to Astana-Wuerth.

Comunidad Valenciana have had their invitation to take part in the Tour withdrawn.

Astana-Wuerth, Kazakhstan rider Alexander Vinokourov’s team, have been allowed to participate after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

But five of their riders appear on the nine-man list and the team are under great pressure to withdraw. UCI rules stipulate that a team, normally nine riders, must field at least six to start one of the three major Tours.

If the team and Vinokourov pull out of the Tour, it will mean that the five top riders in last year’s race will not start Saturday’s 7-km prologue in Strasbourg.

In 1998, Festina were kicked out of the Tour following the discovery of a large supply of drugs in a car belonging to the team. Top rider Richard Virenque was banned for nine months.

(Additional reporting by Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin) ((Editing by Tony Jimenez and Robert Woodward, London Sports Desk; Reuters messaging: [email protected]; +33 1 4949 5370))
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Astana-Wuerth pull out of Tour de France

STRASBOURG, France, June 30
(Reuters) - The Astana-Wuerth team has decided to pull out of the Tour de France, race organisers said on Friday.

Five of the team appeared on a list of nine Tour riders named in a doping investigation in Spain. The team, formerly known as Liberty Seguros, is led by Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov, who was fifth last year.

((Writing by Alison Wildey in London, editing by Dave Thompson, London Sports Desk; Reuters Messaging: [email protected]; +44 20 7542 3321))
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not all riders involved to same degree

MADRID, June 30 (Reuters)

The Spanish Cycling Federation said on Friday the riders named in the police investigation into doping could not be presumed to bear the same degree of guilt.

“The degree of presumed involvement in doping is of varying degrees and it is not possible to generalise when taking about names, substances or the practices that were used,” the federation (RFEC) said in a statement.

RFEC did not name any of the riders in its statement.

“In accordance with the law protecting personal information,
the RFEC cannot publish the names of the riders that appear in the Civil Guard report,” it said.

“In the light of the reports that have appeared in the media, the RFEC would like to call for restraint because the reputation of riders that have not appeared in the report could suffer irreparable damage.”

The federation said the report had been passed on to its disciplinary committee so that appropriate action could be taken against any riders that were deemed to have broken competition rules.

Earlier on Friday the Tour de France was stripped of three of its biggest names after Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo were prevented from starting the race, which begins on Saturday.

Their teams said they had been implicated in the doping investigation.

((Reporting by Simon Baskett, editing by Robert Woodward, London sports desk; Reuters Messaging: [email protected]; 44 207 542 2604))
 

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Re: '06 Tour de France

I doubt Ullrich will be guilty of doping. He's worked hard to keep up with and try to beat Armstrong for so many years to let it come down to that.

It's only a matter of time before all the French papers start in on them. Then they'll feel the pain Armstrong has been going through for the last 7 years.
 

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Re: '06 Tour de France

Hate to be cynical, but just about all of them are doping and always have. But to be honest I'm not sure I care.

Jaques Anquetil when asked if he doped.

"Only when necessary"

How often is that?

"All the time!"

The French are in no position to attack anyone who dopes. Virenque was caught (noy just rumours of doping) yet somehow managed to convine the French nation he was a lovely man, much maligned in the press. he remains a national hero to this day. Nobody really cares except the police and the UCI.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Article posted on VeloNews.com

Hushovd takes Tour prologue
Landis late for start


Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd won the Tour de France's 7.1-kilometer prologue time trial through the streets of Strasbourg, on Saturday, narrowly edging American George Hincapie by just 73/100ths of a second.

Hincapie was followed by last year's opening time trial winner, David Zabriskie (CSC). Fellow American Floyd Landis (Phonak) finished the day in ninth place, nine seconds off of Hushovd's pace, which is just about the amount he lost when he showed up late to the start line.

Phonak officials reportedly spotted a cut on Landis's rear tire and pulled him out of the start house to change the wheel, hoping to avoid a flat, which would have lost the American even more time.

Hushovd, who wore the yellow jersey for one day in his career - at Namur in 2004 - clocked a time of 8min 17secs that only Hincapie came close to beating in a tight finish.

Hushovd, a three-time Norwegian champion in the race against the clock, has spent the past few years riding as a sprinter and trying to win the race's coveted green jersey for the points competition.

He achieved that goal last year when he held off the threat of Australian Robbie McEwen, but ahead of this year's race it seems the prologue had awakened past memories of his former passion.

Hushovd admitted his victory was down to him getting a bit more acquainted with his time trial bike.

