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What's going on here then?
Is this a pre-emptive measure to avoid a repeat the JTL situation?
http://www.teamsky.com/article/0,27290,17546_9221191,00.html

94 comments

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Goldfever4 [213 posts] 1 year ago
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Crikey. They seem to have reacted in the right way to protect Henao and themselves (assuming he is not doping). If he was, completely different story and should be sacked on the spot.

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mrmo [2021 posts] 1 year ago
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talking of JTL, is there any news of any kind?

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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If he turns out to be returning suspicious readings when not doping, due to some quirk of 'altitude natives', that could get interesting if other, previously banned, athletes start to appeal on the same basis.

It is rather quiet on the JTL front.

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Matt_Z [32 posts] 1 year ago
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Regarding altitude it would be the same as living in Lombardy or Hautes-Alpes. I personally doubt that there is much effect unless he is constantly climbing above that in training as due to the lower oxygen levels the body may try to compensate. I hesitate to say this is natural. However, if it would be we will soon see pro-teams training in the Andes during winter.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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The sky-haters will be along in 5-4-3-2....

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othello [359 posts] 1 year ago
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From the statement (what it says, and reading between the lines), he has readings which don't look good. Sky are checking to see if those readings can be replicated at altitude, or are due to altitude. If not, then the readings can't be explained naturally, which leaves un-natural reasons.

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stumps [3187 posts] 1 year ago
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To be fair his recent form is not that good which kind of points towards a natural complaint rather than a chemical / drug misuse. At least Sky have come out at the earliest opportunity to make it public knowledge rahter than it be leaked by someone which leaves Sky answering difficult questions.

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mrmo [2021 posts] 1 year ago
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Matt_Z wrote:

Regarding altitude it would be the same as living in Lombardy or Hautes-Alpes. I personally doubt that there is much effect unless he is constantly climbing above that in training as due to the lower oxygen levels the body may try to compensate. I hesitate to say this is natural. However, if it would be we will soon see pro-teams training in the Andes during winter.

Which is where you may or may not be wrong, the question which needs answering and there are studies on this, does being from a population that lives at altitude result in genetic(for a better term) changes. Would a Nepalese tolerate oxygen at high altitude and sea level differently from a Dutch person, does blood composition change, etc.

Reading the statement, something's not right, and we haven't got a clue why. Better be safe suspend the rider and get some tests done.

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mooleur [537 posts] 1 year ago
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mrmo wrote:

Which is where you may or may not be wrong, the question which needs answering and there are studies on this, does being from a population that lives at altitude result in genetic(for a better term) changes. Would a Nepalese tolerate oxygen at high altitude and sea level differently from a Dutch person, does blood composition change, etc.

Reading the statement, something's not right, and we haven't got a clue why. Better be safe suspend the rider and get some tests done.

Completely agree, no point jumping to conclusions yet. That's not naivety either (before anyone decides to jump on the whole sports corrupt wagon and start giving it beans!) - there's a lot of science still to uncover with this sort of thing.

I hope it's a good outcome, not a bad one, for the sports sake.

I think Sky have dealt with this very well, good statement. Good on them.

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Matt_Z [32 posts] 1 year ago
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Indeed MrMo. If that is the case we will soon see Nepalese sherpas on pro bicycles instead of Everest  4 . It would not surprise me if there is some natural effect. The question remains is it genetic or not? There is a study from 97 indicating that altitude training does increase red blood cells though (Levine, Stray-Gundersen, JAP). We will have to wait and see what the conclusion is here. I am very much pro team sky, yet the doping culture is a stigma that chases the sport without respite. Time to wait and see  45

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 1 year ago
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He's not been suspended, he's off to altitude to help the UCI figure out tests I think.  39

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Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 1 year ago
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I don't think there is any good way to spin this. Sky are being given time to find a reason for elevated levels under suspicious circumstances. The excuse Sky seem to have come up with seems a little weak - but I wouldn't expect Henao to be any different from some of his compatriots (Betancur, Quintana, Uran Uran - they all seem to be doing so well don't they!?).

I was just talking the other day about how the JTL thing seems to have been buried.

From what I read on the BBC website this is a new test required by anti-doping authorities. Having watched and enjoyed the Tirreno-Adriatico with a mountain stage finished at an average of over 25mph (including a 600m 25% ramp) I wouldn't say that I find these findings anomalous. I think I would also ask exactly what the authorities have done to stamp out doping....the answer is not most encouraging.

