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Thread: Let the Countdown Begin

  1. #151
    2011 NFL Survivor Champion nadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond reputenadB has a reputation beyond repute nadB's Avatar
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    Re: Let the Countdown Begin

    Tyler Hamilton keeps his gold medal, but could still face a 2-year ban from cycling ??

    IOC: Hamilton gets to keep gold medal

    By STEPHEN WILSON


    Tyler Hamilton reacts as he wins a stage of the Tour de France, July 23, 2003. (AP /Laurent Rebours)


    LONDON (AP) - Helped by a laboratory's big blunder, Tyler Hamilton will be allowed to keep his Olympic cycling gold medal.

    The International Olympic Committee dropped its investigation Thursday into a blood test from the Summer Games that showed Hamilton used a transfusion to boost his endurance. The decision was made only because the Athens lab mistakenly put his backup sample in a deep freeze - not because the IOC believes he was clean.

    Hamilton, who declared he is "100 per cent innocent," tested positive for blood doping on Aug. 19 after his time-trial victory. But the finding could not be confirmed because there were not enough intact red blood cells in the second sample, the IOC said.

    An athlete is considered guilty of doping only when both samples from a drug test come back positive.

    The last American to lose an Olympic gold medal for a drug violation was Jerome Young of the 4x400-metre relay team in 2000. He tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 1999 and was stripped of his gold medal from the team, which included Michael Johnson.

    Asked whether Hamilton had slipped through the net, IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist said, "It's up to everyone to draw his own conclusions on that."

    Although Hamilton's gold medal is safe, he is not completely in the clear.

    Both blood samples taken from Hamilton at the Spanish Vuelta on Sept. 11 came back positive, his Swiss racing team Phonak said.

    The tests allegedly showed evidence of a transfusion with blood from another person. Blood transfusions can boost endurance by pumping oxygen-rich red blood cells to the muscles.

    It's up to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the International Cycling Union to decide whether to take action against Hamilton for the positive tests in Spain. If found guilty of blood doping, the 33-year-old cyclist could face a two-year ban from the sport.

    Cycling spokesman Enrico Carpani said the federation would not comment until USADA had dealt with the case. The U.S. body, which handles cases involving American athletes, has 30 days to deliver its findings to the cycling federation, he said.

    "This is a matter still being reviewed. As such, we're not in a position to comment," U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel said Thursday. "We understand that if it is going to be adjudicated, it will be adjudicated by USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency)."

    Phonak plans to investigate the accuracy of the new tests.

    "Since the new method is an effort based on probability and interpretation measurements, uncertainties will remain in this examination and procedure in any case," the team said.

    Phonak said Hamilton is suspended from racing but remains on the team, pending the review.

    Hamilton, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, could not be reached for comment after the IOC announcement. But earlier, in a statement on the Phonak website, he said, "I am sure that the gold medal that I worked so hard for will stay in my hands.

    "I guarantee that I represented the United States of America as an honest, clean and proud athlete."'

    Hamilton said he would support the team's inquiry to "prove my innocence."

    "I am confident that its result will bring me back to cycling soon so I can pursue my dream of winning the Tour de France," he said.

    The IOC said it was informed Aug. 22 by the drug lab in Athens that Hamilton's blood sample produced a "suspicious result." A group of experts studied the case and concluded Sept. 16 that the sample was positive.

    The IOC set up a disciplinary panel to deal with the matter. But the IOC was informed Wednesday that Hamilton's backup sample was "nonconclusive" and the panel dismissed the case.

    The IOC said the blood testing method - devised by Australian researchers - was authorized by the World Anti-Doping Agency after being validated by international scientists.

    "We're perfectly satisfied that the test properly implemented is entirely reliable," WADA chief Dick Pound told The Associated Press. "But how the test was applied or what was analysed and all that sort of stuff, I don't know."

    Ljungqvist said the Athens lab erred by deep-freezing Hamilton's second specimen instead of refrigerating it. As a result, the blood cells deteriorated and the sample could not be analysed.

    While urine samples and blood plasma are usually deep-frozen, full blood samples should not be. Ljungqvist called it an "unfortunate accident."

    He attributed the mistake to the drug lab's heavy workload - around 3,000 samples were analysed, a 50 per cent increase over previous Olympics - and the fact that the blood-doping test was used for the first time at the games.

    Ljungqvist stressed that the test itself, including the initial positive finding, was reliable. "The outcome of the B analysis has nothing to do with the method," he said. "It's simply because the blood sample was unfortunately destroyed and could not be analysed."

  2. #152
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    Big Grin Re: Let the Countdown Begin

    Well, football season appears to be pretty much over for this year.

    Only 222 days, or 5,328 hours, or 319,680 minutes, or 19,180,800 seconds until the 2005 Tour de Frogs.

