Lance’s Blood

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I just read this article at that said the New York Daily News did a story saying that USADA has 38 blood samples of Lance Armstrong and that they (USADA) are planning to use the fluctuations in hematocrit to help establish the proof of doping.

Jesus, I hope that is not all they have for scientific data. If this is true, and Lance takes the case to arbitration, I think that Lance’s people are going to eat them alive. At least on the science aspect.

I haven’t done that many blood tests in my life, but I know my hemotocrit can be all over. Especially taking into account that Lance jets back and forth between Austin and Aspen pretty often. Altitude changes up your blood pretty seriously.

When WADA and the UCI were trying to establish what number to use as a max hematocrit (that number is 50 for men), the Olympic Training Center sent people to a few of the MTB Nationals to check our blood. When they did the tests in Vail, nearly every rider was over 50%. And it was pretty interesting because when you looked at the numbers, the higher the number, the higher the rider lived. I’d been staying in Durango with Ned for a while, so mine wasn’t crazy high, but I wouldn’t be able to compete if they applied the rules now.

Anyway, using something like hematocrit to prove blood manipulation seems like a stretch to me. I know this has nothing to do with the eye witnesses, but if this is all they have from the blood, showing suspicious fluctuations of hematocrit, then they might as well just throw that away and not use that evidence, in my opinion.

25 thoughts on “Lance’s Blood

  1. SalRuibal

    I’m not certain either, but perhaps 50% hematocrit is when they start using more exact testing. 50% has been seen in the past also as a danger point for riders’ health. If they can get Contador for billionths of a gram of clenbuterol, they have some pretty sophisticated test procedures.

  2. Ryan

    They might be using the “blood passport” idea where they look at the rider’s hematocrit over an extended period of time to find spikes in that specific rider’s hematocrit that don’t match up with what the rider normally would have. Additionally, if the rider has a bunch of spikes (even if they’re relatively small) that coincide with important events/races/stages, then that could be further evidence of something fishy. That said, I still believe that if he wasn’t busted at the time these blood samples were taken and analyzed, it must not be very conclusive evidence. It may be suspicious, but didn’t meet the burden of proof that the WADA believed it needed to win a doping case. USADA might think it’s enough when combined with testimony from others.

  3. jed schneider

    Agreed. I was part of those blood tests for the season of 98. My blood was like 56 in Mammoth that year and as low as 48. We were worried about getting relegated at Worlds, with the whole Festina deal that year, but then Cadel and Miguel Martinez lapped me in the U23 race. So apparently there is more to bike racing that high hematocrit.

  4. Bri

    I noticed they are wanting to place a lifetime ban. If the other riders and coach were using shouldn’t they also receive the same punishment? Giving them a six month ban starting after the Vuelta seems like a slap on the wrist.

  5. Ron

    After so many years, can they really establish a sealed chain of evidence? Like in any criminal case…… If there is not a clean chain of evidence, and you and not prove that it has not been tampered with…… Lance has too big of a target on his back….. I really do not understand why they just do not let this go away… Unless it is something that they can not swallow…. an American Hero

  6. Doug P

    As I will repeat, even though those who have made up their minds will refuse to listen, is that Lance is not facing criminal charges, thus the rules of a court of law do not apply. In order to compete he agreed to abide by a set of rules that includes being liable to anti-doping procedures. The idea that testimony is irrelevant is absolutely ludicrous. Literally millions of criminals, murderers and rapists are off the streets by no more than testimony, and I thank God for that. The idea that Hincapie, for example, at the end of his career, would lie under oath to convict his friend and teammate is ridiculous also. Hincape testified under oath before a Grand Jury, and even though political pressure and the statute of limitations ended that investigation, that does not mean he is innocent. I realize there are other reasons people want Lance left alone, some are honorable, and I respect that. But I believe we owe it to current and future athletes to hold the line against doping as much as we possibly can. The French just JAILED a French rider on a French team, and even Lance is not facing jail. A bit more reason, and less jingoism might be in order.

