Archive for the ‘Drugs in Sport’ Category

Controversy Surrounds TDF Leader Chris Froome

Chris Froome image: en.wikipedia.org

Tour de France race leader Chris Froome has lashed out at sections of the media, blaming them for whipping up a frenzy of innuendo and speculation about him.

About a third of the way through the beautiful 178km stage 14 (Rodez to Mende) Froome says he saw a fan ‘acting strangely’.

“I saw this guy just peering around and I thought, ‘That looks a bit strange’.”

“As I got there he just sort of launched this cup toward me and said (in French) ‘Doper!’

“No mistake,” said Froome, “it was urine.”

The day should have been a double celebration: South African Stephen Cummings won his first stage victory, coinciding with Nelson Mandela Day.

But the day was marred by the actions of a few.

Chris Froome’s Sky Cycling teammate, Richie Porte, also claimed a spectator hit him during the race with a ‘full-on punch’ during a climb on the Pyrenees.

Both men are laying the blame on over-exuberant journalists ‘whipping up all the rubbish that they are.’

“I certainly wouldn’t blame the public for this,” said Froome. “I would blame some of the reporting on the race that has been very irresponsible.

“It is no longer the riders who are bringing the sport into disrepute now, it’s those individuals, and they know who they are.”

Froome again raised eyebrows with another super-human acceleration on a fiercely steep final climb. He raced away from his competitors, taking one second from Quintana and more from his other rivals.

Concealed Motor Accusations Plague TDF Leader Chris Froome

Motor image: http://cyclingtips.com.au/2015/04/hidden-motors-for-road-bikes-exist-heres-how-they-work/

It seems almost ludicrous, but the accusations of a concealed motor in the bike of Chris Froome (current Tour de France leader) won’t go away.

Froome is also battling allegations of using performance enhancing drugs.

Many believe the incredible accelerations created by Froome are only possible with the aid of a concealed motor.

And believe it or not, such things are real.

Chris Froome image: en.wikipedia.org

Chris Froome image: en.wikipedia.org

“It seems like the bike is pedalling itself,” said Cedric Vasseur, a former competitive cyclist now working for French television.

Concealed motors weigh less than 750g, can generate up to 200 watts of power, and hold a charge for anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes.

As outlined in this Cyclingtips article, the motor would only need to be used to supplement the rider’s power in crucial stages of a race. These crucial stages are usually the areas most lined with noisy fans. Any noise from the motor, then (and they’re pretty quiet) would be easily drowned out by the roadside spectators.

Similar allegations were made of Fabian Cancellara, the 2010 Tour of Flanders and Paris – Roubaix victor.

Union Cyclists Internationale: en.wikipedia.org

Union Cyclists Internationale: en.wikipedia.org

Brian Cookson, president of the international Cycling Union (UCI) said the organisation is taking the issue very seriously.

“We’ve done some testing already for concealed motors.

“We understand that although this subject sometimes causes amusement and derision we know that the technology is available: We have seen examples of it in laboratory conditions.

“We have no evidence that it has been used in competition, yet sadly we do know that in competitive sport sometimes some people will try to find ways of cheating.”

New UFC Policy Divides MMA Community

IV Rehydration Image: en.wikipedia.org

A controversial new rule change has the UFC community divided.

In its partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) the UFC has announced IV’s containing more than 50ml of saline will now be banned.

Intra-venous (IV) rehydration was a commonly accepted practice for fighters to replace the massive amount of fluid lost through weight-cutting.

But the UFC and USADA drug-testers believe many fighters are misusing the IV rehydration program to blood boost.

This is where blood that has been taken from the fighter on a previous occasion is fed back in intravenously moments before the bout. There are super benefits to this: Blood carries oxygen, so having more blood means more energy fuelling the body.

There are also super risks associated with the practice: The fighter’s blood pressure goes through the roof! They’re vascular system is pushed to the limit as excess blood strains the carrying capacity of the arteries and veins.

