If the Contador positive proves anything it is this…

I don’t intend to get into all the details. But it seems as though something was in Contador’s blood that should not have been.

However, I do plan to hypothesis the source of the positive test, because many in the cycling media seem to be unable to make this connection. But first, here is a grab bag of quotes from Contador’s defenders:

(1) The amount was so small that it could not possibly have a benefit.

(2) Taking such a drug at such a late stage in the race could not possibly have a benefit.

(3) The drug was not present in any other samples during the race. This must be an anomaly.

(4) Why would I take a drug that is so easily detected?

I believe that Contador did not take the drug during the race. But he almost certainly popped a couple of blood bags into his arm on one or two occasions.

That is the most likely source of these trace amounts.

As a bit of history, when Floyd Landis was charged with doping testosterone in the 2006 Tour de France. His defenders made these exact claims. Testosterone is the sort of drug you take in training to boost muscle growth, you don’t take it midway through a race. I have since read that Landis, although admitting to doping throughout his career, still claims to have no idea what caused his testosterone positive during the 2006 race.

Since the positive test is irrefutable, because Landis’ sample contained what is undoubtedly synthetic testosterone. Landis is right to ask “where did it come from?”, the impolite response is “Blood doping, fool!”

Blood doping with your own blood is virtually undetectable. It is probably the safest way to dope these days. But you must be organised, because you need to build up a stockpile of blood for your use in the future. I am sure that people who are smart and have good advice, ensure that there blood bags are nice and clean. But, if a few of your bags go sour, you might need to grab some from an older batch, when perhaps you were not as careful.

Contador has ridden for a number of teams where blood doping was commonplace (Liberty Seguros, Discovery, Astana). I am willing to accept that the contaminated meat theory might be true, but I think contaminated blood bags is far more likely.

Putting the word out for a Kerry O’Brien YouTube montage

Because I don’t want to alienate our international audience, I will briefly explain who Kerry O’Brien is. He is an Australian television journalistic institution. Part Walter Cronkite, part Edward R. Murrow. If an Australian says “Ol’ Blue Eyes”, they are more likely referring to Kerry O’Brien than Frank Sinatra. Continue reading Putting the word out for a Kerry O’Brien YouTube montage

I desperately need a single mother’s trick for teeth whitening!

I suspect our friends at Google have updated the algorithm that decides what ads I should be shown on the internet. Continue reading I desperately need a single mother’s trick for teeth whitening!

Who is your favourite independent?

graphic from the ABC website

I must admit, I am growing fond of them all! In a political sense (there is no getting around the fact that they are all white males), I think this group broadly reflects the range of Australian values.

I own a seven year old mobile phone

A bit of the face fell off a couple of weeks ago. It is beginning to look like Arnie at the end of the Terminator films. Continue reading I own a seven year old mobile phone

Can Bison cross rivers?

"It's ok, my feet can still touch the ground"
"Whoops, it's a bit deeper here!"
"See, I made it look easy"

OMG!!! Bison update!!! The scientific name of these Bison is…


Character actors one and all

As a result of watching a lot of American television shows and movies, familiar-looking American faces seem to pop up everywhere: the uncle, the best friend, the sister, the neighbour, the put-upon wife, the drug dealer, the politician, the cop, the bar tender. I see these people every time I get on a train in Oakland. Continue reading Character actors one and all

Are you bear aware?

We are heading up to Yellowstone National Park next week. With a population of about 600 Grizzly Bears (they’re the big ones, compared to the Black Bears in Yosemite), I thought it was time to become bear aware. Continue reading Are you bear aware?

Why Americans are fat

So, it turns out I didn’t know how long it takes to boil corn.

With the corn already on the stove, I entered the words ‘boil corn’ in google and clicked on the first result, from our friends at joyfulabode.com. They claim to know ‘how to boil corn perfectly‘. Continue reading Why Americans are fat

Warm summer salad

(Apologies to all antipodeans for my being in sunny California!)

Like any normal person, I don’t think about what I want to eat during the week, and buy accordingly. I buy the things I always buy, and then try to cook them. Continue reading Warm summer salad

A big hint that a cyclist is on the gear…

Alexander Vinokourov won stage 13 of Le Tour today with a late stage attack. He jumped clear at the bottom of a small climb 10 km from the finish. He managed to hold a 10-second advantage over the sprinter’s teams who were probably driving the peloton at speeds approaching 60-65 km/hour on the flat.

Continue reading A big hint that a cyclist is on the gear…

Putting the word out for a Lance Armstrong YouTube montage

As you may be aware, Lance Armstrong lost almost 12 minutes to his general classification adversaries on Sunday’s mountainous Le Tour stage. Dreams of an eighth overall victory have evaporated. Continue reading Putting the word out for a Lance Armstrong YouTube montage

Crashes are cycling’s yellow card

Wouldn’t it be great if soccer matches were decided only by skill and ability? But dives and handballs are inevitable when 22 dudes are making split-second decisions with the single objective of maximising their team’s chance of winning. Continue reading Crashes are cycling’s yellow card

Canadian astronomers discover the world’s smallest planet!

The ABC reports on this momentously tiny discovery:

According to the scale bar, the planet is only 1/10 of 1 inch in diameter.

tiny tiny tiny planet

I wonder if Paul Davies has begun scouring its 50 square mm surface for signs of intelligent life?

The text message fairy

American mobile phone plans are a bit weird. For one thing, an individual contract is comparatively expensive, but a two phone contract – one for me and one for Mrs TTE – isĀ  extremely cheap. Continue reading The text message fairy

Want to make a fortune? Go back to 1869 and start a scientific journal

Call it Nature

Allow me to enlighten you. This is how Nature and most other academic journals work:

Researchers pay to have their work published in the journal.

The journal asks other eminent academics in the relevant field to review the paper for free.

Universities and other institutions pay for subscriptions to the journal.


I swear, these guys must have baby seal fur-lined swivel chairs, Porsche cars for each day of the week and probably a money pool in their London N1 office. Otherwise, I don’t know how they would pass the time. What do they do!?!

Continue reading Want to make a fortune? Go back to 1869 and start a scientific journal