"I had a good race, I managed to find a good rhythm at the start," he said. "I knew I had a chance to do something good after I came fifth in 2004. And this year I've worked a bit on my time trial bike, so I think that's why I did a good prologue.

"It's a great start to the Tour - it has started well."

Hincapie missed out by only 73/100 of a second, while Zabriskie, the winner of the opening 19km stage last year and a big pre-race favorite, was third.

Millar meanwhile could only finish in 17th place at 14sec behind.

But after recently returning from a drugs ban, the 29-year-old Scot was delighted with his performance.

"I'm ecstatic, although it was strange riding on closed roads!" said Millar, a prologue winner in 2000 and runner-up in 2003 but who was riding his first competitive race here since his ban nearly two years ago.

"I'm just so happy to be here. This is great. I'm not even disappointed. I had a great ride, but perhaps I underestimated the difficulty of it. But I've got to be happy."

TOP 10
1. Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole, 8:17
2. Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 8:17
3. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, 8:21
4. Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:21
5. Valverde (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B., 8:21
6. O'grady (Aus), CSC, 8:21
7. Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, 8:23
8. Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel, 08:25
9. Landis (USA), Phonak, 8:26
10. Karpets (Rus), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B., 8:27
 

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I was reading about the doping scandal and was thinking, "who cares what these guys do, they're capable of assessing their own risks."

Then I read the next article on the page, about a former Unversity of Michigan baseball pitching prodigy whose life and career was destroyed and ultimately ended by drugs.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Former major-league pitcher Steve Howe had methamphetamine in his system when he died after his pickup truck drifted off a desert highway, a coroner's autopsy showed.
Howe, a former NL Rookie of the Year whose career was beset by drug and alcohol abuse, was killed April 28 in the single-vehicle crash in Coachella, about 350 kilometres east of Los Angeles.
Toxicological results determined there was methamphetamine in his bloodstream, the coroner's office said Tuesday. The amount of the illegal drug wasn't disclosed.
The 48-year-old Howe was on his way home to Valencia when his pickup veered into the median and began to roll, witnesses told investigators. Howe, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the truck and the pickup landed on top of him.
Howe was the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year with Los Angeles, closed out the Dodgers' 1981 World Series championship and was an all-star the next year.
But for all of his success on the field, the hard-throwing lefty was plagued by his addictions. He was suspended seven times and became a symbol of the rampant cocaine problem that tormented baseball in the 1980s.
During the 1992 season, he became the first baseball player to be banned for life because of drugs; an arbitrator reinstated him after the season.


Bottom line, I don't know what to think.
 

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There was a story a couple years ago about a kid who was taking creatine. The water retention properties of creatine caused his thigh muscle to retain water, cramp permanently:eek: , and the docs had to remove a large portion of the muscle as a result. No more sports and he can barely walk. I don't remember the specifics of the case but it caused the Army to conduct briefings about the dangers of sports "supplements".

With all the cases that have been popping up lately, I can't understand why the FDA hasn't stepped in yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Stage One: In Brief

**From TDF Official site.**

* Three Intermediate Sprints: Saverne (at 53.0km), Plobsheim (137.0km) & Kehl (175.5km).
* One Climb: Cote de Heilingenstein (cat-4 at 101.5km).
* Official Start Time: 1.16pm.
* Starters: 176 – no overnight retirees.
* Temperature: 30 degrees Celsius in the air; 42 degrees at road level.
* Virtually no wind.

First Attack Of 2006 Tour
The first bout of action in stage one was instigated by Auge (COF) and Sprick (BTL) at the 3km mark. They were joined shortly after by Vaugrenard (FDJ). At 5km, they were 10” ahead of the peloton. At 9km, three riders – Etxebarria (EUS), Portal (CEI) and Wegmann (GST) – set off in pursuit. At 11km, they were 12” behind while the peloton was at 1’05”. The junction of the two lead groups came at 13km. At the 20km mark the peloton was 4’00” behind. The Credit Agricole squad controlled the peloton but was content to allow the escapees to remain up front. At 29km, the advantage was 4’30”. The average speed for the first hour was 44.0km. The seven leaders cooperated well and maintained a lead of over four minutes. The first sign of aggression came from the virtual leader, Vaugrenard (who began the stage in 31st, 19” behind Hushovd) who sprinted for points in Saverne – claiming the 6pts and 6” bonus. The maximum advantage of the escape was 5’00” (at 56km).

