The Explainer: I’m shocked, shocked, I say

There was doping in cycling?!?!?

Dear Explainer,
So, what do you think? I am guessing that USADA’s document dump today (Wednesday) must have caught your attention by now.

Do you have any thoughts on the evidence presented? Any surprises? Will it have any impact given that we’re only seeing one side of the whole case?

Do you have any thoughts on what the UCI might do?

Winners? Losers? Who are they?
– Daniel

Dear Daniel,
Let’s start with the winners and losers. Aside from Armstrong, the list of losers is pretty extensive, starting with Johan Bruyneel, who was fired yesterday, Michele Ferrari, who may be facing additional criminal charges in Italian courts and the rest named in the original June 12, 2012 charging document: Dr. Pedro Celaya, Dr. Luis del Moral and Pepe Marti. When all is said and done, the sport will be rid of these guys. Good-frickin’-riddance, gentlemen. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

To a lesser degree, there is that list of riders who that found themselves in the untenable position of continuing to lie – and risk lengthy suspensions or even criminal perjury charges – or to give up on that whole culture of omerta, the “code of silence” that has long governed the world of professional cycling. I applaud their decisions to “come clean,” but sure do wish it had been 10 years ago.

Also on that list of losers has to be the parade of “journalists” who – for reasons of sycophancy, a desire for profit or both – sang the praises of a man they knew to be a bully and, above all, a cheat. And, no, they can’t claim they didn’t know. The only way they didn’t see the obvious is that their seats on the gravy train were too damn comfortable and they didn’t want to stand up and take a look. They should be ashamed.

Sadly, there is a much larger group of other journo’s – myself included – who, while declining to heap praise on Armstrong, didn’t do nearly enough with the information that we had. We poked around the edges and only did stories when we knew we had our asses completely covered. Few of us took the big risks. Whether driven by fear of lawsuits or losing our jobs, we should, nonetheless, be embarrassed. I know I am.

The winners? That list is a helluva lot shorter. It includes – but is not limited to – Betsy and Frankie Andreu, Emma O’Reilly, Dr. Prentice Steffan, Stephen Swart, Christophe Bassons, Greg LeMond, Filippo Simeoni, David Walsh, Pierre Ballester and Paul Kimmage. Each of those people has consistently stated positions that were often contrary to their own interests, risking career, financial security and reputations to pursue what they saw as the truth.

Wednesday’s revelations show they were right.

I’m shocked, shocked, I say

There have been some who said that Wednesday’s revelations were earth-shattering news. Some even declared they were “shocked.”

Look, the evidence was extensive (you can see that for yourselves), but was it surprising? Not so much.

While blowing off most of the work associated with my current “day job” on Wednesday, I had the feeling that I was reading the unabridged version of “L.A. Confidentiel,” which David Walsh and Pierre Ballester wrote eight years ago.

L.A. Confidentiel : Les secrets de Lance Amstrong: Released in 2004, confirmed in 2012.

Walsh had his suspicions even longer than that. I had the privilege of meeting Walsh for the first time at the 1999 Tour. It wasn’t just a quick introduction, either. We spent the entire Tour together, as it was Walsh’s tradition to join up with the VeloNews crew, coordinate hotel accommodations and meals and the drive from each day’s village departé to the press room at the finish. I was the driver, riding shotgun was my former boss, John Wilcockson and crammed into the back seat were Walsh and Australian journalist – and world famous Hawaiian shirt aficionado – Rupert Guinness.

That meant hours in the car, often at slow speeds, so we could stay in range of race radio, and then more time in the press room as we all crafted our stories and then dinner and then often late nights at the hotel bar. Shallow and myopic as most sports writers are, our conversations pretty much revolved around a single subject. Yup, that would be cycling.

Do recall, that the 1999 Tour came on the heels of the previous year’s devastating “Festina Affair.” With teams arrested, ejected or simply packing up and leaving the Tour under cover of night, a lot of us pretty much expected that by 1999, the costs of doping far exceeded any benefit and that sport would be clean from here on out.

Certainly, that was the hope of 25-year-old Christophe Bassons, who had earned the reputation as a clean rider when teammates testified that he had been the only member of the 1998 Festina team who refused to dope. Now a member of Francaise des Jeux, Bassons saw the 1999 Tour as an opportunity for the entire peloton to speak out against doping.

The new hero of this “clean era” quickly emerged as cancer survivor Lance Armstrong scored an impressive win in the prologue at Le Puy du Fou.

Within days, though, news broke that none other than Armstrong had tested positive for corticosteroids. There hadn’t been a Therapeutic Use Exemption … but the UCI accepted a back-dated prescription for topical cream that Armstrong said was for the treatment of saddle sores. It was quickly called the “butt cream defense,” by skeptics in the press room. So much for the new and clean era.

Had the UCI handled that first positive properly from the start, Armstrong would have been kicked out of the 1999 Tour right then and there. But no, he went on to dominate the race, beating former Festina rider – and admitted doper – Alex Zülle by nearly seven-and-a-half minutes. Really, following the disastrous crash on the Passage du Gois on stage 2, which took out many of Armstrong’s top rivals, and a dominant performance in the stage 8 time trial at Metz, the GC picture was pretty much settled before the race ever hit the mountains.

So instead, Walsh spent his time working on what he viewed was the “real story” of the Tour, namely that Festina had changed nothing in the sport, other than to drive doping deeper underground.

Walsh spent time interviewing riders like Bassons, who was becoming increasingly frustrated both by the lack of a definitive statement from top GC contenders regarding doping and, more importantly, by the social pressure he was getting from other riders to drop the subject. Chief among those pressuring Bassons was the man in the yellow jersey, who, as Walsh reported, had threatened a cajoled the Frenchman, urging him to “shut up” about doping and efforts to clean up the sport.

Walsh saw Bassons as a lone hero. Documents released this week show Armstrong saw him as an idiot and “a pussy.”

By the time we reached Paris, Walsh was pretty much barred from the Postal camp. He left the Tour “with a bad taste” in his mouth, but he had his sights set firmly on Armstrong.

He would return to the Tour, but his reporting continued to focus not on what he believed was a parade of lies, but on the doping that produced those lies.

In 2002, Walsh uncovered evidence that Armstrong had been working with the notorious Dr. Michele Ferrari and had an article ready to run in the Sunday Times of London. Having learned of that fact, Armstrong did a preemptive interview in which he casually stated in passing that he had worked with Ferrari, as if it were no big deal.

Over the next couple of years, Walsh’s Armstrong file grew. He interviewed the Andreus, who consistently stood by their position that Armstrong had revealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs to doctors before beginning chemo-therapy in 1996. Frankie took some serious career hits, both in cycling and in broadcasting, but he stuck by his story. Betsy was characterized in any number of less-than-complimentary ways by the Armstrong camp, but she stuck by her story.

Lance Armstrong offers Filippo Simeoni a lesson on the meaning of “omerta,” but the episode may have also helped Mr. Armstrong learn the definition – and consequences – of “hubris.”

So, too, did former Postal soigneur, Emma O’Reilly, who, after speaking with Walsh in 2003 had to endure personal attacks on her character. But she stuck by her story.

