Michael Ashenden

Fri, 04/03/2009 - 1:57am by Andy Shen

"So there is no doubt in my mind he (Lance Armstrong) took EPO during the '99 Tour."


Dr. Michael Ashenden began his career as an exercise physiologist with the Australian Institute of Sport. After assisting in the development of an EPO test for the Sydney Olympic Games, he left the AIS to focus on battling blood doping. In 2005, Dr. Ashenden was among of group of scientists who questioned the validity of a physiological study on Lance Armstrong, a dispute that led him to serve as an expert witness in an arbitration case involving Armstrong and a bonus payment for winning the Tour. Dr. Ashenden kindly agreed to speak with us and shed some new light on that controversy. He also helped us analyze the 6 positives from Armstrong's '99 Tour samples with a level of detail never before made public.

Personal background, the 2000 Olympics, EPO testing

Andy Shen: Can we start with a little background on you, starting with the Australian Institute of Sport? I guess at that time you were doing some work on blood doping, but you were also doing some work on performance enhancement.

Michael Ashenden: I was employed as an exercise physiologist with the AIS, and my job was to do physiological testing on the athletes, for example, to give the coaches feedback and assistance with their training programs. At the same time I was doing my PhD thesis that was studying what happened to athletes' blood when they were exposed to simulated altitude, hypoxic tents and such which have since become popular.

And that dovetailed nicely with research at the time that was looking for indirect markers of EPO, because not coincidentally I guess, the changes in the blood that we see with EPO were sometimes similar to changes you'd see at altitude, though dramatically on different scales. But it was easy for me to transfer my research and my knowledge there over to this EPO field and I guess that's where I began my career in anti doping, being part of the team in Australia who were working on what's since been called the Sydney Blood Model. And from there I left the institute and I've been working as a freelance researcher not just in EPO doping but other kinds of blood doping. Blood tranfusions, blood substitutes, pretty much any avenue I think an athlete might be tempted to abuse, we try to conduct research in those areas.

AS: The work you did for the Sydney Olympics, that was in 2000?

MA: Yeah, at that time there was no test at all for EPO, and the UCI was using a 50% hematocrit rule to stop athletes from competing, but it couldn't go any further than stopping them competing. So, there was a group in France that was researching what's since become known as the urine test for EPO, and we collaborated with them, we shared samples with them, to help the research move forward. But we took a different strategy, we looked for indirect evidence.

We were looking for changes in the blood that were not only apparent in the period when the athlete was using EPO, and that's the period when EPO is still in the urine, but blood remains disturbed for several weeks after you stop taking EPO as well. The urine test can't help you there, but the blood test still gives you a signature, depending on how much EPO you took, a couple of weeks after you stop injecting.

AS: The EPO test was implemented for the 2000 Olympics?

MA: At the Sydney Olympics they had the two part test. There was an initial blood screening, and if those results exceeded the threshold that were put in place, then the urine was analyzed. And the criteria back then was that you had to fail both the blood and the urine test in order to be found guilty of having used EPO.

Since that time WADA has revised the rule and now you only have to fail the urine test. Whether your blood fails criteria or not is not taken into account in today's test.

AS: So just to be clear, the urine test looks for the actual presence of synthetic EPO, but EPO leaves your system in two or three days?

MA: EPO is a hormone, it's a very small molecule, and it's present in very very low concentrations in the bloodstream, even lower concentrations in urine. And the half life of EPO is something in the realm of eight to twelve hours, so one day after you've had an injection the levels are dramatically lower. Usually three or four days after you've had an injection all traces of EPO have left the circulation or at least aren't present at a high enough level for the urine test to be a definitive piece of evidence that EPO is being used.

AS: When you test positive in a urine test, it's not a yes or no thing, it's a percentage and a threshold, is that correct?

MA: I think that's arguable. It's a test that discriminates, it puts in different positions on the gel, synthetic EPO and natural EPO. Now, there is no confusion when you see it on the gel, when there's synthetic EPO in the sample. It's simply in a different position to where the natural EPO occurs.

So when you say it's not yes or no, you can see visually if there is synthetic EPO in the gel. They build in some allowance, some tolerance, the positivity criteria that are in place today follows specific rules. And even though there's EPO in the gel, unless it fails those specific criteria a sanction isn't imposed.

AS: Ok, so in other words, the tester will know you're using it, but you won't be busted for it if you're below a certain number.

MA: Yeah, and there are situations like that floating about today. Where it's clearly a pattern that an athlete has been using synthetic EPO, but for different reasons the pattern doesn't follow a specific criteria. So the answer is, yes, obviously they're using EPO, but they weren't sanctioned because the samples didn't fail a very specific criteria that were applied.

AS: And this number is a percentage of isoforms?

MA: That was the first generation of tests. Since then the positivity criteria has been modified, and now it looks at several different aspects, not just the percentage of basic isoforms.

EPO use in 1999

AS: I want to go to the '99 Tour samples. Just to set the scene, in '99 there wasn't a test in place for EPO, and Frankie Andreu told us there was no anxiety about using it, because as long as you made sure your hematocrit was below 50% you knew nothing could happen to you. Would it be fair to say that at that time it was pretty easy for cyclists to beat the test, or use EPO with impunity?

MA: Well, I wouldn't say that it was easy for them to beat the test, because there was no test. Simple as that. There was no way, before the Sydney Olympics in 2000, where an athlete could be found guilty of using EPO, because there was no test in play. There's no reason for an athlete to be careful using something for which they can't be caught.

AS: As long as they kept their hematocrit below 50.

MA: And that's a relatively easy thing to accomplish. I mean, you can either use careful adjustments of your dosage, or you can use saline to dilute the blood. It's a relatively simple and fast procedure to bring your hematocrit below 50.

AS: Yeah, in fact, from the time you're notified of a test you can actually dilute your blood fast enough to beat the test.

MA: Yeah, it was quite disturbing for me to be told that right up until perhaps 2004, the UCI weren't actually chaperoning riders between the finish line and doping control. So not only was there an opportunity for them to dilute their blood before a blood test in the morning, there was also a very real opportunity for them to manipulate or mask their urine before they provided their doping control sample. That wasn't important pre 2000 because there was no urine test for EPO, but after 2000 there was still, to me, unacceptably large loopholes for an athlete, even if they've been using EPO, to still escape detection. Particularly by masking their urine, in between the time they crossed the finish line and dope control.

'99 Tour urine samples re-tested in '05

AS: Let's go back to the '99 urine samples, these were B samples which were preserved. Was it for academic reasons that they re-tested, to get a sense of how things were at the time?

MA: I mentioned earlier there'd been revisions over time of what the positivity criteria were. Initially it was 80% basic isoforms. The research that was conducted with these samples was informing them of whether new criteria they were considering applying would have been effective in catching athletes in previous events.

The only kind of samples that are useful in that context are samples that have got EPO in them, 'cause then you could say by criteria A you'd fail, but by criteria B you didn't fail, and by criteria C we saw nothing at all. And that was the purpose of the Paris investigation - to go back, to look at samples, and to see how the different criteria applied. And it was, I don't think it was cynical, it was realistic, they realized that the most likely samples where they would find EPO were samples collected before the EPO test was introduced. And that was the '99 Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong's '99 samples test positive

AS: So out of the 87 usable samples that they gathered, they got 13 positives and 6 of them belonged to Lance Armstrong.

MA: Depending on which criteria you applied. Yes, six of them failed the definitive criteria. There were another two samples in fact where the EPO was visually there in the gel. You could see it was there, but for one reason or another, the percentage isoforms weren't calculated, or had to be re-analyzed, or it was a little bit too faint to get a definitive result. Yes, there were six samples with EPO in it, and there were another two samples where it was pretty plain to a trained observer that there was synthetic EPO in those as well.

AS: You were able to analyze the results, correct?

MA: I interpreted the results. They assessed each sample according the different criteria, and those were the results that we were given.

AS: I found it kinda interesting, we've talked before this, you found some very interesting things about those results that really were not widely publicized, the way the percentages fluctuated.

MA: One of the things, I guess there's been misinformation in this particular area - is that the samples weren't analyzed properly, that they were analyzed using a different protocol than what was used in proper dope controls - and that's just not correct. Obviously in research where the data you come up with is going to govern how you do testing in the future, you're exceptionally careful with these measurements. You want to make sure that you don't make any mistakes. And you want to make sure that you, for example, weren't looking at urine that has been contaminated with bacteria, or isn't what we call unstable urine, where sometimes the bands shift not because of EPO use, but because of some other factors. So all of these checks and cross checks were put in place with these samples, so the data is valid. The laboratory, I've checked with the people who did the analysis, and I very carefully went through it with them. They're absolutely 100% sure that these results are valid.

And as far as the fluctuations you speak of, when we took the samples' dates, and matched them with the percentage of isoforms, and overlaid that with the performances during the Tour de France, then a clear pattern begins to emerge. You can see that on some days there's a preponderance of EPO in the urine sample, perhaps on the next day they come down a little bit, then they come back up, which is suggesting you've taken another EPO injection.

You don't have EPO every single day. You might take it every two or three days. So your values go up or down according to when you took those injections and when those urine samples were taken. Now, you overlay all of those data together and you can begin to see a pattern that's consistent with EPO use.



Vial #



% Isoforms

















Out of lead,

not tested




To be reanalyzed

Metz ITT

Rest day














L'Alpe d'Huez




Sample missing










Weak intensity, no % recorded







Rest day








Undetectable, insufficient EPO in urine



AS: The prologue had the highest number, 100% if I remember correctly, and the next day it goes down a bit. Same thing before the first mountain stage, etc.

MA: And the unusual thing about the prologue sample is that the prologue was run in the morning, and the sample was collected at 9:45 am. Now, every other sample during the Tour de France is collected in the afternoon, after the stage is finished. This sample was collected very early in the morning, and there was 100% basic isoforms, which is saying that 100% of the EPO that was showing up in the gel was synthetic EPO. There was no endogenous EPO visual in the gel.

The possibility of tampering

AS: I guess I should set the background a little bit more now. This study was done for research purposes so the urine was marked with code numbers and there was no way for the testers to know who the samples belong to. It was only through some subterfuge by some French reporters that it was revealed that the six positives belonged to Armstrong.

MA: Well, again, there's been a lot of disinformation about this. The laboratory absolutely had no way of knowing athlete identity from the sample they're given. They have a number on them, but that's never linked to an athlete's name. The only group that had both the number and the athlete's name is the federation, in this case it was the UCI.

The UCI had those documents, and an investigative journalist, Damien Ressiot from l'Equipe, went to the UCI and said, "Can I have copies of Lance Armstrong's doping control forms from the '99 Tour?" Now, the UCI had to go to Lance Armstrong and ask his permission, which he gave them. Now, Lance Armstrong gave permission to the UCI to give these doping control forms to Damien Ressiot. Damien Ressiot took those forms, which have the athlete's name, obviously, and the sample number, so he matched the sample number with the results from the laboratory that had the sample number and the percentage of isoforms. And in that way he linked the percentage of isoforms with the number, the athlete's name, and in that way identified them as Lance Armstrong.

AS: Right. So the lab is carrying out these tests blindly, and you showed me this statistical study of the odds of them tampering and successfully framing Armstrong, and it was 1 in 300.

MA: There was only two conceivable ways that synthetic EPO could've gotten into those samples. One, is that Lance Armstrong used EPO during the '99 Tour, and we've since found out that there were teammates from US Postal in that '99 Tour that have since admitted using EPO while riding for US Postal in that Tour.

The other way it could've got in the urine was if, as Lance Armstrong seems to believe, the laboratory spiked those samples. Now, that's an extraordinary claim, and there's never ever been any evidence the laboratory has ever spiked an athlete's sample, even during the Cold War, where you would've thought there was a real political motive to frame an athlete from a different country. There's never been any suggestion that it happened.

However, Lance Armstrong made that claim. Now, it's very easy to go back and assess the possibility of that scenario. We know the laboratory could not have known which samples belonged to Lance Armstrong. And we also know from the results, how many of Lance Armstrong's samples had EPO in them, and when during the race it occurred. Now the odds of the laboratory randomly selecting Lance Armstrong's samples out of those 87 samples, and let's just do it conservatively, just 6 times, 6 times they got his samples correct out of 87 possible tubes, the odds of that occurring are at least 1 in 300.

So we come back to the original scenario. Either Lance Armstrong used EPO during the Tour, or the laboratory spiked his samples, and we know the probabilty of that happening was at least 1 in 300.

(I needed to reassure myself that tampering was inconceivable, so I did some follow up with Dr. Ashenden. Click here if you're interested in what it would've taken to spike these samples.)

An irrefutable profile

AS: And of course, if you take it to the next level, let's say, not only will they have to spike it, they have to spike it in a way that when positive samples are on concurrent days, the second day has to be a lower percentage. And not only that, when they spike the prologue sample they have to spike it really high because it was after a short effort and it was tested earlier in the day. Now if you take those factors into consideration the odds become astronomical, don't they?

MA: I honestly can't conceive how you could possibly do that. I don't understand how you could inject enough EPO so that the percentage was slightly lower on the next day, it just beggars belief that you could adjust the amount of EPO you put in a sample by such a miniscule amount. And to be quite frank, it doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny, it's a fantastic claim in the literal sense of the word, it's not backed up by a shred of evidence at all, and I think it needs to be taken on that merit.

AS: So outside of deliberate tampering, is there any way contamination, degradation, is there any way synthetic EPO appears in urine because of contamination, degradation, bad handling, bad refrigeration, anything?

MA: The short answer is no but I have to clarify that. There is evidence that sometimes if a urine sample is stored unfrozen, there can be some contamination of the sample that shifts the band up towards the area we associate with synthetic EPO. Now, it can still be distinguished but it makes it more difficult. There is a test and this is in place throughout laboratories today, they can determine whether or not the sample has that unstable profile.

That possibility was excluded in all of these samples. So yes, it's conceivable that contamination can shift the band, but it didn't happen in this case, that was definitively excluded. There is no way that synthetic EPO can suddenly appear. It can disappear, you could conceivably have degradation where synthetic EPO could break down, it's not likely but it's conceivable. But in that scenario you've got synthetic EPO disappearing, not appearing. It's breaking a pretty fundamental law of physics to say you can generate a molecule of EPO from nothing.

AS: So based on that, you can definitively say that Lance Armstrong used EPO in the '99 Tour. No doubt in your mind.

MA: There is no doubt in my mind these samples contain synthetic EPO, they belong to Lance Armstrong, and there's no conceivable way that I can see that a lab could've spiked them in a way that the data has presented itself. So there is no doubt in my mind he took EPO during the '99 Tour.

The rest of the '99 samples

AS: The other thing that struck me about these results, which I was surprised never came up before, was that if you take away those 6 positives, you have 7 remaining positives out of 81 samples. That's 8.6%. Does that say to you that at that time the peloton was relatively clean?

MA: Yeah, it's an interesting observation, 'cause you cast back to the '98 Tour, obviously it was a debacle. And, I've heard anecdotal or off the cuff remarks, that '99 was a new beginning. It had gotten as bad as it could possibly get, or so we would've thought, and '99 was, "Ok, let's start again, we've really got to make an effort to be clean this year."

Well, obviously, based on Lance Armstrong's results, he wasn't racing clean. But for the rest of the samples collected during the Tour, relatively speaking there wasn't a very high prevalence of EPO use in the rest of the peloton, at least in the peloton that was tested, which was your top 3 place getters, for example.

The prologue was interesting. First race of the event, every one of those samples had EPO in them. So it seems a little odd, the first day of the next year's race, and all of your place getters have got EPO in their urine. On the one hand, yes, it seemed less prevalent than you would've otherwise thought, but on the other there's still evidence there was doping in the peloton. Not just by Lance Armstrong.

AS: I guess it's possible that some guys were injecting during the Tour, and some had an EPO program leading up to the Tour and counted on the effects to remain with them?

MA: It's conceivable. It's widely known that you don't have to be using EPO to get the benefits. You can have a treatment regime that could last as little as ten days, and the benefits are substantial and they'll stay with you for four weeks afterwards. And certainly for the Tour, which is three weeks. So, you don't have to use EPO during the Tour to get the benefits.

AS: I just want to go back to the percentage. Obviously, stage winners are always tested, and there were, I believe Cipollini won four, Steels won three, Etxebarria won two, so, not that I'm accusing them, but there's a chance that some of these positives are from the same person, so there's a chance that the number of people positive is even lower than 8%. And not only that, a great deal of these samples are from stage winners, so they're the stronger riders. So the samples are a skewed sampling of the entire peloton.

MA: Yeah, that's correct.

AS: So you could say as a whole it might've been 8% or less.

MA: And there is no way to identify who those other samples belong to without getting access to the medical records and matching the numbers to their names. So, I've read reports, but I've never seen documented evidence to link names to numbers.

AS: It's interesting because when I spoke with Paul Kimmage he made a pretty big deal about that year's Tour, that it was supposed to be this Tour of redemption, and his point was that Armstrong came along and brought things back to the old ways. These results lend that belief a little bit of credence, don't they?

MA: I think there's a couple of things that strike me as well. Yes, these results are consistent with that argument. The other is that we know how Armstrong performed before the '99 Tour. '93, '94, '95, '96. And look, a couple of those races he couldn't even finish, another race I think he's an hour and a half behind. Specifically in the time trial he was dropping minutes to the other competitors.

Now compare that with '99, and it's a helluva transformation. Instead of dropping off and not being competitive, he was actually dropping the rest of the peloton off. So something dramatically changed in relation to Armstrong versus the rest of the peloton across that period of time. That's unarguable.

There's, as we've been talking about, pretty unequivocal evidence, well, it is unequivocal evidence, that he was using EPO during the '99 Tour. Now, that would go a long way to explaining that reversal in competitiveness in Armstrong v. the peloton.

Ed Coyle publishes a study on Armstrong

AS: Actually, that's the perfect segue for us to start talking about Ed Coyle a little bit. Ed Coyle wrote a study in 2005 about the work he did with Armstrong from '92 to '99, where he claimed that he was able to improve his watts per kilo 18%. Armstrong himself holds this study up as proof that he didn't need dope to win the Tour. There were two ways Coyle went about it. One, Armstrong's efficiency improved, and two, his weight was reduced. How did you become aware of this paper?

MA: I guess I need to put it in a little bit of context. Muscle efficiency is sort of like a holy grail in physiology. To put it in context, a 1% improvement in efficiency has been calculated with various modeling techniques to give you about a one minute improvement in a 40k time trial. So an 8% improvement in efficiency is simply unheard of. It has never been measured before, and so naturally, when Ed Coyle published a paper reporting that, there was an enormous amount of interest. Not just in the lay media, but in scientific circles as well, because lots and lots of people have tried to see if they could change cycling efficiency with different training protocols, it has never been found to change.

And so when you report that not only has it changed, it changed by 8%, then obviously that seems a very unusual finding. As scientists, the first thing you want to do is say, "I want to read the paper, I want to satisfy myself with the methodology that he used, because, gee, this seems like a strange result."

AS: Let's just define the term real quickly, cycling efficiency. The idea is that if you're riding at 400 watts, your body is actually producing much more energy than that, and the efficiency is the percentage of cycling power vs. total power?

MA: Yeah, in very simple terms, it's how much of the energy production in your muscles actually go into the pedals and gives you propulsive force.

AS: And overall energy is measured by how much oxygen you're burning?

MA: Yeah, it's a laboratory test where the subject is put on an ergometer, you measure very carefully how much oxygen the body is using, and that will tell you how much energy is being burned, if you like, in very crude terms. And then you look at the ergometer, and you measure very carefully how much energy the athlete is producing, and the ratio of those two after some adjustments give you the index of efficiency.

So, how much oxygen is he using, versus how much energy is he putting into the bike gives you that index of efficiency.

AS: So Coyle was claiming that for a given oxygen consumption, Armstrong was producing more watts because he was making himself more efficient through training.

MA: That's right. The claim was that because Armstrong had been training for three to six hours on his bike over a period of years, that probably altered his muscle composition, which led him to having a greater efficiency. Now, the only, the glaring oversight there, is that Lance Armstrong is NOT the only cyclist that trains for three to six hours on his bike each day, it's pretty much routine for a professional cyclist.

