Nov 14 2006
Today’s Yahoo! Cycling headline: “Hackers Steal Data at French anti-Doping Lab”. No points for guessing which French anti-doping lab, especially if you’re Paola Pezzo or Lance Armstrong. (By the way, it just so happens the “scientist” who leaked the Armstrong case to L’Equipe participated recently in the super-secret meeting on DNA testing. I sure hope the canary still remembers how to sing…) Anyway, the hacker apparently sent fake emails rife with errors from the lab’s email server. Velonews says the suspect is a “Landis associate”, but as per usual doesn’t cite sources. Fortunately for us, Cyclingnews does; it’s from L’Equipe, which I think puts the odds of it being correct at about 50/50.
All this does nothing to extinguish the hot-burning demand among the AIGCP for DNA testing of riders: there’s even an ongoing conflict about who landed the first rider on a DNA test contract. Of course, anyone who remembers high school bio should know that DNA reveals nothing about whether someone is actually doping (unless they’re gene doping), and basically only functions to determine whether a given bag of blood was extracted from a given rider. And last time I checked, having a bag of your own blood lying in fridge somewhere still doesn’t prove you’re blood doping. Furthermore, since mature red blood cells have no nuclei (and thus no DNA), it seems theoretically possible to render your own blood untraceable immediately following extraction.
But oops! I was being logical again. I keep forgetting how much cycling loves the snake oil solution. Just look at Operacion Puerto, in which riders were banned quick and dirty in the name of image. Now, four months later, Basso’s cleared. Manolo Saiz is cleared. Botero is cleared. Jens Voight is concerned that this makes it look like nothing has happened. Well, Jensi, can you please explain to me exactly what has happened, other than the scapegoating of your country’s favorite son? Zabel’s dead on when he says heads must roll in the administrative bodies that run your sport. But the fans and racers (on your side of the Atlantic, at least) will never muster the sack to do anything about it.