Steffan, the original team doctor at Postal, was fired after some riders complained that he wasn’t doing enough to give them a competitive edge. Under pressure from Armstrong, Steffan was temporarily dismissed from his job on the Slipstream team. He was threatened, essentially blackmailed about his own personal struggles with substance abuse and he stuck by his story.

Working with French journalist Pierre Ballester, Walsh wrote “L.A. Confidentiel,” which was released on the eve of the 2004 Tour. In retrospect, that book still serves as the essential framework for the document bomb that was released this past week. The evidence made available to all of us just adds to the case and reaffirms that Walsh and Ballester were right from the start.

In response, Armstrong’s legal team filed suit in France and in Great Britain, where a translated summary of the book’s main charges appeared in the Sunday Times. The French suit was dropped, but the Times eventually offered an out-of-court settlement and Armstrong declared victory against the man he and Johan Bruyneel privately called “the Troll.”

On stage 18 of that Tour, Armstrong lashed out at another rider – Filippo Simeoni – who had made the “mistake” of testifying against Ferrari in a 2002 criminal matter. He was the only rider to do so. Simeoni never said anything about Armstrong and only testified as to his own experiences with Ferrari and doping practices.

You will probably recall that the tension between the two was already high before the 2004 Tour. When Simeoni found himself in a relatively unthreatening break on Stage 18, it was the man in the yellow jersey who set off in lone pursuit. Armstrong stayed with the break until Simeoni agreed to wait for the peloton, allowing the other escapees a chance.

Armstrong famously gave Simeoni the zip-the-lip gesture as the peloton approached and the Italian testified that the race leader also threatened him. Threat or no, Simeoni’s career was cut short, even though he did get some joy out of earning the 2008 Italian national champion’s jersey … but even then, he was regarded as something of a pariah. Nonetheless, he stuck by his story.

Is there any value to having access to liars?

I missed the Tour that year, as I was slated to cover the Vuelta and being part of a family with a 10-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl in the house didn’t make doing three-week grand tours all that easy at home. That said, I kinda wish I would have been there.

Walsh, as was his practice of many years, joined the VeloNews crew for the three-week journey through France. Embarrassingly, though, after pressure was exerted from the Armstrong camp, Walsh was informed that he was no longer welcome in the Velo-mobile.

WTF? Given a choice between standing by a friend and colleague or having access to “his Lanceness,” Walsh got the boot.

Later at the Vuelta, where I had the pleasure of taking my son with me, I tracked down Michael Barry for a quick post-stage interview. With young Philip at my side, we chatted about the race and the Postal team’s hopes for the Spanish Tour. We were just getting to the interesting part about the apparent tension between Floyd Landis and team management when Johan Bruyneel walked up, grabbed my press badge, glanced at the name and flicked it back into my chest.

“Pelkey, eh?” he said. “So, how’s your little Irish friend?”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“That fuckin’ troll, Walsh,” Bruyneel growled. “David Walsh … what did you do to get mentioned in the acknowledgments of that piece of shit book of his?”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “We’re friends and we trade information now and then, but ….”

Suddenly Philip piped up and said “Mr. Walsh was at our house for dinner! Dad gave him a ride in our Army jeep. Maybe that was it.”

That made me smile. Bruyneel didn’t see the humor of the moment. He grunted, walked away, taking Barry with him. From that point forward, I had no access to Postal riders for the duration of the Vuelta, save for sitting in on press conferences … and it really didn’t matter.

A one-sided story?

As you note, Wednesday’s “reasoned decision” from USADA is pretty much a one-sided presentation of why the agency reached the conclusion that Lance Armstrong should be banned from competitive sport for life and that his results dating back to 1998 should be negated.

It was the “prosecution’s” case, that which would have been presented to an arbitration panel had it ever gone to arbitration. Personally I would have been interested – perhaps amused – to see how the defense would have presented its side. But remember, it’s not USADA’s fault that it didn’t go to arbitration.

The timing was actually kind of funny. Just one day earlier, Armstrong’s attorney, Tim Herman had sent a scathing five-page letter to USADA demanding the agency send its entire file to the UCI, not just a limited report packaged in a way to support its case.

Be careful what you wish for, dude.

Not only did USADA’s “Discovery Team” drop the whole package in the UCI’s lap, they let the rest of us sort through it, too.

As it turns out, the agency had justification for the delay. They produced the entire case as if it were presented at hearing. The reasoned decision itself was a detailed, beautifully footnoted, 200-page document, accompanied by nearly 1000 pages of appendices and supporting materials. Most damning, were the 26 sworn affidavits from witnesses, 11 of whom were former Armstrong teammates.

Herman didn’t even miss a beat.

“I’m not suggesting that they are all lying, but I am suggesting that each witness needs to have confrontation and cross examination to test the accuracy of their recollection,” he declared, with what I assume was a straight face.

And damn, if he isn’t right. The whole arbitration process is governed by Federal law, under 36 USC § 220522 (a)(8), which requires any athlete charged with a violation that might result in a period of ineligibility be provided “with fair notice and opportunity for a hearing.”

Part of that hearing process, of course, is the opportunity to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses. By gum, Herman hit the nail right on the head … but for the fact that his client declined to participate in the hearing.

It’s a little late now, Tim.

The UCI is left in the awkward position of either accepting the USADA case on its face value, or appealing the whole thing to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport where it will likely be defending its own conflicts of interest and apparent disinterest in pursuing the allegations of the sport’s highest-profile rider.

Read the decision. Scan the documents. Combined, they constitute the richest treasure trove of evidence underscoring just how corrupt riders – and governing bodies – can be. My bet is that the UCI will take a pass. They’ve stood up for Armstrong in the past, but there is considerable risk in doing so now … and very little benefit. The UCI isn’t likely to take a big risk.

No, the only people in this story willing to take risks for little or no benefit were those “winners” I mentioned earlier. And, actually, when you come to think of it, that fact alone suddenly makes the list of “winners” a lot longer. The real “winners” in all of this are those who love the world’s most beautiful sport. Fans and riders alike. Hopefully, cycling will emerge from this embarrassment all the better. I, for one, will keep my fingers crossed. I promise, though, never to say that I am “shocked” if it doesn’t turn out that way.
– Charles

I’m shocked, shocked, I say! – Photo Courtesy of Betsy Andreu

The Explainer is a weekly feature on Red Kite Prayer. If you have a question related to the sport of cycling, doping or the legal issues faced by cyclists of all stripes, feel free to send it directly to The Explainer at [email protected]. PLEASE NOTE: Understand that reading the information contained here does not mean you have established an attorney-client relationship with attorney Charles Pelkey. Readers of this column should not act upon any information contained therein without first seeking the advice of qualified legal counsel licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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  1. John

    Not so coincidentally, I read Willy Voet’s book “Breaking The Chain” a week or so ago. In it Voet describes an incident in 1997 or so (the ambiguity is on my part, my Voet’s) in which a rider tested positive but the UCI accepted a back dated prescription, precisely the same thing that happened with Armstrong at the 1999 TdF. And I do believe that Voet’s book came out before “LA Confidential”, so it’s doubtful that Voet is parroting any previously stated accusations. In other words, the UCI already had a history of covering up positive tests before the 1999 TdF, and possibly before the 1998 Festina fiasco. As much as we can, and should, condemn Armstrong, now is the time that the spotlight needs to be focused on the corruption within the UCI and on finding ways to remove the UCI’s blatant conflicts of interest. If we don’t, then once the dust settles from this we’ll be right back where we started.