So, many other professionals have been measured after they've done this same sort of training, but none of them have shown a change in efficiency, which immediately brings into question the basis of Coyle's claim.

And he speculates that this was due to his unique ability to convert his fast twitch muscles to slow twitch muscles.

Again, there was no data to substantiate it. It was his speculation, attempting to explain what he had measured. Again, it just comes down to a simple case of, well, ok, if that was the underlying biological reason, then you'd expect to see it happen over and over again. There's nothing, despite what other people want to believe, there's nothing unique about Lance Armstrong. He's a human being, and he responds as other human beings do to training. And no one else has ever measured those changes that Coyle speculated might've happened in Armstrong.

AS: As a matter of fact, you could take a biopsy of his muscles and analyze it, but he never did.

MA: To put it in context, this wasn't a carefully planned study. This was an opportunistic approach where, the students in the lab related to us, it was simply a matter of Lance Armstrong swinging by occasionally, and Ed Coyle would test him almost as a favor to him, to give him some data. If he came into the lab, great. If he didn't, then there was no data.

And I think that's borne out. If you look at the timing of when these test sessions took place, there really isn't any coherent pattern. For example, if you really wanted to show that your cycling efficiency had increased leading up to a Tour de France, then you want to measure him immediately before, or immediately after the Tour. You don't wait four or five months, like Coyle did in '99, when he's stopped training and was almost beginning the next season.

So, it wasn't carefully planned, the timing of the test sessions were opportunistic rather than carefully thought through.

AS: Let's go in chronological order. You became of aware of this study, and then did you and some of your colleagues lodge a complaint with the University of Texas?

MA: The way it happened is, obviously when the article came out, it spiked a lot of interest and discussion in the scientific community. And the way that scientists address those issues is to write letters to the journal that published the article. Essentially in the letter, you're raising some questions, and then the author is given an opportunity to respond. So both your concerns and his response are published side by side to inform of the rest of the scientific community so they can judge for themselves - well I agree with that, or I don't agree with that.

So that's the first thing that happened, there were two letters published in the journal that questioned very specific aspects of the study. One of those aspects was which ergometer did Coyle use to measure Armstrong's power during those seven years. Now, the reason that's so critical is you HAVE to use the same ergometer very carefully calibrated to make sure that when you measure, say, 300 watts in 1992, that seven years later in 1999, if the ergometer reads 300 watts, you want to be sure that that's correct, and not just an artifact of the ergometer that you're using is different, or uncalibrated, or whatever.

So, the first question related to that, because we had experience with these longitudinal studies, they're exceptionally difficult to carry out successfully. The first question that we had was, "Did you use the same ergometer to measure power output?"

And categorically Coyle responded, "Yes I did. The same ergometer was used for all tests." And, we had to take that at face value. When you question a scientist, they publish their response, and you are obliged to accept whatever they say. So we pretty much had to accept that. We still had reservations, but that was as much as we could know.

Then interestingly, the paper itself became involved in an arbitration hearing where I was asked to serve as an expert witness and interpret this paper for the hearing. In that process I did some background checking to verify to myself what was happening and could this data be relied on. And I was very surprised when we were given a photograph showing Lance Armstrong in the first test session on an ergometer that was definitely not the ergometer that Coyle claims he tested him on.

It was a very disturbing revelation and it was purely a fluke occurrence, where the journalist had been in the laboratory, was taking photos for this journal article, and happened to take a photo while Armstrong was being tested. So we had that reservation and several others that we still felt uneasy about, and we elected to take those directly to Ed Coyle confidentially. We spelled out our concerns, and we said, "Professor Coyle, with the greatest respect, we really don't believe this paper is worthy of publication, would you please retract it?"

And his response was characteristically vehement, and adamant, that he would not retract the paper. And so, from that point we had no option but to seek some other way of getting what we felt was a scientific error corrected. And the next step up was to go to the journal themselves, and say, "Look, these are our concerns, what do you propose we do about it?"

And it came after a lengthy round of discussions, that the journal weren't going to do anything until we made a formal application to the university of scientific misconduct, and that's a very serious step, when you actually go to the scientist's institution and formally claim that he has conducted himself in an inappropriate way. And you're formally asking the university to take action. So those were the steps that began with just an initial "Gee, this paper seems unusual" and gradually became more and more disturbing as more evidence came to light, and eventually resulted in lodging this allegation of misconduct.

Previously undisclosed inconsistencies

AS: Of all his errors, I think only two were allowed to be made public. One was the use of different ergometers, and the other was this misapplication for the formula for gross efficiency and delta efficiency. And I have to confess, I've read about it a lot and I cannot for the life of me understand it. Something about the y-intercept and pushing a line through the origin that shouldn't have gone through the origin because I guess if that line goes through the origin you're probably dead, 'cause your body's not doing anything.

And I think that very esoteric issue, the misapplication of an equation, made it hazy for a lot of people. But in fact, there were a lot more complaints of Coyle than those two issues, weren't there?

MA: Let me clarify the use of that equation. You're right, essentially forcing the line through the 0 intercept, it is inferring there is no other metabolic activity in the body. That the energy your body uses simply to breathe, to sit upright on the ergometer, there's just 0 energy being used. Obviously that's incorrect. Coyle's own publications, previous to this one, he argued that you cannot use gross efficiency, which is ignoring this metabolic energy consumption. The significance of that slope and that intercept is "are you making allowance for this other metabolic activity?"

Now, in his publication, he led us to believe he used the correct equation. However, once we launched this allegation of misconduct, again he's given the opportunity to defend himself. His defense was to produce one of the raw data sheets from the first test session to validate that he has done the testing in the way that he says that he has in the publication.

Now, we were given access to that data file, and immediately we went through it and it seemed very odd. The most striking thing was that in the publication he said that he used five minute workloads, I think there was five of them. And in the raw data that we saw, there weren't five workloads, there was only four workloads and some of them were two minutes long. Completely contradicting what he'd written in the publication.

The other thing that became apparent when we looked a little further, was that if he applied the equation that he said he had, he would've come up with a very different answer. In fact, the correct equation applied to that data gave an efficiency that was the same or fractionally higher, even, than the last result Armstrong obtained in '99. Which is to say his efficiency didn't change at all if you applied the correct equation.

Now, we weren't privy to that information until after we made that allegation of scientific misconduct. So every time we peeled off another layer, even more disturbing evidence came to light. The university said that the evidence wasn't sufficient to impose an allegation of misconduct, but they did recognize that there were some anomalies, they did recommend that these needed to be brought to the attention of the scientific community. It was very much steering us back to the journal and saying, "You're gonna have to write another letter."

So in that second letter we wanted to address everything that we found. All the different equations, the different workloads, the different ergometers, the fact that he hadn't controlled for prior exercise, all these sorts of things. But we were given a very strict directive by the journal, that we could only talk about this delta efficiency equation, and we weren't allowed to discuss, for example, that Professor Coyle had refused to give us any more data to back up the other test sessions. His claim was that he'd lost the data.

So the letter seemed, probably, very dry, perhaps even a bit paper thin. But underneath that letter there was a lot more issues that we knew about that we weren't allowed to publish.

AS: And of course you said his '92 numbers were off, and you weren't able to properly compare it to his '99 numbers because he wouldn't give you the rest of his raw data.

MA: That was one of the most disturbing things to me personally. I've always had it hammered into me during my studies that you have to keep all of your raw data in case another scientist brings it into question. You can always fall back on your data and say, "Look, you go do the calculations yourself and satisfy yourself that what I've written and what I've published is correct."

And it's pretty much the first thing that you learn as a student: keep your data. Now, contrary to that, Professor Coyle claims that this data he collected on the person he thinks is the most gifted endurance athlete on the planet, I mean, he did win the Tour de France seven times in a row, he's a unique case study in every sense of the word. And yet, Professor Coyle would have us believe he lost the data that he collected on this athlete.

And bear in mind, he published this study in 2005. This is well after Armstrong had clearly dominated the Tour de France, and the last collection date Professor Coyle recorded was in '99. So it wasn't as if he could argue, "Well, I didn't know he was going to be a big star, I sorta just chucked the data away." In 2005 he went back, published the data from '92 through '99, and somehow between 2005 and when we made this allegation in 2007 he lost the data. Now I find that incredible.

AS: Now would be a good time to throw in the stipulation. You had collaborators when you lodged your complaints. Now we want to make clear that you're only speaking for yourself, especially when you're talking about Armstrong. Their issue is purely with science and with Coyle.

MA: Yeah there's two layers to this if you like. I have an interest in the Coyle paper primarily because I was asked as an expert witness in the arbitration hearing to interpret it and to provide my opinion to the hearing. Now, that is my interest.

In contrast to that, my colleagues, who were co-authors on the letters to the journal, their primary concern is the scientific validity of the study. They're still working in the field of physiology, and they're very disturbed that data is in the public domain which we believe is simply false, it's incorrect. And they wanted to correct the data from a scientific integrity viewpoint, my personal interest stems primarily from the fact that the paper was introduced into this hearing, was used to defend against allegations that Armstrong had used doping. And therefore my interest is different from that of my co authors.

A laundry list of errors

AS: Let's just do a rundown of the other issues raised in this formal complaint. Prior exercise was not controlled for, so some days he might've showed up to the lab after doing a training ride. You're not supposed to do that, are you, when you're doing testing?

MA: Everyone realizes that if you've just come off a one hour bike ride, you can feel that your metabolism is kicking up, your body is hot. Your efficiency measures then will be different. Coincidentally, the kind of differences you see associated with exercise are pretty much the same as the differences we see over this seven year period. The potential for exercising before your test is very important, it can completely cloud your results.

Again, relying on more than one student, there were several students who contend this, Armstrong for example on one day had just been riding up in the mountains with one of his professional teammates, came into the laboratory and did an efficiency test. Now, from a scientific perspective that's simply unacceptable. You just cannot do that. Efficiency is very difficult to measure at the best of times, and you go to every length that you can to control all the things you're able to in the hope that your results are as accurate as you can get. And obviously one of the most important things is you make sure your athlete comes to the laboratory rested every time they're tested. And that simply didn't happen with these results.

AS: And the other side of this efficiency calculation was that he got 8% more efficient, and because of his weight loss, if you add those two things together, his watts per kilo improved 18%. But he never did directly weigh Armstrong for some of these calculations, did he?

MA: The 18% improvement was half attributable to the increase in efficiency, and half attributable to a decrease in body weight. As you say the power per kilogram increased 18%. So half of it was the power, half was the kilograms. Again, it's very basic science that if you are going to include a value that is so fundamental to the result, such as body weight, you measure it.

Now essentially, and Coyle admits this in the paper, he just guessed. He said, "Well, Lance Armstrong told me that he was 72 kg, so that's the body weight I'm going to divide these power measures by." Now, obviously, when you take your first measure and you say I'm going to use 79 kg here, and then you take the last one and you say I'm going to use 72 kg there, automatically you have an enormous difference.

And instead of that being a real difference, it was simply Coyle's guess at what his body weight was. Now, interestingly enough, during the proceedings, not just the allegation of misconduct but in the arbitration hearing itself, when people are sworn under oath, even Lance Armstrong himself acknowledged that his body weight had never dropped to 72 kg. So it was factually wrong.

So half of the 18% improvement attributable to a change in body weight is again demonstrably false. It's just not real. It's incredibly sloppy science to use a value that you just guessed rather than measured. It's simply unjustifiable in my view.

AS: I personally find it a very dangerous claim because just last week it appeared in a credible paper, the Washington Post. For a finding that's very shaky, for casual fans, it might be a number they actually believe.

MA: The Journal of Applied Physiology, which published the paper, it's not exactly a coffee table magazine. It's a fairly dry, scientific journal. It's highly regarded in physiological circles, but it doesn't get much publicity elsewhere. This article received enormous media attention. Ed Coyle essentially went on a lecture tour publicizing it. I think, because of that public and media interest, it became the most read journal article at the time. So it did receive enormous coverage, and the fears we have as scientists is that people unfamiliar with the area would accept it at face value. And that's why we felt so compelled to correct the scientific record so that it wasn't perpetrated as, "Gee, cycling efficiency can change by that much, and all you need to do is train six hours a day!" It's just not right, and so we need to correct that.

AS: Is there any evidence of fast twitch muscles being converted to slow twitch muscles?

MA: Sure, sure, that happens. All you need to do is collect muscle biopsies, and there are those transitions. But the scale of them is nowhere near sufficient to give this 8% improvement in efficiency. That's the thing that's never been measured before. It's a difficult to understand area inasmuch as to say that everything Ed Coyle speculates on has got a scientific basis. The problem is that it's just never happened in cycling. For example, in runners, there's been documented improvements in running efficiency, and that can happen. It's all got to do with elastic energy storage in tendons and things like that. But there is no elastic component in cycling, and as I've said before, lots of researchers from all around the world have tried to measure it and find the difference, and no one ever has.

AS: In fact he's quoted in a National Geographic article as saying that this has never been documented in any other human. To me, that's an anti-scientific statement, it's like saying he's magic.

MA: That's odd because in his testimony at the arbitration hearing he brought the evidence of a runner improving his efficiency to the table. I don't dispute efficiency can change in other sports. It doesn't change in cycling.

AS: Have you ever observed an 18% improvement in a cyclist after he has turned pro and been a World Champion, competed at a very high level. Is an 18% improvement plausible, have you ever observed it?

MA: The answer is no, but you don't need to go that far down. The data recording the 18% improvement are wrong. There's no need to second guess or say, "Well, could it have happened?" The data is wrong.

The Cloak of Secrecy

AS: The other thing that surprised me is this idea of cancer taking away 15 pounds, it's another one of these publicly held beliefs that became so ingrained, and it was surprising to find that he didn't lose any weight post cancer. And not only that, he's listed as 5' 9", 5' 10", but we know from speaking to his teammates he's more like 5' 5", 5' 6". I guess you're on the metric system...

MA: You cast yourself back to 2005, and I'm very acutely aware of this, there was a wall that came up against me immediately as I was trying to interpret the background data on Armstrong. There virtually was none. Before the Ed Coyle paper no one really knew for sure anything about Armstrong. Not his VO2Max, not his power output, we didn't even know how much he weighed. All you could rely on was very loose, for example in the article that was published after his first test session in Coyle's lab when the photographs were taken, they report him as being 77, 78 kilos. You contrast that with the data in Coyle's paper, and he shows that the lowest body weight was 75 kilos in '93, but in November after his first Tour victory, it was 79 kilos.

Now, Coyle would have us believe that he was 72 kilos at the Tour de France. Armstrong is on the record saying that he was absolutely fastidious about what he ate, and when he ate and how he ate. It is incomprehensible that someone would get himself into such perfect condition and then essentially eat like a horse so that his body weight ballooned up to 79 kilos, and then somehow intend to go back through that hell to lose 7 kilos again for the next race. That's just not true, it doesn't happen.

Armstrong acknowldeged under oath that his body weight never got to 72, he was a little vague, but he said he was happy when he raced in the 74's. Now if you admit you were probably 74 you were probably a lot heavier than that.

It all comes back to this mystery. It's power to body weight that determines your performance, particularly in mountain stages. It's all power to weight ratio. If people know how much you weigh, they can then extrapolate back from your times and your speed, and get a pretty good approximation of what your power output must be. And once you know the power output and the body weight, then you can get a pretty good guess at what the VO2's were like. And when you start plugging some of those figures back in, you see that during some of his performances at the Tour, his VO2 must've been through the roof. Some people say it had to be in the 90's. Now, that's just not physiologically possible, when at other times they're in the 70's.

And that's what Coyle documented in his paper. So the way to get around that, if you don't tell anyone your body weight, they can't even get the first step towards estimating what your power outputs and VO2 must been. And that's just not Armstrong. Most riders are pretty cagey about revealing that because it would give their competitors an insight into their physiological limits, and therefore a strategy to defeat them. So before Coyle's paper we had nothing, no idea at all. And then the paper comes out, all of a sudden the cloak's pulled back, and what is a fairly modest, in elite terms, profile is revealed. There's nothing special about Armstrong's physiology at all.

AS: Coyle makes a big deal of his heartrate being able to go over 200, that it was a contributing factor in his dominance. I think he even said it's unusual for people to go over 190, which I find ludicrous. I have many friends that go into the high 190's. Is there anything to the high heartrate theory?

MA: No, of course not. Any recreational cyclist who rides within a group on weekends will know. Some people heartrates are high and some people's are low. It's really go nothing to do with your maximal performance capacity, and Ed Coyle knows that. And it still beggars belief how he would attempt to perpetrate otherwise in front of a cyclist audience. To me it's just nonsensical.

Coyle's study at the SCA arbitration

AS: And just to clarify, the reason we're talking about this, Coyle was used as an expert witness in the arbitration case where an insurance company refused to pay out a bonus, and so he was called to prove that Armstrong was able to win the Tour without doping.

MA: Essentially the arbitration was between SCA promotions and Tailwind, who'd taken out a contract that said if Lance Armstrong wins X Tour de Frances you will pay him bonuses, and the bonuses began around a million dollars and increased up to the last victory where he was due a payment of five million dollars.

Now, this began when some of David Walsh's information became public, there was a real growing body of evidence suggesting that Armstrong had doped. SCA's position was, "Hang on a minute, before we pay you this last bonus," they'd paid out all the ones before then, "before we pay this last bonus, we need to get to the bottom of this. Have you doped or not?"

At the end of the day, the case, and Armstrong's lawyers made this argument themselves, in the end it was irrefutable. The case came down to "Does the contract say you'll pay him if he wins?" And the contract said that. It didn't say anything about "We won't pay if you doped," or any clause that if there's any suspicion of doping we won't pay you out. It was a simple black and white: if you win you get paid.

That became apparent during the case, and it was recognized that because of that letter of the law, there was no way that SCA couldn't be held liable to pay that amount out. And for that reason they ended discussions and the case was settled out of court. The hearing body wasn't asked to rule did Armstrong dope or not. The hearing never had to make the ruling, because the case was settled, and it was settled because both parties recognized it was simply a letter of law, he had to be paid because he did win the Tour.

So all of this evidence that was brought to the hearing was brought with the understanding that the hearing would take a slightly different view of things, and it wasn't supported in the end, but all of this evidence was nonetheless brought to the hearing, and Ed Coyle was asked to be a witness and produce his paper to defend our allegations that Armstrong had doped.

(Dr. Coyle has been contacted twice to respond to these charges. If he agrees to talk to me I'll run his response unedited.)

Tyler Hamilton, a brief history of blood doping

AS: You developed the test for homologous blood doping, which eventually caught Tyler Hamilton.

MA: That's right. The test was introduced at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and there was initial evidence of transfusion even before the Olympic games, there was more evidence during the games, and then during the Vuelta immediately afterwards he failed both an A and a B sample. And that was when he was sanctioned.

AS: And in fact at the Olympics, it was because his B sample was mishandled that he got away with it.

MA: Yeah, the A and the B sample rule dictates that the A has to be positive, then the athlete is allowed to come in and witness the B sample being opened and tested. The test for homologous transfusion relies on the red blood cells being intact. And what the laboratory had done was to freeze the B sample. It's a little bit like when you freeze water, it expands. When you freeze blood, the red blood cells expand and burst.

Once it'd been frozen it was unusable for our test and so the B sample couldn't be analyzed, therefore he couldn't be sanctioned.

AS: Maybe we should go into a little bit of the history blood doping. Transfusions had been around, and I guess EPO replaced it because it was easier - you didn't have to draw blood, you don't have to risk putting someone else's blood in you.

MA: It's interesting, the history, because probably it wasn't until the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City that coaches or athletes or physiologists for that matter really took much notice of altitude or oxygen consumption or for that matter blood doping. And in the leadup during the games which were held at altitude, people realized how dramatic the impact on performance was, when you had less oxygen available to the body.

And it was a relatively straightforward link to say, well, if the body suffers when there's not enough oxygen, it'll probably perform better when there's extra oxygen. And that's the basis of blood doping. You put more blood into the body so that it transfers more oxygen into your muscles, and you perform better.

