Read the revelations from Hans-Michael Holczer and it seems clear that both the UCI and Holczer believed Levi Leipheimer was doping. Sadly “Ex-US Postal rider caught in doping scandal” is barely a headline these days. So what follows is more about the UCI and the stance taken by a manager.
Let’s note the UCI even went as far as advising “him to try and find another reason to remove Leipheimer from the race” says cyclingnews.com. Only Holczer said nein and let Levi ride.
Why the leniency? Because the Gerolsteiner had already been rocked by the doping case of Danilo Hondo and a second scandal would allow the sponsor to exit. Faced with a choice between rejecting doping or a sackful of Euros, Holczer went for the latter. Now that’s understandable. Humans respond to incentives and many prefer the quiet life, especially if it’s well paid. Plus if Leipheimer was rousted, a lot of innocent riders would have to pay for his suspicious off-score. It wasn’t an easy decision. But hasn’t the sport made too many easy choices, been too tolerant and too silent explains a lot of the mess the sport is in today.
But what I want to know is what did the UCI do? Did they tell Leipheimer to go easy? I fear not since within a month of finishing the Tour de France against the UCI’s wishes, the American won a mountainous edition of the Tour of Germany. Similarly, Leipheimer saw out another year with the German squad and scored highly in big races, notably winning the Dauphiné Libéré.
Holczer’s now returning to his former job as a maths teacher. Perhaps it’s for the better since he claimed to be a proponent of clean cycling… yet it seems he helped to cover up a big story and only informs the world once he’s left the bubble of pro cycling and has a book to sell.