  2. Wsquared

    Charles, thanks for reading so I don’t have to. Sounds like anyone who has kept up on their dopeology over the years isn’t in for many big new “revelations,” though some cycling press web sites are breathlessly tweeting like there’s a lot of “new” news there. (Maybe the editors are just too young to have heard a lot if it before.)

    I’m curious though about the allegations of corruption against the UCI handling doping cases. Any new news or significantly more specific detail on that in the report ? Thanks again for your personal sacrifice in plowing through it all.

  3. Alex TC

    Excellent piece Charles. I’d add Vaughters and especially LeMond to the list of winners but you covered all the bases there, thamks for the reading.

    I’ve been defending that now, in light of all that’s being put out by the case, we need to be even more
    critical of the people we support. I for myself don’t buy a single word of the declarations and confessions of a certain group of riders who rode with Armstrong. Many just got too deep into it and are still tied to that past to be welcomed in their (semi) confessions.

    “Better late than never” just isn’t good enough.

  4. Skippy

    With your legal training and your journalistic background as well as attendance at so many Cycling Events You are an astute observer of the period in question ! Glad i don’t have to read the evidence but wish that Lance was able to look some of the accusers in the eye !

    So many like Emma & Betty were treated shabbily at best by him and his coterie of heavy handed PR people ! In trying to deflect critism they took no prisoners and now the ” facts ” are in the open will suffer severe consequences !

    Sad to see Matt White have to leave the scene but then he worked for Casagrande and thus was cherrypicked to Discovery and would have known what was expected of him . Having read Brian Smith’s account of his departure from Motorola in recent days , it would have been better for ALL if USADA was able to go back to the early 90’s .

    On 29th October , Chris Prudhomme will announce the 2013 ” Le Tour Route ” and no doubt advise that 1999 through 2005 results vacated . Personally i think the media should demand that this action , should start from 1990 since EPO was in play at that time , although only to a select few .

    UCI top management have a lot of questions to answer and i feel sure they will abandon their action against Paul Kimmage in an effort to avoid responsibility for their stupidity . That 1997 was an example of their selective action against ” Doping Practice ” comes as no surprise . Could Greg LeMond take action in the US Courts because of their efforts to silence him in the way they buldozed flandis ?

    Jacques Rogge as head of IOC and John Fahey of WADA have no choice but to create a Panel to institute an ” AMNESTY in ALL SPORT ” and with a ” Truth & Reconciliation commission ” tear out of Sport those that deal and manage drug sindicates ! AS you will have seen in my blogs , there is an URGENT need for aLL Past & Present ATHLETES to be seen for what they really are , not entertainers of the masses ! WADA earlier this year had a conference in Stockholm where they acknowledged the harm that Sporting FRAUD was doing to Society !

    Media should HOUND these gentlemen into creating the atmosphere where they ACT for the good of Sport and the future generations of Youngsters OR VACATE their POST to People with the Ability to do the job !

    Festina in 1998 and the 2006 TDF crisis demonstrates that UCI cannot & will not be able to change their ways ! Sending home teams and sacking selected ” Scapegoats ” will not CHANGE ANYTHING ! Those with time can read how Chris Vdv treats his confession , met him in chicago on thursday evening and it was ” Business as normal “! George is convinced he will be starting the 100th TDF in Corsica riding for Garmin ! petition and the ” Paul Kimmage Defence Fund ” mean NOTHING to those ” Arrogant Prats in Aigle “!

    AS much as i look forward to each of your posts i will be closely watching the following site :

  5. bigwagon

    Your headline says it all. The whole situation reminds me of a few years ago when the WWF was forced to change its name to WWE and admit that pro wrestling was actually staged. ORLY? I never would have guessed…

    The way I look at that era is like a highway with a 65mph speed limit. Lance was going 80 while the rest of the peloton was a little over 75, but they were all speeding. The UCI was like the cops trying to pull everyone over at the same time. Good luck with that. As for the people who insisted on rolling along at 65, that’s admirable, but stay out of my way, try not to get run over and spare me the sanctimonious BS.

  6. Tom

    I think Charles has been quite outspoken and down plays the reality of “Messin with Da Champ”. Freedom of speech can be a very touchy thing for a professional journalist. No one is getting rich in cycling journalism. And it gets a lot tougher when just being friends with someone Lance didn’t like can block access and affect your ability as a journalist to get the story. But the very real risk is not access but advertisers. I do not think most cycling publications could stay in business if Trek, Nike, Oakley, Radio Shack, and other Lance sponsor pulled all their adds. So the good journalists write stories that will lead reads to the truth if they are bared from printing it outright. That is what makes these forums great. We can talk about what is hidden between the lines. I must admit I have been very frustrated at times by the Cycling medias difficulty addressing the questions surrounding Lance since I became aware of Lances doping. My awareness came after a hot race as I sought shade in the far corner of a parking lot in the shadow of Lances team van. Unnoticed I overheard George expressing frustration to Frankie that team doctors considered him to young for HGH and he was stuck with only “These stupid steroids”. Later I heard from another rider that team doctors had “washed their hands of Lance” because he was taking radically unsafe amounts of HGH and steroids. A Month later I heard about his cancer. For me it strengthen my resolve to race clean and savoy the rare occasion I beat these guys. But who am I to talk if I though doping would make me a TDF contender I may have chosen a darker path. I was always vocal about Lance and doping to those who wanted to hear the truth. But I seriously doubted there would ever be any accountability, Especially here in America where we value winners above all else. Hopefully this entire affair will help us reevaluate the Role sports play in our lives. For myself I have always viewed sports as nothing more then a way of teaching values, character, and sportsmanship that we can apply to our day to day lives.
    CP please keep shining the light of reason on the issues surrounding our sport.

  7. cxguy

    Thanks very much for your work here.
    One name that I haven’t seen bubble to the surface here is Mr. Carmichael; who has built a career from being “Lance’s coach”. (Probably ought to add a trademark symbol). Despite the reality of his purchased training program from an East German “coach” that employed one dose of overtraining and one dose of PEDs; he has remained stuck, remora-like, to Lance’s posterior. I’m curious how he’s remained invisible through much of this (again, unless I’m missing something).

  8. Trev

    I think the WWF was forced to change it’s name because of a trademark battle with the World Wildlife Federation and that it had little to nothing to do with the fact that it was fake wrestling. Granted, MMA used to be called NHB (No holds Barred) a few years ago, but since there are so many rules in place now since it got sanctioned it can’t possibly go under the moniker of NHB. Ahhh what do I know? Maybe they should have a fake bike wrestling league run by Pharmstrong and Brunyeel and a clean real racing league run by LeMond.