So that was in 1968. Probably midway into the 70's we begin to see anecdotal reports of athletes experimenting with blood transfusions, EPO wasn't invented at that time, so it was conventional blood doping: taking blood out of one person and giving it to you, or storing your own blood in the refrigerator for several weeks, and putting it back in just before you race. So that was present during the 70's. As late as 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics, the US cycling team at that stage were practicing both homolgous transfusion, which is using someone else's blood, and autologous transfusion, which is using your own blood.

Soon after the IOC were put under a lot of pressure to ban this practice, at the time it was considered unethical but it wasn't banned, so soon after that there was a ban in place, but because it couldn't be tested for, there was nothing to stop its use. But it is a pretty time consuming and messy procedure. You've gotta take the blood out and store it, it could get contaminated or infected in the meantime, then put back in.

During the mid 90's, they isolated the gene that produced EPO in the body. They were then able to make synthetic EPO, and that was a much easier scenario. It was as simple as taking a few injections, three or four injections, and you got the same benefits, probably even more so, than if you used blood transfusions. In the mid 90's EPO overtook transfusion. It's a lot quicker and more effective.

And then in 2000 when there was a test for EPO, we suspected that probably shied some of the athletes back towards transfusions, which at that time were undetectable. So it was kind of this middle period straight up after 2000, where we suspected the athletes resorted back to transfusions. They were still using EPO but transfusions reappeared.

And it was on that basis that we did the research and introduced the test for homologous transfusion, because that in particular is a horrendous, especially dangerous method of blood doping. The risks are very real and very severe. So there was a very strong medical and moral reason to bring in a test, to stop athletes from going down that path.

And that's pretty much where we are five years later. We have the test for EPO, we have the test for homologous transfusion, but there's no test for autologous transfusion, and we know that athletes, by carefully monitoring their EPO injections, can continue to get away with that as well. So that's the scenario we're faced with at the moment.

AS: The EPO tests probably brought about Puerto? The storing of blood bags and so forth?

MA: I guess you could make that speculation. I don't know that it's quite as simple as that, other than to say that Puerto seems to have occurred from early 2000 onwards. The timing's at least coincidental.

The Bio Passport

AS: There's no test for autologous transfusion, though there's news today that a new test might be developed. Is that where the longitudinal passport concept comes in?

MA: The passport, we held a lot of hope that it would reveal autologous transfusion, the underlying theory is that if you re-infuse a bag of blood, then the concentration of red cells in circulation, the hemoglobin concentration, is going to be increased. And we should be able to spot the elevated values compared to what it was before the transfusion.

The unfortunate reality is that we've conducted a couple of studies in Denmark where we have replicated that practice in volunteers, and we were puzzled and disheartened to find that there just wasn't the increases in hemoglobin that we had expected. For some reason the body regulates differently between transfusions and EPO. With EPO your hemoglobin rises markedly. With transfusions it just doesn't seem to.

We don't fully understand why, we've got a few clues, but the bottom line is yes, transfusion is apparent in the blood passport approach, but the changes aren't usually substantial enough that in itself we will be able to impose a doping violation just on changes in the blood. We would probably need to supplement that with other sorts of evidence.

AS: Is that why no one's been caught using the bio passport to date?

MA: No, that's more related to the care and the diligence that the UCI is using to gather all of the evidence they'll need before they'll prosecute the first case. So no, there is no relation to that.

Police Intervention

AS: It's said that dopers are nine years, a number of years ahead of the testers. A lot of the famous cases are broken by traditional police techniques: surveillance, raids, etc. Is that, moving forward, how most dopers will be caught?

MA: Yeah, I think that's a very insightful comment. If we look back, certainly over the last decade, the major drug scandals that've raised the awareness of drug usage, that have confronted the public with how it is, they've all come from police style investigations. You talk about Puerto, or Balco, or Austrian skiers at the Olympics, all of those came from a police intervention of some kind.

If you look back, really the only significant high profile case that was purely from a doping control standpoint, is probably Ben Johnson in Seoul, and Floyd Landis at the Tour de France. Other than that, I think you struggle to really come up with a big fish caught with a doping control.

I think that speaks to how loose urine control has been historically. It has been too easy for a loophole to be found, and I think the results speak for themselves. With EPO and growth hormones, it's slightly different, because the molecule itself is just so hard to detect. That's a technological challenge as well as a logistics challenge, getting the doping control officer to the athlete at the time when the drug's present in the urine.

So I think the passport will take us a big step forward, not necessarily because it will be where sanctions are suddenly imposed, but because it tells the agencies which athletes are suspicious and which are not, or for all accounts clean. So you can focus your tests accordingly. Rather than having a pool of a thousand athletes, suddenly you narrow it down to a pool of say, fifty, and you focus your testing on those. And I think that indirect benefit of the passport, plus the continued police involvement, are going to be the conerstones of the anti doping efforts. At least in the foreseeable future.

AS: So the passport may not catch someone, but someone might find himself subject to more 'random' tests?

MA: Exactly. And when you've shown these unusual variations then you can expect the federations will continue to pursue you until your values came back to normal and stopped deviating, or you're caught and sanctioned. It's an element of the passport that perhaps wasn't emphasized as much as it could've. There are some people who believe that's what the passport is best suited to do, to highlight the athletes who are doping so that you can then follow up with targeted testing.

Crime and Punishment

AS: Is doping criminalized in Australia?

MA: No, it's not, and it's a little perplexing to me, because many times the Australian model is held up to be the world's best practice. But it's not criminal, there is a dialogue between Australia's anti doping agency and our federal police, and that's resulted in low level athletes being caught. District level basketball or football players. It still hasn't netted any big fish, high profile successful athletes. The ones who are winning competitions, to my mind, they're the ones we need to satisfy ourselves either they're doping or they're not. They're the ones getting the publicity and they're the enticements for other athletes to use drugs.

Once we take care of those, I think we're going to be a lot further down the road to controlling this problem. At the moment Australia doesn't have criminalization for possession of some of these banned substances, even though law enforcment agencies are cooperating with anti doping agencies. I think we've got a little bit of room where we can improve on the domestic front.

AS: It's also not criminal here in the US. Just today we see that Bernard Kohl was caught, and he might spend up to five years in jail. It seems that for a lot of riders, they might get banned for two years or life, it's nothing compared to the prospect of jail time.

MA: Actually, if you sort of get into this conversation, you begin to look at some of the implications, it's not cut and dry to me. I don't disagree that if it's a criminal activity to possess or traffic a drug, and an athlete is caught doing that, they should face criminal prosecution. I have no argument about that. I'm not particularly sure in my mind that an athlete using drugs in a context outside of that stipulated criminal activity, I'm not sure we should regard them as criminals. They're not murdering people, they're not kidnapping anyone, they're not extorting anyone, they're breaking a rule of sport which says you don't use this particular drug when you compete. You can use it in hospital to make yourself better, but you can't use it when you're playing sport.

It's breaking a rule of sport in my mind, and I think we need to maintain that perspective. I don't for a second condone it, but at the same time, we need to recognize that these guys aren't commiting a criminal activity unless in a specific country it's categorized as that. I think it's a symptom of our anti doping efforts' frustration at not being able to identify who the athletes are who are doping and when they're doping.

And the response to that frustration is, well, when we do catch them, by hell you better believe we're going to punish them. There's people arguing at the moment it should be a lifetime ban the first time you're caught. I think that's a symptom of that frustration, "Gee we only catch one every x number of years, and we gotta make an example of him." I just think we're getting a little bit hysterical, and perhaps we're losing that perspective of what we're trying to do and how we're trying to do it.

An empathetic approach

AS: Interesting. It's interesting for me to hear that for someone who's working so hard at anti doping, you have a very measured view of it.

MA: Well, it probably doesn't come across in most media because more often than not I'm being asked to defend the science of our tests, for example in the Hamilton case. Or I'm being asked to defend my opinion regarding Armstrong. Now, they're fairly polar circumstances. I believe that, I know that I carry out my research with the highest possible integrity. And I am empathetic with athletes, that is my background. I worked with elite athletes and that is my original passion.

I only became involved in anti doping so that I could stop doping and come back eventually and begin working with athletes again, and reassure them that you can be clean, you can compete, and you can win if you're good enough. I couldn't do that back in 2000 'cause I knew athletes could still get away with doping, and therefore whatever I did to help an athlete prepare wasn't going to be enough. So I felt I was better off using my energy in that field of anti doping so that in the long run I could come back to where I wanted to be. So I empathize with the athletes.

Something that sits at the forefront of my mind, a discussion that I had with a group of cyclists, I'm not going to say who they were, and I said to them, "Look, guys, if you tell me what you're doing, I don't need names, so I can go away, develop that test, and come back here and remove that particular doping problem once and for all."

And their response is still a guiding light to me. They said, "If you can come back to us with a test that captures everyone so that we can all stop, you can expect us to support it. But if you come back with a test that only captures a quarter of the people, and those quarter are punished but then they're replaced by another quarter and the problem keeps going, don't expect us to support it. Because you're destroying careers and families and livelihoods, and you're not getting rid of the problem." And I've always held that as an ultimate goal.

That's why I was particularly proud of our homologous test, because there is no way you can get away with homologous doping now if you're tested. It's as simple as that. I believe that the incidence of homologous doping is virtually zero. I think the only time an athlete would get caught now is if they've made a mistake and put someone else's blood in them when they thought they were putting their own.

And that's the sort of strategy that I think if the scientific world can come to athletes and say, "Here, this is a test that will stop doping," I think the athletes will support it 100% and I'd expect them to. And until the scientists can come to the athletes with that argument, we're forever in this grey area where "We'll get some of ya, and we sort of wish you'd help us catch some of ya", and on a personal level I can see that's just not...it doesn't comply with human nature. We're asking the athletes to do something which, I don't think if I were in their position I would do either.

Which is to say, you talk about the Simeoni's and people who speak out, overnight they virtually, well they do jeopardize their career, and perhaps they even destroy it. And what has it achieved? Some could say it has raised awareness, but has it changed anything? And that's an incredibly hard choice for us to foist upon an athlete, to say, "We want you to be brave, stand up in the media, tell us that you doped, tell us who else doped, and we'll publicize that story." Now, the athlete could do that, next day, particularly with this omerta in cycling, the guy's going to be out of a job, he's gonna be ostracized from his friends and his peers, and a week later that newspaper is fish wrappings, and nothing's changed. That's the sort of humane perspective that I always try to keep with me, and as I've said before, it doesn't show usually, because I'm being drawn into these polar arguments of yes and no, right or wrong.

AS: It seems we've come full circle. In my first question I asked about your work at AIS, where you were doing performance enhancing work, making athletes better, and you found that there was no point until anti doping was perfected. In a way, this is the ultimate performance enhancing measure, isn't it?

MA: Yeah, I guess, if ever I ended up back at the AIS or working with elite athletes again, I'd like to think it was because I felt satisfied that the job or the task I've set myself has been accomplished. Today, I have to be honest, sitting with you now, I'm not all that confident that we will reach that, not in the foreseeable future, but at the same time I do have cautious optimism that we can improve things and make them significantly better. Perhaps not bring them down to 0%, but I do think it's achievable that if an athlete dopes and wins, he'll be caught. He could dope and not win, and might not be tested or might not raise any suspicions, but if he wins, and he dopes in order to win, he'll get busted. To me, that would be a point where I could say, "Great, I'm going to sit back and I'm going to do the things I really enjoy doing now, because my job is done."

Dr. Ashenden was kind enough to respond to some follow up questions. Here is his email to me:

Dear Readers,
I realise the interview contained confronting material, addressing many different issues. Andy has asked me to respond, and for those of you with sufficient mental stamina (which, unfortunately, is not known to improve even if you read for 3-6 hours per day) I would make the following points.
1. Guilty or not of doping. Lance Armstrong is not a convicted doper, he has never been found guilty of doping, and he has steadfastly maintained his innocence. As far as I am aware, Marion Jones is not a convicted doper, she has never been found guilty of doping, and she steadfastly maintained her innocence - until she admitted lying to a federal investigator about taking banned substances (note: lying to a federal investigator is NOT a doping offence). Whether or not their respective sports can benefit from increases in mechanical efficiency, neither athlete has ever had a positive doping sanction imposed. To put it simply - not testing positive does not establish that an athlete did not use banned substances.

2. Remuneration. Yes I was remunerated ($150 per hour + expenses)  for my role in the SCA case. I would be very surprised if any expert witness, including Professor Coyle, was not (the $2.5 million SCA had to pay in penalties included payment for Armstrong's legal team and expert witnesses).

3. Do financial payments influence outcomes? Interesting point. Its public record that Armstrong donated $1.5 million to the Indiana University Hospital a few days after his oncologist delivered an affidavit stipulating Armstrong's medical treatment. Its also public record that Armstrong paid an undisclosed sum to the UCI who were responsible for conducting and reporting his doping controls (I say ‘undisclosed' because under oath Armstrong could not remember how much, to whom, or when he made the payment, only that he did send them money whilst he was competing). Moreover, Armstrong benefited to the tune of $5 million from the SCA case, yet his testimony/evidence was relied upon. Perhaps financial remuneration, and how that influences your conduct, is a tricky issue to tackle? So, back to my original point: if one asserts that financial payments may influence expert witnesses carrying out their duties, then one must also acknowledge that it is conceivable that financial payments might influence other entities as well.

4. Trust. See page 179 of "Its not about the bike", where Armstrong says: ""The old me had weighed 175 pounds. Now I was 158, my face looked narrow and hawkish, and you could see every sinew in my legs." In the context of the book, this was post-cancer shortly before he resumed racing. 175 pounds (~79kg) vs. 158 pounds (~72kg). Later, Armstrong confirmed under oath that he had never raced at 72 kg - yet this leaner body weight has entered folklore (and Coyle's publication!) as the explanation for his improved performance. He had lied to the public about his weight loss. To quote Armstrong's agent Bill Stapleton, when questioning the motives of allegations against his friend: "He lied once, therefore it brings everything else into question".

5. Interpreting the urine results. I expect people to challenge my interpretation of the science, and rightly so. I do have some experience interpreting results - see here the link to a peer-reviewed article  I wrote describing how the percentage basic isoforms are reduced in the hours/days after an EPO injection (http://www.haematologica.org/cgi/reprint/91/8/1143). I'd also direct you to the WADA website where you can practice for yourselves to see if you can visually tell the difference between a doped sample and a clean athlete (http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/td2007epo_en.pdf  see Figure 1 on page 3 where the right hand lane = ‘clean'). It's not always that clear cut, I admit, but it gives you some idea of what the lab has to do to determine whether or not a sample has synthetic EPO!). It's not the rocket science it is sometimes made out to be...but you do have to rely on the expertise and experience of the lab who generated the gels. In the case of the 99 Tour samples, the gels were generated by the lab who developed the original test, so their expertise is self-evident.

6. Comparison of pre vs. post cancer performance. Apparently some readers have objected that my comparison lacked scientific credibility. I accept that criticism as justified (it was a very long interview...). However his times, performances and those of his rivals are again public record - they do not mandate scientific interpretation. Time trials are perhaps the fairest way for a lay person to compare performances across time. It is a statement of fact that he lost minutes during time trials pre-cancer, and gained minutes post-cancer, compared with his rivals. David Walsh's book(s) address this in more detail for those interested.

7. Finally, I wish to add comment about the recent sample collection in France. Lance Armstrong is the self-proclaimed ‘most tested athlete in the history of sport' which infers he well and truly knows the drill - when you are notified to provide a doping control you MUST be chaperoned at all times until the urine sample is provided. The athlete is not allowed to leave the tester's presence (this is an age-old guard against the athlete attempting to mask drug use, for example by placing soap under their fingernails and discretely adding this to their urine sample so as to destroy proteins like EPO in the urine). Obviously I have no evidence to suggest this is what Armstrong did. But I find it curious that he feels he has special dispensation to leave the tester's sight and take a shower. Perhaps old habits die hard?

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Right on!!!!! Was the
By: Lorenzo Saddlesore
Thu, 07/04/2013 - 11:20am

Right on!!!!! Was the steroids and enzymes that pedaled the bike not him. He was too busy star fucking in the team bus. Guy got more ass than Capt Kirk.

Re: Holes & Presumptions - Wheelsucker
By: Carn Soaks
Thu, 07/04/2013 - 8:41am

Bet you feel a bit foolish now "Wheelsucker". You question Michael Ashenden, one of two most outspoken people wrt Clean Sport, (ne Tygart), Where as you tout Coyle as a genius. Someone who was so blinded by the charisma of a local sports personality (being texan) and closely linked to Chris Carmichael. Shown now that these two are insidiously corrupt, made fortunes promoting their coaching prowess and physiology nouse, helping turn an ambitious teenage triathlete into the best endurance cyclist of all time. WELL They didnt. They transformed a reasonable sportsperson into an egomaniac whom upon winning deluded himself into believing he was special. What was special was the conncoction of steroids and enzymes he took. No-one could be surprised by his testicular disease after all the testosterone he took. In 1995 you can look at the photos, and his body was more suited to a body builder gone rampant than an endurance cyclist. The fact that he was out of control in his abuse is obvious and his T.A. was only unique because other riders didnt as blatantly abuse the steroid options available as he did.

By: William Fork
Thu, 07/04/2013 - 8:31am

LIVESTRONG is a FOR PROFIT brand, part owned by Armstrong Foundation and DEMAND MEDIA Company specialsing in creating and managing brands to market. Lance and other directors received huge share bundles as part of the exercise, equating to profiting from the LIVESTRONG brand. Now, you may not begrudge him from making some cash from the efforts, but the parties involved made millions through this endeavour and I know they never let that fact make the public domain. See the attached schematic as a guide on the twisted web L.A. wove and used to manage his brand.
and here where I was directed to it from.. a top blog

Re: Lance had not retired
By: William Fork
Thu, 07/04/2013 - 8:19am

Hey Nic,
In reflection, Lance had not retired, even in 2012. He was still racing Triathlons, these are IOC sanctioned sports and open to USADA reviews. That is what effectively opened him up for prosecution. He was still cheating, years after his TDF wins, he couldn't accept that others were talented an had a right to win something too.

Delgado, Indurain, Riis,
By: Goro Polished
Sat, 01/19/2013 - 5:55am

Delgado, Indurain, Riis, Ullrich, Pantani, Pereiro, Contador...what do they all have besides being past winner of Le Tour?

its not cause lance doped
By: Sacha Saddlebag
Sat, 01/12/2013 - 8:57am

its not cause lance doped that people hate him, its cause he is a fuck wit!

Would you like some haterade
By: Axel O-Ring
Sat, 11/03/2012 - 1:17am

Would you like some haterade with those hater tots, bro?

Pantani died soon after
By: Niccolo Bearing
Mon, 10/29/2012 - 5:25pm

Pantani died soon after retiring, Virenque was busted ... ya think Ullrich (a product of the East German athlete development program) was doped? Likely Indurain and Cipollini too. I doubt there was a single team not looking to get some sort of performance enhancing advantage in that period. Armstrong was the only one they just kept after, even after retirement. That's the reality of it. So who won those 7 Tours? No one? Pro cycling has become a joke ...

Biciklista, you have some
By: DeHulst
Mon, 10/29/2012 - 12:47pm

Biciklista, you have some reading to do. Th Inner Ring had an article a week or so ago explaining that if all doped, it still wouldn't be a level playing field. And you might want to read USADA's RD, or Hamilton's book. Actually, read Hamilton's book first, and then the RD. You'll get an idea of how Lance was thinking when it comes to doping, and then see at least 90% from Hamilton's claims corroborated by others in the RD.

In short, Armstrong was not the first to dope, but he took it to the extremes, partly due to his paranoia.

The voodoo cult of positive
By: Arthur Headset
Sun, 10/07/2012 - 1:08am

The voodoo cult of positive thinking
Lessons from Lance Armstrong's disgrace.

