Re: Lance

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the guy has done more than the drug companies have for people with cancer. it's a shame that nobody will watch (though I expect they will, there are enough americans in the race). but remember, we watch the world series of poker and completely ignore true sporting events like the ironman traithlons, crew, etc. espn has the outdoor games (anybody want some wood?) and the nathan's hot dog competition... what they say is sport, is sport for america.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 12:36 PM
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But the World Series of Poker, at least as presented on ESPN, is absolutely riveting.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 12:52 PM
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I have to admit that I suspect that Lance is enhanced. I don't really, care, as cycling as sport is every bit as compelling as driving as sport.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 1:15 PM
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SCMT,

I find it hard to believe that Lance is on any drugs. Shit, it's not like baseball where nobody got tested. He doesn't so far outclass everyone that I think there's even a decent case to suspect him of anything.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 1:32 PM
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I suspect that Lance is enhanced

The cycling doping question is something of a cynicism meter. We just don't know. But he trains harder than probably any athlete in the world, and he's never failed a test, so I'm happy to just enjoy.

cycling as sport is every bit as compelling as driving as sport

I'm sympathetic to this, but once some of the nuances of bike racing were explained to me, watching it became a lot more enjoyable. And when you watch a bit, you get familiar with some of the characters, which makes it better still. Unfortunately, most of the riders are just nice European boys, so there's not quite as much drama (and more whining) than there could be.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 2:00 PM
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as ... than, a new coordinating construction whose meaning is not yet clear.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 2:04 PM
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the World Series of Poker, at least as presented on ESPN, is absolutely riveting

Yeah, there's a lot of moment-to-moment drama, which is what I think we Americans need in a sport.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 2:05 PM
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Right you are, b-dub, the parenthetical threw me.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 2:06 PM
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Are you going to lie back and take that, Ogged? What happened to the move to post-w-lfs-nism?


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 2:13 PM
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7: The great thing is that you can hear the trash talk. And that the trash talk is an essential part of the game. And, I suppose, that they edit together all of the best parts.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 2:14 PM
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w-lfs-nism is the only truth, Weiner, and w-lfs-n is its apostle. Sit back and be assimilated.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 2:29 PM
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What really made poker take off is showing the cards to the viewers. We viewers now have God-like powers of seeing everything except the future and we like that.

I think the next step should be to show the cards in the deck to the viewers before they are dealt. Sure it would take away the "Wow, three aces" moment but it would add in the "She coulda hadda straight" moment.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 3:59 PM
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Oh, and I see, what, Taco Bell? finally took my suggestion of a monkey jockey riding a dog! Somebody is reading this blog!


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 4:01 PM
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Monkey jockey riding.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 4:17 PM
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Fantastic! Lance is the greatest, strongest Tour rider ever. He's a hero for the ages.

But I'm glad it's over. The excitement in the Tour comes not just from the winning, but from the attacking, and the Big Moves. Those moves never came from Lance or his team. I'll be happy to return next year to a Tour that isn't over in the first week. T-Mobile, CSC, Liberty and Phonak will animate the race for 21 days. Stick around. Pay for the whole seat! But you'll only need the edge!


He doesn't so far outclass everyone that I think there's even a decent case to suspect him of anything.

Yes he does. And yes there is. But I think today, maybe, is not the day to discuss it.


Posted by: girl27 | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 4:20 PM
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but girl, this year, he really didn't outclass everyone. well he did, but he never, except on the itt's, cycled away from everyone. he was as good as anyone, as good as everyone, but doping? I just don't know. I don't think so. I'll take him at his word.

btw, great interview with him here, especially page 4:

Interview


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 6:04 PM
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Also, interesting note on the history of the ironman triathlon:

The idea for the original Iron Man Triathlon arose during the awards ceremony for the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay (a running race for 5-person teams). Among the participants were numerous representatives of both the Mid-Pacific Road Runners and the Waikiki Swim Club, whose members had long been debating which athletes were more fit, runners or swimmers. On this occasion, U.S. Navy Commander John Collins pointed out that a recent article in Sports Illustrated magazine had declared that Eddy Merckx, the great Belgian cyclist, had the highest recorded "oxygen uptake" of any athlete ever measured, so perhaps cyclists were more fit than anyone.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 6:08 PM
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but once some of the nuances of bike racing were explained to me, watching it became a lot more enjoyable

Can you give an example?


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 6:20 PM
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The guy who crosses the "finish line" before the other guys "wins" the stage, and as a result, he gets "glory," "honor" and "points." Before I knew that, it was just like car racing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 6:23 PM
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tiger woods is too good. he must be on drugs.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 6:35 PM
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What did you think before hand, that the guy who finished the stage last won?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 6:39 PM
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Of course I'm reluctant to answer ac's question because I don't want to say what I've learned only to hear "Well that's fucking obvious. I knew that, and I still think cycling sucks." But ac wouldn't say that to me, right?