  9. Pingback: It's not about the dope....yeah right.

  10. e-RICHIE

    “Sadly, there is a much larger group of other journo’s – myself included – who, while declining to heap praise on Armstrong, didn’t do nearly enough with the information that we had. We poked around the edges and only did stories when we knew we had our asses completely covered. Few of us took the big risks. Whether driven by fear of lawsuits or losing our jobs, we should, nonetheless, be embarrassed. I know I am.”

    This ^ is among the best of the revelations of this past week atmo. Thanks so much for writing, Charles. Continued good health and success for you.

  11. Rich Wilson

    Recall when the ’06 Tour was announced and Lance was conspicuously absent from the promotional material? Like they couldn’t rid of him fast enough. I wonder if anyone is thinking maybe they should have done it in ’99 before he was ‘too big to fail’.

  12. Kiwirider

    I think that there should be a couple of changes to the list of winners and losers that you propose Charles.

    I’ll start with the winners – and go out on what I’m sure will be a limb here and put Floyd Landis on that list. How many people have just asked if I’m mad??? Definitely, he’s someone who hasn’t covered himself with glory – and someone who has some way to go to make up for the lies that he told and for his own doping past. But remember, he effectively started the process that has culminated in the past few days’ events. If he hadn’t had the change of heart or whatever led him to make that initial contact with USADA – as documented in the Reasoned Decision – the investigations may never have happened. For doing that, he has been vilified – by Armstrong’s camp and the general public. That is some hellish high price to pay for honesty – and more than I suspect anyone other than the Master Cheat at the centre of this inquiry will pay. So, for that, he should be congratulated and included as a winner – or at least taken off the “most hated” list.

    Right, now the losers …

    First, I echo your comment that it’s a shame that the 11 riders didn’t come forward 10 years ago. I note that Betsy Andreu and Nic Roche make similar comments – but went so far as to say that the apologies are somewhat hollow and ring more of “sorry that I’m having to say this” than “sorry for lying and covering up for all of those years”. To a large extent, I agree – contrary to the song and the mythology “sorry” is too easy a word to say. Therefore, to my mind, while the 11 are taking a step in the right direction, they are all still behaving like a bunch of hollow, shallow losers by expecting us all to simply sit there and say “it’s alright” and moving on as if nothing has happened. If they actually do something positive to atone – then I’ll move them to the winners category.

    Second on the loser list I’ll put the UCI – and especially McQuaid and Verbruggen. I suspect we are about to see a major battle centring around Agile. The way that various national federations are jumping to support and accept the suspensions that USADA has handed out to the cyclists who gave evidence in this case is effectively tying the UCI’s hands. I mean, the national federations are saying “yes, that evidence is good” – so how can UCI then try to appeal on the grounds of “case not proven”. This to me is a clear case of the national bodies throwing down a challenge to the UCI – watch this space for how that plays out …

    There is also a clear indication in some of the WADA commentary over the past few days that says “UCI, if you want to appeal, we’ll have a go at you”. My countryman, WADA Director General David Howman, is making some pretty direct remarks about the UCI’s integrity – which I think should be taken as a serious warning of future actions. Remember also that WADA is linked more closely to IOC than UCI is – and that the IOC has shown a tendency over the years to use cycling as the sacrificial lamb if it wants to bring new sports into the Olympics. I suspect that we will see another couple of cycling events disappear … hardly a ringing endorsement of UCI management …

    So, I’m expecting to see some level of change at Agile – what, when and how much are all to be decided … but I think that they should be put into the losers camp.

    The last addition to the list of losers in this overly long response would be all of those ostriches in the cycling world who are coming out with and are supporting the inane “life is good now – we’re clean” comments. I’d include riders, managers, journos (some of the writing at Charles’ former employer is sickening) and fans. Cycling isn’t clean – and it never will be. It is cleaner, yes – and that’s a good thing. But by saying “it’s clean now” we’re saying “no more problems, case closed” and are setting ourselves up to repeat this debacle. SSDD, as the saying goes. If the guard was to drop as a result of this attitude, then we’d all be mighty big losers …

  13. Alex TC

    If I was into another sport, I’d envy cycling today. Really. What we’re seeing has no paralell in history as far as I know. Yeah it hurts and brings uncertainty but somehow I have a good feeling about all this and the future of cycling. Some people say that USADA is trying to destroy cycling but IMHO it’s the opposite all the way. Now if only other ADAs would follow then we’re in for a revolution in cycling and perhaps other sports too. I applaud and welcome them.

  14. Khal Spencer

    Nice essay, CP. Thank you. I suspect more people now know that Capt. Renault line as a result of reading about cycling’s doping sins than from watching Casablanca. I don’t think pro cycling will be rid of drugs until the UCI and other governing bodies are all overhauled and the guilty thrown out. Complicity goes up pretty far.

  15. Rod Diaz

    Chapeau, Mr. Pelkey. For your insight, but more from your humility in accepting that it was hard for journalists to do the right thing (and still is) and as a result few did.

    This is what I hope the UCI and rest of cycling would do: take a good look at themselves, say “we could have done better” and proceed to do so.


    PS in this “pink” everywhere days, hoping for a complete recovery and long health for you.

  16. MCH

    The battle appears to be won, but will we win the war?

    Evaluating what went wrong hopefully will play a role in how the future is created. Perhaps moving forward, journos will be a bit more skeptical and objective rather than acting as PR teams for the athletes and teams. Maybe it’s time for a new journalistic face of cycling in the US rather than our crazy english uncle.

    But here’s the thing IMO, changes in journalistic behavior isn’t likely to be enough to win the war. Journalists tried to bring walls and dictators down in the eastern bloc and the mideast, only to be smothered and silenced. It wasn’t until the people rose en masse that real change was implemented. An overly dramatic metaphor? Perhaps. But as John Wilconson pointed out in his excellent doping series, there have been decades of doping scandals in cycling and nothing has really changed.

    If we want change, than we the fans have to demand it. Journalists can direct it, but the fans have to demand it. Until that happens, the powers that be in Aigle will hunker down, wait for the storm to pass, and will then carry on with business as usual.

  17. John in Miami

    I wonder what Phil Liggett has to say now? Still the only “journalist” supporting LA and claiming this entire affair was a set-up and a hatchet job?

  18. RUV

    ” I applaud their decisions to “come clean,” but sure do wish it had been 10 years ago.”

    Riders/DSs such as George, Levi, Vaughters, Tommy D, DZ and the rest do not deserve much in the way of praise or kudos for “coming clean.” None came forward while during the many years it appears they all doped and only did so once mandated by federal investigations. They have all profited from their time doping, with wins, money, documentaries, books, etc.

    Michael Barry, for one, even wrote a dramatic blog entry when Landis’ accusations came out (conveniently deleted from the blog now). What did George say when confronted? Something about being disappointed that people weren’t looking forward? This exposure isn’t going to change anything if there is no real price to pay. If you can get away with it, make money, and in the end get a convenient backdated and meaningless ban that in the end takes nothing away, why would any one be convinced not to dope?

    Curiously, they all seemed to quit doping around ’05-’06. What happened then that helped these guy suddenly find their moral courage?