"Armstrong’s downfall may do more long-term good than his ascent. We now know that pure willpower was only one strand of Armstrong’s career. That corrective applies to all success and, by extension, to all failure. Armstrong spent his career trying to prove that willpower is the whole story. Instead, he has demonstrated that life is always far more complicated than that."


lance didn't cheat eh
By: Noe Stiff
Sun, 09/30/2012 - 4:30pm

so in other words - every other rider out there was on the poe. bullshit. he cheated.

Just checked out that USADA link...list of sanctioned athletes..
By: Wout Crank
Wed, 09/26/2012 - 11:03am


Jerry Shields

Paralympic Archery

Public Warning - Loss of Results

Hydrochlorothiazide, Chlorothiazide, Triamterene and Labetalol


the idot...
By: Kevin Brazeon
Thu, 09/13/2012 - 3:05pm

was introduced withe the iphone 5 yesterday.

I want to party like it's
By: The Artist Formerly Known as Lance
Thu, 09/13/2012 - 6:44am

I want to party like it's 1999.

By: Biciklista
Thu, 09/13/2012 - 4:03am

Did he dope? i don't have any doubt
Did he cheat? No, in my opinion cheating is when you gain unfair advantage over your competitors. Lance beat the best riders in the world most of whom have either been caught doping or admitted to doping later in their careers.
Can a person dope and still have good intentions in other aspects of his life? Yes, why not....Lance knew the world he was in and knew that to win he had to do what he had to do....at least he used his fame and fortune to try to do some good in this world through his Livestrong foundation.
Why are we spending all this energy pursuing a retired athlete? That boggles my mind, I'm convinced there are many other cheats out there in cycling and other sports shouldn't we be trying to catch them rather than testing blood samples from 1999?

By: Dr. Ferrari
Tue, 09/04/2012 - 4:59pm

Sorry to hear about your father. Both of my parents died from cancer, what does Lance have to do with them? I was aware of cancer before he came along. The point is Lance can raise money for cancer awareness AND lie and cheat his way to an extraordinary life. He can do good for some AND line his own pockets on the backs of the same people. He can be held up to be the best of society for all the "good" he does by getting there by doing things that aren't very good...

By: Wout Housing
Tue, 09/04/2012 - 3:52pm

@ BENJAMIN AND NO NAME: when you will have experienced what i lived then you will have the right to talk about me. my father died in my arms stupid people. what you know about cancer and treatments, medicamentation etc.? NOTHING AT ALL. i have come from europe to usa in the hope that in usa i can cure my father. he suffered from a rare form of cancer, maxilo-facial cancer (where the tumor is behind your eye and extend all around your maxilar, nose, eye and attacks even the brain). when i arrived in usa the cancer was in fase 2 and i had hope. i don't think that you know what means to make radioterapy and chimioterapy. you don't even think with your brains, you are all so naive. i am not a native english, but so i have errors an my grammar, but i'm not defending armstrong for money and ițm not telling lies. do you even want to poste the analysis of my father and all the names of the doctors where me and my familly took him? i can do that, and even so i think that you will say that i am an the payroll list of lance. have a good life hypocrites!

All that stuff is covered on
By: schmalz
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 7:01pm

All that stuff is covered on our sister site, cycling news.com, well they don't admit we're related but we're totally sisters.

yes, fortunately
By: idot
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 6:52pm

I knew that lil bit of frat boy in joke. welcome to their club, where you just talk about doping and sandbagging and never race or talk about racing. Was the Pro Cycling challenge even mentioned on this site. Hincapie's last race? Nope...not a peep. Vuelta? eh, what's that?

Idot is the right spelling on
By: b
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 6:12pm

Idot is the right spelling on NYVC. Welcome newbie.

Dude below
By: Senne Topcap
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 4:24pm

Y'all gonna call someone an idiot, least thing you could do is spell it right, pardner.

@Hey Guys
By: Enough???
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 1:04am

You're reading and posting on a 3 1/2 year old thread and you're questioning if there is anything new to say? There must be. You're still reading. OK then!

You're an idot.

By: hey guys!
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 12:22am

do any of you, on either side of this discussion, actually believe you have anything new to say?! ok, then

will somebody put the
By: Tristan Headset
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 11:14pm

will somebody put the unstoppable "just like lance" adam r. to work doing something useful, please?

I too am just like Lance.
By: Logan Downtube
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 9:10pm

I too am just like Lance. Getting kicked hard in the jewels when I was younger left Mr. Scrots half-full

I think we get the C team as
By: schmalz
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 7:06pm

I think we get the C team as far as PR posts go.

By: Flatty flatser
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 6:55pm

This really gave me a good laugh... or should it make me cry...

To Adam R
By: Reformed Livestrong Army Member
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 6:33pm

Adam, you are a lot like Lance. You have both won the Tour de France zero times.

By: Elias Limit Screw
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 6:33pm

Is this post meant to be a joke?

Next week
By: SPOKEn Lancelot
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 6:29pm

Lance is coming to teach my marketing class next week.

@Adam R
By: Piero Limit Screw
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 6:27pm

Adam, what PR firm are you with?

@ Adam R
By: Timothy Geithner
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 6:22pm

Not only is Lance a hero, he's going to solve our unemployment problem all by himself. How many people has his PR firm hired to post testimonials on cycling forums and in the comments section of newspaper websites? And how many lawyers are making a living defending him? If we all do our part by bashing Lance, he'll keep hiring more minimum wage idots to troll the forums until there is no unemployment. Then maybe Lance will start working on solving the inflation problem. We know his foundation spends nothing on cancer research.

Wow! That was the single greatest post...
By: star struck
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 11:47am

...In the history of this website. Come on Dan-dy, put that comment on the front page for all to see!

If you are guilty of
By: Adam R
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 10:15am

If you are guilty of something for that length of time, you will come out and publicly admit it. To keep fighting like Lance has done all these years, means he has nothing to hide. To now step away from this fight, takes courage, I for one would have called quits a while ago, especially with a family - this is not the media attention you want surrounding your immediate ones. Those who follow Lance (this is not bias, btw) know the person he is, I do not know anybody that trains the way he does. His mindset is like no other. Fitness is his hobby. Its what drives him. I believe it is what kept him alive. People, the media, everyone can say what they want, it doesnt change the fact that Lance is a champion, you may not want to believe it, but to a person like me, and Lance, it doesnt matter, because we know. One might ask, how do you know? Simple - because I am another Lance, no I havent won 7 TdF's, however my brain functions the same way, You are what you put in. Dedication. Love. Sacrifice. Lance just takes it 1 step further, its what gave him a 7th gear, when everyone else maxed out on 6.

DA in great company
By: Dino Liner
Sun, 08/26/2012 - 9:55pm
Americanus - Not
By: Your Name
Sun, 08/26/2012 - 8:39pm

Americanus is obviously on Lance's PR payroll. No way he/she could write that poorly yet use naive and demonize properly.
And his whole premise is backwards. If there really was a cure for cancer, there would be no need for Livestrong. Maybe that's why they provide no funding for cancer research. The more people with cancer, the more money Livestrong/Armstrong make.
If you think this is all a conspiracy theory, this makes more sense than yours.

i think everyone has long
By: for real
Sun, 08/26/2012 - 7:54pm

i think everyone has long accepted what you're asking them to. that's why this is such a big story, einstein.

By: Forese Ergopower
Sun, 08/26/2012 - 6:28pm

they all dope. money talks. accept it and get over it. I've ridden tour alpine stages - there's no way they can perform at the speeds they do for 3 weeks on pasta and electrolyte drinks. The shame is that pro riders train longer and harder than most atheletes, but it is the fear of what the other guy may be doing that drives them to dope. Sponsors expect stage wins, yet distance themselves when victory is tainted by drugs. its an industry not a sport.

amgen to livestrong.
By: Jelle Crank
Sat, 08/25/2012 - 6:29pm

amgen to livestrong.

Ok, cool. Thanks for the
By: Benjamin Headbadbe
Sat, 08/25/2012 - 4:02pm

Ok, cool. Thanks for the clarification that you're a wingnut.

By: americanus
Sat, 08/25/2012 - 9:34am

you are naive like all the average americans. if you dont understand is not my fault. my friend, lance knows that they are cures for cancer but there exists a monopol in this moment. i talk in the name of my experience, my father have died of cancer last year and all the doctors where sayng that is fatal, but when we arrived at livestrong it was really too late. we had found that for that type of cancer exists for 5, i repeat 5 years treatment, but is not released because there are certain interest, like let the people take all the other treatment wich are far more expensive. and if you dont belived me is you problem but this is my story, is what i had experienced. farmaceutical industry is one of the big 3 bussines of the american goverment. so dont come to me and say that i´m smoked when i sufferd for 1 year. many people have obtain a cure against cancer being helped by livestrong, but year after year lance is demonized and with him his all work in this organization. continue to stay blind and you will die like an naive stupid american.

By: Benjamin Headbadge
Sat, 08/25/2012 - 3:32am

Are you suggesting the international cancer industrial complex has conspired to discredit Lance Armstrong in order to protect it's profits from Livestrong's "advocacy" and to further it's love of cancer? How many bowls did you have to smoke before coming up with that one?

The guys he beat were all
By: Baptiste Rubber Hood
Sat, 08/25/2012 - 2:19am

The guys he beat were all doping!!! MORON!

usada a bad joke
By: americanus
Fri, 08/24/2012 - 9:52pm

i want to see the day when nba, nfl, nhl will fall under doping acusations. usada is pure political organization wtih many interests in medical monopol over cancer. livestrong it has to be gone for the advantage of the boys who rules the medical industry of cancer in usa. i dont say that lance is not guilty but usada has ni proper jurisdiction and is just a pure political tool. the stakes are higher than sport or lance, is about the medical industry. open youre eyes!

It would be terrible
By: Anthony Limit Screw
Fri, 08/24/2012 - 9:04pm

What if the drugs had made no difference and he would have won anyway!

Excellent read
By: Nanni Clamp
Fri, 08/24/2012 - 1:02pm

Great interview with someone who it is difficult not to be impressed with.

As to why doping matters to spectators, it matters because when you know or believe there is cheating involved its difficult to get excited. Is what I'm seeing actually an amazing achievement (Michael Johnson) or is it just someone who seems to be (Gatlin/Jones/Lewis/Armstrong)

By: Evoflash
Fri, 08/24/2012 - 7:56am

he cheated.

Robbed honest hard working athletes of their moment of glory.

Not very nice of him is it.

I'm sure he'll end up paying for it.

Lance Armstrong to KPMG.
By: Mohamed Brakepad
Tue, 07/03/2012 - 1:44pm

Lance Armstrong to KPMG.

Oh to have your head so
By: Adam Lube
Tue, 07/03/2012 - 12:31pm

Oh to have your head so deeply buried in the sand..............

Most Lance fans know he doped, and don't give a fuck. The guy entertained us like few others.

it's incredible to me that,
By: Axel Limit Screw
Tue, 07/03/2012 - 10:18am

it's incredible to me that, after reading such an in depth and clearly well informed articile based on established scientific knowledge, that so many people still try to find fault with it and defend Armstrong. Oh to have my head so deeply buried in the sand..............

some one
By: Ms. Manners
Thu, 06/28/2012 - 5:23pm

"some one" should actually be one word to be gramatically correct: "someone I'm interviewing...."

The Confused Auditor
By: Dino Drainhole
Thu, 06/28/2012 - 5:15pm

This should read as..

'As for Armstrong, I'm an auditor and when some one I'm interviewing is that defensive and eager to show me they're 100% right without doubt...I start looking for whatever BS they're hiding.'

Lorenzo Internal Routing
By: Wheelie Bro
Thu, 06/28/2012 - 4:22pm

Lorenzo Internal Routing - someone needs to audit you.
You said "I'm an auditor and when some one I'm interviewing is that defensive and eager to show me they're 100% right without doubt...I start looking for whatever BS they're hiding."

What BS are you hiding behind your auditing job? Holier than thou, dispenser of auditing justice!

Auditor Man to Arthur
By: Mohamed Dropout
Thu, 06/28/2012 - 1:46pm

Auditor Man to Arthur Anderson.

Oh, woops, that firm is bust because of fraudulent auditing....

who give a f**?
By: Lorenzo Internal Routing
Thu, 06/28/2012 - 12:48pm

why are you haters so intent on tearing down our sport? Lance is the only name the average American knows. Everybody doped, Lance just did it better than most. Who. Cares? The rules say win the race and don't give a positive test and that's what he did. You guys just hate him because he's successful.

As for Ashendon, I'm an auditor and when some one I'm interviewing is that defensive and eager to show me they're 100% right without doubt...I start looking for whatever BS they're hiding.

@dry lube the difference is,
By: Baptiste Neck
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 2:37pm

@dry lube

the difference is, in the local peleton there are vast differences in talent, age, time to train, resources etc. on the pro tour level, the differences between riders is so small so doping can really put you over the top.

Cycling is a team sport.
By: Mathieu Tarmac
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 2:09pm

Cycling is a team sport. Many, many of Lance's teammates have now admitted using forbidden performance enhancing drugs and methods while racing in support of him.

When you see footage of all the postal and discovery non-climbers beating up on the peloton in the mountains, you know it is taking a lot of the punch out of the other GC contenders and pure climbers

Leaving his personal doping aside, at the very least Lance benefitted mightily from all the work of those teammates with enhanced performances. That alone should be grounds for a sanction.

3rd in 09
By: Jelle Internal Routing
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 2:03pm

and because he made that split on the windy stage - otherwise he'd been top 10 (at best)

not that I disagree, but...
By: dry lube
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 1:44pm

By the logic of people on this site...some members of the peloton are dopers. The only one beats a doper is to be a doper. Therefore, anyone who wins must be a doper.

Staying on the third step because of his team leader...
By: Igam Ogam
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 12:24pm

LA came 3rd in 2009 because his team mate was Alberto Contador and AC dealt with all the attacks(including LAs) thus taking most of the pressure off LA and allowing him to scrape a podium place. If LA had been on a different team AC would have attacked him too and he would have ended up nowhere.

In fact if you look at the stage to Grand-Bornand you can sense the moment where Bruyneel called Riis on the cellphone to ask him to tell his riders top stop attacking Contador, slow down and stop taking time out of Armstrong and he would tell AC to let one of the Schleck brothers have the stage win. Contador was obviously coasting against the brothers efforts and would have taken the stage easily. If the three leaders had carried on riding as they had been up to that point Armstrong would have fallen of the podium.

By: Igam Ogam
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 12:08pm

"And his statement that Lance used to loose time on the Time_trials before his 99-05 tour wins? Did`nt Lance become Time-Trial World Champion in Oslo in 93 ?"

No he didn't.

Exactly, Silvestro! It just
By: Wouter Sealant
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 10:37am

Exactly, Silvestro! It just defies logic that he crushed a field which was doped to the gills for seven straight years on nothing but Gatorade. Maybe if his competitors had been riding one-legged....but not as it stood.

Having said that, i dont think he should be stripped of his titles. Put an asterisk next to the whole race, maybe but you'd probably have to give it to the lanterne rouge to find someone clean....maybe not even him.

By: Salvestro Liner
Tue, 06/19/2012 - 9:45am

Anyone who has watched professional cycling for many years should spot something uncanny going on...

Virtually every person who has shared the podium with Lance has been caught. Therefore, to believe that Lance was clean you have to believe that he won against a pool of elite riders who were doping -- seven years in a row and often by huge margins. If you watch the seven Tours, it's uncanny: Lance makes mincemeat out of everyone -- even the pure climbers. Moreover, he can deliver explosive attacks on his rivals without ever tiring or bonking. In seven Tours, he never appears human.

By: l3
Fri, 06/15/2012 - 2:36am

I hope this new evidence is actually 'new'. Its just so tiresome that like clockwork, the old doper stuff comes up right before a tour start. Instead of going after lance every year, why isnt there an investigation ramping up for the UCI? Cheating out 7 tour wins sorta pales in comparison to the idea that the governing body of the sport played a hand in it.

Slobodan Milosovic
By: Ponce de la Yema
Thu, 06/14/2012 - 11:25am

Who did he ride for?

Fair hearing at last
By: Thomas Fork
Thu, 06/14/2012 - 7:52am

It's taken some time but LA now has been given the opportunty to clear his name through a fair and transparent process. Just as this interview is an eye-opener, it will be fascinating to learn the details of the USADA evidence.

By: Enzo Sealant
Tue, 04/03/2012 - 6:06am

You really don't understand cycling(or life.) Flicker

Ask Eddy, or the Pope.

Power meter rentals
By: Noa Polished
Mon, 06/13/2011 - 1:19pm

I rented a power tap from CCNS for 50 dollars a week, it made training way more worth it

cyclist weight
By: Baptiste Nipple
Thu, 06/09/2011 - 3:50pm

Surely, based on comments in the article about weight and the calculation of performance and VO2's, a simple aid to fighting PED's in cycling would be to accurately measure weight during the sihgn in of all races. That way (according to the article) VO2 could be determined and any significant deviations would be immediately apparent. Why isn't this simple step carried out by the UCI given how helpful it could be ?

Independently of Armstrong,
By: Luca Wave Ring
Tue, 05/31/2011 - 3:48pm

Independently of Armstrong, the Doctor says that dopers don't kill, but they do steal, I think stealers are jailed.

that report
By: Noa Liner
Thu, 05/26/2011 - 11:13am


The comment below applies to the UCI commissioned 'independent' report which is linked to in Kevin Helmet's post from Tue, 08/10/2010 - 10:32am

Thought it would link to that post.

Anyhow it is, in fact, that report (the UCI purchased one) which is an apologist crock of shit.

That report, unfortunately,
By: Noa Liner
Thu, 05/26/2011 - 11:03am

That report, unfortunately, is an apologist crock of shit.

You contrast that with the
By: Aaron Cage
Thu, 05/26/2011 - 3:07am

You contrast that with the data in Coyle's paper, and he shows that the lowest body weight was 75 kilos in '93, but in November after his first Tour victory, it was 79 kilos.

Now, Coyle would have us believe that he was 72 kilos at the Tour de France. Armstrong is on the record saying that he was absolutely fastidious about what he ate, and when he ate and how he ate. It is incomprehensible that someone would get himself into such perfect condition and then essentially eat like a horse so that his body weight ballooned up to 79 kilos, and then somehow intend to go back through that hell to lose 7 kilos again for the next race. That's just not true, it doesn't happen.

At the end of NOVEMBER he was 79 kilos, how many months after the tour is NOVEMBER? Did he really race after that? Or just do talk shows and drink beer? Also his next race was EIGHT (8) months away.

Remember he preped for only ONE race!! All others were just testing.

Sounds like amother witch hunt.

If it's all about science why does it matter to him whos name matched the number? Oh, thats right a witch hunt!!

Lance's height compared to Steven Colbert
By: roomservicetaco
Wed, 02/23/2011 - 8:14pm

LA interviewed on Colbert - note the first thing Colbert mentions is LA's height (~2-3" shorter than Colbert)


In the immortal words of
By: Alexandre Hammer
Wed, 02/23/2011 - 7:39pm

In the immortal words of Fletch, "Thank god, the police..."

the feds are getting LA's samples.. the party's over

Oh. My. God.
By: Schiatuzzo Dropout
Wed, 02/23/2011 - 5:49am

This many column inches? For what? Holy Cow?


Look I'm all for fair play....but at some point.... Jeezus.

Slobodan Milosovic didn't get THIS much print. EGADS!

My family's been affected by
By: Tristan Tracknut
Wed, 02/09/2011 - 5:41pm

My family's been affected by cancer, so the more Mr. Hopestrong contributes to the cause, hey, so be it. It's better than nothing, or, rather, think of it this way: they've contributed $250MM more than there otherwise would have been. Further development of EPO and other therapeutics benefit those who really need it, and if athletes take it, they're fools.