The process was first used by competitive cyclists; a sport where a cardiovascular advantage means the difference between winning and being dropped by everyone else in the race.

But not everyone is happy with the ban on 50ml+ saline replacement.

According to an article in Bloody Elbow many influential fighters and trainers believe it will damage the health of competitors. Mike dolce, a famous and well respected nutritionist and weight-cut advisor, believes the IV ban will make fighters more susceptible to brain injuries.

Fluid serves to cushion the brain from impact. Less fluid means less protection.

“Someone will die because of that,” said dolce on Periscope Q&A.

“Let the USADA officials stand there and watch every athlete on a drip, that’s fine.

“I know they’re trying to get rid of drugs, which I think is awesome. But you can’t risk the health of the athlete. It’s just so close-minded. It’s dangerous.”

But not everyone agrees.

George Lockhart, a top MMA nutritionist, believed that when done properly oral rehydration is just as effective as intra-venous rehydration.

“There are a lot of potential downsides to IV rehydration,” he said to Bloody Elbow. “If you have too much fluid or too many electrolytes you can have some backlash, like diarrhoea among other things.”

“If you look at all the studies between oral rehydration and IV rehydration, if they rehydrate properly orally, they’ll gain the same weight back.

“If they don’t know how to rehydrate properly then it’s probably better to use the IV.

“But if they know how to rehydrate properly there’s no advantage to using an IV.”

The UFC fighters have been given until October before the ban will be enforced.

Armstrong Vows to Ride Two Tour de France Stages

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has confirmed he will ride two stages of this year’s Tour de France.

Armstrong says he will ride each stage the day before the peloton race it. He will ride with former English footballer and fellow cancer survivor Geoff Thomas. The pair hope to raise $2 million for the Cure Leukaemia foundation.

But the pair met with fierce rivalry from ICU president Brian Cookson.

“We know Lance’s involvement in Le Tour has split opinion,” said Cookson, “so we’ve tried to be as respectful as possible to the Tour de France itself in terms of the stages he will be riding.

“The stages Lance will be riding come towards the end of week two, when I know all riders will need some support.

“I know his arrival will give them the encouragement they will need to carry on with this gruelling challenge and in turn raise as much money as possible for blood cancer patients.”

Armstrong appears to have his sight set on riding the 198.5 kilometre 13th stage from Muret to Rodez on the 16th of July. This will be followed by the 198.5 kilometre stage from Rodez to Mende the following day.

Armstrong was controversially stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned from most competitive sports for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2012.

These penalties came after he admitted in an interview on the Oprah Winfrey talkback program that he had used performance enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career.

For this reason Tour organisers are embarrassed to have him ride in their race.

Drug Cartels Target High School Athletes

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cocaine#mediaviewer/File:Cocaine3.jpg

American drug law enforcement agents are horrified at the increasing number of drug overdoses amongst high school athletes.

A recent report highlights a pervasive use of heroin, leading to addiction, and often death amongst teenagers.

The seven-month study, by Sports Illustrated, believed cartels focus on athletes recovering from injuries. These people often have a history of painkiller use (either prescription or blackmarket) and are ripe to ‘graduate’ to hard drugs like heroin.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has identified this demographic as ‘at risk’.

The pressure and rewards of sporting achievement, even during high school, can be enormous. Scouts from many top-tier sporting teams regularly attend high school sports matches and carnivals in the hopes of spotting athletes worth signing.

As such, many teenagers are willing to take enormous health risks and compete despite being injured. When they are unable to be given prescription painkillers they look to the blackmarket.

“The cartels have developed a strategy,” said DEA chief of operations Jack Riley in the Sports Illustrated article, “with the help of street gangs, to put heroin in every walk of life. They recognise how vulnerable young athletes are.

A research project carried out by the University of Michigan found that approximately 11 per cent of high school athletes will have used a narcotic painkilling substance (including OxyContin or Vicodin) for non-medical purposes by the time they reach their final year of school.