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mooleur [537 posts] 1 year ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

He's not been suspended, he's off to altitude to help the UCI figure out tests I think.  39

Not suspended by UCI but suspended from the team's race roster for now.

Wouldn't trust the UCI to do anything properly atm!

(did I say that out loud!?)

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I don't think there is any good way to spin this. Sky are being given time to find a reason for elevated levels under suspicious circumstances.

Who is giving Sky time?

Sky found the results, Sky contacted the UCI.

If they wanted/needed time to hide something surely they'd have just kept quiet?

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mooleur [537 posts] 1 year ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I don't think there is any good way to spin this. Sky are being given time to find a reason for elevated levels under suspicious circumstances. The excuse Sky seem to have come up with seems a little weak - but I wouldn't expect Henao to be any different from some of his compatriots (Betancur, Quintana, Uran Uran - they all seem to be doing so well don't they!?).

I was just talking the other day about how the JTL thing seems to have been buried.

From what I read on the BBC website this is a new test required by anti-doping authorities. Having watched and enjoyed the Tirreno-Adriatico with a mountain stage finished at an average of over 25mph (including a 600m 25% ramp) I wouldn't say that I find these findings anomalous. I think I would also ask exactly what the authorities have done to stamp out doping....the answer is not most encouraging.

What excuse is weak? They've suspended him from their scheduling - that's hardly a spin is it??

The JTL thing hasn't really been buried, it took much longer this for the original results to show up - the fact that there's now further investigation both from a legal and medical perspective means that this will take time and most of that time will be apart from the chit chat of the public for obvious reasons.

Your criticism/doubt on the subject seems a little ambiguous? 25mph averages for a stage is a very regular average for the pro peoloton.

The 'authorities' are actually doing a lot to stamp out doping and the sport has come on leaps and bounds in the last 5 years because of this, the fact that the UCI are carrying out this research is testament to the fact that they are open to ensuring the sport becomes fairer.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 1 year ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The excuse Sky seem to have come up with seems a little weak.

Which excuse is that exactly?

Think you may need to read who contacted who again.

Or not, I mean, why let the details get in the way of a good Sky bashing!

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mrmo [2021 posts] 1 year ago
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Matt_Z wrote:

Indeed MrMo. If that is the case we will soon see Nepalese sherpas on pro bicycles instead of Everest  4 . It would not surprise me if there is some natural effect. The question remains is it genetic or not? There is a study from 97 indicating that altitude training does increase red blood cells though (Levine, Stray-Gundersen, JAP). We will have to wait and see what the conclusion is here. I am very much pro team sky, yet the doping culture is a stigma that chases the sport without respite. Time to wait and see  45

There is always the question why East Africa produces so many good long distance runners... drugs? environment? genetics?

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Him Up North [235 posts] 1 year ago
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stumps wrote:

At least Sky have come out at the earliest opportunity to make it public knowledge rather than it be leaked by someone which leaves Sky answering difficult questions.

I commented positively on their proactive attitude on the news page, however now I'm reading Sky issued the statement in reaction to the story being broken by Gazzetta della Sport.  39

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bashthebox [751 posts] 1 year ago
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This fascinating article popped up on my twitter stream earlier today - http://decaironman-training.com/2014/03/19/the-challenge-of-monitoring-a...
It's quite strong on the technical language, so if you're the sort of person who screams a spittle-flecked "DOPE!" like some cycling-obsessed Father Jack / Digger Forum type every time a bicycle rider wins a race, you might not be able to read until the end without your brain melting.
Anyway, certain populations who have lived in regions like the high Andes and Himalayas are observed to have evolved exceptionally fast to deal with living at high altitude, in slightly different and distinct ways. They're physiologically adapted, rather than adapted by training at altitude.... but much more than this, science doesn't seem to know.
Which kind of makes Sky's statement pretty honest really. Henao is showing odd numbers, drugs exist, so does altitude.

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Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm not one to scream 'doper'. And I think Sly have done the right thing by saying 'this looks a bit funny, let's drop him until we're sure he's not doing anything dodgy under our noses'.

Of course, if he's been taking a wage from the 'clean' team while organising his own programme on the quiet, more fool him.

Let's see how it plays out.

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Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 1 year ago
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The excuse puts doubt out there so that they don't have to face off a furore about doping and can effectively sweep the issue under the carpet. Buying time from a media storm - because apparently they didn't break this story originally.

When you listen to the words of the release doesn't it conjure up the idea that they have commissioned a rather expensive sampling program of Andean residence in order to determine what has happened? How likely do you think that will be for the sake of one pro-athlete? How much will they spend? £1,000, £10,000, £100,000? Well you might as well hire a new cyclist for the last amount - but that is probably twice as much as is needed to do half-way what a decent academic research program costs.