I knew that drafting was important, but didn't realize that the drafting rider is using approximately one-third less energy.

I didn't know that each team has specialists: riders who ride in front of the team leader either on the flats, or climbs, or sprints.

I didn't realize that one strategy is for a team to go at a pace that they can't possibly keep up throughout the race, in order to force other teams' riders to exhaustion, leaving just the team leaders to battle to the finish.

Basically, the main things to know are: drafting is key and team members will sacrifice themselves to pull their team leader into an advantageous position.

There are also little dramas with people trying to break away from the main group (which is difficult because the main group always has more people to do rotate riding in front and can therefore go faster over a long stretch) either in order to gain time on the field, or to win a stage for their own greater glory. In fact, I didn't realize that just winning a stage, even if you aren't in contention for the overall win, was such a big deal.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 7:00 PM
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But ac wouldn't say that to me, right?

You would say that to you, I would not. I knew vaguely about drafting, but didn't know the other stuff. And was having difficulty imagining nuances. So thanks, most helpful of Oggeds.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 7:06 PM
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Funnily enough, Ben, the Lanterne Rouge (the rider in last place on the General Classification) gets lots of recognition, too. Just finishing the Tour is a feat, in and of itself.

Tweedledopey, I think Lance has even out-Merckxed Eddy Merckx in the oxygen uptake department. And in femur size. And heart size.

Like I said, I don't really want to get into it, on such a joyous day. But if you're truly interested, take a look at some interviews with LA's past soigneurs. Or the research the year that the Postal Team was found disposing their medical waste in the middle of nowhere. Or ask pros Bassons and Simeoni how it is to be driven out of the sport by Armstrong, for speaking out against doping.

Understand that I am in awe of Armstrong. He does the stuff that nobody else can do. Obviously, I don't know that he's doping. I sincerely hope he isn't.

But I won't be naive about it. When good guy Tyler Hamilton was found to be an homologous blood doper, my faith in la Vie Claire went out the window.


Posted by: girl27 | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 7:06 PM
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I'm with girl27 on this, I think. In any truly competitive arena, you're going to find a higher percentage of cheaters at the top of the ladder than in the general pool. In a sport like racing, marred as it is by drug scandals, a consistent winner is likely a cheater. (This assumes, obviously, that there is a type of cheating that helps.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 7:27 PM
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Michael Phelps, obviously doping. Tiger Woods, dope-fiend. Pete Sampras, doper. Alberto Tomba, doper. Kenya, exporter of dope-enhanced marathoners. Let's throw in Carl Lewis too. After all, he was really good for a long time.

The fact of the matter, as we've seen with baseball so far this year, is that it is people who are second-tier, the almost-good-enoughs, who dope or cheat. Yes, Tyler Hamilton was caught doping, but that doesn't mean everyone was doping. Was Lance doping when he won the Iron Kids at age 13? What about when he turned pro in Triathlons at age 16?

What this is is a perfect example of the availability heuristic. In the middle 90's, pro cycling had the "doping scandal" in which some riders were caught doping. Now, cycling has some of the strictest anti-doping rules in professional sports, so people will get caught, and that in turn leads to "ooooh they're dopers." We can look at this as a sort of McCarthyism. Ooh they caught some successful Hollywood-types who were Communists. Therefore, the successful hollywood types must be communists!

(By the way, I say this wearing my CCCP [SSSR] shirt)


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 8:12 PM
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And if lance were doping, we'd only have to assume that Ullrich was doping as well. Pretty soon, everyone's doping and it seems impossible that nobody got caught. So what undetectable performance-enhancer are they using?


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 8:15 PM
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TD:

For all I know, Armstrong isn't cheating. I don't say everyone who wins consistently is a cheater. It might not be possible to cheat (golf, AFAIK), or purposeful to cheat (your image is more important than mere winning), or you might just be that much better than everyone (quite possibly everyone you mentioned).

But off the top of my head, I can think of a number of people that, at a minimum, there are significant reasons to believe have cheated.

Carl Lewis: No, but Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, FloJo, Tim Montgomery, Michelle Collins, Dwain Chambers, Chryste Gaines, Alvin Harrison, Kevin Toth and Kelli White.

Baseball: Well, Giambi, Sosa, Bonds, and (IIRC) Gary Sheffield.

Also, there are other ways to cheat, like altering a bat: Sosa and George Brett (IIRC).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 8:49 PM
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Baseball, no testing. Track, the guys you talk about were all at the top of their fields for one or two years, in a sport that has been continually plagued by steroid abuse. What you've shown there is that short-distance track has a drug problem in the past few years. Cycling has been had issues with EPO and other other drugs, but the testing has been incredibly strenuous. In cycling there is so much regulation, it's difficult to cheat and get away with it.