  7. jpete

    I think the message needs to be clear to those considering doping- no matter how famous, how much money, how much political sway, how good your off-the bike deeds are, if you dope eventually they will find you, and take away all the things you have earned doing so. Otherwise, LA sets a dangerous template to follow that says if I have the right connections, wealth, or influence, I will be immune. this isn’t about letting a hero be a hero or other nonsense, it is about sending a message to futre dopers and stopping the system in place. plain and simple.

  8. Roberto

    Hincapie and Lance haven’t been friends for some time. In fact, Lance is estranged from most of his teammates. He can be quite a prick sometimes. I have no doubt, that some of the testimony given, is just lies. You get lies and half truths, when you bribe people to testify. I’m not naive enough to think Lance was clean, but I do think his rights are being violated. This is absolutely a vendetta, and isn’t legal. All you people that think they should use any means necessary to nail Lance, should think again. That’s basically saying vigilante justice is ok. How will you feel, when the police start shooting people down in the street, just because they’re certain they were guilty. That’s not the way the United States works. Everyone is so polarized on this issue. You should engage your brains, and realize this is not good for cycling, or our sense of what justice is. Sometimes you should let well enough alone.

  9. Jay Rob


    It is not about HCT. Lance screwed up and did the Giro / Tour double. That is where he gets his hand caught in the cookie jar. His ret. levels drop as normal after the Giro then magically pop up before and during the Tour. Not humanly possible.
    What is beautiful about this whole thing is he comes back for “what I think is a NOBLE cause” (see also $ ) and b/c of his own HUBRIS will be taken down. USADA is doing the job they were established to do. He messed with the BIO passport and it will be his down fall. The eye witness testimony is just gravy.

    Roberto, your argument holds up until you consider the FACT that Lance signed to be upheld to WADA and USADA code 7 TIMES.

    It is the same relationship as FINRA upholding the code set forth by the SEC. Based on your argument, should FINRA not have the right to prosecute a shady cheating Financial Advisor that has agreed to FINRA code in order to sell ?

    If you don’t want to be held to those standards ( standards that Lance’s agent Bill Stapleton help create) then why sign saying you will do so …7 times?

  10. CM

    Roberto your argument is legitimately hilarious. If his rights are being violated I look forward to the courts stepping in to protect them. This could inspire a new civil rights movement.

  11. Roberto

    If it was just about cycling, fine. But it’s not. Lance is much more than a cyclist, which means his constitutional rights ARE being violated. Because of that, this should have to stand up in a court of law. It can’t stand up in a court of law, so the whole matter should be dropped. These decisions cannot be made by and arbitration panel, it’s not constitutional. Would you want to be accused of something, and then have 3 guys who were hired by your accuser, pass judgement on you. I don’t think you would. Unless you’re just stupid.

  12. Roberto

    What we have here, are a bunch of haters, who love to see big people fall, so they can feel better about there pathetic lives. Your righteous indignation is laughable. You act like Lance is so horrible. That he personally wronged you. Wake up!, people have been lying and cheating, since the days of George Washington. Hell, Thomas Jefferson was accused of sleeping with his slaves. It was in the newspaper at the time. People gave testimony that it was true. I guess we should convict him of something too. Take off your rose colored glasses, and see the world as it really is. You aren’t without sin, and you didn’t see Lance cheat. You just want it to be true. Which makes you sad people indeed.

  13. Martin Graf

    jpete The problem with your stance is that you assume Lance is doping. We have a system of drug testing established that has never caught him. The message we’re sending a rider is. If you win and are successful, we don’t care how many drug tests you pass, we will assume you’re doping and will stop at nothing to “prove” it.

    WADA and USADA continually leak info to the press, often before the athlete is informed of a positive finding, which clearly violates their own rules. They don’t play by their own rules, but expect all athletes to adhere to the letter of all the rules. Do you really trust people who are in charge of testing, if they violate their own rules?
    We need a testing system that’s transparent and fair. I would rather have a few cheaters go unpunished than have an innocent rider branded a doper!

  14. Jim

    Please tell me where, in the copy of the Constitution in my hand, I can find reference to doping, USADA, or how LA’s right are being violated? I can’t seem to find anything even close.

    Out of curiosity, what does this statement mean? “Lance is much more than a cyclist”
    Like what?

