Astana yards the Goose

This just in:

From: Ryan
Subject: Doper caught by internal controls
Doper? Sacraficial lamb?
Astana kicks “Goose” to the curb……astana-sacks-gusev-over–abnormal-values
u can add him to your list of former Armstrong associates.

From the Velonews article:

Astana has sacked Russian rider Vladimir Gusev for reportedly showing “abnormal values” during the team’s internal doping checks.

“Vladimir Gusev has been officially informed that he is no longer part of the team Astana,” said general manager Johan Bruyneel in a news release.

The three-time Russian time-trial champion showed “abnormal values” during an internal doping check, according to the release.

Though the results “do not indicate the use of banned substances…”

Of course they don’t. That would open the door to exaclty what was he on and where did he get it. They’d keep it simple if they could. And they did.

Claiming “abnormality” and “we fired him” says two things: 1) we’re serious about our own internal anti-doping controls, and 2) we’re not the same team we used to be.

“Vladimir Gusev has been officially notified that he no longer represents Team Astana”, said General Manager Johan Bruyneel. “Though his results do not indicate the use of forbidden substances, Vladimir’s values exceeded the normal parameters established by Dr. Damsgaard and were not compliant with the strict agreement signed by all thirty riders. Our Kazakh sponsors have also been made aware of this decision and are fully supportive.”

Bruyneel further commented: ”It’s impossible for any team manager to know the activities of riders behind closed doors, but we continue to enforce that Team Astana has a 100% no tolerance policy and any violators will serve the same fate as Vladimir. On a brighter note, this proves that Dr. Damsgaard’s system works and we are committed to racing clean.”

Looking ahead to next year, are we Bruyneel? Seen the field this year in France and figured you could throw a squad together off the couch, like you did for the Giro, and walk away with the top spot?

Yeah. We all know you can.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

2 thoughts on “Astana yards the Goose

  1. Two things at issue here: Whether the Russian Federation also suspends him, and his now-fresh availability to Katyusha, the very big Russian team debuting next season.

    Gusev won the Russian national TT last month with very specific training from Ekimov. In fact young Vladimir has almost totally submitted to elder Vyacheslav for all things Olympic, and has given a few interviews in the local press (I’m writing this from my sunny apartment in the leafy university district of the overbearing and expensive Russian capital. In addition, I’m not wearing pants) saying he is totally on target for a Gold in Beijing.

    In the background you should keep in mind that Ekimov won the TT gold in Sydney and took silver in Athens. And that he was a 1988 gold medalist in Seoul on the track.

    I spoke to Ekimov’s Seoul track coach just after the Athens Olympics and he told me Ekimov’s training methods replicated the effects of EPO but without doping.

    Assume nothing, everybody lies.

    But, okay, benefit of the doubt, I asked Yuri the now-based-in-Italy trainer/masseuse, what ‘replicating EPO’s effects’ meant.

    He said you time your training and rest cycles at altitude over a period of intensity meant to coincide with certain blood values. Once your hematocrit reaches a critical concentration, you begin to live and sleep at significantly lower altitudes, continuing minor maintenance training and rest periods, until your blood-oxygen absorption is as high at the given race elevation as it was up on top of the mountain.

    And so Ekimov’s training methods are based around manipulating blood levels and showing abnormal values through regular training and testing.

    Which is, in less fragrant terms, what Gusev just got fired for.

    Meanwhile, in the background of all this, is the upgrade Team Tinkoff is set to receive come the end of the season to become Team Katyusha.

    The Russian government, through proxies in at least six of the country’s biggest banks, two oil services companies and the nation’s largest weapons development, production and marketing company, is infusing $30 million (!) into a cycling promotion campaign with Katyusha as its crowning achievement.

    And they are buying the best riders in Europe right now to come work as domestiques for Russian pros.

    A paraphrased quote I heard Tinkoff say is ‘We are tired of carrying water for them, and now we have enough money so that they can come carry water for us.’

    Cancellara was to be their lynchpin buy, but he chose to stay at CSC for half the money Katyusha was paying.

    Put another way, Cancellara is earning a nominal pay increase to remain on Riis’ squad instead of doubling his current salary to go ride for somebody else.

    And now the gossip and rumor starts: So Cancellara bails out and Katyusha is without a TT star. They will sign McEwen for sprints, they have signed Pozatto for one-days, Karpets will come back for tour positions. All they need is a TT guy.

    And so Gusev, the day after Cancellara loses out, gets cleared from his long-term contract at ex-Soviet rival Astana, but in such a way as to stay in competition for Beijing.

    I predict two things: Gusev will be cleared by the Russian Federation for the Olympics. And then he will sign with Katyusha.

    Scandal clouds will follow him to China and beyond, but wait for Ekimov to come out and speak in his defense.

  2. Are we of the belief that Eki is clean or not? I thought anyone associated with Armstrong was now in question. Eki is a bad ass, I’m just not sure if we’re placing him in the clean or dirty category right off the bat or not.