Tyler Hamilton’s “The Secret Race”

When Paul Kimmage’s book “Rough Ride” came out in 1991 the story he told was one that not many people wanted to hear. It was a reality of cycling to which many of us were unaware. Indeed, many of us would have preferred to keep it that way. The story he wove was one few were clamoring to hear, one that contained truths many of us had never guessed, truths that were at odds with what we believed cycling was at minimum, what cycling should be at worst.

When Kimmage was ostracized from most of the cycling world, few who had taken the time to read the book could have been surprised. Not only was his story a shocking one, it was bitter and left little room for nuanced responses. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could have danced a diplomatic waltz that backed him up while not simultaneously giving the finger to the entire peloton. He was in a no-win situation, one that has sealed his fate as less a journalist than an antagonist because his work so rarely contains anything approaching compassion. Journalists live and die by friends; you may call them contacts or sources, but to those who ply the trade, one always thinks of making friends.

“Rough Ride” could be summed up as the first survey of an iceberg. Like those early Lewis and Clark maps that look familiar but clearly lack the precise reflection of satellite photographs, Kimmage came to us and announced that most of the iceberg was underwater, that there was—incredibly—twice the ice below the waterline as above it. His was as fantastic a tale as we’d heard.

Yet his was a necessary initial step. First into the breach. Without him leading the charge, shattering myths, we’d think of Tyler Hamilton’s and Daniel Coyle’s “The Secret Race” (Bantam, $28) as one elaborate delusion. But Hamilton and Coyle have undertaken as specific a survey of an iceberg as we’ve seen. This is National Geographic: photos, measurements, months spent in sea ice. It’s one thing to claim a two-bit domestique is full of shit; harder to do when it’s someone who reached the top.

That the book is meticulously researched is unsurprising, at least to me. I’ve been reading (and respecting) Coyle’s work since I first read him in Outside Magazine in the 1990s. His work thorough, his storytelling perfectly paced—efficient and brief when necessary, while rich and layered when things get heavy. If Jeff Novitzky and Travis Tygart are storming the bastille, Hamilton has taken Coyle in the back entrance, showed him where everything is kept: sleeping quarters here, provisions here, armory and magazine there.

While the book is as compelling a read as can be found in cycling, one must embark with a taste for tragedy. I was reminded of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” and Annie Proulx’s “The Shipping News.”

Of course, many readers will find exactly what they seek. People who believe that dopers should be chased from the sport with pitchforks will find the yard-sale of Hamilton’s personal life satisfying rather than heart-rending. Lance’s would-be lynch mob will find even more reason to want him eviscerated as publicly as possible. Those who don’t like Armstrong are unlikely to wince at Hamilton’s most compassionate insights into him, his motivations. Armstrong’s still legions of fans are unlikely to read the book, which will make for an unfortunate miss in potential sales, and even bigger miss in dispensing reality.

Hamilton and Coyle perceptively call out the incident that ultimately leads to the investigation culminating in Armstrong’s downfall. It is, of course, Floyd Landis’ email to USA Cycling, the confession that was called everything short of J.R.R. Tolkein’s greatest fantasy. They point out how the entire investigation would never have taken place had Armstrong possessed the charity to give Landis a spot on his team. Simply mend a fence.

However, I think the more telling event took place a few years before, an event few of us could ever have guessed. The scrutiny that resulted in Hamilton’s positive tests that destroyed his career came as a result of a tip, a tip allegedly given to the UCI by Armstrong. One can infer that no length was too great in Armstrong’s mind, no effort too outlandish, not when defeating an opponent was at stake. For me, that felt like a real turning point for Armstrong, a selling out of the omerta in the most cynical way possible.