Go after the suppliers too, not just the users. In other words, criminalize the sale & use of doping in sport. Wah wah wah slap on the wrist 2 year suspension...whatever. Apply some drug laws (felony), now you're talkin'. Both to user AND supplier!!!! 6today

this is not what ashenden is
By: Razzante Rivnut
Sat, 12/11/2010 - 1:49am

this is not what ashenden is saying at all. he is saying that the improvements made by lance and those that coyle has claimed are simply physiologically impossible. of course athletes improve and develop as they train and race more - that is the basis of phsyical training. it is doping that leads to such gains as armstrong has made.

what about Indurain?
By: Armando Threadlock
Thu, 11/25/2010 - 9:00am

so i take it that any improvement in an athlete is not normal and riders that start out as domestique's and end up winning the TDF are all dopers??????

A film and a blog-entry
By: WADAwatch
Tue, 11/02/2010 - 1:08pm

As to the Bordry v UCI 'fiasco' of the fall 2009, I did a YouTube thing (sorry, it was a solo production -- hit 'pause' for any text-panels that fly by too fast (smile)):


As to the 'science' of Lance Armstrong's riding, this may be the one and only article ever published in a French magazine, Vélo, which I translated as a 'Fair Use - education' exception on my blog long long ago... to describe 'semi-scientifically' how Lance worked hard to win the TdF


A year late, some might say...


full downloads
By: Leo Brifter
Tue, 09/07/2010 - 5:28pm

it just comes down to common sense. How many times have we witnessed performances that soar above all others and, importantly, that come from nowhere - even at the highest and most elite level where differences are often small, only to learn that the athlete doped. When a Michelle Smith medals multiple after being a middle of the pack swimmer vs. a Michael Phelps who regularly wins it raises suspicion. When LA emerges in 1999 and goes on the become the best TdF cyclist of all time after struggling to complete the race before - it just seems too remarkable. And, once you start the lie - you're stuck - see Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens - denying it to the point of absurdity. As much as I want to believe, as badly as I do - I fear that its as remarkable as it is simply just "too good to be true".

Lance haters / lovers
By: the Duke
Thu, 09/02/2010 - 4:25pm

questa o quella, per me pari sono ...

It is funny to watch the
By: Fausto
Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:38pm

It is funny to watch the Lance Groupies attack Ashenden personally because they are unable to counter his very complete analysis of Armstrong's doping.


FYI-- Looking at Gel for possible recombinant Erythropoietins
By: Arthur Bottle
Fri, 08/27/2010 - 7:44pm

For those referring to this artical and reading what was said in 2009...

Here is the most recent link to the documant at WADA:
Labeled:Harmonization of the Method for the Identification of recombinant Erythropoietins

Refered to by MA in point 5 in the email follow-up...

Read this !!
By: Kevin Helmet
Tue, 08/10/2010 - 2:32pm

This will help all you people who have the idea that Dr. Michael Ashenden is above reproch

^ "Independent Investigation — Analysis Samples from the 1999 Tour de France" (PDF). VeloNews. Scholten c.s. Advocaten. Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20071201220747/http://www.velonews.com/media/.... Retrieved 2008-01-09

Who pointed at a time?
By: Andy Shen
Sat, 08/07/2010 - 2:21pm

Who pointed at a time?

Copme on Andy
By: Kevin Helmet
Sat, 08/07/2010 - 2:18pm

'09, the year of the 20

By: Andy

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 4:55pm '09, the year of the 20 minute shower, abnormal blood values, and transfusion equipment?

Andy, Every course is different, in how long, how hilly, how hot it is during the tour, not to mention how fast it is going stage to stage. To point at a time and say see he was doping is really not the best way to prove your point !!!

when you get down to it, it's
By: keep it Real
Fri, 08/06/2010 - 11:34pm

when you get down to it, it's not a question of whether lance did or did not dope. the question is whether lance is, or is not, a big fucking asshole. the fact that everyone is ratting him out now proves that, yes, lance is a big fucking asshole.

'09, the year of the 20
By: Andy Shen
Fri, 08/06/2010 - 9:55pm

'09, the year of the 20 minute shower, abnormal blood values, and transfusion equipment?

Good point Julian. I heard he
By: Candi
Fri, 08/06/2010 - 9:31pm

Good point Julian. I heard he stopped eating nachos for '09 so maybe that helped.

How was Lance as quick in 2009
By: Julian S
Fri, 08/06/2010 - 8:27pm

If you believe Lance took drugs in 1999; how come he was almost as good in 2009 without drugs?

anti-LA = pro-LA = equally annoying
By: rope-a-dope
Thu, 08/05/2010 - 5:51pm

anti-LA shill posing as a dumb LA shill, with the goal of getting this article back up again

This Guys don`t know Shit!
By: Daan Setscrew
Thu, 08/05/2010 - 5:41pm

http://www.topendsports.com/testing/records/vo2max.htm if you see this link you will see that the statement of Ashenden that a VO2 near 90 is not normal? "And when you start plugging some of those figures back in, you see that during some of his performances at the Tour, his VO2 must've been through the roof. Some people say it had to be in the 90's. Now, that's just not physiologically possible" But i know you test different level`s of VO2 depending on your form and day(if you feel good or not)

And his statement that Lance used to loose time on the Time_trials before his 99-05 tour wins? Did`nt Lance become Time-Trial World Champion in Oslo in 93 ?

That twat Ashenden is full of shit!

but anyway if he doped or not i don`t know, but this article just seems like : I hate Armstrong and i am going to come up with so much bullshit as i can!!!

By: Jeff Novitzky
Sat, 07/31/2010 - 11:17am

will an honorary degree suffice?

This convinces me.
By: Ermanno Dropout
Sat, 07/31/2010 - 12:03am

Being a casual cycling follower for just a few years, I had known little of Armstrong's early wins, but that that was around the height of the EPO era. This article convinces me that Armstrong doped during the '99 TdF, and leads me to believe that he doped using other methods throughout his career. Perhaps the great American wasn't as great as he was made out to be.

By: Sam Steerer
Fri, 07/30/2010 - 2:32am

you will need a law degree first. minor detail

working for the IRS
By: Jeff Novitzky
Thu, 07/29/2010 - 11:44pm

At this point, I could take a job as a partner in a law firm and make more money than I would have playing pro ball. I won't have to dumpster dive in this case. Your false hero and his band of Texas geniuses have left an electronic paper trail all over the globe. One that I am following from the comfort of my government issue IBM computer. Must go, ebay calling with a list of U.S. Postal team bikes that were sold by Tailwind and there is a stack of text messages between Andreu and Vaughters I must read.

By: Matthias Steerer
Thu, 07/29/2010 - 10:42pm

Whaaaaa you hurt your knee, couldn't play pro ball and had to go work for the IRS. Bitter man, go back to dumpster diving at your health club.

Oh really?
By: Jeff Novitzky
Thu, 07/29/2010 - 10:28pm

testimony begins tomorrow....let's just see how many people tell the Feds that Lance doped. How will people react when Lance pleads the 5th? Will the response be A. "It's a witch hunt and why should he cooperate?" or B. "Gotcha!"?
If anybody believes that people would perjure themselves and risk jail time for spite or jealousy then I truly feel sorry for you.

By: Totto Saddlesore
Thu, 07/29/2010 - 9:13pm

It is all very convincing up until the point Lance's Armstrong's height.

My mum is 5'5", my dad 5'9"

I've seen him close up two weeks ago he is not the height of my Mum! (he is taller than my Dad).

Interesting your report makes no mention of Emile Vrijman.

If the lab had no way of knowing the samples were Lances, how does Michael Ashenden speak with such certainty. What solely on the basis of a newspaper journalist. Where is the science in that?

If the samples were being analysed solely for research then why do the 'scientists ' who conducted the research speak out in this way? Again this is hardly being scientific. Any information should be reported to the authorities and they should decide if to act.

I have read that EPO makes a 15% improvement and this can boost a cyclist from 143 to 1st in the TDF.

On this reckoning then why did Lance not come 145th last year?

How the hell does a 37 year old come 3rd in 2009, it has to be down to talent.

In 2009 and 2010 EPO tests are now common and Bio Passports.

What Lance has achieved in the last two years confirms his talent. He has achieved it at a time when he could not have used EPO.

Having known cancer patients, I do not believe that any survivor would want to want to put any drug in their system ever again. Lance was in a unique position as a cancer patient to know that EPO can kill a healthy person.

I wish people would look to Lance's comeback 2 performance, not the allegations of discredited cyclists and 'scientists' who clearly have a vested interest.

those with black socks go bye
By: David Locknut
Mon, 07/26/2010 - 9:21am

those with black socks go bye bye, those with white socks remain next year.

you heard it here first...

Lance with team Pic from 2010 podium
By: Jelle Locknut
Mon, 07/26/2010 - 8:03am

... to gauge his height, here's a good pic ...


... 5'10" or a bit less looks about right compared to Levi ...

By: Ethan Plug
Mon, 07/19/2010 - 10:55am


I believe that Lemond's ITT
By: Rayan Brifter
Sat, 07/10/2010 - 3:09am

I believe that Lemond's ITT was on a course that was downhill on average, though I wouldn't bet my life on it.

lemond was a doper too
By: super fly
Sat, 07/10/2010 - 1:12am

lemond was a doper too

what about?
By: kingy
Sat, 07/10/2010 - 1:10am

The fact that mr innocent, never did wrong, but everyone else did, repent and you shall be forgiven, GREG LEMOND still to this day, has produced the fasted ITT ever in the tour? With the advanced training methods and especially the improvement in technology, no one can beat his his speed? Hmm. How did he do that? But this is the guy that walks on water and lets Floyd Landis cry on his shoulder, telling him to admit everyone else cheats, and it will be ok? Why does HE get the free pass? Someone needs to examine his performances.

better dig a little deeper-
By: Guido Ceramic
Fri, 07/09/2010 - 6:23pm

better dig a little deeper- roland green

Lance Armstrong
By: Romain Cable
Fri, 07/09/2010 - 6:22pm

Lance Armstrong is undoubtedly an EPO doper. I am thoroughly convinced of the veracity of that position.

People should remember that LA's dad abandoned him when Armstrong was young and he grew up in a broken home.

The man is very narcissistic and loves the public adulation. The fame and spotlight was (and is) intoxicating to Armstrong. Call me a cynic, but the cancer "vehicle" is something that Armstrong uses very well to garner public support for his fame under the guise of humanitarianism.

My personal cycling heroes are antithetical to what Armstrong stands for. Guys like Greg Lemond, Roland Green, and Fabian Cancellara are the real deal. Lance Armstrong is a fraud.

Dave Nguyen

I admire what you have done
By: Jospeh Cornea
Sun, 06/20/2010 - 1:23am

I admire what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that this is working for you as well.
implant mammaire

thanx for your writing to
By: Franklyn Maddaloni
Sat, 06/19/2010 - 1:50pm

thanx for your writing to post, I like your web site and good lucky. Regards.
augmentation mamaire

Ultra running/doping
By: doc
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 2:54pm

There is no testing whayso ever at ultra's. No one knows what Scott Jurek, Dean k, etc.. are up to.

LA guilty no doubt
By: Erwan Chamois
Wed, 05/26/2010 - 8:12pm

I have read all the articles I can find on doping, lance armstrong and the entire TDF crew over the years. The bottom line is that all those guys are doping or have used products of some degree in their careers. It was easy for lance to align himself with a great cause which made it ever more difficult for real scientists to wager complaints against someone who has so many hands in many interests. Regardless, I want lance caught no matter the outcome. I love the sport and I want others to love it too.

As a scientist...
By: Baptiste Post
Sun, 05/23/2010 - 8:22pm

As a scientist who has more than a passing interest in physiology and cycling, it is so refreshing to read proper scientific analysis of the data that is out there. Well done to both interviewer and interviewee. And, of course, this is all the more interesting in the light of the most recent revelations from Floyd Landis.

PS I'm a fan of Lance (and was also a fan of Pantani and Ullrich in their hey-days) but let's not let any fanatic's mania for putting heroes on pedestals detract from the fact that many of our heroes of yesteryear were cheating. And that includes the ones who were never caught.

Super Endurance Athlete's
By: Niccolo Rubber Hood
Fri, 05/21/2010 - 9:14pm

Lance Cannot compare to the following...

Scoot Jurek
Jonas Colting

Talk about endurance, and they do not dope for sure...

great article
By: Ethan Saddlebag
Sat, 03/06/2010 - 10:41pm

a great article that explains a lot, and simplies everything i've been reading in forums for months. it's good to see the facts from the horses mouth and help with my understading of lance's 'miraculous' comeback

Okay, so what the verdict on the return that LA did??
By: Adam Lorica
Fri, 02/19/2010 - 3:26pm

Okay, so what the verdict on the return that LA did?? I admit I'm on the suspicious side of this but the return in 2009 added a new element.

Great interview
By: Kristen
Mon, 01/25/2010 - 5:30am

Very well thought out, in depth interview. I used to be a believer but it is obvious that Armstrong is a doper.

LA is a farce.
By: Damien Torque
Sun, 01/03/2010 - 5:15pm

This was great winter reading. Andy you are the BOSS.

By: Evan Gel
Thu, 12/24/2009 - 11:17am

The man is without a doubt a mastermind.
Be it evil or good, I don't care.

Impressive. This guy has
By: Romain Steerer
Tue, 12/15/2009 - 9:31pm

Impressive. This guy has managed to "interpret" the results without actually analyzing them. How incredible he is able to be 100% positive of these tests he has never analyzed.

Armstrong has been tested more than any human being on the planet, from training to the tour, and has never, ever tested positive. Sure you can intetionally misinterpret test results and try and make a persuasive argument, but it doesnt erase the fact that he has never tested positive once.

Brinks Info
By: Jasper Rivnut
Wed, 12/09/2009 - 9:27pm

how bias can an interview get! hahah by some guy named andy? that really seals the deal of the legitimacy of this article. aside from never hearing about this site. rofl so many instances where the guy is totally claiming it's just what he found or what he thought. all you basement dwellers need to get on a bike, come out from behind the screens, stop looking so hard to demonize people and enjoy life. thanks andy, i'll make sure to look for your next big article in the wallstreet journal


By: Steddy Jercks
Tue, 11/24/2009 - 3:26pm

I'm just getting up to speed on this one.

Great splash.

Why do people go to drugs at all?
By: Tristan Locknut
Sat, 10/31/2009 - 4:52pm

What attracts people to go to drugs and play? I don't know why do people try to enhance their performance by taking some kind of drugs. They are capable of producing even without taking drugs. And moreover these are going to harm them when they grow older. It is my appeal to all sports-persons please avoid any kind of drugs.

From:Start Racing at Farringdon Motorsport Limited

By: Rosso Supple
Wed, 09/30/2009 - 9:26pm

I wish that there were no drug cheats in cycling because it distracts those who care nothing for the sport from acknowledging the sheer dedication and determination the top pros display - and the beauty of the sport.
Just compare the World Road champs on Sunday won by Cadel Evans with the Formula race the same day. The F1 race was won by Hamilton who led from start to finish (yet millions watch it) but the road race was in a constant state of flux. I guess some people are just impressed by noise!
Sure the authorities should keep testing but I can't think of another way to cheat in cycling so it's always going to be difficult to stop.
As far as I'm concerned there has never been a continental pro who I could beat even if they didn't take drugs.

Tar baby
By: Golddiger
Mon, 08/24/2009 - 1:20am

Hey Mr smartypants, I posted my name, but you don't come back to post yours.

Cheers wheelsucka

By: hitcliff
Wed, 08/05/2009 - 3:15pm

great interview! dunno how I managed to miss it in time and come to it just now...what shoul I say about the man... real profy who does his job perfectly well. have read some articles about him before (download mainly from http://www.picktorrent.com )but this piece really impressed me

You're tarring me, but I'll
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:07am

You're tarring me, but I'll take you up on the challenge. Present your name and I'll do the same.

To Ya know, I'm not one to say
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 07/30/2009 - 1:11am

Dear doctor,

You make some pretty strong accusations here, yet you hide behind anonymity. If you want what you say to be taken seriously, how about your name? Otherwise you just look like some shill for the Dick(TM) or Coyle--maybe you are even he or one of his lab mates. Please step out of the shadows

(and don't throw this back at me, I am not tarring someone, just making a comment)

Ya know, I'm not one to say
By: Wheelsucker
Sat, 07/25/2009 - 1:05am

Ya know, I'm not one to say whether Lance doped or didn't - or isn't - but this article and everything associated with it stinks of a) massive conflict of interest; b) misrepresented scientific "expertise"; and c) thoroughly unscientific bias.

As a scientist myself (PhD in a molecular biological discipline, unlike Dr. Ashendon), I took a look at the supposedly confirmatory "articles" and data cited. I've gotta say they were pretty disappointing: a "letter to the editor" with 3 references indluding the author's own, and one figure - certainly not the stuff on which firm scientific conclusions are normally (or validly) based; and an internal WADA SOP that gives no realistic representation of the variability in the kinds of protein gels used for EPO detection. Please just show us Lance's unethically acquired data, if they're so sure it's "unequivocal"! I assure you, there are legions of scientists out here eager to evaluate it objectively.

As an aside, and apparently unlike the sporting offenses being discussed, the way in which this data was "leaked" to the media was not only scientifically unethical, it IS considered a criminal activity, at least in the US. If there were truly any justice on this case, someone else besides (or in addition to) the athlete would also be fearing jail time.

Beyond that, putting so much emphasis on the fairly irrelevant issue of Dr. Coyle's study, as well the fact that it was judged by objective and impartial scientists NOT to be misconduct or retractable, seem only to emphasize Dr. Ashendon's conviction of his own unique justness, and the unjustness of those refuting his personal beliefs. I've seen this before in a certain type of scientist, and let's just say they don't stay working in objective science disciplines for too long.

Probably the worst of all, though, was the failure of Dr. Ashendon to disclose his multiple financial conflicts of interest. If there is any, this would be the Holy Grail of impartial scientific reporting, which this isn't. This taints the entire story as disingenuous at best, and if the systematic design of the "interview" to insinuate that LA was the ONLY one doping in '99 (a laughable prospect by any account) wasn't enough, this is where he really lost me. I'd like to know objectively if only LA, only the top 10 at the Tour, the entire peloton, or no one, is doping, and though it may fool many, this article provides no useful information on the matter save Dr. Ashendon's highly suspect, and obviously conflicted, opinion.

That seems conspicuously
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 07/21/2009 - 7:04am

That seems conspicuously dumber than Armstrong usually is... Thanks for the insight, though, gonna check that out. Still curious about the other question, though!

From memory (I think from
By: Andy Shen
Mon, 07/20/2009 - 5:13pm

From memory (I think from Walsh's book, I could be wrong), Ressiot asked Armstrong to give the UCI permission to release his ID #s. Armstrong agreed maybe thinking that it was going to be a positive story addressing the postdated exemption they filed for his cortisone positive. That's why only Armstrong's samples were identified.

Two Questions
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 07/20/2009 - 5:04pm

Compelling stuff, but two questions...

Why do "pre" and "post" times apply?
Is the argument that he didn't cheat until AFTER he had cancer? Why would he have raced clean beforehand if you assume he raced dirty after? Couldn't these as easily support the notion that beforehand the competitors had an advantage due to substances? Were the substances in question not developed until then?

How were the numbers corresponding to samples obtained? It's argued that this step required a straightforward request through UCI to Lance and his concent. Lance seems extremely consistent in his lack of access to this sort of thing, and the reporter in question is well known for his ability to bypass official steps. Is there a possibility the identification of these numbers is incorrect? If there were to be a "conspiracy", it would seem a much more straightforward one to take a list of results and identify the positives as Lance's. Did the process of identification not allow this?

By: velic
Sat, 07/04/2009 - 2:25am

anyone who actually knows anything about the sport knows that lance was doped during every tour he won, him and alot of other riders. during the 90s 90-99% of the riders where doped...after that the % dropped a bit but its still high. and lets not forget that there are other substances other than EPO.

