Who would have thought that the LEAST bad thing that could happen to you if you were associated with Team RadioShack recently is being blown off your bike in a wind gust during a time trial and busting your sacrum, tearing your shorts and getting a big rasberry on your ass?
If you don't know what I'm talking about - don't read any further, because you probably a) don't care, or b) don't want to hear anymore. And, if you wanted to read the full USADA letter, you've probably already tracked it down yourself, but if not - here you go: USADA letter secured by the Wall Street Journal.
Probably many of you are thinking - yeah yeah yeah, same "big message", different day.
But two things struck me in this letter as being relatively new, at least to me:
#1) "This notice letter describes a portion of the evidence gathered by USADA in its investigation of potential doping on the United States Postal Service (USPS) (1996-2004), Discovery Channel (2205-2007), Astana (2009) and RadioShack (2010) cycling teams. The witnesses to the conduct described in this letter include more than ten (10) cyclists as well as cycling team employees." (Page 2, paragraph 2.)
#2) "This action is being brought as as a single consolidated action because for a significant part of the periods from January 1, 1998, through the present, each of the Respondents has been part of a doping conspiracy involving team officials, employees, doctors, and elite cyclists of the United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel Cycling Teams who committed numerous violations of the Applicable Rules (the "USPS Conspiracy" or the "Conspiracy"). Because of the nature of the USPS Conspiracy, the fact that each of the Respondents actively participated together in a long running doping conspiracy and due to the close integration of the evidence against each of the Respondents as a described herein this proceeding is being brought as a consolidated case. (Page 11, paragraphs 5 and 7.)
The specific doping products are then listed (pages 4 and 5)
1. Erythropoietin (EPO) also known as "E," "Po," "Edgar" or "Edgar Allen Poe,"
2. Blood transfusions
4. Human Growth Hormone (hGH)
6. Saline and plasma infusions
So I'm wondering firstly - who are the 10 cyclists? I think it's safe to assume Hamilton, Landis and Andreu are numbers 1 through 3......but who are the others? And this is the first time I've heard this referred to as a doping "conspiracy" per se.
And can we PLEASE stop pulling Eddie into this whole mess? I mean, he did nothing wrong (other than marrying his 13 year old cousin - just so wrong....) so why do we have to keep dragging his name through the mud?
Regardless of how you feel about the subject, this case has the potential to change the face of cycling. And triathlons as well, as Lance has been banned from competing in WTC triathlons while under investigation. You know a bunch of NBC execs who thought they scored a money deal for signing on to televise forthcoming WTC Ironman competitions because of the Armstrong celebrity draw are doing the serious head smack right about now....
Everyone certainly has an opinion on the matter - and I can think of precious few who choose to avoid the topic altogether (maybe except for them). And the naysayers out there are apt to tell us all "I told you so...." - the most blatant of which is probably going to be the Onion which reported on this way back in 2010!!
"I have to tell you something, but promise not to get mad, OK?"
And really - it was just a matter of time before this got created - but I didn't expect it would be so fast!