This book weighs on me. It has infected my dreams, putting me in rooms with Hamilton and Armstrong, their sponsors, causing bicycles to float through my nights, and resulting in mornings that lack the refreshed satisfaction of a night’s rest. The question on my mind is that after cycling is burned down in the United States, what, if anything, will come in Europe. Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid have been less leaders than shopkeepers. They are the competent employees left to mind the store while the owner runs to the bank. The problem: There’s no owner. No one has taken responsibility for the mess the sport is in and perhaps the one thing everyone can agree upon is that the UCI has done a terrible job of governing. McQuaid can’t be trusted to get the reform accomplished that cycling desperately needs if only for a simple reason—it’s virtually impossible to amputate yourself.

Hamilton cheated and lied about cheating. He sinned against cycling. There’s no getting around that. But in as much as anyone can ever repent a sin, “The Secret Race” makes amends by taking responsibility for his part and giving up everything he knows. He’s done his time, served his sentence. As a culture we profess to stand against cruel and unusual punishment. I can’t say I believe the punishment fit the crime, not when you consider the way we punish violent crimes, white-collar crimes.

Hamilton has done more to expose cycling’s flaws than all the anti-doping crusaders combined. From the way the book closes, it sounds like he wants little to do with cycling other than his coaching business and something in that makes my heart ache for him. He is our Prodigal Son. I’d like to think that he’s got more to contribute to this sport, something positive. If I had an olive branch—a job—I’d extend it; somehow “thanks” and “I’m sorry for your loss” don’t seem enough. This may be the most important book ever written on cycling.

 

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32 comments

  1. Hank

    After every scandal from Festina to Puerto it’s been back to business as usual.

    Maybe this scandal will be big enough to reach the big wigs who are really responsible for corrupting the sport. The USADA has named doctors, Bruyneel and even implicated the UCI. If it’s only athletes getting busted nothing will change. Lets hope some heads at the top roll this time starting with McQuaid.

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  3. Chris

    I think Tyler has done a solid by sharing what he knows, regardless of what people believe about his motives to do so. I have noticed the deafening roar of silence from anyone refuting what he has shared, that in of itself must speak to a high level of directional accuracy.

    I do take a bit of issue with saying he deserves a job, or he is our prodigal son. As Hamilton plainly depicted in his story, his doping may have given him a substantial advantage even over other dopers. Meaning if all were clean he might have been an obscure rider with meager palmers, worthy of the two bit domestique comment you had at the beginning of your analysis. For certain he has paid his price, and that need not continue…….and he is still able to use his name to sell books and run a coaching business. I will privately root that the guy finds some peace in all of this.

  4. Eto

    Patrick,

    Great piece. This too may be the culmination of the run up of your work responding to all the Armstrong related topics and opinions.

    I have just started the book, three chapters in. Though Ifeel like I can’t wait to get to it again, the reality is that it has not been an easy read. It gets dark early and I can’t help but think about the years I followed European racing (re: era of the last 20 years) and was thrilled. It feels like learning the truth about Santa, over and over again.

    I look forward to finishing the story and sorting out my own past Illusions. I can only hope that by the era my children may choose to persue sport at a high level, the “governing bodies” will be focused on the long term health of the sport and not the short term sustainability.

  5. michael

    I didn’t just read this book, I devoured it. In one sitting. I was bleary eyed at work the following morning, but it was well worth the minor inconvenience.

    Best cycling bio I have read since “The Fall of Marco Pantani”

    I wasn’t wearing rose-tinted glasses through the 90′s and early 2000′s, so nothing much comes as any surprise. To be privy to the degree of secret-spy inner machinations, however, is still eye opening to say the least.

    The only thing that blew my mind was that Armstrong ratted out fellow dopers to the UCI. And that the UCI actually listened to him to target others.

    Frankly, that is fucking frightening.

    I hope Tyler finds some closure and is at peace with himself. And I hope Floyd follows him down that path soon.

  6. Alex TC

    I´ve read the book and it´s indeed a compeling drama in many ways. It´s pretty tense in times and sheds light on more than my already beat-up cyclist heart would like to face, or be aware of. But such is life I guess, and I still love riding and following racing so no harm done, we´re adults.