  19. JoeIndy

    Once all the self righteous indignation about Lance subsides, maybe we will remember how exciting it was to watch him win those seven Tours.I mean crashing on the Luz Ardiden and getting up and winning the stage on a broken bike!That’s great sport. Lance was argueably the most gifted athlete of his generation.Yes he doped. So what!He defeated other dopers. As George Hincapie said in his testimony before the USADA, if you wanted to be competitive then you had to dope . That was the system in pratice and the UCI chose to look the other way even after the Festina Affair.So why would Lance train and suffer just to be an also-ran.He’s an A Type and it’s not in his nature to be a loser..Yes he is a bully and an asshole but he figured out how to work the system better than everyone else;he never tested positive and that’s one reason why people hate him.There has always been dope in racing since day-one of the TDF. Hell,Garin et al used arsenic as a performance enhancer!Then it was tobacco,brandy,and amphetemines for Tom Simpson.One thing they all have in common is they made great racing.I rather see a juiced up Tyler Hamilton win a stage with a broken collerbone than snooze thru 21 stages of Wiggo.Yes the EPO era is an unfortunate part of the history of our sport but let’s just accept it and move on.Just like a bad crash. Get up. Re-mount and ride on.

  20. al b - madison

    Committing the act of journalism is never easy when working in sports. Especially when one works a narrow sports beat. Seems like you learned the hard way, then did what you needed to do at the time you needed to do it to keep filing the stories (the stories that we all read), to keep you job.
    Thank you for you work past & present.
    Chapeau to you sir, chapeau.

  21. Alex TC


    indeed it was exciting and fun, though some may disagree and argue that his domination was as boring at times as Wiggin’s. And, now we know at what price – and there’s nothing self-righteous in that.

    Not to mention that such logic is flawed in assuming that it wouldn’t have been as exciting or even more fun without him and all this corrupt scheme.That we’ll never be able to know is quite a disgrace in itself, IMHO.

  22. Pingback: Where are the 'journalists' in cycling?

    1. Author
      Charles Pelkey

      I was rather dismayed when I read that, yes. The big logical failure on Eustice’s part is that he forgets that sport is, if nothing else, the pursuit of an activity in accordance with a prescribed set of rules. Prohibitions against PEDs were part of those rules. No one, not the UCI, not USADA, not WADA, can go back and tweak the rules to accommodate those who broke them.

      What Eustice is advocating is a whole new game – a Tour de Pharma, if you will – and it’s a game I would chose to ignore.

  23. motomark

    Glad somebody brought up Chris Carmichael he’s been phenomenally quiet since the evidence started stacking up. I would think he’d be open to fraud lawsuits if you spent a lot of money with him and didn’t get results. Floyd will be remembered in history like Jose Canseco, not very likable but proven right in every assertion. Lifetime bans should follow for everyone involved in Tailwind management. Trek Corp. should take out full page ads in cycling publications apologizing to Greg Lemond if they ever want me to buy another Trek, Bontrager, or Fisher product. A side note to Ashley. Even with Charle’s experience with Livestrong, I would think that you could find a better cancer charity if you looked. Perhaps one without a jet as a perk. It barely rated an acceptable from watch groups for the amount of contributions that were actually used for their original intent.

  24. motomark

    Re: the UCI issue this one is simple. The big three tour organizers (Tour, Giro, Vuelta) as well as the IOC should drop their recognition of the UCI unless Verbruggen and McQuaid are removed immediately. The UCI will cease to exist within the calender year.

  25. bigwagon

    What do all the people who have made careers out of trying to bring down Lance do now that everything is out in the wash? Lance will move on, and most fans won’t care one whit about any of this in about six months, especially once the next season starts. Cycling will roll along, maybe with a few new faces and few others scapegoated out of the sport for appearance sake. But what will have really been accomplished?

  26. Evan


    I don’t think that is likely. Too much has come out. Life usually gives mixed muddled results, so maybe it will not be ideal. However, many people do care. And, although some may have made this personal to “getting” Armstrong, most folks have not made it about him, but the whole horrible do anything all means to the end justified, greed over all, indifference to everyone ethos.
    Most of us don’t buy the everyone cheats on all the big things in life. Fact is many of us don’t and want a world where we move in that direction.

  27. bigwagon

    I have no problem with Lance for cutting off access to journalists he didn’t like, for whatever reason or excuse he wanted to use. There is a First Amendment right to publish, not access to sources. Media outlets who compromised their ethics for that access have plenty to explain, but it’s no one’s fault than their own. They made the choices they did for whatever reasons, just like riders who doped, teams and doctors who facilitated, and officials who looked the other way.

  28. evan


    It is not about Armstrong nor a particular journalist. It is about what do we want. I want a sport that does not have major fraud, athletes being exploited, the public and kids not being cheated out of real accomplishments. Competition is great. Willingness to defraud, destroy others, millions of dollars to dope, more than a hundred racers dying from EPO, on and on.

  29. Jorge M.

    Dan C says:
    October 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Who’s with me on voting Liggett out of any future race coverage or commentary? Disgusting.

    I’m with you on that one, time for him to eat some crow and retire already.

  30. Paul

    Good piece as ever. You’re spot on in describing Walsh’s book as the framework for Usada’s subsequent report. All of which leaves an incredibly bad taste in the mouth.
    I’d like to add a further ‘loser’ to your list: the UK’s corrupt libel laws, which consistently keep powerful, dishonest types such as Armstrong from a swift and proper reckoning.
    I won’t hold my breath for any changes on that front though.

  31. bigwagon


    People cared after the Festina Affair and Operation Puerta too. Where did that get the sport? Right now, it looks and sounds like deja vu all over again. Only time will tell if there is real change.

  32. Alex TC

    It could end up nowhere just like those two, but I think (IMHO) this is on another level from Festina and even Operacion Puerto. Not to get into the merit of the differences between USADA and other national agencies (especially the spanish and italian ones) in handling such matters, Armstrong´s case goes a lot deeper than “just” doping.

    For once, it´s knocking on UCI´s door and the movement for serious changes at the management of the sport is gaining momentum – or so it seems. Plus, this time it involves all kinds of lies and cover-ups, some obscure donations that need explanation and may demand investigations. And more than a few shocking harassment and intimidation of witnesses, riders, journalists, etc. that won´t go away for free.

    I´ve said it before and I´ll say it again – not trying to downplay doping or PED use or anything – but was it “only” for the doping in itself I believe that this mess would not have grown to this size. Maybe we´d see Lance suspended for life and perhaps stripped of a title or two. But he´s gone too far and there´s just too many people involved.

  33. NorCalMark

    If everyone was doing it, would the race results be different if nobody was doing it? Simplistic, but it seems like a lot of wasted effort. That being said, this rule follower joins the list of losers who chose to believe the truth that has been so apparent for so many years. Nice work CP.

  34. High Plains Drifter

    Whatever network carries the ’13 Tour should expect an avalanche of letters calling for replacing Roll and especially Liggett.

    With Roll’s access, carrying LA’s water over the years with nary a word in inexcusable.