What the
By: Hurley Burley
Fri, 06/12/2009 - 2:03pm

Well said Dr. Ashenden, I am impressed.... ozsmurf64@yahoo.com :o) Shirley Smurthwaite

By: Elapid
Sun, 06/07/2009 - 12:39pm

Did you read that paper you cited? Nothing in that paper contradicts Ashenden's claims. This paper says that the major difference between low- and high-level cyclists is efficiency. Armstrong was not a low level cyclist pre-cancer, he was a World Champion and won classics. Have you read Coyle's paper? All of it? And critically? It is a load of rubbish. Coyle incorrectly uses an estimated racing weight with preseason power output in 1999 and compares this to preseason data in 1992 and 1993. That's comparing apples to oranges. If he used his measured data, the improvement in power/weight ratio was only 1.6% between preseason 1993 and 1999, not 18%. You can swallow all the BS out there, but at least do yourself a favour and critically evaluate the available evidence.

worthless unscientific speculation
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 06/03/2009 - 3:24am

Ashenden's speculation and guesswork is a waste of time. Good scientists don't work this way, only worthless hacks and those with an axe to grind do.

You ever try to read anything
By: Wheelsucker
Sun, 05/31/2009 - 5:11pm

You ever try to read anything on Bike Pure? You'd block it too. Just for the run-on sentences.

Interesting stuff about LA. I
By: Dave
Sun, 05/31/2009 - 4:20pm

Interesting stuff about LA. I really respect what he's done and I'm a big fan of what he stands for. Yet I heard from a friend in CA that he had blocked a large anti-doping organization from following him on Twitter. I thought this was pretty major news yet i can't confirm if its true or not. Its Bike Pure. I love LA but what the **ck is he doing blocking a group like that!? nice site anyhow guys.

Wannabe? Wannabe what? Liar,
By: Wheelsucker
Sat, 05/30/2009 - 8:04pm

Wannabe? Wannabe what? Liar, doper, fraud? Why would Ashenden want to be anyone else, least of all Armstrong?

By: TruthCop
Fri, 05/29/2009 - 10:14am

It is sad that a second-rate wannabee like Michael Ashenden is given the opportunity to post his lies and theories for others to read. Never was a witness as discredited as Michael Ashenden was during the SCA arbitration. His testimony wa completely comical. He testified that he had never done an EPO test, did not know anything about how EPO testing is done, had to concede that the laboratory had confirmed that the testingviolated all rules and protocols, and he was left with his statement that he had spoken with the people at the French lab over lunch one day and they told him they had not done anything wrong. The arbitrators were first stunned at his admissions that he had no personal knowledge to offer as testimony and then the astonishment turned to sympathy as the lawyers and arbitrators asked him questions that showed he was completely unqualified to offer any scientific testimony.

A new paper
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 05/26/2009 - 4:42am

Check this out.


It effectively ruins Ashenden's criticism of the Coyle paper regarding the delta efficiency calculation at least.

Vaughters/Andreu IM
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 05/22/2009 - 10:48am

Vaughters/Andreu IM. What a joke. They also talk about Ullrich and Moreau as if they're clean. Ullrich? Nothing needs to be said. Moreau was part of the Festina affair... and then had a miraculous resurgence to take 4th in the Tour in 2000 and 8th in 2003; he also won the Dauphine in 2001 and 2007.

You guys have a major crush on Armstrong.

Subsequent years? Designer
By: Andy Shen
Fri, 05/22/2009 - 3:41am

Subsequent years? Designer EPO? Keep in mind there was no test for CERA for a while. Also, there still is no test for autologous transfusions, and if you believe the Vaughters/Andreu IM, Postal had an autologous program.

If you concede that Armstrong doped in '99, and he rode just as strongly the next six years, how can you believe he was clean the next six years?

By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 05/21/2009 - 7:39pm

Get off Lance, Sheryl Crow did.

Valverde is leading the Volta, and Di Luca was in the pink leading the Giro for days.

If dopers really bother you why aren't you screaming about them.

Ok, what about subsequent tests, in later years...?
By: reg
Thu, 05/21/2009 - 7:08pm

So that's '99, explain all the following results, and tests....

Lance Drug-strong is the
By: Wheelsucker
Sat, 04/25/2009 - 5:54pm

Lance Drug-strong is the biggest liar, farce, cheat there is in sports. Nice one Lance, does it make up for whatever you are compensating? Or just make it all the whorse???
One thing to cheat/dope the other cyclists, but every yellow wrist band is swindled that some miracle has happened...
Hang is up, move to Hollywood where they still admire a good sappy story. The real world knows and doesnt care for you...
How are Trek sales since the comeback?
How are the funds at LAF-ing group.com???

you suck,
little Jonny

you're funny, dude. period.
By: Wheelsucker
Sat, 04/25/2009 - 5:51pm

you're funny, dude. period. no one denies that lance was a great racer and that most of the guys he beat were doped as well, but the "everyone was doing it" defense doesn't change the fact that lance vehemently denies any involvement in dope and is (or at least, has been) an unstoppable force for the continuation of the "omerta" that has allowed this shit to continue for so many years. most of us are sick of it, unlike you. does it really not matter to you whether the sport is dirty or clean? do you really want a hero so badly that you are willing to prop up a liar?

Lance is the greatest ever period
By: Wheelsucker
Sat, 04/25/2009 - 5:23pm

I don't give a shit if he doped or not. All this rambling going on, yet everyone fails to realize (yes, I realize that "realise" is the correct spelling, but you know, we Americans are all stupid, right?) that EVERYONE in the TdF was doping in 99. Thus, Lance is still the greatest because he won anyway. If you took his titles away for doping, what are you going to do, give them to another doper from that era?

So, Michael Ashenden, you are full of shit. Period. You spend all this time analyzing this, but it's pointless since the playing field was level because most of the cyclists were probably doing dope anyway. And, comparing Marion Jones to Lance Armstrong is reprehensible. Period, you piece of shit. Maybe we should lock LA in a plastic bubble for 3 years to eliminate the possibility of him doping, test him again, and let him out to do the TdF at 40. He will still win, asswipes.

Current EPO Test
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/22/2009 - 6:29am

This is the best piece on doping and anti-doping I've read!

According to the lawyer of a positive athlete, the weak spot of the current EPO test is that lab errors can still result in false positives (just like the old test where the thin line between positive and negative was a certain percentage) but if I understood correctly, this isn't so, if any error will lead to a negative test result (and the lawyer is therefore merely engaging in an attempt to whitewash his client).

By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/20/2009 - 2:33am

Mountains of evidence. Tyler will reveal all after he gets over Pharmstrong cuckolding him.

Reid Rothchild

I went back and re-read that
By: Andy Shen
Fri, 04/17/2009 - 3:29am

I went back and re-read that part of "From Lance to Landis", and according to Walsh, Ressiot managed to convince the Armstrong camp to release his sample numbers because they thought he was going to do a piece about therapeutic use exemptions. Armstrong himself managed to dodge a positive in '99 with a backdated TUE (and perhaps a donation to the UCI). So that's the subterfuge I was referring to.

You can call it sour grapes, or maybe the French, like most of us, just don't like cheaters.

Oh really...
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 04/17/2009 - 3:19am

"It was only through some subterfuge by some French reporters that it was revealed that the six positives belonged to Armstrong."

That sums it up.

Now I'm not an American, and to those of us in the rest of the world, it's just 'sour grapes' on their part. The French hate that an outsider, and an American at that, beat them so badly at their own race. They'll do anything they can to discredit him.

I did wardrobe on shoot with
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/14/2009 - 10:18pm

I did wardrobe on shoot with him. He's between 5'9" and 5"10"

Lance's height
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/14/2009 - 9:29pm

Lance doesn't seem like a "shorty" excuse my pun. We've seen pictures of him with Hamilton, Landis all those guys, one could start to compare heights. I've always thought he was close to my height at 5'11".

To clarify AGAIN, Ashenden
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 04/14/2009 - 4:07am

To clarify AGAIN, Ashenden never mentions LA's height, it's all me. Ashenden never discusses height.



5'5 or 5'6?
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/14/2009 - 2:11am

I've met LA, more like stood next to him. There is NO WAY he is 5'5. He is at least 5'9 5'10. This guy has got to be a fool. To say we "know by talking to his teammates he is not 5'9 he is more like 5'5"? Geez, just look at pictures of him next to other people. If you can't even figure out someones height...

From the Insurance Company court case
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/13/2009 - 3:17pm

A lot of this is in the Lance from Landis book from 2 years ago published by Walsh anyway, NY Times?

By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/13/2009 - 2:48pm

Just, if one reads his book about how he had to give to a sperm bank and I sympathize with anyone having the problems he did, how is it now, that it doesn't seem Lance and whomever do not have to go through the artificial insemination process? Think I said that right, you understand what I am asking.

Doping's Future
By: Wheelsucker
Sun, 04/12/2009 - 6:07am

The reality of doping is that it works, and because it works it will always be done. Also, China (amongst others) will have no problem in spending many millions of dollars in finding new and almost undetectable drugs or, at least, countering current test protocols. There are possibly many enhancing drugs being used today that are not even known about and, therefore, not detectable. Maybe there is another side to this controversy anyway... If you consider that a top American athlete has the financial, political and technological backing to reach the top of his/her game, how can that be fairly compared to an athlete from rural Malawi who has only his own God-Given skills and strengths to work with? Yet there is no sanction against using technology or professionalism to raise an athlete's game to new heights, is there? What would be the implications of throwing the door wide open and allowing athletes to dope themselves to the hilt as long as they declare the fact? Or even if they don't? Fair play left the sports fields many years ago, so why grasp to one aspect of this lost ideal? Just my thoughts...don't shoot me. :)

can't sleep ... one last thought
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 04/10/2009 - 2:18am

although I despise L'Equipe as much as some of you despise LA, I believe it was a reader (French! Vive la France...) who had sent in a letter, which actually was published, effectively saying (from 2005, post-Scandal):

... so you're putting Armstrong through the ringer (my words) about doping, after he won the Tour with a lead of Six minutes? And you're saying no one could win the Tour without doping? Isn't your logic and bias a bit obvious? Are you saying no one could win, but could finish second without doping, or third, or even in the Top Ten? After 3,500km of racing, and only a Six minute lead? You insinuate constantly that 'they're all doped', but you're on Armstrong like a Medieval Inquisitor - why this bias? Why not shaft them all?

He made such a clear point: for French publications (who'd 'suffered the embarrassment' of FESTINA) to be targeting the one guy who had SAVED THE TOUR from post-Festina collapse, wanted to find that man and buy him some Bordeaux...

BTW: Another French paper, not Equipe, mentioned that TdF race sponsored had polled FR audiences (my presumption: article didn't say who were subjects), and as many are now interested in the Tour for its scandals, as for its Results. (IOW: It pays to stay in the Tour, cuz 'teams like Astana, or Rabobank, or Saunier-Duvall are going to sell us a lot of Credit Lyonaise business'...

Zm aka Ww

somebody's link didn't work...
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 04/10/2009 - 1:53am


see if that goes 'home' like a good li'l electron...


comments for wheelsucker (Wed, 04/08/2009: 'questions')
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 04/10/2009 - 1:40am

you asked a few things I can write about:

if your first para. is a quote by Lance, he's actually right, as far as I know. The WADA IST documents how ADOs run the 'testing' (which should be called 'doping control sample acquisition', but then Richard Young isn't known for his drafting skills), and the WADA ISL documents how Labs receive from Couriers, and then register and process, Chain-o-command and lab analysis... for the 'lab' to send out a doctor isn't quite kosher: but their sample bottles should be sealed, and Lance is smart enough to know if he's receiving a faulty receptacle. (they sign stating Athlete agrees that ADO-Rep did everything correctly, sign bottle, all protocol'd)

Tour last year? LA was in retirement (smile) his last victory = 2005...

Of course LA knows Bodry (Head AFLD), who wrote him the famous 'invitation' late last fall to re-test the twice-tested 1999 B Samples (how any remains I didn't figger out...), and de Ceaurriz (pronounced 'de Sorry's' heh heh).

here's my personal translation (from FR) of Johan B's comments, when interviewed by L'Equipe (not my favourite paper) as to their side of the 'news flash':
ZENtranslation, of a scene where Bruyneel has a 'stranger at the door' that in fact is the Doctor from AFLD:
"I asked him to wait, the time in which I verified if all was in order, explains Bruyneel in the newspaper. A few days before, some people were loitering around the house. It seems normal to me that one takes precautions before letting someone into one's house. I therefore called McQuaid (Pres. of UCI), who passed me to Anne Gripper (head of the antidoping function at the UCI). She assured me that all was okay. I went back to see the doctor and said all was in order.(...) He then entered, did his testing controls, and all happened as it should, in a manner very cordial.(...) One could say, it may be absolutely necessary that something happens around Lance Armstrong.

I've a photo of Lance and I: I'm 183cm = 6ft even... we're standing on a flat street, eye to eye... nearly. (Lausanne, 1999? at the famous post-Tour event called A Travers Lausanne)

If you want to read the last French cycling magazine to scientifically praise LA, you can visit my general blog here (and/or use the in-blog search on AFLD, Floyd, or whatever):

My reaction to AFLD's invitation is at this other blog here

Both blogs have suffered severe post-Landis-decision burnout... :-(

With the interview above, and it being 03h38 CET, I'm going to have to postpone further commentary...

bon nuit guys...
ZENmud aka WADAwatch

By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 04/10/2009 - 1:11am

All the 'inside baseball' stuff aside, if you won on dope, you're a bigger loser than the guy who honestly finished last. If your livelihood depends on cheating you're a peice of shit as athlete and a human.

By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 04/10/2009 - 12:49am

I don't think it's overwhelming. You guys don't know much about science, do you?

Non-repeatable results are never considered good.

You probably think the MMR vaccine causes autism too, right? Very scientific.

Bringing Lemond into this is ridiculous --
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 04/10/2009 - 12:42am

But since you do (15:39)....

Not sure if you were a fan back then, but Lemond always had monster thighs. The "easy gear" in those days was 42x24, and Lemond's climbing style was more power than finesse.

As for bulking up "so quickly" after his accident(??), he was shot in the Fall of '87. He didn't make it back until May '89. That's two years to regain muscle. (Yes, he was under contract w/ PDM in '88, but he may have ridden 2-3races that year.)

Anyways, this discussion is really about whether you can still believe in the face of overwhelming scientific proof that Lance is still a Miracle Man. Any point about Lemond is moot!

"Best Cheater"
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 9:33pm

15:54 is right although a little rightous. You can't make the argument that LA wins are justified because he was the 'Best Cheater' in the race. Ridiculous.

canada used to be a great
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 8:34pm

canada used to be a great bargain for a quick hop, skip & jump fun for new yorkers. toronto, especially.

then came cervelo, and the world changed.

recirculated those dollars, eh.

Blame Canada!
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 8:11pm

Canada has lifetime bans. We should too, else no real incentive.

i'm tired of being tired
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 8:04pm

i'm tired of being tired

It's ok because everyone did it.
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 7:54pm

I keep seeing this argument in the comments: 'It's ok because all the top guys did it'. From a moral and logical standpoint this argument holds no merit. Cheating is cheating, lying is lying and wrong is wrong not matter who does it. It is a fallicy and a moral weakness to argue from a standpoint of complicity regarding bad behavour. It's wrong and nothing should justify it. The fact that so many riders would make that arguement speaks to the problems.

I hear you
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 5:56am

loud and clear 21:50

agreed 21:50
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 2:14am

At least Taranquilla, Papp and Bunde have the decency to stay away from local scene, while Pulla runs a bike shop and comes to local races as if nothing happened. Plus the results from that edition of Univest were not restated, were they? Promoter should just ban Pulla and anyone involved in doping and drugs, basta.

i bet doping won't ever stop
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 2:05am

i bet doping won't ever stop unless it's criminalized (jail, felony, etc.). self-regulating punishment (2 year bans, fines, etc)--that's the cost of doing business.

what would cause suspicion...
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 1:50am

...is going solo in Univest, dumping Davide Frattini to win Bear Mt., winning Mengoni attacking an all day break, and winning Mt. Holly...wait a minute, didnt that happen???

Why do we give an F about lance, we don't race him. The pressure that top pros are under to win is 1,000 times what weekend warriors feel. some of them cheat because losing means they lose their job...How many among use "cheat" at work or school to get ahead??? Don't go judging people.

furthermore, when it comes to sport we should be harder on local cheaters. You see them at the races; give it to them with the conviction that you are prosecuting Lance with...otherwise, keep that internet righteousness to yourself.

ain't i clean?, bad
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 1:18pm

ain't i clean?, bad machine
super cool, super mean
feelin' good, for the man
for you Lance, here i stand
secret stash, heavy bread
you've got Olsen Twins, in the bed

been told i can't be nothin' else
just a hustler in spite of myself
i know i can rake it
this life just don't make it
lord, lord
got to get to mellow johnny's now
gotta be mellow johnny, y'all
got to get mellow now

i'm your pusherman

Scentific "It also makes
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 12:34pm


"It also makes obvious his pre-formed bias that LA cheated and that is not the way true scentific theory works."

I'll tell you what's scentific ... the smell of bull-shit as Lance Camp obfuscates. It doesn't take a scientist ... just a keen sense of smell.

It's so obvious he has an
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 12:20pm

It's so obvious he has an agenda! Yes! It's called anti doping, and Armstrong is a doper. And yes, failing an EPO test will make testers 'biased' against you. I believe science dictates that when someone fails a dope test you call him a doper.

yes or no
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 12:12pm

From reading these posts, it is obvious what the problem is with MA. For those who have not made an emotional decision that LA cheated, we want scientific data to inform us. MA is a scientist, so we expected more than "they told me so". Therefore this interview is disappointing from that aspect. It also makes obvious his pre-formed bias that LA cheated and that is not the way true scentific theory works.

And while I thought there was some validity to his arguments about the Coyle work, it is also somewhat tainted by personal feelings. One can't help but wonder if MA saw a crappy descriptive paper in a minor scientific journal about any other athelete, wouldn't he just shake his head and say it is typical junk that was poorly reviewed and left it at that? As anyone who reads scientific journals knows, lots of it is bad science and who knows why it is published.

So with the higher expectation of someone who uses credentials to garner respect for his opinion, all we get is that he is sure LA cheated because the lab told him and Coyles data was fake and LA got better than he should have. This is nothing new, and the people can reach their own conclusions from these types of non-verifiable data. However, a scientist, who should never be certain of anything, should be able to conclude that the data is incomplete and that there is no way to know if LA doped or not for certain, no matter what you "feel".

By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 9:06am

"I've been tested in-competition and out-of-competition by USADA, by WADA, by the UCI, and by testing authorities at all the events in which I have competed, but I was unaware that in France the government tests athletes and takes the position it can test any athlete residing in or visiting France. I also had never heard of a laboratory (as opposed to an anti-doping organization) sending testers to collect samples".

How does Armstrong not know about the AFLD? Didn't they conduct the testing at the Tour last year? He seems like a bright guy, but I guess he's pretty dumb. For a guy who leaves no stone unturned with equipment & training it seems surprising he'd be unaware of the AFLD. I guess he knew all the old testers and when they'd arrive?
Also, some of these guys have been tested while out training, but he gets a 20 minute shower because it was a "long day of training"? Well, duh you're a pro cyclist, it's your job to have long days of training and with the contacts your manager has it should take 2 phone calls to confirm who the tester was while you sit there and eat a banana of something. That's transparency? This guy is a farce.

superb work
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 5:55am

This is terrific work, Andy, the best I've seen on this site. Kudos to NYVC.


Lance focused on winning the
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 4:04am

Lance focused on winning the tour every year. His riding strengths are consistent with a grand tour winner. And no one can say Lance didn't train his ass off. Lance was/is an amazing athlete, a pompous liar, an obsessed competitor, and a cancer survivor.

Look at the Cav ... with a strong team, and specialized skills, he's able to win certain types of races with scary consistency.

Assume that a portion of every Tour peleton was not doping. They were at a distinct disadvantage. Among the dopers, there were those that despite the dope weren't real competitors due to individual strengths , talent, bad teams, poor training, etc. So what you have left is the best cyclists who also dope. What percentage of the peleton is that? What if it is 10%? How many of those guys targeted the Tour and only the Tour? How many were perfectly suited for this type of race?

Anyone who has raced knows that there is a weird predictability to racing. Things just seem to pan out the same way on certain courses. Lance's 7 wins weren't a fluke. He was the best of the doping best. But his drug use and focus on the Tour diminish the feat.