    But I think – and this is my opinion – that Hamilton went too far into his desire to speak out to lighten his load. I´d feel better about him if he: 1)Had confessed bafore being caught twice and thrown out of the sport; and 2) Had talked about himself and his doctors/managers/soigneurs only. Landis was openly at war against Lance, it was a gut thing, but Hamilton´s position about Lance is not clear or as defined IMHO and thus it looks less… pure (for a lack of better definition from my part).

    I totally understand the importance of caught or confessed dopers to deliver team/organized doping schemes, supliers and such, to help with the fight against doping. No mafia can come down without inside information. And I´m all against the omertà. But talking about other riders who doped and things that you saw/heard while sharing the intimacy, confidence and bond of teamates and riders like you while profiting and enjoying the good life… That just doesn´t sound dign and honourable in my book.

    In that sense, I understand and even respect Lance and other dopers´ attitude: confess or deny your sins, maybe even give out your sources, but leave your friends or ex-friends out of it at all costs. That´s different from omertà, and that´s something I didn´t quite like about Hamilton´s story. He could have done away jsut fine without citing others, but I guess that anything containing “Lance” and perhaps a few more known names in a doping story helps selling a lot more books.

  7. Troutdreams

    These ‘dark days” of the sport have been drawn out & slowly unfolding for years. The UCI leadership is simply not held accountable, and that will forever be a mystery to most of us.

    I can’t think of another organization, league, federation- just pick your term- where the buck stops precisely where it starts. Certainly not in the private sector anyway.

    To me, the level of job security afforded Pat McQuaid, I suppose based upon the organizational structure, is the real story.

    How about Padraig? Care to cover it?

  8. Evan Shaw

    Please write a piece on does the UCI have any oversight body? How do they amass 28 million euro? Who sits on their board? Who has the power to investigate them?

    Could the complex of Armstrong / Livestrong / Nike / Trek/ senators/ congressmen/ UCI /teams with former dopers who now manage somehow stop this USADA procedure and Armstrong escapes accountability yet again?

    If so what if anything can be done about it?

    If WADA was legally and contractually 100% independent, the riders had a union with profit sharing and due process but required monitoring and all previous doping racers were barred from management I think the sport can go clean.

  9. Bill H-D

    Great review.

    As a fan throughout the period discussed in the book, it was equally fascinating and devastating to learn the bizarro-world details of stages that I otherwise recall quite vividly. Reading about motivations and causes previously hidden from view, the gestalt snapped into place. As a rider and racer, it all made a clear and awful kind of sense.

    Infecting dreams, indeed. Well put, Padraig.

  10. scaredskinnydog

    The only part of the story that surprised me was, outside of Postal, how unsophisticated the doping was. In this age of advanced sports science it surprised me to read about Tyler standing outside the clinic with blood pouring down his arm. My favorite part was towards the end when he rode down the “dopers suck” guy on his cruiser bike in flipflops and said “I may of been a doper but I don’t suck”.

  11. Full Monte

    It kept me up at night, too. And rolled through my dreams when I did finally sleep. This story hurt to learn. Especially, when you read through the lines, once you know the secrets, you can look at today’s peloton and know nothing’s changed but the methods used.

    It ruined pro cycling for me. I’ll never watch a race the same again. In fact, I’ve lost interest in even watching or reading about races.

    Can my trust in the sport ever be earned back?

    Sure, Tyler cheated. The whole sport cheated. Still cheats. And the tumor that infects the UCI continues this charade.

    Then, last night, on ESPN, I watched the 30 for 30 episode on the 100m Olympics in Seoul. The entire field of athletes from every country…all doped to the gills. Coordination between US Track and the USOC to make sure nobody tested positive (test work-arounds). Spiking the drinks of other competitors. Doping positives ignored by officials in the IOC. Depressing. Painful.

    It ain’t just cycling, people. It’s all of sport. Doping, cheating is taking place on every track, field, court, pitch, lane in the world.

