Jan 16, 2013

How come Armstrong never tested positive for doping?

After the USADA (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) made the report public where accused the cyclist Lance Armstrong with "conclusive and irrefutable" evidence of doping, you could think how the cyclist managed for not getting a positive?

The USADA has explained in detail how Armstrong managed to avoid all these years, but there are many lights in shadows in those explanations.

First USADA doubts that Lance Armstrong never tested positive. In fact in 1999, tested positive for cortisone after leading the Tour, but was not punished because he claimed it was caused by the application of a lotion.

Later, in 2001, his teammates Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis claimed that Armstrong told them he tested positive for EPO during the Switzerland Tour but "came to a financial agreement to keep hidden the test".

So the idea that Armstrong never tested positive is wrong, at least according to the USADA.
These are some of the keys to why he never tested positive:

1. Avoiding controls

It sounds absurd, but the USADA says it happened. "The runners are advised not to open the door if there was a control EPO after eating", says the report. Also, in 2000 his teammate George Hincapie said that Armstrong retired from a career in Spain because there was a drugs test.

Other preventive measures was to have a surveillance team for possible controls and retire to distant places such as Puigcerdà (Spain), to make it virtually impossible for them to appear.

Finally, according to the report, "the staff of the team was able to predict when runners would be controlled and apparently had inside information about the test."

2. Using undetectable substances

Between 1998 and 2005, they failed to prove that there was blood doping or through HGH (human growth hormone). In addition, the EPO, with a very short detection time, could not be verified until 2000, which adopted the method of detection in urine. Moreover, testosterone was also very difficult to detect.

These are some of the drugs allegedly used by Armstrong.

3. With a good doctor who knows how to pass the controls

Armstrong had a long relationship with Dr. Michele Ferrari, who supposedly knew what he was doing about doping.

EPO controls (erythropoietin) can be faked by stimulating the natural production of this substance, whether climbing at high altitude or sleeping in a hypobaric chamber, which stimulates red blood cell production and increases the hematocrit.

In this case Dr. Ferrari advised the use of hypobaric chambers to reduce the effectiveness of the detection of synthetic EPO.

4. With saline solutions

According to the report, the team injected saline with the end to evade doping controls.

One of the boldest examples of the use of saline to fool the testers was in 1998 when Armstrong's doctor got hidden in his coat, a bag of saline solution was applied to the rider to lower his hematocrit level before a blood test.


Although Armstrong has disappointed all of us, he has done something good creating LiveStrong, the foundation that he created to support people with cancer, remember that if you buy anything from their product line you are supporting a good deed.

And really as a biker I am truly disappointed by Lance but at least he gave the spirit of overcoming such illness to many and also moved a whole country and a good part of the world to love biking, at least for a few years. Now biking is better than ever, getting more and more adepts by the day, and as a bike lover can't be more satisfied, and aiming to get a living with it, don't forget to check all our biking articles.

Thanks for reading!
This post was published first at Put in your basket, 1:17 PM