Wielerland.nl: Schleck: For me, Contador is still the winner

Andy Schleck does not consider himself a Tour winner, he told the Dutch paper Wielerland. “For me Alberto is the winner of the 2010 Tour. I would love to win the Tour on my own.” Schleck has said previously that he did not want to win the Tour via Contador’s suspension.

ESPN: Details emerge on HemAssist history

ESPN’s Bonnie Ford delves into the history of HemAssist, an experimental drug mentioned in a recent Sports Illustrated article on Lance Armstrong. The SI article quotes sources who said Armstrong “had access” to the drug, which was removed from clinical trials in 1998. Armstrong’s attorney has denied that Armstrong ever used the drug. HemAssist was tightly controlled and unlikely to be of interest to athletes, Ford reports, quoting Tim Estep, a former vice president of R&D for HemAssist developer Baxter Healthcare. “(A)ccording to Estep, when the drug was tested on rats, it actually decreased blood flow to skeletal muscles — those closest to the bones. It had varying effects on the internal organs of human patients, and caused nausea in some. None of those side effects would seem to be particularly appealing to an endurance athlete.”

Estep’s opinion is counter to an expert cited in the SI article. Dr. Robert Przybelski,  who was the director of hemoglobin therapeutics at Baxter, told SI, “If somebody was going to design something better than EPO, this would be the ideal product … [Hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers like HemAssist] do everything they want EPO to do without the potential side effects of increased blood viscosity and strokes … And it doesn’t last long [in the body], 12 to 24 hours, which is ideal for an event.”

Ford reports that despite skepticism about HemAssist’s attractiveness to athletes, the U.S. Anti-doping Agency developed a test for it, which was first used at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Sydney Morning Herald: Richie Porte ‘not overjoyed’ by Contador suspension

Richie Porte is likely to become Saxo Bank’s best GC hope in the 2011 Tour de France, given Contador’s increasingly likely suspension. The young Tasmanian isn’t shy about telling the Herald that he’s excited. “This time last year, I was at the bottom of the pile and now I have one of the best teams where I could potentially be the leader for the biggest race in the world … I’m not overjoyed by it. It’s not a nice time for our team, even though he wasn’t with the team when it happened. But it’s a massive opportunity for me.’