    Tyler ripped the lid off cycling. But that’s just one corner of the epidemic. Lance is getting his due, but he’s just one famous athlete among all those in every sport who cheated. Is cheating.

    Great review. Great book. Sadly, this is just the beginning of the ugly truth.

  12. Alex TC

    Full Monte:

    Doping and cheating permeate our entire culture, not only our beloved sport. And if I may say it, both are currently peaking in our era or so it seems. Zeitgeist.

    Now if you allow, I´ll suggest you watch a documentary from 2010 about the 2008 crisis, “Inside Job”. Just don´t watch it right now under the depressing feelings of Tyler´s revelations, or else you´ll feel like killing yourself in disgust at how deep can human greed can go.

    On a more positive note, it´s perhaps only in cycling – the kind we mortals practice every day alone or with our friends – that I find the real,true, worthy friendship, dedication, endurance, revelation, suffering, admiration, beauty of nature, humbleness, humanity, superation, inner strenght. Armstrongs, Festinas, USADAS and UCIs may come an go, but I refuse to let all that go with it.

  13. Art

    Great review.

    At the risk of being berated by most of the readers here I’d like to offer a few thoughts.

    With the news that many of the top contemporaries of Mr Armstrong implicated/convicted of doping, is it cheating or leveling the playing field. In no way am i supporting the use of PEDs, it’s only a question. If it is cheating, then why is the latest carbon, ultralight, ultra aero widget not cheating. Doping, in and of itself, is not a magic bullet. All the admitted dopers still had to put in the endless hours on the bike during the off season, they had to endure the hurt of motor paced intervals up mountain passes in order to compete.

    I have enjoyed watching bike racing for many years (including those that many consider the “dark days”) and I am still awed by some of the feats of strength and the amount of suffering these athletes endure. The fact that doping was a factor, to me, does not lessen my enjoyment of the sport. I will still get on my bike and try to put the hurt on my riding partners (or accept the hurt as, more often than not, I try to hang onto their wheels). And I will still watch the races, marveling at the speed at which the peloton catches the breakaway or wonder how they stay upright on the cobbles at 30+mph. I must admit teams like Garmin-Sharp where the culture of racing clean is more important than winning gives me hope for the future of the sport.

    A lifetime ago, I was given the choice many of these individuals had and I made the choice to leave my chosen sport (not cycling btw). I have no regrets in my decision, however, there are still times when i am reflecting on my limited successes that I wonder … What if?

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  15. Jank

    Alex TC commented that he’d have been happier if Hamilton “1)Had confessed bafore being caught twice and thrown out of the sport”

    Levi Leipheimer’s piece in the WSJ “Why I Doped” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444799904578048672603746526.html put it pretty succinctly – “I could have come forward sooner. But would that have accomplished anything—other than to end my career? One rider coming forward and telling his story in the face of cycling’s code of silence would not have fixed a problem that was institutional.

    “When Usada came to me and described a solution—where my admission could be part of a bigger plan that would make the positive changes we’ve seen in recent years permanent—I said “I need to be involved.” I don’t want today’s 13 year olds to be discouraged by their parents from dreaming about one day riding the Tour de France.”

    The 90′s and ’00s are littered with the careers of cyclists who did, as individuals, opt out of doping. Even as fans we’ve never heard of most of them. The American riders who testified to USADA are taking lumps – pretty universal 6 month suspensions and loss of palmares, which means they’re paying prices that confessed dopers in other countries aren’t.

    Cycling needs a “Truth and Reconciliation” period from the top down – level the playing field and unearth the past. I’m not completely sure about changing results, especially around the turn of the century, since there don’t appear to have been too many ‘panetagua’ riders near the podiums.

  16. Alex TC

    Jank,

    6 months and loss of titles in the face of a decade of good life and celebrity treatment thanks to cheating and omertà. Now in the last minute they come forward with these scripted, oportunistic and convenient “semi-confessions”. Don´t be fooled, they´d still be quiet, just alike Lance, UCI and the others who are playing , so unlike others they did not come forward, they were pushed forward. There´s a huge difference.