George Brett didn't truly "cheat" (I say this as a Yankees fan ). He broke the rules: his bat had pine tar (the black sticky stuff on Vlad Guerrero's helmet) that went too high up the handle of the bat. He got caught, but baseball said "Fuck it" and they let it go.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 9:01 PM
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Without taking a position on this, I note that apparently it's not so hard to get away with doping.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 9:34 PM
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Year 5 was more exciting.


Posted by: bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-24-05 10:24 PM
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dopey, you just have to read up on the BALCO case to realize that if not for a sample of the actual substance that got played into the hands of the doping labs a lot of top athletes could've gone on enhancing undetected for the rest of their careers. The absence of proof is not the proof of absence.

Btw, doping helps cyclists much more than golfers.


Posted by: ogmb | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 12:06 AM
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Yeah, there's a lot of moment-to-moment drama, which is what I think we Americans need in a sport

What Americans need in sports is frequent excuses to pound beers.

There are also little dramas with people trying to break away from the main group

which make cycling the only sport where success crucially depends on the ability to form temporary (and very tenuous) coalitions with your opponents.


Posted by: ogmb | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 1:27 AM
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the undetectable substances are cera, autologous blood doping and epo in micro doses.


Posted by: fastone | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 2:35 AM
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By the way, I say this wearing my CCCP [SSSR] shirt

That's funny to me. SSSR wouldn't clarify CCCR to anyone who didn't know that CCCP was Russian for USSR and would be spelled phonetically by an American as SSSR.


Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 6:17 AM
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When good guy Tyler Hamilton was found to be an homologous blood doper, my faith in la Vie Claire went out the window.

No, no. Tyler has the "vanishing twin" syndrome (scroll down to his letter from June 2005), in which his body naturally contains two types of blood.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 6:32 AM
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Kriston, I know I know. My girlfriend gave me shit last time for actually saying CCCP instead of the Russian SSSR (she's Ukranian), so now I make sure wherever she might read something I say, I clarify how I said it.

As for the rest of you, yes I know all about the Balco case. I do not, no matter how much I would like to, live under a rock in a cave. I know about designer drugs and how hard it is to test for EPO and everything. I know there's nothing Lance could say or do. He's giving money to the UCI? Must be because he wants to keep up appearances. He says he's not doping? Of course he'd say that. The journalists who say that questions haven't been answered won't be satisfied that the questions have been answered until he's found guilty of doping.

I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. This is a guy who has shown to be a remarkable physical specimen since pretty much day 1.

So why the witch hunt? Because it seems impossible that someone could be so dominant in a sport where doping has been a problem. By that standard, I should assume that the Yankees were paid by gamblers to lose the ALCS last year, because, well, that's happened before and it just seems so impossible that a team so dominant could lose to a bunch of idiots. Joe, say it ain't so!


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 7:30 AM
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Hey TD, are you familiar with the band Tapakahbl (Tarakani) (Cockroaches)? Russian punk rock, huge in Moscow. When I was briefly studying Russian I learned the SSSR thing from one of their songs; they're yelling something about it in the last refrain and it's awesome.

I only recently realized that the Tour de Lance obsession was a national phenomenon. In Austin, the Tour is a favorite sportóbecause it stars Austin's favorite son and doesn't interfere with Longhorn football. Tons of beer specials, so it was okay in my book. Austin and Boulder might even see fans still watching the game next year.

As often as he's been tested, wouldn't Lance need to be some sort of criminal mastermind of a chemist to get away with doping? Or be backed by such? All the more reason for awe, that people seriously maintain the suggestion.


Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 7:54 AM
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Kriston,

I have not heard of them, but I am sure that Tweedlegirl has. I will have to listen to their stuff, just as soon as I start learning russian.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:00 AM
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From the NYT: "Mr. Armstrong's VO2 max is 85 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. An average untrained person has a VO2 max of 45 and with training can get it to 60. 'Lance would be 60 if he was a couch potato and never trained,' Dr. Coyle said. 'For the average person, their ceiling is Lance's basement.'"

I think the doping allegations are dubious, but one's "VO2 max" certainly sounds as if it's subject to cybernetic enhancement.


Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:06 AM
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One interesting factoid is that drafting actually helps the person in front a little bit, too. By that I mean if you are biking alone and then someone comes in behind to draft it will be slightly easier for you compared to being alone. It won't be the big boost the person behind gets, but you will get a boost.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:19 AM
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Kriston,

It is all about burning the fuel and if you can add a turbocharger you can burn more fuel per minute.