    And I could maybe forgive PL’s negligence, given LA’s masterful PR blitz. But his ridiculous recent claims that an unidentified postal rider told him such and such… That’s borderline psychopath territory

  35. High Plains Drifter

    Evan Shaw says:
    October 15, 2012 at 6:58 am
    Charles how about a boycott of sponsors who continue to back Armstrong as away to change things?


    Wonder if that will get their attention.

    Post that on their Facebook page a few hundred times …

  36. High Plains Drifter

    “If everyone was doing it … ”

    The case file makes it quite obvious. It’s like saying, everyone can donate to the candidate of his choice. So, my $25 and Monsanto’s billions make for a level playing field.

    Some pigs are just more equal than others.

  37. MattZ

    The problem I have with the report is how it makes Lance the mastermind behind doping, like he was the reason everyone in cycling was doping. Hamilton says to be on Lance’s team, you had to dope. Then why did he and so many others get caught doping after they left the team and after Lance retired? Because they were all in the cycling culture of doping which needs to be changed. Andreu wins because without doping he would have been a marginal pro at best. He was one with doping. I’d also like Lemond explain how he won against dopers in his era when he was clean and how he still holds the record for fastest average TT in the tour when everyone after him was doping and riding much better bikes? I wish they all would come clean but at this point even if Lance wants to come clean, he can’t unless he gets immunity from criminal charges. The sport and its past riders and managers and sponsors should be doing everything possible to make sure riding clean is more important than winning. Hats off to Garmin and JV for moving in the right direction.

    The problem is sports figures are not heroes and should not be treated as such and we shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t live up to that fantasy.

    1. Padraig

      MattZ: While High Plains Drifter has addressed some of your concerns I’m going to jump in regarding LeMond. I believe LeMond was clean. I’ve written before that LeMond’s 1990 Tour win was the last win prior to the age of EPO. Yes, Chiappucci was on the stuff, but almost no one else was among grand tour riders. It’s why LeMond got spanked in 1991. With no EPO, he would have won his fourth Tour. And if you want to consider UCI collusion on testing, consider that all the factors were in Fignon’s favor in 1989. If there had been any ability or inclination to swing the Tour in one rider’s favor, it wouldn’t have been to LeMond’s benefit.

  38. High Plains Drifter

    // The problem I have with the report is how it makes Lance the mastermind behind doping, like he was the reason everyone in cycling was doping. Hamilton says to be on Lance’s team, you had to dope. Then why did he and so many others get caught doping after they left the team and after Lance retired? //

    Do you not realize the logic error there? When they were part of the best-funded operation, they were fine. When they free-lanced (sorry!) they got caught.

    You’re actually backing up the opposite of your conclusion.

  39. High Plains Drifter

    Rich: Gladwell’s claim to fame is finding obscure data and then making some new conclusion out of it. Cherry-picking the data isn’t really his concern, as long as it generates discussion. I’m okay with that. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

  40. AH

    Actually, Gladwell is good at picking apart obscure data and delivering some conclusion about it to an audience that is less familiar with the topic than he. His methodology falls apart when confronted with an audience that is far more knowledgeable on the chosen topic than he.

    Gladwell knows as much about professional cycling as my grandmother, yet no one is printing her opinion pieces in Business Insider.

  41. bigwagon

    Drifter, it’s not about them getting caught after leaving Lance’s team because the methods of avoiding detection were not as effective. The point is, THEY WERE STILL DOPING! Talk about missing the elephant in the room.

  42. mike hogan

    Just a quick point to the few who claim armstrong was such a great talented athlete, he can barely run a 3hr marathon! Pro cyclist routinely run 2:30 marathons when they retire from cycling

  43. MattZ

    Bandwagon has it right Drifter – you missed the point which is Hamilton, Floyd and others say it was Lance who made them do it, but they still doped after they left and after Lance retired. Who made them do it then? I am not saying Lance didn’t dope or that USPS didn’t dope. My point is don’t place all the blame on Lance, they were all masters of their faith.

  44. Tom

    BigWagon, Current thinking among may pros I know is the Lance turned riders in for doping when they left the team. Remember that Lance has financial interests in almost every aspect of the sport. Ayn Rand would have loved Lance.

  45. Wsquared

    Padraig, I would like to believe that LeMond rode clean, but its a fact than his father in law, the late Dr. David Morris, was an allergist & immunologist and was actively involved on his medical team. EPO was approved for use in 1989. As a practicing immunologist, Dr. Morse would presumably have had full knowledge of and access to the drug. I cried tears of joy when LeMond beat Fignon, but if you are studying the dopeology of the period, IMO, that info should be included in the conversation.

    1. Padraig

      Wsquared: If you look at the rise of EPO in the peloton and you look at the decline of LeMond’s career, you’ll notice those two lines were on opposing trajectories. It’s hard to come up with a rational argument for the idea that LeMond was using EPO. He got trounced in ’91, and had both good and bad days along the way. Just because he knew a doctor who had access to it doesn’t make an argument that he was using. Try to remember that LeMond won his first Tour before there was EPO and won his second in a year when none of the favorites that year have been alleged to have used it. If he’d been on EPO in ’91, he wouldn’t have finished seventh; it seems likely he would have won. I encourage you and everyone who doubts that LeMond was clean to go and read Bill McGann’s account of the ’91 Tour. What I read (and what I remember watching at the time) was a cyclist breaking down over time. He was brilliant in the early part of the race and wore the yellow jersey. But he got his legs handed to him by three guys who have either been shown to be on EPO or strongly implicated: Indurain, Bugno and Chiappucci. We know Bugno and Chiappucci were on EPO. Indurain’s rise to the top coincided with theirs, and given his size, there’s no other rational explanation for how he got over the high mountains with the leaders.

      Bigwagon: Let’s ease off the rhetoric, can we? “Blind hatred” is a phrase that’s not really going to further the conversation.

  46. bigwagon


    Got any evidence of that? USADA threw the kitchen sink at him, so I’m certain if they had any edidecne of that, it would have come out with the report. Otherwise, I guess it’s just easier to blame him for everything bad that ever happened in cycling.

  47. bigwagon

    And your accusation still does not address the fact that THEY WERE STILL DOPING after they left his team, by their OWN admission in their USADA affidavits. Are you saying that when Leipheimer and others admitted to doping through at least 2006, after they left Postal, that it was still Lance’s fault?

  48. bigwagon

    Maybe just admit that your blind hatred of Lance prevents you from objectively evaluating any other cyclist’s responsibility for their own actions.

  49. Tom

    I think LeMond has been a voice of reason and shown great bravery taking on the doping issue. It has appeared to me since day one as sincere and from the heart with one motivation. To help turn the tide as we move into a cleaner era. Did he dope, who knows, but if he could keep it secret for all these years he should be directing the CIA. The bottom line is doper or not I welcome anyone who is sincerely making an effort to improve our sport and fight doping. And I despise those that would take us back to a darker era.
    Another note: The USADA reported facts supported by hard evidence. What would be amazing to see are the investigation notes that covers the entire body of information collected. We are seeing vast amounts of additional evidence coming out since the “Reason Decision” went public. I think it is time for WADA to take over the investigation world wide.