    I call them “semi-confessions” for they´re more like a well-timed, well-thought PR exercise to “defuse the bomb” and make them sound like a bunch of heroes worried with “children on bikes dreaming of riding the Tour de France one day” and “the clean future of the sport”. Suddenly they´re all young neopro riders who never had a choice and quit doping practices as soon as they had a chance.

    Hincapie´s piece is almost laughable, and Levi´s not too far from it either. In fact, if you read them all back-to-back they´ll look and feel incredibly scripted, like taken from the same PR template. It´s my opinion, but I don´t buy this hipocrisy. “Never had a choice” is BS in my book, it doesn´t stand in the face of the many who chose right and either gave up their dreams or accepted being pack fodder instead of GC contenders and superstars.

    There´s also a HUGE difference in the timing you come forward. They know it´ll get mixed up in the sea of outings and most important, it´ll get somehow washed out by the more serious and numerous revelations from USADA and Armstrong, who happens to draw all the attention in the galaxy like a black hole. Perfect. They also know it´s not going to ruin their ´12 or ´13 seasons, since USADA did their part of the bargain and suspended them for 6 months in the off-season. See you next march!

    Now, you talk about paniagua… what´s that and has it ever existed in cycling? I race with a group of masters and 2/3 of the peloton is on PEDs, light or heavy. I´m still trying to figure out what “level playing field” means and if that´s even possible anymore now that we´ve lost innocence!


    1. Author
      Padraig

      I’m really dismayed by all the short-sighted opinions that want to see the book thrown at the cyclists who are now confessing their past. American jurisprudence has always lessened punishment for those who confess. Levi did the right thing for the right reasons at the right time. Full stop.

      Getting caught up in the past and worrying about how to make amends to those cyclists who didn’t dope isn’t the way forward. Revenge will not get us out of this mess.

      I hope that all those who would advocate a lifetime ban following a confession can drop us a note and let us know how the view is from your high horse. That attitude is as much a part of the problem as the omertà is.

  17. randomactsofcycling

    Thanks for the review Padraig. I look forward, with some trepidation, to actually turning the pages when the book is released here in Oz.
    To throw in two cents worth about the supposed confessions: I applaud Tyler for ‘outing’ his ‘friends’ et al. And I deplore Levi’s “what good would it have done?” attitude.
    Why didn’t Levi go to USADA instead of waiting for them to come to him? If he really has such a strong moral compass, he would have made the first move and then USADA could have started digging a lot earlier.
    The Omerta will never be broken without guys like Tyler ‘outing’ their supposed friends. Yes, he waited too long and maintained the silence for too long but unlike others, he has finally learned the lesson.

  18. Jank

    Alec – “panetagua” is from Hamilton’s book – riding on “bread and water”, ie, without drugs.

    re: Tyler and Floyd vs Levi and George – Yep, Leipheimer and Hincapie are getting off with relative slaps on the wrist. It’s a little less of a slap on the wrist for guys like DZ, Tom Danielson, CVV who have another half decade or so that they could ride, and who will be returning to the peleton next year presumably outside the “omertà”.

    Yeah, the confessions are PR exercises, but so is “omertà”. Doping became a classic game theory problem – as long as someone knows that they’re going to get crucified and ostracized for a doping admission like Landis, Hamilton, etc for trying to clean up the sport there’s little incentive to come clean absent a positive test. And, as both the USADA files and Hamilton’s book detail, beating the tests wasn’t rocket science (at least 99% of the time).

    So, omertà makes sense if the choice is either dope and probably don’t get caught, or confess and get a 2 year suspension and no DS will touch you with a ten foot pole. The opportunity to confess only becomes attractive when the rider knows he’ll only get a slap on the wrist, but will be able to return to the peloton. USADA did it right in demanding that the 11 teammates not only confess to their sins, but also make sure the entire ring was implicated – it’s establishing a new ring of trust – taking Armstrong’s lead, the precedent is that if you’ve got knowledge of someone else’s doping, it’s in your best interest to report it.