Have they tested Lance's mitichlorian level?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:22 AM
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Interestingly, in Ironman triathlons you are not allowed to draft. The exclusion zone is 7 m from the front of the bike in front of you, and 1 m from each side. The effect of drafting varies widely in those first 7 m, but once outside, the drafting effect doesn't help very much. There was a cool program on the discovery channel, I think, that dealt with this.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:23 AM
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tweedledopey,

How do they differentiate between coming up behind someone to pass and drafting?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:27 AM
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TD:

You're right, Armstrong is stuck with the Evelyn Ashford problem (per the article). It's unfortunate, but that's where he is (along with many other athletes). That said, he's a Democrat, so if he's doping, he's doing it for the Greater Good.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:32 AM
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Coming up from behind, you have to either pass them in one fluid motion (i.e. be coming up at a high enough speed that drafting doesn't play a large part int he passing). Otherwise, you have to move off to the side (1m to either side) and pass them that way.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:38 AM
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I know I shouldn't get prescriptivist about word use, and the use I'm about to complain about is so common that it shouldn't bother me anymore, but it does. So Tripp in 41, factoid originally meant a false fact (not a fact at all), rather than a small piece of trivia. See, eg, this wikipedia article.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:38 AM
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Last I checked Lance was Bush supporter. Are you sure he's a Dem, SCMT?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:41 AM
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46, at the Mineshaft.


Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:43 AM
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48, yes. he's anti-gun, pro-choice, anti-iraq. can't remember where i read that, but in texas, he's definitely a dem. he's just good friends with bush, but he's said that he personally disagrees with lots of the policies of bush.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:47 AM
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49, indeed. there is much drafting at the mineshaft. the larger guys up front break the wind for the smaller guys behind them.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:48 AM
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48 by way of 50: Wikipedia article


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:51 AM
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washerdreyer,

factoid originally meant a false fact (not a fact at all)

Ah, but I was using the original meaning: a wholly spurious "fact" invented to create or prolong public exposure.

It looks like it worked, too.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 9:29 AM
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team members will sacrifice themselves

The hard part is getting a new one to immolate himself on the altar of Mercury every year. (I assume Mercury is the God of cycling? He's surely the God of the USPS, anyway, so he's Lance's patron anyway.)

Speaking of which--politically, a guy who's that thoroughly associated with the U.S. Postal Service wouldn't adopt the anti-big government rhetoric, one hopes.

Seriously, 33 about the temporary and tenuous coalitions is very cool (I take it that Survivor is not considered a sport for these purposes). When I read about cycling I'm fascinated by the importance of unwritten norms. Though at the moment I'd still rather watch poker.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 10:17 AM
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I too was under the impression that Lance is a Democrat. I do know that he is a out and proud atheist with a special distaste for Christian conservatism, having been mistreated by his Christian Right stepfather when growing up.

I once saw an interview with him on 60 Minutes. When asked:

"To what do you credit your amazing recovery?"

He replied:

"To good doctors and good science."

I couldn't believe it! I didn't know that it's still legal in this country to attribute a good turn of events to anything but the greatness of God.

Of course, he probably wouldn't be such a big fat cheater if he wasn't an atheist. But you take the good with the bad.


Posted by: pjs | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 10:17 AM
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thoroughly associated with the U.S. Postal Service

He doesn't ride for USPS anymore, but for the Discovery Channel.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 10:20 AM
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Nevertheless he's associated with the USPS. I assumed he'd have been sponsored by them this year, too.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 10:35 AM
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USPS no longer sponsors a team. Discovery Channel moved in as a replacement. Teams change sponsors all the time in cycling.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 10:41 AM
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Anyway, as everyone knows, the USPS isn't part of the government. Have you tried putting http://www.usps.gov into your browser?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 10:45 AM
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Yeah, that was a point of contention. A government sponsored monopoly spending (IIRC) $25M a year on a bike race that brought an unquantifiable amount of money back into the monopoly. People were getting pretty upset about it, even with Lane winning and all. Personally, I'd love to see 7-11 start sponsoring the team again, even though the Disco Boys is a cool nickname.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 10:48 AM
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Last I checked Lance was Bush supporter. Are you sure he's a Dem, SCMT?

No, he campaigned for Kerry last year. And Kerry went to Paris for his finish this year and was quoted talking about what a good pol Lance would make.

BTW, I was joking in 36. I think it's sad that Hamilton is so desperate he's arguing he's got some bizarre syndrome, though with the dopers constantly innovating, I suppose it's possible that the UCI has adopted some shakey testing methods.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 11:52 AM
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And meant to say, your paranoia in 22 brought back fond memories of paranoia past.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 07-25-05 8:00 PM
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Cool site


Posted by: laski erotyka | Link to this comment | 12-17-05 7:03 PM
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