The only person they are going to push and prod is Henao.

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Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 1 year ago
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mooleur wrote:

What excuse is weak? They've suspended him from their scheduling - that's hardly a spin is it??

The JTL thing hasn't really been buried, it took much longer this for the original results to show up - the fact that there's now further investigation both from a legal and medical perspective means that this will take time and most of that time will be apart from the chit chat of the public for obvious reasons.

Your criticism/doubt on the subject seems a little ambiguous? 25mph averages for a stage is a very regular average for the pro peoloton.

The 'authorities' are actually doing a lot to stamp out doping and the sport has come on leaps and bounds in the last 5 years because of this, the fact that the UCI are carrying out this research is testament to the fact that they are open to ensuring the sport becomes fairer.

25 mph is very fast for a mountain stage, and particularly one with such a steep ramp at the end. Not my words - those of the commentator (pro-cyclist) on Eurosport.

But when I saw the speed it rang alarm bells from the Armstrong era. Cycling doesn't need to be fast to be exciting. It's the suffering that counts. But the speed is a sure indicator that things aren't right.

And, if you don't think that the press release does not push away accusations of doping which each and every Sky team member would face then I don't know what you think it was set to do. Henao failed a new out of season test. The results were leaked and THEN Sky came out with a press release which give plausible deniability to doping charges - as I've said above - what further research do you think they will do?

Most of the pressure to do testing is now coming from having to adhere to WADA. As an Olympic sport cycling (and by virtue) the UCI have to follow their rules. But my point was a rhetorical one. The UCI have introduced blood passports, which is just another 50% rule. It allows dopers to dope, it just means they have to be more methodical in their approach - just ask Lance, who managed to find a way to circumvent them. If you think that the anti-doping has stamped doping out then you are wrong, they have just moved the goal posts.

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SGcyclist [1 post] 1 year ago
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You might like this post - 'The challenge of monitoring 'altitude natives' in professional cycling' http://decaironman-training.com/2014/03/19/the-challenge-of-monitoring-a...

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stumps [3187 posts] 1 year ago
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Colin, after watching the likes of Quintana, Sagan etc literally almost at a standstill going up that last 600m ramp i can honestly say if any of them were taking drugs they would not struggle like that.

If you check the profile the first 141k was nearly all down hill with the occasional bump and it wasn't until the Passo Lanciano that there was anything resembling a climb with another steep fast downhill section to follow so a 25mph average does not seem out of place.

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Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 1 year ago
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stumps wrote:

Colin, after watching the likes of Quintana, Sagan etc literally almost at a standstill going up that last 600m ramp i can honestly say if any of them were taking drugs they would not struggle like that.

Based on what Stumps? I don't think you've taken any to know. To be fair neither of us knows when they're taking. I thought the average of the stage was high relatively speaking, but I wasn't basing what I said only on what I felt. The Eurosport commentator thought so too. As an ex-pro and someone who watched the whole thing I should think that qualifies the statement a bit. But it matters not.

You know I still enjoy the cycling, but there is a deception about sport. It is wonderful theatre, but like theatre/film things are being made to seem real when they are not. I don't think Sky are any different to any other team out there. So if Trek has a doper, or Lampre-Merida I think the likelihood Sky has one too is pretty high. The only reason people think they are different is because they tell us so. But the longer they go on the harder it is to stop the cracks appearing in their facade.

I'm just surprised at how ready people are to believe them when all we have ever been told (regarding drugs) is lies and half truths.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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So Colin, given that you are the absolute authority on everything cycling, when should Chris Hoy give his medals back?

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mooleur [537 posts] 1 year ago
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farrell wrote:

So Colin, given that you are the absolute authority on everything cycling, when should Chris Hoy give his medals back?

Nail. Head.

@Colin - please look at the broader picture in cycling at a professional level, there are guys I know guys who are starting their seasons in Belgium doing ridiculous hilly kermesses and one dayers at 27-29mph averages - these guys are young and certainly the only drugs they've probably even sniffed at are calpol and their big brothers' weed. Are those speeds to be sniffed at and dismissed as sure fire unnatural ability?

If you make direct comparisons on grand tours now and grand tours in the Armstrong era the entire STYLE of riding is completely different. The riders look natural, the climbers are tiny skinny whisps like they should be. Not big burly coke sniffing hooligans that can wake up and break records like it wasn't even hard.

