Sunday, November 06, 2005

EPO Maker Sponsors Major U.S. Bicycle Race

THOUSAND OAKS, CA--Previously regarded as a hoax, Amgen (Nasdaq:AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, is confirmed as the title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California, a 700-mile international professional bicycle race. The race begins 19 February 2006 and ends 26 February. The stage race format is similar to the Tour d'France.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is widely credited for closing the major thoroughfares needed for the race.

A field of 16 teams includes Tour d'France winner Lance Armstrong's Discovery Team. Each team of eight riders, will race for $150,000 in total prize money. Amgen is a major maker of EPO. Press accounts of illegal doping and EPO use continue to follow Armstrong.

Reach via Skype at a winter training camp, a top Tulsa junior-age category bicycle racer reacted, "Yes. I google EPO after every race I lose. That's about as far as I got for now. If there's an edge someone is using, everybody else in the pack are definately on edge."

Bike race legend Eddy Merckx remarked, "No one can win the Tour d'France on bread and water alone."

Local newsgroups are already abuzz with the mixed signal of the Amgen deal. Ken Carver of Tulsa::

Gang - I am just about to give up all hope that any of my heroes are truly
clean. It seems like every time I think about doing a big ride some other GREAT
rider is accused of EPO, or any other "illegal substance that makes you
ride faster." Lance, Tyler, Roberto, et all(sic) - Who knows who's next?!? This
really SUCKS!

NPR Podcast