    What remains to be seen is what the other national ADAs will do, and what the UCI will do – the incentives to ride clean and make sure one’s teammates are riding clean have to outweigh the incentives to dope. But USADA’s established a precedent. It’s not perfect – a lot of guys did make the decision to leave the sport or race in front of the broom wagon because they wouldn’t dope. But, absent banning absolutely everyone who was riding professionally prior to, say, 2010, it’s tough to make sure noone’s slipping through the cracks by saying “Of course I never doped – 500 tests and no positives”.

  19. Jank

    Alex – went back and saw you weren’t actually asking a question. Re the Cat 2/3s and masters – I’ve really only barely dipped my toe into bike racing – came to bikes in my 20′s and work and family have me likely to top out as a solid Cat 6.

    I don’t think masters racing is indicative of world class development programs. There’s a world of difference between the folks who actually have the physical talent to go pro and type-A folks who can work up to Cat 2/3.

    Plus, there’s a whole marketing army trying to convince us that winning the beer prime is just a matter of squeezing another $1000 out of the budget, for a pair of wheels or, by extension, convincing the doc to write a ‘scrip. You can’t dope your way onto a professional team any more than I can drink my way into writing like Hemmingway or Thompson.

  20. Alex TC

    Padraig,

    Since I believe your words concern my comments I´ll try to elaborate further because I think you got the wrong idea (or most likely, since I´m a bit limited in my english, it was my fault expressing my thoughts in better words).

    First, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. And since we´re all passionate about cycling as a sport, it´s only natural that responses and reactions vary enormously in regards to the revelation that an entire generation of riders (who were deemed “heroes” by most of us) at best made the sport we so much love pedal backwards in many ways. There´s no denying it´s a huge blow.

    The reasons they did what they did vary too, and I agree that the grey area is much, much bigger than the clear-cut black-and-white. I for myself don´t believe (and never said that) the confessed dopers should be put in jail or hung in a public arena. In fact, during all this time – and I mean from the moment Greg LeMond started being gapped in the mountains by heavy sprinters, not just now or even after Festina – my anger has never been directed to the riders, but rather to the powers-that-be of cycling (UCI and other suits). They´re the ones who allowed things to reach this point and profited most from it all IMO.

    In the 90´s I was writing for a local bike mag here and attended an event where the guest was none other than Hein Verbruggen. During this time I also had the chance to meet riders and DS´ so I´m well aware of the differences. That´s to say I sympathize with the riders. I can totally understand how these things operate in a system like that (I´ve been riding and following cycling for almost 30 years) and how slowly and insidiously it gets into the entire system to reach the point it did.

    As for them confessing, I said in an earlier comment here or at another post that I know no mafia can be brought down without inside information, so it´s all really valuable and important.

    But one thing is one thing, another thing is another thing. It must be made clear that it´s not our opinions that are under judgement here, much less out moral grounds. No matter how extreme those might be (and there will be extreme opinions, you know). I´m not questioning the American jurisprudence system, the pleas and bargains, the punishments. I´m saying that to most of the confessions from the riders exposed in USADA´s case sound hollow, scripted, oportunistic and hypocritic.

    Hincapie said he “doped earlier in his career” and “quit taking PEDs in 2006”. Come on Padraig… does he really expect us to be THAT naïve? (both to believe that ´06 was his “earlier career” and that he´s been riding clean since then?). And Levi said he´d have confessed before if he thought that it´d have made a difference. Well, the way it all happened it doesn´t make a difference now except for himself – he simply didn´t have a choice, it was that or the jail.