    I find this statement humorous.
    “It can’t stand up in a court of law, so the whole matter should be dropped. These decisions cannot be made by and arbitration panel, it’s not constitutional”
    What makes you think it can’t stand up in a court room? Isn’t that the purpose of trial?
    BTW, you are so wrong about an arbitration panel being unable to decide issues such as this. They DO have the force of law.
    You really need to understand the arbitration process before you make statements like that. It is obvious that you do not.

  15. Phil

    Thankfully, Science and medical knoledge advance daily, we now have drugs that can save people’s live’s that were once dreams. Howewver, what is never mentioned is how little we really do know about mirco physiology and it’s variability.

  16. joe m

    Roberto…they are not necessarily haters who love to see big people fall (why would you think that?)..and why are their lives pathetic? Who are you to judge? Are you not being righteous too? They are not acting like Lance wronged them. Obviously something is suspicious with L.A. .or this wouldn’t be all over the news. Duh….people cheat all the time..duh…even before George W. (is there something you are trying to say about the foundation of America? Is that relevant? I would be willing to bet before George W. people were lying and cheating around the world..and of course after..but now …cheaters can be caught much easier..with science). Why are those people wearing rose colored glasses and not you? Step back a moment and think about it. Crimes most often go without being seen…but they can be caught now with science…..can’t they? It happens daily. Very few people are without sin, but Lance is under a very powerful “microscope” which he AGREED to being under, which will expose more irregularities. I hope Lance is clean….but it looks very bad for him. Not many people want this to be true. Why would you think that? It would be bad for sports/ cycling all around. I hope he’s found clean. I love cycling.

  17. Doug P

    Golly, Roberto, I hope the United States does not stand on a foundation of lies and cheating. If that were so, I guess we would have to leave Lance alone. And, personally would not want to live there. As I said, there are perfectly honorable reasons I respect for ending the Lance affair, but that is not among them. In fact, I have heard few good reasons for sweeping “l’affaire Lance” under the rug among these blog responses. What I do see is what might be called “mob rule” in another instance.

  18. Roberto

    If it could stand up in a court of law, they would be in a court of law. Suspicious, is not guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Jim, you are blind if you think the arbitration panel, hired by USADA has no bias. Jim, Lance is the figurehead of Livestrong, and a corporate entity himself. This vendetta, based on supposition, conjecture, and public assassination, damages that standing. And that is violating his constitutional rights. Joe and Doug, the elected government officials of this country, lie to us every day. They manipulate our system of government, so they have all the power. And in taxation, do they take from the rich and give to the poor. Of course not. Because they are the rich. They take from the hard working blue collar, and give to the worthless, lazy, uneducated scum of the country. And why do they do that, for votes of course. The foundation of this country, has been crumbling for some time. And now it is most certainly a foundation of lies and cheating. I wasn’t trying to say it started out that way, just that even back then, people lied and cheated. It’s not something new.

  19. Doug P

    I guess since the responses involve a lot of repetition, I’ll jump on that bandwagon. Testimony alone has put millions of criminals behind bars, and I am glad for that. I do not believe George Hincapie would lie under oath.
    If there is anyone in American pro cycling who is more universally loved and respected than Big George, I want to meet this saint. He has Zip to lose, so threats wouldn’t make him lie. IMO.

  20. Knower

    1 blood
    2 race schedule
    3 travel schedule
    4 witness statements
    5 docs already sanctioned
    He’s done.
    6 USAC license means USADA can sanction him. He knew the rules when he took a license. Livestrong, cancer, 7 tours is not of significance.

  21. Ted Lewandowski

    Best comment on this thread is by jpete – everyone else is taking sides – Ron – American hero? you must be delusional like the rest of the LAF freaks.

  22. Martin Graf

    Ted Lewandowski, how is jpete NOT taking sides? He’s pretty much assuming LA’s doping.
    I didn’t think I was taking sides. I want nothing more than a clean sport. You have no idea how it feels to race pro clean for 18 years, knowing that the majority of the riders were doping. I want all the dopers banned for life! But I’m not willing to do that at the cost of having an innocent rider caught in the crossfire. BOTH the athletes and WADA/USADA have to go by the rules. All athletes have to be treated equally.


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