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giovedì 16 maggio 2013

US Postal: Tour De France Squads (1999-2005)

Lance Armstrong 1999-2005: Disgraced former Tour de France winner, former husband, former boyfriend, former respected member of the peloton. Since banned for life, stripped of his Tour de France titles, and now revealed as being at the centre of the biggest sporting conspiracy of all time. Still competes, beating up on kids and amateurs in unsanctioned triathlon races while all the time protesting his innocence. What he doesn’t realise is everyone stopped listening long ago.

Kevin Livingston 1999: Named in Dr Ferrari’s papers but never prosecuted. Makes a living renting the basement of Lance’s bicycle shop for his training centre and working with race organisers putting on Livestrong Events. Named by Hamilton of being present during, and having taken part in, tranfusions.

Frankie Andreu 1999, 2000: One of the first to speak out about doping at US Postal while at the same time admitting his own doping during his time on the team. Has spent the last ten years being hassled, ridiculed, and accused of being a liar – along with his wife, Betsy.

Tyler Hamilton 1999, 2000, 2001: Twice banned, and now author of the whistle-blowing “The Secret Race.” For many years denied doping, but when he finally spilt the beans there was no shutting him up.

George Hincapie 1999-2005 : Best known as being Lance’s most loyal lieutenant, having a gorgeous French wife, and never winning Paris-Roubaix. Most said that when Hincapie confessed the game would be over for Lance. Hincapie confessed. The game is over.

Peter Meinert Nielsen 1999:  Little-known Danish rider who tested positive in 1993 while riding for the TVM squad. Joined Postal in 1997 and rode in Lance’s first victory in 1999.

Christian Vande Velde 1999, 2000, 2001:  The quietly spoken American avoided controversy throughout his career despite riding for Postal, Liberty Seguros and CSC. Turned over a new leaf by spending the four years since on Jonathan Vaughters’ anti-doping Garmin team. Confessed to doping in testimonies to the federal enquiry and to USADA.

Jonathan Vaughters 1999:  Now the Owner-Manager of the Garmin-Sharp team. Finally confessed in 2012, after years of speculation, to doping while at US Postal before leaving for Credit Agricole and retiring a few years later.

Benoit Joachim 2000, 2002: Joined US Postal in 1999 and raced with them, Discovery, and Astana through to 2008.  He tested positive for nandrolone in 2000 but a friendly Luxembourg Cycling Organisation allowed him to escape on a technicality and 6 months later he was re-signed by US Postal.

Cedric Vasseur 2000:  Joined US Postal in 2000 and rode the Tour, but after being left off of the squad in 2001 he threw his toys out of the pram and left to join Cofidis, citing personal differences with Armstrong as being one of the key factors. Was later arrested along with the rest of the Cofidis team in 2004, banned from the 2004 Tour before later being cleared and claiming evidence was tampered with.

Roberto Heras 2001, 2002, 2003:  Joined US Postal from Kelme in 2001 and went straight into the Tour squad. Left Postal in 2004 and quickly, like so many other riders to leave the team, tested positive for EPO after winning the Vuelta of 2005. That win was given to Dennis Menchov, but bizarrely in 2011 Heras successfully appealed that disqualification in a civil court of Castilla y León.

Floyd Landis 2002, 2003: Has won the same number of Tours de France as Lance Armstrong. Convicted of doping, banned, protested innocence, came back, didn’t get an invite to the Tour of California, sent a load of emails, and promptly confessed all. Has created over 500 twitter accounts without testing positive.

Pavel Padrnos 2002, 2003, 2005:  Was arrested in the 2001 San Remo doping raids and immediately identified as a suitable rider for US Postal. Rode for the American team from 2002 to 2007. Amassed an impressive palmares of a single win in the Rokycany criterium between 1996 and retirement in 2007.

Manuel Beltrán 2003, 2005:  Rode for renowned clean teams Mapei and Banesto and after a brief diversion to Team Coast joined US Postal in 2003. Left the team in 2007 and within a year, like so many others, had tested positive for EPO and was banned.

Yaroslav Popovych 2005: Named by Floyd Landis and then had his house raided in 2010 by Federal officials who discovered doping products, drug testing documents, medical supplies, and evidence of links to controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari. Popovych denied the allegations although it’s not clear if he denied the raid, denied the results of the raid, or simply denied. Appears to have escaped scot free and now rides for RadioShack-Nissan.

Pascal Derame 1999: Previously rode for Gan before joining US Postal and riding in the 1998 and 1999 Tours before leaving the team in 2000. Retired in 2002 suffering from “burnout.” Says he was never part of Armstrong’s inner circle.

Victor Hugo Peña 2001, 2002:  The Mr. Teflon of cycling. Has succesfully ridden for four of the dodgiest teams in the sport, US Postal, Phonak, Unibet, and Rock Racing, all the while hanging out with his best friend Santiago Botero and never once tested positive. Peña was mentioned briefly in the USADA report on 10th October as having worked with Michele Ferrari. Outside contender for new head of the UCI.

Viatcheslav Ekimov 2000, 2002, 2003:  Rode for Postal in two stints, 1997-98 and 2000 until his retirement in 2006. Never tested positive, in fact he was the lucky recipient of the Olympic Gold Medal after Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his. Was on the 2000 Tour team investigated for use of Actovigen after French media spotted a team worker dumping doping equipment in a bin. Ekimov is the new boss of the Katusha Cycling Team.

Steffen Kjaergaard 2001: Norwegian time triallist who was a pro for a matter of years and spent four years at Postal. Current  head of Sports at the Norwegian Cycling Federation

Jose Azevedo 2004, 2005: Rode for ONCE from 2001 to 2003 before joining US Postal in 2004. Currently a sports director on the RadioShack-Nissan team.

Jose Luis Rubiera 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005:  Strong rider who spent the bulk of his career at Postal/Disco, Astana before ending his career at RadioShack. Reported in the USADA decision of October 10th, 2012 of having made a payment (or a payment being made in his name) to Michele Ferrari of  $15,000 in 2002.

Benjamin Noval 2004, 2005: Rode for Postal/Disco and then Astana before joining SaxoBank in 2011

Paolo Savoldelli 2005: Rode the 2005 Tour with Lance despite claiming to only ever have ridden with him in a training camp with him in Tenerife once. Openly critical of the USADA investigation.

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