    I saw Levi and others shut up or manifest sympathy for riders disgraced from dope, but I wonder if he or any other of these guys ever dropped a note to Bassons, Simeone, LeMond or other like them. Yes Levi, you DID have a chance to “change cycling for better” but instead you opted to go on with your life. Cool, just don´t expect me to take your confessions as sincere or honest. Einstein said “everything is relative” and we can twist anything we want, but I´m not apologizing for thinking that is hypocrisy. I´m far from perfect but I was raised differently.

    If they all felt destroyed inside after selling their souls to the doping devil like they said, then they should have done something. Anything. Individually, collectively, anonymously, whetever. But they did: they kept collecting the fat paychecks, the accolades, the glory, the product endorsements. They fact that they built a life on top of that and now say that it “killed their dreams” sounds like pure hypocrisy to me. We´ve seen real dreams destroyed and riders who went ahead despite.

    Yes, I´d feel better with something like: “Yeah I did dope, I´m an adult, I knew what I was doing all the time, I profited from it and I regret now that I had to come out and confess. I´ll take any punishment I deserve with dignity. Sorry folks, I apologize but no one´s in my skin and such is life”.

    All that is to say that, to me it´s not their giving in to the system and taking PEDs or even winning while doing it. It´s not they coming out now to confess. It´s the WAY they´re joining those two dots of their lives, the way they´re treating that past in their confessions, the timing and opportunism. It´s not much WHAT they´ve done back then or what they´re doing now, but HOW they did it and how they´re DOING.

    And I say so not taking a view from MY high horse, but from those riders who took a different stance and did what these guys now say they “woulda, shoulda, coulda” if only they had a choice.

  21. Alex TC

    Oh and by the way Padraig, I wish you a fast and complete recovery!!! That was unfortunate but yeah it´s part of cycling and what doesn´t kill us is supposed to make us stronger (not sure if that applies to crashes but…).
    ;-)


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Alex TC: Yours was but one of a great many comments I’ve read that trouble me. I wonder just how many people ready to stone the riders who doped really would have made the right choice if faced with choosing doping or unemployment. I suspect very strongly that had I been put in that situation I would have doped, even though I’m very much against it.

  22. Alex TC

    I know I already wrote a lot but I´d just like to complement with a couple of points to close my argumentation:

    1. To be fair, I found the confession of CVV what I call honest, dign, self-responsible – and relieving for him: “I gave in and crossed the line, a decision that I deeply regret. I was wrong to think I didn’t have a choice — the fact is that I did, and I chose wrong.”

    2. Talking about Levi… whether Omega-Pharma is playing dumb or indeed he didn´t tell his story to management before signing his contract (could be both – you pretend to tell me the truth, I pretend I believe you and we move on). But things are looking ugly for him, and to me this reinforce my belief that you can confess and still be an hypocrite.

    CVV made a wrong choice once – like we all do at some point in our lives. Fine, we get it. He dealt with it, did what he could to move on and I´d guess he´s much more at peace with his choices and actions than, say, Hincapie and Leipheimer, and perhaps even Hamilton, to stick to my examples. He played the Armstrong game, got out by his own and moved on. Those two are still playing to Lance even now. Therefeore they´re still tied to their ugly past IMHO. No peace there, no peace there my friends.

  23. patrick

    Several have posted comments about the responses from the riders. Everybody needs to keep in mind these riders are significant investments for their employers, or they want to be. IF EVER there was a time to moderate an employee’s public speak, this would be it.

    None of us are so naive to think these riders would be allowed to just walk right out in front of a live mike and shoot from the hip. These were press releases. The riders may have had their say but a PR group did most of the typing. Yes, they looked identical and that’s one more thing you can blame on the UCI. Other leagues share TV revenue, cycling shares PR firms.

  24. Alex TC

    OK Padraig, so basically you’re troubled that because we’re all humans and thus subject to failure like these riders we should accept all mea culpas at face value, leave the past in the past and just move on?

    Is that it, or you’re just troubled the same way I am for not really knowing what to think about it, how to handle our judgements and emotions preciselly and in more objective, fair and just manner?