Wegmann Claims Polka-Dot Prize: Sprint Teams Begin Chase…
On the Cote de Heilingenstein the leaders surged in the hunt for points. Wegmann led Sprick and Etxebarria over the summit. The peloton was 4’25” behind. At the 105km mark, riders from Milram, Quickstep and Davitamon-Lotto came forward to assist Credit Agricole at the head of the peloton. After 125km, the peloton was 3’30” behind; 130km – 2’55”; 132km – 2’30”; 2’15” at 137km… Beneteau claimed first place at the Plobsheim sprint (ahead of Vaugrenard and Sprick). The lead steadily dropped thanks to the efforts of the sprinters’ teams: with 22km to go, the advantage of the escapees dropped below a minute for the first time since the 20km mark. With 20km to go, the seven led by 40”. Beneteau put in a bid for glory with an attack 15km from the finish. The others were caught with 14km to go (while Beneteau’s advantage was 30”).

Hincapie Takes Bonus… And The Yellow Jersey!
Beneteau held onto a slender lead until the 3rd intermediate sprint. He claimed 1st place points in Kehl and was caught soon after thanks largely to an attack from Hincapie (DSC) who raced ahead to claim time bonuses. The American was beaten by Hushovd’s team-mate Hinault (C.A) for second place but claimed third and two seconds for his effort. It would be enough for him to inherit the yellow jersey… even though he only finished 23rd in the stage.

Casper Claims His First Tour Stage
After a chaotic lead-up to the final kilometer in which several teams, including Milram, Rabobank, Liquigas and Quickstep, took charge – but only momentarily – Boonen (QSI) took matters into his own hands and led the sprint out after hovering at the head of the peloton from 500m to go. The world champion began his sprint with about 250m remaining but was quickly passed by Casper (COF) who showed a remarkable turn of speed to relegate other more favored sprinters. Hushovd was present in the sprint but his right elbow caught onto something held over the barricade by a specatator and he immediately began bleeding from the wound he sustained. He didn’t contest the sprint.
 

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There was a story a couple years ago about a kid who was taking creatine. The water retention properties of creatine caused his thigh muscle to retain water, cramp permanently:eek: , and the docs had to remove a large portion of the muscle as a result. No more sports and he can barely walk. I don't remember the specifics of the case but it caused the Army to conduct briefings about the dangers of sports "supplements".

With all the cases that have been popping up lately, I can't understand why the FDA hasn't stepped in yet.
They have quite a bit.

I'd bet large sums of money that person probably had a shit diet, a weird body chemistry, didn't properly hydrate and might have been eating creatine by the bucket.

I've taken creatine on and off for years, and read about it lots. Despite plenty of 100º+ days spent cycling, hiking or whatever, I've never had a problem I could attribute to creatine.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I quit posting because it seemed like no one was reading...

I'll continue if people want it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
The short version...

PAU, France, July 12 (Reuters) - Spaniard Juan Miguel Mercado won the 10th stage of the Tour de France, a 190.5-km ride from Cambo-les-Bains to Pau through the Pyrenees on Wednesday.

The Agritubel team rider outsprinted Frenchman Cyril Dessel on the first mountain stage of this year's race after a long breakaway, although Dessel is set to take the yellow jersey.

Spain's Inigo Landaluze of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team came home third, 55 seconds behind.

Overall leader Serhiy Honchar of T-Mobile was in the peloton some nine minutes behind when Mercado crossed the line.

Dessel, of AG2R-Prevoyance, started the day in 28th place overall, 3:50 adrift of Ukrainian Honchar.

Thursday's 11th stage will take the peloton from Tarbes over 206.5 kms with five climbs including the last ascent to the finish at the summit of the Plat-de-Beret.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The long version...


Dessel’s Double Coup!

The first stage in the high mountains changed the top of the general classification but it wasn’t the big favorites who made the difference. Instead the initiative was taken by Juan Miguel Mercado of the wildcard invitee Agritubel and Cyril Dessel of AG2R Preyovance. The pair attacked early and shared the work all the way to Pau. The only attacks were at the summit of the three climbs, when Dessel was victorious – earning enough points to lead the climbing classification – and at the finish when Mercado bolted into the lead with 300 meters to go to win his second stage of the Tour de France. The peloton was led by T-Mobile most of the day and finished 7’25” behind the stage winner. Honchar lost his yellow jersey to the aggressive Frenchman who finished second.

Stage Details
Three climbs: Col d’Osquich (category-3 at 50.0km), Col de Soudet (‘Hors Category’ at 101.5km) and the Col de Marie-Blanque (category-1 at 148.0km).

Intermediate sprints: Larceveau (at 37.5km) and Laguinge (at 74.5km).