  50. MattZ

    I’d like to hear something from Bobby Julich. He was on Motorola and Cofidis with Lance and finished 3rd in 1998 behind two dopers, Pantani & Ullrich and he was also on Credit Agricole with Vaughters and now has a manager’s role on Sky. Wonder why no affidavit from him? System is very selective about who they go after and who they let slide.

    While the evidence against Lance is convincing pre-2005, the 2009-10 evidence is thin. No affidavits, no testimony from witnesses, only opinion evidence that says Lance’s blood levels were suggestive of doping. Opinion evidence that is based on unproven science and interpretation. I am not saying he didn’t use PEDs in 09/10, I am just saying the evidence is not so convincing for those years.

  51. Alex TC

    “While the evidence against Lance is convincing pre-2005, the 2009-10 evidence is thin.”

    True, and the same holds true for his achievements on the bike and the Tour in the same period. I mean, 3rd in the Tour is awesome for anyone – except if you won 7 titles in a row.

    But I find it unlikely that he was clean, because Lance is Lance after all: besides training and planning, that´s what he knows and do best. But he wasn´t the same in many regards.

  52. peter lin

    What I really want to know is, “will this really change professional cycling?” Clearly UCI is corrupt. But USADA and WADA aren’t blameless either. I would love to see all three governing bodies to clean house.

    I’m not holding my breathe though. With big money comes corruption, it’s human nature.

  53. MattZ

    Regarding Lemond, PEDs include more than EPO; steroids,stimulants, and blood transfusions were around in Lemond’s era. You don’t give Indurain the benefit of the doubt, you just say there is no other rational explanation given his size. That is my point with Lemond, he beat guys who are known users of PEDs and his TT time is still the fastest in Tour history over 20k (54.545) which is hard to believe that Lemond did it clean, on an old steel bike with some aero-bars, a disc rear wheel and a regular wheel up front. That was a record for 20 years and there have been some great time trialist since on super-bikes and on PEDs who couldn’t top it. Lemond also seems to know a lot about what was going on in the cycling world with PEDs during Lance’s era and nothing about his time period.

    Basically, the whole affair has cast a taint on the history of the sport and we will never know who was clean though we do know many who weren’t.

  54. evan

    There is actually a very good reason to believe that Lemond was clean. Google the Lemond Kimmage interview. In that interview Lemond, Kimmage, and his wife Kathy candidly and vulnerably discuss his sexual molestation, his anger at realizing others were doping and the thought of doping became repulsive to him. He breaks down and said it is hard to explain and involves his horrible experience with being molested. Finally Kathy speaks and says, Greg it is out now, people know about the abuse. She says to Kimmage, Paul, it would have killed him to let himself dope. He had to keep this horrible truth about being abused. He knows the importance of doing right, of not living lies. He loved the sport, it was the one pure thing in his life, and he could never defile it by doping.

    I believe this is true. It is astonishingly honest and forthcoming. Something we rarely if ever see from the raft of ex dopers who all appear sorry only after riding the gravy train.

    Lemond rode that time trial on a somewhat downhill tailwind event. Fignon lost by less than minute. Lemond had aero bars. He had a VO2 max of 95. Folks he was our only true champion the only one to win the TDF clean. And on teams that did not work for him, in a hostile peloton and with a great deal of self determination. Greg is the only one of that era to speak truth to power. Armstrong tried repeatedly and aggressively to destroy him.

    I say lay off. It is almost too much that we ignored his efforts and let Armstrong paint him with the falsehood of being unlikeable, jealous, has been, etc.

    I say no one is a hero. Greg is human has had his failings, but a good family man and father, who made up for his errors and is honest. Very rare.

  55. Wsquared


    I hope what you say is true, but to say that “just because he knew a doctor” that had access to EPO is a bit disingenuous. Dr. Morris traveled with the LeMond and was intimately involved in his health care, both in and out of competition, analyzing his blood and prescribing treatment, including drugs. If he was a proctologist or a vet that treated his dog, and not an immunologist who was part of his entourage, I wouldn’t have even mentioned him.

    As for LeMond’s decline while other stars ascended in the EPO era. PEDs can make a big difference in performance, but they are not magical cure alls. They also don’t guarantee you will win every race you enter. LeMond and his team attributed his bad legs and poor performance during his decline to a range of illnesses including mitochondrial myopathy and if I remember correctly, later to over training and to the lingering effects of his gunshot wound. He was still carrying buckshot, some of it near his heart. Ironically, when LeMond came back from that gunshot wound to win the Tour, there was some skepticism as to how he could have done so “naturally,” just like there was when Armstrong came back from cancer. In the 90s, no doubt much of his competition was juiced, but coincidentally, he wasn’t nearly the rider he was during his prime years either, juiced or not.

    1. Padraig

      Wsquared: The hallmark of the EPO era has been the no-day-day Tour. LeMond had good days, he had bad days. I’m not really going to engage this further than that. If you choose to believe LeMond doped, despite ample evidence he did not, we really can’t stop you.

      Rich Wilson: I would encourage you to actually read “Rough Ride.” Kimmage was no saint; he used.

  56. High Plains Drifter

    // While the evidence against Lance is convincing pre-2005, the 2009-10 evidence is thin. No affidavits, no testimony from witnesses, only opinion evidence that says Lance’s blood levels were suggestive of doping. Opinion evidence that is based on unproven science and interpretation. I am not saying he didn’t use PEDs in 09/10, I am just saying the evidence is not so convincing for those years. //

    Opinion? Opinion of experts in the field. And I’m looking high and low for a doc unaffiliated with Livestrong to interpret it in some other way.

    The out of whack platelet ratios might be the tightest part of evidence. He’s going to need vanishing twin caliber counter-explanations to make that go away.

  57. High Plains Drifter

    // “While the evidence against Lance is convincing pre-2005, the 2009-10 evidence is thin.” //

    What year was the last payment to Ferrari? I guess that could have been for flu shots, little league sports physicals, and to have a couple of moles checked.

  58. Alex TC

    “I believe this is true. It is astonishingly honest and forthcoming. Something we rarely if ever see from the raft of ex dopers who all appear sorry only after riding the gravy train.”

    I´m 100% with you Evan, LeMond´s the real deal for me as well. On top of his personal story, now that we know what we know he deserves full support.

    I can´t say he rode 100% clean – we must remember that by his time blood transfusions were somewhat commonplace in endurance sports (think USA cycling team from the ´84 LA Olympics). But it´s quite evident that he stayed away from EPO and other heavy PEDs. And he was indeed a trully gifted athlete, no doubt that.

    The vehemence, impetuous, assertive and above all, coherent way he expresses against doping and dopers in specific, and against “extraterrestrial performances” in general kinda assures me he´s a clean rider and fights the right war.

  59. High Plains Drifter

    bigwagon: Are you saying that when Leipheimer and others admitted to doping through at least 2006, after they left Postal, that it was still Lance’s fault?

    No. Where in the world did you read that, and why would it matter?

    It’s possible that Armstrong exists somewhere in between saint and responsible for all the world’s ills.