    That kind of rationale does not stand for its logic, it’s a falacy and a contradiction. Yeah I can’t tell for sure I would say no to dope and all that glory if I was there too. I probably would too, like you, I admit.

    I can’t tell that, but I can tell you of my own mistakes and wrong choices, and the price I paid for each. I can also tell you that many times I was, still am and will find myslef into the same kind of crossroad, and I pray to make the right decision, always questioning if I did.

    Every day we’re put to test, be it about cheating my wife, pulling the carpet from under a work mate or “maybe” someday dope if facing undemployment or mediocrity. Even when there’s no clear right or wrong, there’s always the consequences.

  25. Alex TC

    Theres a very enlightening piece posted just now on CyclingNews.com (http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/betsy-andreu-no-longer-a-voice-in-the-wilderness) that shows exactly my feelings and what I’ve beem trying to express about some of these confessing riders.

    I’ve selected a small part of Betsy Andreau’s declarations that goes straight to the heart of the matter. How can I as a fan forgive George Hincapie for doing what he did and how can I believe his words now? Serious, to me he is exactly like Lance and in some ways even worse.

    Reading Betsy’s declarations I can only immagine the hardship the victims of Lance have been through. I don’t buy a single word of Levi, Hincapie & Co. and I wish them the same fate of Armstrong. They’re not worried about the sport, they don’t care about us fans, they’re not clean even if they’re now riding only on paniagua.

    “Even though I would have a beef with all these people coming forward now and saying how sorry they are now I don’t really buy that they’re sorry,” she says.

    “I buy that they’re sorry they were going to be ‘outed’. They could have chosen to lie but they told the truth. So I’m supportive of that too. It’s the classic, you don’t say you’re sorry until you get caught. You’re only contrite after you’ve made your millions and when you’re compelled to tell the truth.”

    “I’m grateful but man they didn’t really care about the truth when we were trying to get it out there. They just didn’t care. The one that was hardest was George because we were so incredibly close to him. When he just lambasted me in a email to Frankie, about me bringing down the sport that tells you he had no intention of ever coming forward. He was content.”

  26. A Cady

    I’m with Alex TC above after reading the Betsy Andreu interview today. No mercy on any involved. None.

    My conclusion after reading this weeks weepy apologies, and ‘retirements’; inadvertently viewing Lance’s scolding of Walsh at a Tour of California (flanked by George and Levi); And Nike’s continued support of Armstrong.

    Nauseating.

  27. Alex TC

    Agreed.

    And if we’re really hoping for a better, cleaner future for cycling then cannot just accept and treat every apology the same, give every confession the same weight. It’s not about incentives it’s about JUSTICE with those who

    We as fans now MUST treat each rider involved (or caught, or confessed, or whatever) differently and critically. Yes some, maybe many doped just to keep their jobs. Many doped to finish races in the peloton and fight a contract for next year. That was the tune of the moment and I understand that some people really had no choice.

    But many did out of greed and excess of ambition like most of USPS guys? It’s scary to say that but in light of the recent revelations, doping seems to take a minor stance and the support of these guys to the conspiracy puts them in the same league of Lance, Bruyneel and others.

  28. James Pigg

    Here’s what a contrite and repentant Tyler has to say today on his Tyler Hamilton Training site:
    “As an Olympic Champion, US Professional Road Champion, former team leader of several professional squads, and Tour de France stage winner, I have first-hand knowledge of what it takes to perform, both mentally and physiologically. I use the same proven training techniques used in the professional peloton, whether it is a time-honored workout, or the newest cutting edge approach, it’s in my arsenal.”
    He does appear to have stopped soliciting donations for his Tyler is Innocent foundation.

  29. patrick

    The sponsors can put the pressure on the riders if the UCI won’t. It’s time for Trek, Nike and many others to draw the line or cycling fans and riders should consider spending the dollars elsewhere. Money played it’s part in creating this long running scandal, and money withheld by the fanbase can help fix it.

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