Daley Tells Blues to Fire-Up

Laurie Daley image: commons.wikimedia.org

New South Wales Blues coach Laurie Daley has said his side intends to be more ‘aggressive’ in Wednesday night’s must-win match against the Maroons.

The Blues side have made no secret of the fact they intend to niggle and intimidate the Queenslanders.

Blues playmaker Robbie Farah believed his side were ‘too clean’ in the first match and were unable to put the other side off their game.

Queensland Coach Mal Meninga shrugged off the talk. “Bring it on,” he said. “That’s good. We have prepared for  it all week – that’s what Origin is all aobut.,

“You need that attitude and character, that aggressive outlook and mindset to play Origin footy – that’s why it is so great. If that’s the case, we have prepared for it.”

When asked about the intended aggressive tactics of the New South Welshmen Meninga said, “I think NSW play with a fairly aggressive mindset … We want to be successful and we will do whatever is needed to win.”

Rain is expected on Wednesday night, which means the game may be dirty in more ways than one.

Laurie Daley said Origin was unpredictable at best, but the rain throws another random element into the mix. He believes his side will be able to rise to the challenge and win in front of what is expected to be a hostile Melbourne crowd

His hopes were buoyed by the injury of Maroons play-maker Cooper Cronk. Last year the Blues won both games where Cronk was absent.

The unpopular Daly Cheery-Evans is set to replace Cronk.

Watmough fails to Fire for Eels

Eels Watmough: www.sportal.com.au

Eels fans are rightly agitated after the club spent up big on Anthony Watmough.

Watmough has failed to deliver since leaving the Manly Sea Eagles. On Friday night he posted his worst game to date: Running for only 53 meters, missing five tackles, and playing only a little over half the match (44 minutes).

In fact, Watmough hasn’t made a line-break since joining the Eels.

This is a far-cry from the same time last year when ‘Choc’ was rampaging through the Maroons defensive line in the State of Origin series.

Watmough is claiming a series of injuries are hamstringing his ability to perform on the field.

Blues Watmough image: www.sbs.com.au

Blues Watmough image: www.sbs.com.au

But in a bizarre Catch-22 Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has no choice but to keep sending him out.

Because of the salary cap, and the big money spent on Watmough, Arthur has no one else to send on to replace him.

The best both of them can hope for is the round 15 bye which will give the second-rower a much needed break from competitive football.

Just how much the team physios and doctors can do in a fortnight remains to be seen. But as it stands now buying Watmough from the Sea Eagles hasn’t repaid the Parramatta club.

NSW Blues Injury List Lessens

Laurie Daley image: commons.wikimedia.org

Paul Gallen, Brett Morris, and Robbie Farah are expected to be cleared from injury and available for Blues selection.

For Coach Laurie Daley their convalescence couldn’t have come a t a better time.

The Blues meet the Maroons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 17 for a must-win second Origin match. This is the first match to be held at the MCG since 1997, and ticket sales have been somewhat sluggish.

Daley has until 7:45am on Tuesday to name his squad and he is keenly awaiting the fitness reports of his most experienced players: Gallen, Morris and Farah.

Gallen was cleared to play for Cronulla yesterday against the Sydney City Roosters. Boyd Cordner is expected to be dropped to make way for the incumbent Captain. While winger Daniel Tupou is pegged to be relegated to make way for Morris.

Robbie Farah, however, is another story.

Farah braved the Origin I battle field, returning after receiving painkilling injections for a grade three AC shoulder joint injury in the first half. Since the game, Farah has spent every waking moment undergoing rehabilitation.

Despite the severity of the injury Farah remains confident of his chances to play..

But Coach Daley has said he wants all 17 of his squad ready to train on the day they are named.

Sharks hooker (and one of the biggest divers in the game) Michael Ennis is expected to replace Farah, should the vice-captain be unavailable through injury.