Your belief of the doping hype is a damaging attitude, such unwarranted negativity does not help the state of things in the public eye. It doesn't help any of us, especially not those who race. Even I, at an amateur domestic level, get questions and "jokes" from people who don't know me because they simply assume everyone who races for a team must be on drugs - these aren't people who know about cycling, but they are people who read articles written by people with ill informed opinions such as those you're outlining here.

As a friend of pro and ex pro riders both domestic and further afield, I actually find your statements slightly offensive on their behalf, when you consider how much work these guys and girls put in now. Assuming that "every team must have a doper" and other such nonsense is basically like posting your own poo through the letterbox of the guys who have sacrificed EVERYTHING to be at the top of their game. Those guys deserve respect, not constant criticism for an area they aren't and were never a part of.

When guys are caught, fine, give them hell. But don't you dare bring down the hard work of folks who deserve nothing but a tip of the cap for the unbelievable work they put in to do what they do.

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andyp [1438 posts] 1 year ago
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I do believe that on the whole we're moving towards a much cleaner era, and I agree with much that you say, mooleur.

But,

'If you make direct comparisons on grand tours now and grand tours in the Armstrong era the entire STYLE of riding is completely different. The riders look natural, the climbers are tiny skinny whisps like they should be.'

The climbers are tiny skinny whisps (sic) like...Rasmussen? Pantani? Ricco? Aside from yer Texan scumbag and his German friend, in that era we had an awful lot of tiny skinny wisps also. Who turned out to be doped to the gills. Let's not forget that.

Stage 16 of the 2012 Tour...by itself...restored my faith in most riders. You remember the one...the breakaway...the long sustained 'sprint' for the line where everyone looked as though they were pedalling through treacle...Voeckler, Voigt et al just basically falling over the line. Looked like *genuine* athletic achievement at the edge of what the human body can do. Loved it. (despite the presence of Vino)

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Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 1 year ago
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mooleur wrote:

Your belief of the doping hype is a damaging attitude, such unwarranted negativity does not help the state of things in the public eye. It doesn't help any of us, especially not those who race. Even I, at an amateur domestic level, get questions and "jokes" from people who don't know me because they simply assume everyone who races for a team must be on drugs - these aren't people who know about cycling, but they are people who read articles written by people with ill informed opinions such as those you're outlining here.

As a friend of pro and ex pro riders both domestic and further afield, I actually find your statements slightly offensive on their behalf, when you consider how much work these guys and girls put in now. Assuming that "every team must have a doper" and other such nonsense is basically like posting your own poo through the letterbox of the guys who have sacrificed EVERYTHING to be at the top of their game. Those guys deserve respect, not constant criticism for an area they aren't and were never a part of.

When guys are caught, fine, give them hell. But don't you dare bring down the hard work of folks who deserve nothing but a tip of the cap for the unbelievable work they put in to do what they do.

Well you bow and scrap if you please. I respect endeavour in a different way to you. I think your attitude makes it easier for the dopers to hide behind half truths and plain lies. Chances are that the ones not doping are the ones who don't win a thing. I would also dispute your junior racers being non-dopers. I know form when I was a lad that my friends (cyclists ) were popping amphetamines, but also that some of the most tragic cases of cycling deaths were young teenage cyclists in Holland who died in their sleep because their blood was like syrup from self-medicating EPO. If you are happy for that to happen then you sicken me. If doping didn't work or didn't help then no one would do it.
I get it that even dopers train and try hard, but you should never let them get away from the taint. Time and again the athletes let you down and as long as the window through which they keep passing to avoid anti-doping remains large then they will continue to walk through it.

As I said I enjoy the racing, but when you have the likes of Horner winning and getting away with it it seems blind to trust the system. He easily circumvented it by changing his hotel address the night before - classic tactic.

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bashthebox [751 posts] 1 year ago
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I agree that there are riders who should be placed under suspicion in the peloton - hell, no one gets a pass do they? I do wonder why Sky get so much more crap than anyone else though, especially when they do do an awful lot to be a zero tolerance team. Problem is, it's almost as hard for the teams to see who's doping as it is the doping authorities - and we know how easy it can be for athletes to get away with it. You'd think that an athlete who rides for a vocally clean team like Sky, Garmin, OGE etc will be far less likely to dope than someone whose team has an established track record of doping - the team ethos is against it, so you look to gain competitive advantage in different ways... and we all know about Sky's attention to detail in every aspect. It really does make a huge difference.
If Sky was a doping team, it wouldn't be domestiques getting caught, it would be everyone, surely?

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