You can find many more
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 3:07am

You can find many more examples of someone surviving cancer like LA's than someone winning the TDF seven (or even six times).

He doped when he was a triathlete (see steroids). He doped when he raced. That's what a sensible person would believe and not one that believes in "miracles". It doesn't take away from his accomplishments in my mind. He's been good for cycling and good for cancer research.

what changes
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 2:57am

1. Lance won 7 straight tours. Focusing on 99' is like questioning Wayne Gretzky first ever pro goal. His lasting success is not a fluke.

2. Any short term benefit from EPO is nothing compared to the long term F you uping of chemotherapy. If you can't respect the damage that was done to his body, you should visit a treatment clinic. To live, come back, ride the tour, and win is absolutely incredible/unreal/inspirational. To the claim that "lance is just human" and humans don't improve that much ignores the fact that most humans would have been killed by that cancer or by that chemo, and the average athlete is not taken from "pretty good" to 7 time tour champion because of EPO. If it doesn't make sense to the left brained among us, you are in good company because it doesn't make sense to Lance's own oncologist; they call him a miracle. I know we all spend our Sundays racing bikes in far off parking lost and towns that no one cares about and none of us ever makes it to church; I know we are over lab tested, SRM using cat 4 and pros in our own heads, but some things, especially success and "against all odds" triumphs can not always be justified by power meters, vo2 tests, etc. Lance and what he has done is a miracle. When our loved ones and fellow athletes are injured we pray for them (are we calculating the odds on Charlie I. or are we praying for him???). Find it in yourself to step out on faith not only when someone is on their back, but when they find improbable success and blessings.

3. Any more obsession with 99' can only be explained as schadenfreude.

Lance ... you're skeptical
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 2:55am

Lance ... you're skeptical about the conclusions. I'm not.

re responses
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 2:04am

1. Absurd response. Marion Jones admitted doping. Just because you deny does not mean you didn't, but if you don't admit it and your test are all negative, you are not a doper. Those are the rules. We're not talking about what people believe, jut the facts

2. Thanks, you should get paid for your work. You should have charged more.

3. Are you suggesting that Lance should not testify in his own hearing because he might win? Talk about speculation, were IU and UCI bribed, is that what you are saying?

4. This is just irrelevant as to whether LA doped or if you trust him. Why trust anyone?

5. I think the facts at question are that you did not do the tests yourself and the lab was shown at other times to be not reliable. So we have to "trust" them and your discussions with them. Nothing is "self-evident" and therefore why people are skeptical about the conclusions.

6. So people can't get better without doping? Levi keeps getting better over the years and no one is accusing him.

7. Huh? This just proves you have an agenda.

Follow up questions
By: Andy Shen
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 12:44am

Follow up questions addressed. See above.

Look, Frank, I just really
By: Andy Shen
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 12:36am

Look, Frank, I just really don't want to buy Powercranks, ok? Can you stop?

True, true, unrelated
By: Wheelsucker
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 12:28am

"As you said, it's not a study. The tests were not carried out in identical conditions, so you can't compare the results. Raw data is missing to check his calculations, which was already proven to be faulty. You can't claim he became more efficient, you can't deny he became more efficient. The Coyle data is irrelevant.

As for Coyle's motives, don't know, don't care."

Then, of course, we have Ashenden's assertions for which there are even fewer controls. This coming from samples held by a laboratory that has essentially zero credibility as a laboratory. He cannot prove that Lance doped, except in his own mind. He makes a case that it could have happened just as Coyle makes a case that Armstrong's efficiency could have improved. If Coyle's data is irrelevant then so is Ashendon's, except it keeps being brought up. So, that being the case, so will Coyle's.

As you said, it's not a
By: Andy Shen
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 12:01am

As you said, it's not a study. The tests were not carried out in identical conditions, so you can't compare the results. Raw data is missing to check his calculations, which was already proven to be faulty. You can't claim he became more efficient, you can't deny he became more efficient. The Coyle data is irrelevant.

As for Coyle's motives, don't know, don't care.

I make no claim that Coyle's data is perfect
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 11:44pm

It is simply, as I understand it, a compilation of the testing he did over a several year period. It is only of interest to the general public because of who it was done on. Sometimes data when testing humans is imperfect yet that doesn't mean valid inferences cannot be drawn. Coyle is an experienced researcher in this area. I would think it a more valid inference that his data here is reasonably good rather than the inference that he has forgotten everything he knew about testing and data gathering in these 8 instances or so of this one elite cyclist. While it is possible to argue the data might be flawed there is certainly no evidence to prove that it is flawed and certainly zero evidence that it is flawed to the extend that the general nature of the findings are totally invalidated.

You bring up the sports scientist debate.

Read this: http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/09/coyle-armstrong-research-install...

I participated in that debate and IMHO, hardly has there ever been a more biased review of this topic. They simply what Ashenden and others claim as fact and pile on.

"Coyle himself thought it was important to use the same ergometer, and claimed to until confronted with evidence to the contrary."

I just don't see the importance. Most "studies" don't last 8 years. Equipment in labs change over 8 years. As long as reasonable efforts are made to calibrate what equipment is being used I think reasonable inferences as to the validity of the data can be made.

"Prior exercise was not controlled."

I repeat, this was not a study but simply a compilation of the testing he did on this individual.

"There is no data presented for calibration of the ergometer."

Again, this was not a study but, despite this, I believe Coyle has addressed that concern and has stated he believes the calibration of the equipment was up to date.

"Workloads were not standardized."

I repeat, this was not a study but simply a compilation of the testing he did on this individual. I believe Coyle has answered many of these questions www.edb.utexas.edu/coyle/content/letters%20to%20the%20editor/martin,%20q... although not to the level most of you seem to demand

"So in conclusion, I see no reason to discuss how Armstrong's efficiency improved, because Coyle hasn't demonstrated that it actually happened."

Nor, has anyone demonstrated that it has not. It just happens to be the only "real" testing data on this person most of us have seen.

Armstrong went to Coyle for testing, presumably to assess where was at. The testing was for Armstrong's benefit. What possible motive would Coyle have to try to manipulate the data to make Armstrong look more efficient than he actually was? What possible motive would Coyle have to do anything other than the best and most accurate test he could possibly do each time Armstrong came in?

What possible motive would Coyle have to "manipulate" this efficiency data if he was simply trying to make Lance "look good"? It seems to me that it would have been a "stronger" defense (in view of the current criticism) for Coyle to have manipulated the data for Lance to have kept his efficiency the same and simply show his power to weight increased dramatically as he lost weight over the years. This would have been much more believable. But, no. He demonstrated both his power to weight increased dramatically and his efficiency improved. Because of this he had to concoct this hair-brained "he was able to do this because he changed his muscle type" theory to explain the findings.

I'm not a lance fan by any
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 10:51pm

I'm not a lance fan by any stretch, but on the question of charitable giving, here you go:


"Financial Information

Since our inception in 1997, the Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised more than $250 million to support our mission to inspire and empower people affected by cancer.

We have provided financial resources to more than 550 organizations that conduct cancer survivorship research or offer services to people affected by cancer, and 80 cents of every dollar donated to the LAF has supported our cancer survivorship programs and initiatives to make cancer a national priority."

Compare to American Cancer Society and that Livestrong expense ratio is in the ballpark:


"Funds Allocation
Allocation of funds for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2008 (numbers are rounded to the nearest million):
Research ($156 million) 15%
Prevention ($189 million) 18%
Patient Support ($268 million) 26%
Detection /Treatment ($142 million) 14%
Total Program Services ($755 million) 73%

Management, General ($73 million) 7%
Fundraising ($213 million) 20%
Total Supporting Services ($289 million) 27%

My family's been affected by cancer, so the more Mr. Hopestrong contributes to the cause, hey, so be it. It's better than nothing, or, rather, think of it this way: they've contributed $250MM more than there otherwise would have been. Further development of EPO and other therapeutics benefit those who really need it, and if athletes take it, they're fools.

Go after the suppliers too, not just the users. In other words, criminalize the sale & use of doping in sport. Wah wah wah slap on the wrist 2 year suspension...whatever. Apply some drug laws (felony), now you're talkin'. Both to user AND supplier!!!!

To 16:32 and 14:51
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 10:38pm

You speak of inference and supposition, yet you assume that Coyle's methodology must have been perfect, and you take as fact the results of something you say "was not a scientific study".

Read this: http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/09/coyle-armstrong-research-install...

To summarize briefly, there is only raw data for the '93 test, and the calculations made for that test were wrong. The error in Coyle's calculation is greater than the improvement he claimed for Armstrong. There's no point in debating the cause of Armstrong's supposed improved efficiency, because it just hasn't been proven.

As far as I'm concerned there's no point to continuing. But here's some more:

Coyle himself thought it was important to use the same ergometer, and claimed to until confronted with evidence to the contrary.

Prior exercise was not controlled.

There is no data presented for calibration of the ergometer.

Workloads were not standardized.

So in conclusion, I see no reason to discuss how Armstrong's efficiency improved, because Coyle hasn't demonstrated that it actually happened.

I dont and would never
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 10:26pm

I dont and would never donate the the LA Foundation. The first thing I look for in a non-profit is the expense ratio (how much the nonprofit spends/wastes on fundraising, mgmt, general costs). The LA Foundation is either abysmally run or spends too much to get new money, so the ratio is really high (forget exactly and want to avoid being wrong here) and it means you give a buck and something less than half actually goes to those in need. Give to charities that use nearly all of your hard earned dollars to actually help people. I suggest giving locally too - help the people around you who need it!

I am Ashendenfacetoxicated.
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 9:49pm

I am Ashendenfacetoxicated.

lemond swimming in winter
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 9:40pm

lemond swimming in winter food fest used to make ullrich's winter pudge look like kate moss on dexatrim.

plus, he was beating domestic & euro pros as a teenager, the guy was a once-in-a-generation rider. as was hinault, indurain, etc. pure natural talent.

probably as is/was lance. seems in every country every 10-12 years or so someone new comes along that sets a new bar. no u.s. rider has come close to lemond or lance. maybe mini-phinny will get there.

anyway, who cares. i still don't like treks and won't buy one, but i sure as heck would (and have) donate money to livestrong foundation. what they do is much more important than issues surrounding a bunch of guys wearing tight pants and pedaling bicycles.

the horse is dead and beaten. lets move on.

Lotta good points
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 8:32pm

The problem with Ashenden's analysis is it is mostly inference and supposition.

"Using different ergometers is huge, especially when you're measuring small differences. Any amateur racer who's been tested knows those things can really vary."

Using different ergometers is not an issue if they have been properly calibrated. A researcher like Coyle understands this and I would expect him to use a properly calibrated ergometer whenever he was doing a test, be it on a cyclist like Lance or be it on me. He may not calibrate it before every test but I am sure he calibrates it frequently enough that he is comfortable in the accuracy of his results.

"All of Armstrong's samples are listed in the table. He tested negative for stages 15-20. I guess the theory there is that they felt they the win clinched already, or that the lingering effects of EPO were enough to carry him through to the end."

"I guess the theory is. . ." key word being guess.

"As for Coyle's data lying on a nice straight line, one of the items in the complaint addresses that (but we didn't get to it in the interview). Their contention is that these studies are so hard to do precisely that it's very rare to see data line up so well."

Well, the problem is that for those tests in which efficiency doesn't change, that data also lies on a straight line, a horizontal line. Cycling efficiency tends to be very consistent in any individual rider but can vary considerably between riders (16-26% extreme range). A smooth cycling efficiency curve alone is not particularly strong evidence for fraud. (What is Coyle's motivation to commit this fraud.)

Anyhow, how does one explain this substantial variation between riders but the extreme consistency of individual riders? Some of this can come from muscle fibre mix but not all of it. Pedaling style must be part of this variation. This is why this variation seen in Lance is so remarkable. This improvement, after he won the world championships is enough, if the data is true, to explain his later dominance without the need to invoke the use of PED's. It is why those like Ashenden, who are trying to prove he used them, need to debunk this Coyle data.

Lotta good points in there.
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 8:06pm

Lotta good points in there. I'll dig and come back with answers. Meanwhile,

Using different ergometers is huge, especially when you're measuring small differences. Any amateur racer who's been tested knows those things can really vary.

All of Armstrong's samples are listed in the table. He tested negative for stages 15-20. I guess the theory there is that they felt they the win clinched already, or that the lingering effects of EPO were enough to carry him through to the end.

I don't know if Lemond doped, but he does have a reported VO2max of 92.5. We don't really know Armstrong's. I think that's why there's been a concerted effort to demonstrate that Armstrong is a unique specimen – he has an abnormally large heart, his heart has a high max bpm, he produces less lactic acid so he can withstand more pain, etc.

As for Coyle's data lying on a nice straight line, one of the items in the complaint addresses that (but we didn't get to it in the interview). Their contention is that these studies are so hard to do precisely that it's very rare to see data line up so well.

I will follow up with MA and post his responses to other questions.

LeMond may have doped
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 7:39pm

LeMond may have doped: after his hunting accident if you look at pictures of his legs and body they were rightly decimated after being shot.
If you look at the photos of the weight gain (look at the legs) not too long after he returned to racing (PDM/ADR) you will see that he bulked up. It looks fishy to bulk up so quick...Steriods? Maybe.

But you can not compare the effects of steriod or other stimulants to EPO. That is like comparing weed to coke.

"not one mention of sandbagging in days"
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 7:30pm

yet another reason to hate Lance

god this is tiring. i know
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 7:27pm

god this is tiring. i know it's all about lance-baiting, etc, but who wants to hear all of you argue different sides of this.

i'd rather read a long winded post from setanta about winning 4/5 TTs.

I agree with
By: Alex R
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 7:15pm

what wheelsucker 14:42 wrote.

yeah but someone snuck a
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 7:13pm

yeah but someone snuck a powercranks advert in ... sweet

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 7:11pm

not one mention of sandbagging in days

My take on this
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:51pm

First let me say that I don't know if Lance doped or not. I am glad you went into discussing the Coyle paper as you did. Here are some substantial issues I have with both the Coyle paper and Ashenden's criticism of that paper.

First, Coyle's paper was not a scientific study. It was an after the fact publishing of a bunch of test results on perhaps the greatest stage cyclist of our time. We are stuck with the fact that the usual protocols and controls found in the usual scientific paper are not in place. However, we also know that the tests were done by one of the most experienced researchers in the field and we would expect him to be able to run a reliable test. There is no reason to suspect that Coyles data is unreliable even if the machines are not the same over the years. Several tests were done and there was a steady progression in efficiency over the years. If there had been no change in his cycling efficiency but rather this change being due to poor calibration of the testing apparatus we would expect a random variation in the efficiency measurements over these multiple tests. The smooth change in this data either suggests the changes are real or the data is falsified. There would be essentially nothing in that paper if it were not for the fact these efficiency improvements were found.

Now, I agree with Ashenden that Coyle's hypothesis to explain this efficiency improvement is complete hogwash. But, I also disagree with Ashenden that such improvements are "impossible". One way cycling efficiency improvements can come about is by changing the pedaling dynamic to a more efficient form, see Lutrell - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14666944 . In this controlled study Lutrell demonstrated a 10% improvement in cycling efficiency (over the controls that showed no improvement) in only 6 weeks by forcing experienced cyclists to "pedal in circles" by training with PowerCranks. Admittedly these cyclists were not of Armstrong's level but surely we can all agree that 6 weeks is not enough time to cause such changes through changing muscle fibre type. One of the things that Greg LeMond told me when he first saw the PowerCranks is "I spent years trying to learn how to pedal this way, now people can learn it in months." Is it so inconceivable that Lance spent a great deal of time over these many years working on his pedaling dynamic to cause this efficiency gain?

So, if the efficiency gains are real in the Coyle paper they must be explained. As Ashenden pointedout, they cannot be explained by muscle fiber changes but they also cannot be explained by doping. This leaves either fraud on the part of Coyle or Lance was able to change his pedaling technique (as suggested by the Luttrell study) to something more efficient, or something else.

look at the bright
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:43pm

look at the bright side--without doping, bike racing would be boring. enjoy it while it lasts.

Blind me with science.
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:42pm

First let me say that I'm still not an expert in any of this. I'll also say that this is very off-the-cuff for me. I promised myself I wouldn't go down that road again of obsessing about testing details. These are just some thoughts that bubbled to the surface after a fairly quick read.

One of the most compelling arguments raised is the statistical anomaly of hitting six Armstrong samples. Because this argument seems to be immune to degradation problems as one would presume all samples to be similarly degraded (but maybe not, more below). However some important information is missing. How many samples of the 87 were Lances? It looks like it could be as many as 15, or 17% of the sample pool. If this is the case, there's still a statistical anomaly, but it's less significant, as you'd expect about two and a half Lance positives if the positives were due to some random mistake or degradation problem.

But of course this all begs the question, why should Lance's samples be any different than the rest? It doesn't take an active imagination to think that at some point his samples were pulled for further testing at the order of someone or another, or even just set aside. We have to remember that 1999 was quite a few years before WADA existed, and there were opportunities for discretionary testing. And the documentation standards were probably non-existent on samples considered

There's other opportunities for spurious grouping in handling, up to and including a lab tech who preferred to sort the samples by color or volume, which could tend to group things in a way that defies a simple statistical explanation, and lead to a "bad batch" that ends up over-representing a single rider.

Of course these stories are somewhat far-fetched. But someone like me with an active imagination could spin hundreds of different stories, and the experience of life teaches us that life has a way of trumping even vivid imagination. This is the whole point of having clear and explicit standards, and of saying anything outside of this is not a positive.

One of the things that bothers me the most is the issue of magically appearing dope. Ashenden says "It's breaking a fundamental law of physics to say you can generate a molecule of EPO from nothing". So what happens when samples are improperly handled and something "shifts the band up towards the area we associate with synthetic EPO". Pick only one - either the mishandling causes synthetic EPO to magically appear, or other factors besides the existence of synthetic EPO can cause the results to appear positive. And I'm not reassured with his vague assurances about checks that will prevent that. I don't doubt that they can test for known factors, but it's pretty much impossible that they've exhaustively eliminated every way in which this test can chemically go astray.

So what I'm left with on this point is yes, compelling arguments, but this is not a slam dunk, because the handling of samples in their entire history is unknown, and because factors on the mechanisms that lead to false positives are not presented here and are probably not fully understood.

There's a lot of junk arguments here too. The whole Coyle thing - who cares? Someone like Lance is going to attract people who want to use his reputation to make their careers, but Lance is no scientist. So whether Lance is pure as the driven snow, or 100% assembled from off-the-shelf doping products, he's going to do the same thing - use Coyle's results to protect himself from media attacks.

And the "fact" that he was a much weaker cyclist before his cancer is readily disputable. I could demonstrate that the Cannibal was a weak cyclist by cherry-picking results. By cherry-picking other results I could show that Lance winning the TdF is inevitable. My memory of that era is that Lance was criticized for his uneven results, which were attributed to plenty of talent but lack of focus. But it's all kind of stupid as an argument here - the history of sport is littered with athletes that languished and then excelled, or vice versa. This is part of what makes sports exciting.

And so I take Ashenden's willingness to make these non-scientific arguments as a sign of emotional investment. That he's not just sitting around and talking about his science and the lab analysis. His mixing that in with armchair directeur sportif stuff that's practically the opposite of science. To me this is a big red flag on his motives, and so we have to take what this person is saying with a lot of salt.

In my own final analysis, maybe Lance doped. There's some compelling evidence out there. But there's nothing that approaches proof. And to me it's without a doubt true that when there's a collection of steadfast detractors who will leave no stone unturned, they're almost guaranteed to find stuff under some of these stones that looks one way or another. Because life is just not that tidy. Or put another way, if I had unlimited resources, I could put together a compelling circumstantial case that almost anyone was guilty of almost anything.

And after all that, I have to say you give good interview. I wish the MSM was capable of this kind of depth.


To 13:36
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:15pm

"why should we trust what this guy says over LA's denials (and consistent history of negative test results)?"