    GO, LANCE ARMSTRONG ! ! ! ! !
    http://www.letour.fr/2005/presentationus/parcours.html

  3. #153
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    Re: Let the Countdown Begin

    GREAT start today for Lance ! ! ! !

    Will he go 7-in-a-row ????

    Armstrong Crushes Rivals in Tour Start


    By JOHN LEICESTER, Associated Press Writer

    Saturday, July 2, 2005





    (07-02) 13:58 PDT NOIRMOUTIER-EN-L'ILE, France (AP) --

    No easing up for Lance Armstrong in his last Tour de France. Armstrong took a huge step toward winning his seventh consecutive Tour on the very first day of the three-week race. He crushed his main rivals in an opening time trial Saturday, opening up early time gaps that may be big enough to carry him through to victory at the finish in Paris on July 24.



    "I was hungry today," said Armstrong, who is 33 and has said he will retire after this year's Tour. "I didn't come to ride a retirement race. I came to win."



    A bad crash, an uncharacteristic drop in his devastating form and the sheer unpredictability of a race that covers 2,242 miles, the Alps and the Pyrenees still could conspire against Armstrong, whose six titles are already the Tour record.



    But this much is clear: Armstrong's challengers will need the race of their lives to catch him and if previous years are any guide that still may not be enough.



    The only blot on an otherwise perfect Saturday for Armstrong? He was beaten by a fellow American and former teammate, David Zabriskie, by 2 seconds over the 11.8-mile course past oyster vendors and marshes from Fromentine to the island of Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile on western France's Atlantic coast.



    But Zabriskie, for all his promise, is not considered a contender for the overall title at the still tender age for a cyclist of 26.



    Armstrong, racing a special aerodynamic bike, helmet and suit, set out last of the 189 riders and had a minor mishap at the outset when one of his feet popped out of a pedal. But he quickly clipped it back and then pedaled relentlessly.



    He dealt a severe psychological and racing blow to his main rival, Jan Ullrich, by overtaking him along the way even though the German had set out 1 minute earlier.



    "The feeling of being passed by Lance is not good," Ullrich said later. He tried to put a brave face on the defeat, saying: "The Tour is still three weeks long. I'll battle."



    The closest of Armstrong's main rivals was Alexandre Vinokourov, Ullrich's teammate from Kazakhstan. He placed third but was still 51 seconds slower than the Texan.



    Ullrich placed 12th, a whopping 1 minute and 6 seconds slower than Armstrong. That already is larger than Armstrong's winning margin over Ullrich in 2003, when he won by 61 seconds by far the narrowest of his victories.



    Armstrong and Ullrich's team both said the German, who has finished runner-up four times since his only win in 1997, may have been affected by a training crash on Friday. Ullrich cut his neck after slamming into the back of a car.



    "That takes a lot out of you and I can't say I won the Tour de France just because of that," Armstrong said, suggesting that he still regards Ullrich as a challenger.



    But Armstrong also savored the satisfaction of overtaking the German.



    "I saw Jan in front of me at the first time check and I thought: 'It's going well today.' I had him in my sights. Then I did my maximum," he said. "You can't lie. That's a good feeling in the sense that you know you're having a good day."



    Armstrong's team coach, Johan Bruyneel, was jubilant, calling the ride "incredible." Armstrong's rock star girlfriend, singer Sheryl Crow, snapped photos for the scrapbook.



    Italian Ivan Basso, another favorite, finished 1:24 slower than Armstrong in 20th place. Spanish racers Roberto Heras and Iban Mayo will need astounding rides in the mountains where they are strongest to have a hope of making up time on Armstrong. Heras went 2:18 slower than Armstrong; Mayo was 3:13 back in 175th place.



    Zabriskie's ride earned him the overall leader's yellow jersey and was the fastest in a time trial in the Tour's 102-year history a remarkable feat for his first-ever day in the race.



    "This feels really great," said Zabriskie, who considered quitting cycling after a bad crash last year. "I never thought this would happen. Never, ever, ever."



    Zabriskie still has screws in one knee from another crash in 2003 when he broke his leg and wrist after being hit by an SUV in his hometown of Salt Lake City.



    Zabriskie covered Saturday's course in 20 minutes, 51 seconds, riding at an average of 33.98 mph.



    That beat the time-trial record held since 1989 by another American, Greg Lemond, who raced at an average speed of 33.89 mph over a course that was 3.4 miles longer in winning the second of his three Tour crowns.



    Zabriskie rode for Armstrong's camp from 2001-2004 and now races for Team CSC. He won another time trial at the Giro d'Italia in May.



    "We just witnessed the birth of a real champion for the time trial event," said his teammate and fellow American, Bobby Julich, who placed 11th on Saturday. "He just creamed everybody."

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  4. #154
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    Re: Let the Countdown Begin

    oops, sorry.

    didn't see somebody else had already started a new thread on this.
    We are the 32-Crew.

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