  60. Alex TC

    Now, anyone up for a movie session? How about “The Levi Effect – The Untold Story of Cyclist Levi Leipheimer” out this 23rd? Talk about choice of names, bad jokes and perfect timing!

  61. Rich Wilson

    I think there’s a large sliding scale from saint to sinner. On one end we’ve got guys like Kimmage who refused to dope, took lumps for it, and spoke out. In the large grey area in the middle there are people who doped begrudgingly. Some got used to it and kept it up, others did anything they could to be able to stop but stay in the sport.

    And then at the other end we have people like Lance, who I suspect would have doped even if he knew nobody else was.

  62. evan

    So let us elect Betsy Andreu, Greg Lemond, Bassons, Ashenden Ph.D, to the UCI. Let us fans insist on ALL former dopers to NOT be in management. I like JV but there are too many right now who faked being anti doping and went on to encourage. Matt White for example. Big concerns about Riis. Bruyneel of course. But there are many many ex dopers as management and staff.

    As Fans boycott and sign petitions for all sponsors who supported USPS and Armstrong to cut ties. Including demanding Livestrong cut ties with Armstrong or lose support. And start giving to cancer research.

    Money talks. Muscle up folks! Ghandi said it, power does not yield to those who allow it to continue.

  63. evan

    I need to explain JV opinion. Everything seemed good with him. Had me convinced. But not when he proposed along with BRUYNEEL, yes him to partner in this new league. Just unacceptable.

  64. Alex TC

    I still have no solid opinion on JV and Riis. I´m leaning towards accepting them based on their post-doping work ethic and declarations, which I assume as coherent and serious. Yes they doped but compared to USPS´s criminal schemes and general peloton practices at the time, doping kinda feels innocent.

    JV in special has been vocal about the topic, and if I remember he seemed a bit reluctant to align with Bruyneel at the time. Not that I condone doping in any way, but it´s really not what´s bothering me more about this. But I keep that Hincapie, Levi and other USPS riders should just go away for good.

    As for UCI I don´t think that LeMond, Betsy and Kimmage have what it takes to direct cycling. Yes they have a solid moral compass and love cycling, but I´m not sure their managing skills as up to the task. Plus, with their personalities I´d guess that they´re a hard group to put together into something like this (lol).

  65. evan

    A factor to remember is that Riis is named by Hamilton as promoting doping as a team boss. Also that Contador was indeed found guilty and the evidence most likely points to echo blood transfusion covered by plasma, not just the fat reducing agent. Riis must be investigated.

  66. Wsquared


    Agree to disagree that there is conclusive evidence that LeMond never doped. As I said before, I hope he didn’t.

    As for ending this paticular conversation, that’s fine with me. My experience is that excessive immersion in dopeology rots the brain and is a divisive force in our community. I prefer to experience the things that brought us to ride bikes and follow racing in the first place. I’ll be on my way shortly to enjoy a fine Fall day of riding in the foothills of the Rockies, listening today to “The Very Best of the Doors.” A much better place to be than dwelling on who might have doped 20 years ago.

  67. evan

    Hey there is a middle ground! Meaning stop the corruption, bring those accountable, and learn demand as fans a clean sport.

    At least we are not in the J.O. camp!

    Jim Ochowicz says Lance Armstrong ‘earned every victory he’s had’

  68. RUV

    Wsquared- I’m not sure how much an allergist/immunologist would use EPO on a day to day basis. Their practice shouldn’t involve the use of EPO. EPO is more in the realm of hematology, oncology, nephrology and in the 80s/90s maybe infectious diseases. I would be much more wary of Dr. Morris is he were in any of those subspecialties. I say this as someone board certified in internal medicine and not as someone who has any clue has to how innocent or nefarious Dr. Morris is.

  69. Wsquared


    Thanks for your insight. Anything that helps eleviate my paranoid suspicions about my heroes feet of clay is appreciated. Now, back to riding my bike.

  70. Buford

    Dear Explainer – please explain to me why Floyd Landis’ name is not mentioned in the list of “winners”? He was truly the genesis for all of this when he dropped the bomb in early 2010, and his name has been pretty much mud ever since. I would think that he has been vindicated, at least to some degree. Thank you.

  71. Wsquared

    Buford –

    Floyd recently pleaded guilty in Federal court to wire fraud charges for defrauding well meaning people who contributed to his “defense fund” of $500,000 when he claimed he never doped. He also wrote a 320-page book “Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France,” that he charged good money for, where he said he never doped. That’s why his name is mud.

  72. regsf

    Wsquared guess who the big check writers to Floyd were… Wiesel gave 50k and some of his other cronies gave big chunks of that $500k. So the primary lenders are part of Armstrong’s mafia. Ironic no?

  73. Tour Winner

    Listen, it’s completely obvious they all cheat. Regardless how fit they are, they recover like super heroes day in, day out during stage races. Even most of the field fodder has to be doing something to make it three weeks (or even through a week long race). I’m beat after a 40 miler on a windy day!

    Here’s what unsettles me: even with the 1999 corticosteroid “positive”, he never tested positive. Look, the old saying “if you don’t cheat, you don’t care” can be applied across all sports. But like my accountant tells me, the IRS gives us the rule book and we play as hard as we can within those rules. Same applies here. If the governing bodies give tolerances for doping levels (or blood levels) that are so far outside the norms (Landis and the testosterone/epi testosterone argument that allowed for a testosterone ratio so out of whack with what a normal male would present) then riders will bend the limits. Yeah, yeah, I know, some riders have naturally high this or that.

    It’s like this: I’m driving a car with someone in the passenger seat. I speed. A couple of years later when asked, the passenger says I was speeding. I say, no way, where’s the proof? Where’s the speeding ticket? Where is the accident report?

    I’m disappointed and let down, too (but I really don’t care since none of this affects me when I enjoy a nice ride). The again, I have no illusions. That’s why I enjoy watching the local high school teams play. Perhaps those kids are the last ones who do it for love of the game.

  74. Debbie in Alamo Heights

    Anyone else notice that there has not been a massive outpouring of doping remorse and confessions from the pro peleton?

    The unfortunate reality is that in 15 years or so, people will read press about the next big drug scandal in cycling, and the Armstrong affair will be mentioned as a sidenote, like Festina is now, and Hincapie/Leipheimer will be mentioned as strident but ultimately impotent whistleblowers, like Simeoni and Manzano are today.

  75. Evan Shaw

    READ ALL ABOUT IT! Livestrong and UCI form new bike league called the Tour de Pharm. The rules as proposed by john Eustice outspoken USA former racer and Lance apologist are that doping is a science and today’s athletes are raising the bar on performance excitement and fan involvement. Rather than drug testing being banned they are opening a new Ferrari doping sports center in Switzerland funded by Armstrong’s donations. It will study the advanced use of new and better drug enhanced athletes.

    The new TDF will consist of 42 stages of 400 km per day over 7 mountain passes per stage. Get ready for the future of cycling.

    Please note the political satire and note of sarcasm in above piece. LOL

  76. Pingback: Turning Point : Red Kite Prayer

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