The Blues will go into camp the day the squad is named.

UFC 187 Wrap-Up

Image: en.wikipedia.org

UFC 187 didn’t disappoint; instead the franchise showed yet again they have the best MMA fighters in the world.

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone appears to have earned himself another title shot with a second round TKO over John ‘The Bull’ Makdessi.

Cerrone laid into the Canadian, Makdessi, with a volley of hard punches and several scoring high kicks.

But it was a rarely used upward back elbow that rocked Makkdessi early in the second round. Cerrone followed it up with a vicious knee to the head that had his opponent backing away and waving for the referee.

It was a smart move. Replays appear to show Cerrone breaking his opponent’s jaw with the final kick.

Chris Weidman survived an early onslaught from crowd favourite Vitor Belfort.

Image: en.wikipedia.org

Image: en.wikipedia.org

Belfort came out strong against the incumbent champion and slammed Weidman with several hard shots before trapping him against the cage.

He laid into Weidman with scoring combinations and appeared to be looking for the kill-shot.

Belfort kept pouring on the pressure and managed to open a cut on Weidman’s face.

But the champion said after the fight he was never in trouble.

“He hit me with some good shots, but I was just covering, covering, covering and waiting to come back,” said Wediman.

And come back he did.

As Belfort tired Weidman opened up. He took the Brazilian to the mat and unleashed hell on him.

Weidman rained down an unrelenting barrage of heavy punches and elbows. He then moved to Full Mount and stepped up the attack.

At 2:53 of the first round referee Herb Dean had seen enough. He swooped in to stop the fight.

Belfort didn’t argue.

Then it was time for the big hombres.

Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson gave the crowd what they came for. These men couldn’t have hit any harder if they’d been carrying clubs.

Johnson started aggressively looking to knock Cormier’s head out of the country.

But he bet everything on an early finish.

Cormier had other plans. He survived Johnson’s attack and capitalised on his fast tiring opponent.

It took until round three, but Cormier was able to submit his Johnson in an exciting and brutal fight.

Johnson was philosophical about the loss. “Tonight I might have lost, but the one thing I want you guys to remember is that you should never give up.”

Cormier, in contrast, had only one message: “Jon Jones, get your s***t together. I’m waiting for you.”

Jones Offered Immediate Title Shot Once He’s Cleaned Up

Image: en.wikipedia.org

UFC President Dana White has offered disgraced light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a title shot – but only when he sorts out his life outside the Octagon.

Jones has been suspended indefinitely after being arrested on felony charges. He is awaiting trial for running a red light and crashing his rental car into two other vehicles. The accidents caused injuries to the other drivers of a broken arm and wrist. Jones then fled the scene of the accident which turned a potential misdemeanour into a felony.

Albuquerque prosecutors have, as yet, not taken their case against Jones to the grand jury to officially indict him. However they have 60 days from the April 28 incident in which to do so.

In the meantime Jones’ light heavyweight title is up for grabs.

This weekend (at UFC 187) contenders Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson will battle it out for the belt. The battle will be intriguing, but no matter who wins the world will always know the winner never took the belt off the incumbent champion.

And that, perhaps, is one reason for White’s offer to Jones.

“He (Jones) comes right back and fights for the title,” said White to Jim Rome on Wednesday.

“He hasn’t had the time that Anderson Silva’s had, but he’s the most dominant champion. If you look at the murderer’s row of the 205-pound division that he went through, and he went through it like a hot knife through butter. He’s the man.

“Whenever he gets his stuff together, he’d come right back and fight for the title.”

‘Whenever,’ is a big question.

Jones could very well be going to prison for up to three years if he’s found guilty. Plus he may be facing an additional civil suit.

“He’s got these legal issues and he’s got a civil suit against him and all this other stuff. So we’ll see how he gets through this and then find out where his head is. How does he handle himself through this situation and after it? I’ve gotta see from him that he’s doing the right thing.”