Umm, there was a failed test during the 1999 tour that Lance failed, but retroactively got a therapuetic use excemption for. Then there is also the saved samples showing he was using EPO during the 1999 tour. Just because the he says he never tested positive doesn't make it so. He's actually tested positive more than David Miller, Marco Pantani, Jan Ullrich, and Ivan Basso combined.


By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:13pm


time to turn the page

Just curious:
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:10pm

how again, do we know LeMond didn't dope? Oh, right, he said so. Thanks for clearing that up.

If the gloves don't fit you
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:02pm

If the gloves don't fit you must acquit!


This is so ridiculous. Lance wont get caught. We've seen in this country what you can do with a well paid legal team. The sporting authorities had their shot and either chose to step down, or just didn't have their ducks in a row.

Lance! Listen! You're a hypocrite. That is what pisses us off so much. It isn't that you doped, it is that you're so indignant about this. We all know everyone was on the juice then. And we know you've got a professional reputation that just can't withstand the hit. And I'll give you credit for actually doing something with your fame.

I seriously don't think you lose sleep at night because you doped. You're a damn good cyclist. You're the best doping cyclist that has ever ridden the tour! That is good for something, surely. And to keep up your fight against cancer, I realize you have an image to uphold. So no hard feelings.

Within the cycling community there is a massive black cloud around your career. You can't run. But you're not defending yourself against us, you're making sure everything stays cool in the mainstream, and no feathers get ruffled.

Folks we have to move on.

Because in my mind you'll always be Lance*

Holes and presumptions
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 5:36pm

The biggest problem is that he seems to have prepared his case against Armstrong as an expert witness in the insurance arbitration -- a paid expert witness, I would expect. While that doesn't mean that his opinions aren't worthy of weight, it does at least put a question mark against them. Anyone who has worked with expert witnesses knows that, although they usually will not lie, they are often quite willing to shade their views to accomodate the party paying them. Why not go back to him to ask him how much he was paid? I think that would be responsible journalism.

Other holes / presumptions:

-- you say little about his credentials, so we're not really able to judge whether this is a guy we should trust. He's an exercizse physiologist, but that covers a wide range, from quacks such as Joe Friel through proper scientists. (Sure he has a Ph.D, but there are Ph.Ds and Ph.Ds).

-- he didn't do the analysis of the 1999 samples. ("You were able to analyze the results, correct?" "I interpreted the results. They assessed each sample . . .") (Does this mean he did neither the visual nor the quantificational analysis in the chart you reproduce?) So was the analysis correct? "They're absolutely sure that the results are correct." So can we rely on "them"? Maybe, but again, maybe not.

-- some of the stuff about Coyle doesn't ring quite true. He says that he "wasn't allowed to publish" some of his criticisms of Coyle. But that's odd. It suggests that, maybe, the peer reviewers weren't convinced by these further criticisms. And the way he puts it suggests that he has become very much the advocate against Armstrong. (In the same vein, see his comment about "a wall" coming up against him, and his reference to "defending OUR allegations" that Armstrong doped.)

At the end of the day it seems to come down to trust -- why should we trust what this guy says over LA's denials (and consistent history of negative test results)? Ashenden says he has the facts and the science to back him up, so we need to be convinced that he's right on the facts and the science, but this is what we're being asked to take on trust here. And maybe there's no way around this problem -- we (or most of us) don't have the background to assess the science and scientific credentials, so either we accept his arguments for their surface appeal (which is considerable), or we remain agnostic.

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 5:35pm

Just realized there is an 11:52 before me.

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 5:33pm

Not sure I understand why you are interested in me. I am a Lance hater in NYC cat3 racer. I was just saying that I think there are many forces behind him hiding his secret. I am not a Lance Fan.


From where are they commenting?
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 5:20pm


I imagine you can see the IP address that each commenter is using.

It would be interesting to know where the 10:46 and 11:52 (true/false) commenters were posting from. Austin? Aspen?

Do tell.

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 4:32pm

Great rider - did not win 7 tours by a minimum of 3 minutes. Yes - clean riders can beat dopers. But logic tells most of us that over 7 years, being able to ride away from Basso, Ulrich & Co with ease is just to much to believe. Like I said, I think there are too many forces protecting his secret and he will go down as one of the "greatest" athletes of all time.

"I dont get your comment?
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 4:23pm

"I dont get your comment? Are you saying Non-dopers can beat dopers? or The performances by Lance against dopers were extreme by any standards? Please clarify..."

I'm wondering about the comment that non-dopers can not beat dopers. If LeMond rode away from dopers like Delgado, Fignon, Theunisse, and Rooks... then he must have been doped. That is the exact same rationale used in the quoted comment to suggest that Lance was doped. I want people to look at the logic they're using and apply it generally. If they no longer want to use that same logic, then it may not be a very good method for determining who is doped.

"on the ball people. LeMond was a diff era, a less sophisticated one frankly from a training perspective, and diff drugs used by those who may have doped. Lets not confuse the issue here"

What's the difference in drugs? Apparently, PDM was on EPO in 1990 and 1991 (intralipid affair). People had been using transfusions since Grewal won the Olympics in '84. These are the same things being done today. Steroids too.

And... just because the drugs are different, it's ok? I don't get what you're trying to say. You just don't want the microscope turned towards people you like.

keep your eyes...
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 4:15pm

on the ball people. LeMond was a diff era, a less sophisticated one frankly from a training perspective, and diff drugs used by those who may have doped. Lets not confuse the issue here.

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 4:13pm

I dont get your comment? Are you saying Non-dopers can beat dopers? or The performances by Lance against dopers were extreme by any standards? Please clarify...


Remember, the Truth sets us
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 4:12pm

Remember, the Truth sets us free. There is never good from hiding the facts and the truth. If it hurts, then its pain that needs to be faced.
David Duchovny

riding away from dopers
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 4:09pm

"he rode away from huge dopers - Ullrich, Pantani, Vino, Hamilton, Mancebo, to name just a few"

LeMond also rode away from dopers. Was he doped? Make sure you're at least consistent. Some of those performances were a little too miraculous.

Lance and his army
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:52pm

Too many powerful forces in place protecting his secret. Nike, Oakley, Trek, Bicycling Industry in general, Cancer Foundations/research organizations, USA Cycling, Major races around the world (except for the Tour) all of these forces would fight to keep his secret hidden and to keep Lance a hero amongst the mainstream. He has made millions of dollars for so many, raised the profile of races, cycling, and increased awareness for cancer research.

While I hate Lance and believed he cheated (no question given the data and that he rode away from huge dopers - Ullrich, Pantani, Vino, Hamilton, Mancebo, to name just a few) I also believe more harm will come out of him being outed than good.


true or false
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:52pm

There is only one "fact" that matters. Lance has never been found positive in any in or out of competition test. No matter what you "believe" or what this interview purports, nothing else matters. Until he confesses or gets caught via official protocols, all the people who think he is a cheater are basing their decision on pure speculation, incomplete data and personal feelings.

> but we also love to unseat
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:31pm

> but we also love to unseat our heros from the podium

i don't believe that. we only take glee when we are predisposed to do so. it won't happen with the lance herd. the general population love this guy. now, if he hired some hookers...

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:24pm

the drunken phone call that Lemond got from the Landis camp during his hearing...

Classic moment in cycling justice....

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:16pm

but we also love to unseat our heros from the podium, and American's hate cheaters as much as we love our heros.

I personally love a winner, but not at the expense of truth and fairness.

Most people love heroes, and
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:13pm

Most people love heroes, and are especially fond on LA. Even with certified by the Pope evidence that he cheated, it probably wouldn't matter much.

West Coast Reader (again)
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:12pm

If he is the most tested rider as Lance states, we should have the most amount of data on him. Yet we are all guessing his height? and his weight?

Or has everyone lost his data like Coyle? How convenient.

Aren't all riders before the Tour (before 2008) given a physical where they measure their height and weight at the very least? Where's that data? I know we had stories as to who's the tallest, shortest, heaviest and lightest. Where is it?

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:04pm

So true. I bet my own left ball that post came from the LA camp. Its the same BS for years. Prove it 150% or shut up. Well folks, some of the biggest crimminals of all time have been taken down by the weight and preponderance of "circumstantial" evidence, or by proof of associations, irregularities that cannt be answered, or by proving a tangential crime (ie. Capone). Get used to it! In this case, its neither tangential nor circumstantial, but actual science. LA loves science, except when applied to his own cheating. Reminds me of Bush re: global warming vs. supporting his oil buddies.

To 10:46
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 2:56pm

Morning Johan,

Surprised it took us so long to hear from you.

Care to enumerate the holes
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 2:55pm

Care to enumerate the holes and presumptions?

So many holes and
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 2:46pm

So many holes and presumptions in this. If you have not got concrete evidence keep your opinions to yourself.

Let me reiterate, the height
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 11:37am

Let me reiterate, the height issue is me speculating, and only me. Mike doesn't say anything about it.

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 11:37am

Excellent interview questions and answers.

This is a great article.
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 11:16am

This is a great article.

But - as others have said - I wouldn't push the height angle too far, certainly on the basis of those two photos.

In the ToC photo, he looks about 3 inches taller than Levi, and 3 inches shorter than Basso. Which places him at about 5'9".

Likewise a lot of those U23 development team guys are well over 6' (Taylor Phinney is 6'4"?). He's going to look short next to those guys even if he's 5'9".

Missed it
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 9:19am

The most compelling article I have read about Lance Inc. Not only would it appear that my suspicions are confirmed (scientifically if not legally) about posibble doping by Lance but also confirms that Coyles 'research' was sloppy to say the least. But also it highlights the power of editorial discretion when Mike and his colleagues were only allowed to expose bits of Coyles 'claytons' research. Its bad enough that some athletes, some coaches, some doctors and some researchers are behaving fraudulently but when a peer-reviewed journal decides to behave in this manner also then there is no hope; the loop is closed well and truly on the 'truth'.

Well done Andy and Mike.


By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 7:16am

it is the past.

LOOK AT THE 19-95 TOURS- EVERY ONE DID (most admit to )'massive' efforts.

I hope the era of blanket doping is past.

If you feel strong enough to do something to help
join www.bikepure.org

99 Tour
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:49am

The EPO data from the 99 Tour seems to back up the later assertion - that it is the threat of police action which keeps riders honest. That the top 3 in the prologue were positive, but the overall frequency is low (unless by fluke all the testable samples came from bunch finishes and the sprinters were less doped), rather suggests to me that the GC riders were content to take a big shot before the race and have the lingering benefits, but weren't prepared to risk getting caught with syringes at the race hotel halfway through.

However, am I right in thinking that the power/weight ratios in the 99 Tour were significantly lower than the previous and successive ones (I saw a chart in the Polar-sponsored book "Could you win the Tour" which indicated this)?

West Coast Reader (again)
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 6:01am

Bravo! BRAVO!

Wow, and wow, incredible interview this is the crowning story to catapult Andy out of his day job or unemployment (which ever he's in). Now we just need to send Andy to Europe to get the rest of the numbers from the 1999 Tour, too bad a couple contenders weren't there (Ulrich & Pantani) for more data.

The Omerta is probably meeting or planing on it soon to cover their highly oxygenated butts.

This only leave me to wonder what juice they're on or moving to next?

Agh man, what a story!

the odds
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 5:19am

The odds are 1 in 350 that French testers could have spiked 13 out of the 87 retested samples from 1999 and that 6 would turn out to be from Armstrong. Find another excuse, Lance.

you heard it here...
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 2:41am

don't worry. floyd won't win battenkill. period. he's done.

Not holding my breath for Lance's tweet in response, but this interview is cited in CN's report on Lance's reaction to his latest surprise doping test. Well done, gents.


Not so sure of your math. If
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 2:26am

Not so sure of your math. If there's one repeat then it's 5 out of 11, 45%. Two repeats, 4 out of 10, 40%. Unless I'm just not following your logic.

By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 2:13am

I thought the same thing when I read the article- if just a few were tested, then the percentage was actually way higher. If, for example, there were 6 positives and only 12 people were actually tested because it is just the top 3 in 4 stages, then it is 50%. That also assumes that it is 12 different people, if some were repeats, then the percentage would be higher. There is really no way to tell since no one knows who the "presumed" positives really are and how many tests were done or how many people were tested overall.

Money/Mouth Is
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 2:11am

Where's the outrage about Floyd at Battenkill. The promoter is all goo-goo about it. And your entry fees are gonna fund the big check he collects.

That's a hard one to figure.
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 1:33am

That's a hard one to figure. But NO ONE had any fear of being caught. Race leaders, stage winners, domestiques all had a pass.

The other 92% did worry about the testing --
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 04/07/2009 - 1:20am

I don't think the 8% speaks of "not much doping going on".

If I understand correctly, the samples are only taken from the top finishers on each stage (plus perhaps a few "random" over the course of the whole Tour.)

As such, Joe and jack domestique (ie, Rolf Aldag) have no fear of being pee-tested. As such, in '99 they could take EPO liberally during the Tour, w/ no concern of being tested or caught.

Isn't this essentially what F. Andreu has explained also?

I think Andy and Mr. Ashenden miss this point...

Hey Andy....why do you hate winners???
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 11:53pm

Or so I would imagine LA's first question to you. :D

With this...I'm sure Lance's posse are holding him back from "Interviewing" you.

Keep up the good work!

By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 10:43pm

This site is still online? I thought we wired you a competitive retention package for a "fatal error" closing the website down?
We believe that was fair compensation in protecting our clients business & professional relations. Lance is 5'10" & 65kg and gained efficiency by pushing light gears at very high RMP's with his light weight. Lance doesn't need to race to train hard, he only need training camps in remote mountain regions with good medical supervision. He trains harder than he races.

You'll see this summer. Super-high revs up the steepest roads in Europe and sounding like a clean whistle while he does.

Agreed. I don't argue that.
By: Andy Shen
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:57pm

Agreed. I don't argue that. We mention that the effects of EPO linger after it leaves your system. But you have to admit, only 8% positive at a time when there wasn't a test for EPO is very surprising.

there is 0 chance that only
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:40pm

there is 0 chance that only 8% of the peloton was on epo in 99 zero.

LA Jr Dev Pic
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:28pm


Those Jr's are just soo much proportionally larger in that pic, I initially thought that was a photoshop job, done as a goof. Even if that were someone Levi's size in the center, those lads are HUGE by comparison, especially for cyclists!

Bollocks the EPO, break out the HGH test kit, I say...

16:57 Not how MANY, but how FEW
By: DA
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:21pm

One of the most intriguing aspects of this article is how LITTLE EPO doping was going on in the 99 TDF.

Based on these tests the highest percentage of riders who doped with EPO and placed 1, 2, or 3 in any stage was at the MOST 8% of the peloton. And it is quite likely that it was less, as there were others besides LA who won multiple stages and therefore could have had multiple samples in the mix. And remember, there was no test for it in 1999, so no reason to worry about getting busted.

Very interesting - especially to all of us jaded ones who just assumed everyone in the pro peloton was on the juice then.

Go Lance
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:18pm

Go Lance

does anyone really believe
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:57pm

does anyone really believe that *anyone WASN'T taking EPO from 1998-2006 or so?

OH, and look at the photo
By: Andy Shen
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:53pm

OH, and look at the photo links i posted. Unless LA is starting a junior basketball team...

MA never talks about his
By: Andy Shen
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:52pm

MA never talks about his height, that was only me. He cut me off that trail, too.

Interesting interview
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:47pm

While Andy does ask good questions, I feel the piece could have gone beyond one scientist's presentation of opinion and research and given Armstrong and his supporters a direct opportunity to counter the data and analysis. That's the way it is supposed to be done in traditional journalism. My guess is that Armstrong's camp would decline to respond, but it never hurts to ask and get that on the record. Who knows, they might actually have a rebuttal.

The reference to the Washington Post column by Sally Jenkins shouldn't reflect on that newspaper in regards to Jenkins' use of Coyle's data in a column, but raises the more interesting question about why the Post would allow a writer who has profited handsomely from co-authoring a best-selling book with and about Armstrong to write about him at all.

It does hurt Mr. Ashenden's case to be so far off on Armstrong's height. In the same way he criticizes Coyle for a photo of a second stationary bike, he is open to criticism for his mistake about Armstrong's height. Andy should have brought that up. Perhaps he got Armstrong mixed up with the truly diminuative Toto and his reliance on Extra Pork Opportunities.
Does this turn to serious subjects mean the end of Toto? I hope I never have to face the day when Toto takes the stand to explain what was meant by "bets he" and why Tugboat is an empty collar.
Keep up the good fight, but don't forget to duck!

You brought em, you datum
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:47pm

You brought em, you datum

you can datum my nuts
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:10pm

who the f'ck uses the word datum?

death to (an)all prescriptivists!

"Why the French hate Lance.."
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:07pm

You are not the first to suggest this, but a good perspective. Pretty much right on the head.

The only thing I would add is that the Tour is a cultural event and not a sporting event in France (a subtle, but a big difference as to how American public sees it): The winner is important but the struggle of the race is real essence. Lance hardly ever struggled in the Tour except in the early years: he just crushed.

check your data
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:05pm

"Usage Note: The word data is the plural of Latin datum, "something given," but it is not always treated as a plural noun in English. The plural usage is still common, as this headline from the New York Times attests: "Data Are Elusive on the Homeless." Sometimes scientists think of data as plural, as in These data do not support the conclusions. But more often scientists and researchers think of data as a singular mass entity like information, and most people now follow this in general usage. Sixty percent of the Usage Panel accepts the use of data with a singular verb and pronoun in the sentence Once the data is in, we can begin to analyze it. A still larger number, 77 percent, accepts the sentence We have very little data on the efficacy of such programs, where the quantifier very little, which is not used with similar plural nouns such as facts and results, implies that data here is indeed singular."

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=data&search=search

13:26 again
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:00pm

I understood what you meant. When you earn something, you deserve it. I am sure there are a lot of people here who work hard and don't get what they earn or deserve, that is just the way it works. As to your interpretation of my interpretation, I don't think that people get what they deserve- there are to many a-holes in positions of power.

I don't have the mindset of a doper, just a realist and while I do sit on the couch while I should be riding, it is not from fatalism, but worse, from laziness!

As for ethics free life- I was speaking of rules of doping. I do think it is unethical to dope, but I have never been in a position to dope, do not know what it is like to have pressure to cheat and therefore try to be as non-judgemental as possible. Therefore, I can only say that I will believe the data as it is presented.

vocab lesson
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:00pm

singular = datum
plural = data

As in: "These data are..." and "This datum is..."

Let's try to hold our hand of ignorance close to the vest and not show it in such an obvious manner as our poor use of words and grammar.

Impressive Interview!
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 7:57pm

Very well done. Thanks to both Velocity Nation and Michael Ashenden.


ask someone on ralpha, and
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 7:57pm

ask someone on ralpha, and welcome to the internets

By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 7:46pm

Is their a reason douche is continually spelled wrong? Or is it the same reason why Joe Louis was Joe Lewis last week?

Lance is a doosh. Case
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 7:40pm

Lance is a doosh. Case closed.

Why the French hate Lance...
By: Wheelsucker
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 7:33pm

Having spent a lot of time in France and being a follower of the Tour, there is in my opinion a fundamental difference in the French Psyche as opposed to the American Psyche.

Graeme Fife in his book "Tour de France" (The History, The legend, The riders)Hit it on the head. The French like their heroes to be well, human and to err. To be human is to be like them - human and therefore lacking perfection. They expect everyone at some point to fail and fall at the hands of human weekness and the seven deadly sins.

To not fail....well that is just nonsense and lacks well...humanity.

It's why Raymound Poulidor, a perennial 2nd to his biggest rival (The shrewd but joyless Anquetil) was far more popular and subsequently more successful in endorsements.

It's why Richard Virenque - a proven liar, a whiner and eventually a confessor to his doping sins and was able to comme back to the TDF and be more popular than ever.

In the U.S. it's the same old. "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" mantra and Lance projects that to the point that failure is no longer an option for him and for the millions who support his cancer foundation.

Clearly the French want to tear down his veneer of inhumane perfection and there are many more Americans want to keep it up.

Both have their reasons (delusional or not)

my 2 cents

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