Weather conditions: Overcast but little chance of rain with temperatures of 24 degrees Celsius in the air and 26 degrees at road level for the start of the stage.

Number of starters: 169 riders – the overnight retiree is Laurent Brochard (BTL).

Official start time: 12.29pm.

Attacks Begin Immediately…
As soon as the flag fell to signal the start of stage 10, Hernandez (EUS) attacked the peloton. He was joined by O’Grady (CSC), Calcagni (LIQ) and Vansummeren (DVL). They led by 15” at 2.5km. They peloton quickly reeled in this move. De la Fuente (SDV) attacked at 4km. The multiple attacks in the first 10km were all reeled in by the peloton which was also brought to a halt by protesters at the 7km mark. Chavanel (COF) was the first to establish a reasonable lead with a solid attack at the 10km mark. At 14km he led the peloton by 15”. After 30km, Chavanel led Martinez (DSC), Vandevelde (CSC), Sinkewitz (TMO), Calzati (A2R), Zberg (GST), Flecha (RAB), Horner (DVL), Merckx (PHO), Arroyo (CEI), Halgand (C.A), Lopez Garcia (EUS), Moncoutie (COF), Joly (FDJ), Velo (MRM), O’Grady (CSC) and Carlstrom (LIQ) by 17” and the peloton by 30”. Chavanel was caught at the 34.5km mark. The numerous attacks were all caught before the 1st sprint.

‘The Escape’ Established…
At the 40.5km mark, 15 riders were in the lead by 15”. The men involved were: Voigt (CSC), Dessel (A2R), Posthuma (RAB), Steegmans (DVL), Bennati (LAM), Vasseur (QSI), Hushovd (C.A), Isasi and Landaluze (EUS), Moreni (COF), Rinero (SDV), Da Cruz (FDJ), Quinziato (LIQ), Sprick (BTL) and Mercado (AGR). At 44km, they led the peloton by 45”. Hushovd & Steegmans were dropped on the first climb. The average speed for the 1st hour was 46.1km/h. The points were won by: Dessel, Rinero, Sprick & Mercado. At the summit (50.0km) the bunch was 1’25” behind. At 56.5km, 2’00”; at 64km, 4’30”… the 2nd intermediate sprint points were won by Bennati, Da Cruz and Voigt. At the 77km mark, the peloton was at 8’10”. The average speed for the 2nd hour was 41.5km/h.

Col de Soudet…
The peloton arrived at the case of the Col de Soudet 9’25” behind the 13 leaders. Mercado attacked and was marked by Dessel. These two rode together to the summit. At the top of the Col de Soudet, the points were won by: 1. Dessel; 2. Mercado at 5"; 3. Landaluze at 30"; 4. Rinero at 50"; 5. Isasi at 1’15"; 6. Vasseur - at 2’20"; 7. Moreni at 2’20"; 8. Sprick at 3’35”; 9. Bennati at 5’15”; 10. Da Cruz at 5’15”… the peloton was led by T-Mobile 9’50” behind the stage leaders. Of the overall favourites the main victim of the long ascent was Mayo who was dropped early on the Col de Soudet. The average speed for the 3rd hour was 31.2km/h. Dessel and Mercado were caught by Rinero, Landaluze and Isasi on the descent. The next to join the lead group were Vasseur and Moreni. The peloton was 10’50” behind in the valley between the 2nd and 3rd climbs.

Col de Marie Blanque…
Dessel Claims Polka-Dot Prize
The peloton was 10’20” behind the seven stage leaders at the start of the 3rd climb. Mercado attacked with 7km to climb. He was chased down by Dessel. At the top of the 3rd climb, the order was: 1. Dessel 30pts (double normal points allocation, because the final ascent is ranked category-one); 2. Mercado at same time; 3. Landaluze at 25"; 4. Rinero at 1’05"; 5. Moreni at 1’05"; 6. Isasi at 2’25"; 7. Vasseur at 2’25"; 8. Rasmussen at 8’43”… the peloton crested the summit 9’10” behind Dessel

Dessel Descends Into Yellow…
Mercado and Dessel led all the way from the final summit. Landaluze got to within six seconds but couldn’t close the gap. With 25km to go, he ceased his real chase. At that point, the peloton was 9’35” behind. Mercado followed Dessel in the closing kilometres and jumped into the lead with 300m to go and won a close sprint to win the stage. Honchar finished in 56th place in the middle of the peloton that was 7’23” behind the stage winner. Dessel’s second place means he will wear the yellow jersey in stage 11.
 
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