I’m going to take a quick look at Anthony Tan’s interview with Jonathan Vaughters. “JV” is now running Garmin-Cervélo, a squad that has gone from a small curiosity into one of the biggest outfits in the sport.
|Postcard from the past
The team is known for its firm anti-doping stance, one of the few squads that puts it head above the parapet and shouts about doing it clean. Some squads have similar values but tend to keep quieter, preferring not to get tangled in the sticky web of ethics. It’s a tricky line, especially since Vaughters rode with the infamous US Postal squad and is linked to rumours of doping. JV has never admitted to using banned substances and methods but has dropped hints that are very clear. Here’s the latest one, as he recounts his win in the Dauphiné’s mountain time trial up Mont Ventoux in a stunning time:
Well, for sure, it was the best form of my life as a bike rider, but I wasn’t… I was just sort of… I will leave it at this; I wasn’t overly pleased with that victory. It was interesting to me. It answered a lot of questions. But it wasn’t the most ecstatic moment of my life by any means.
Perhaps I have a tendency to search for hidden meanings but the lack of joy suggests Vaughters wasn’t pleased at the methods used to win this race. It seems obvious to me what he is saying, namely that the result wasn’t just down to his legs and lungs but the team doctor as well.
Open and Transparent?
Which leads to the ethical dilemma. If he is ready to leave whopper-sized clues about his past, why is he not willing to actually state what happened? Isn’t he supposed to be Mr Clean?
|Time changes many things
For me I think he’s taking the right path. It might not satisfy some – and if he did cheat, perhaps he should be sanctioned – but realistically almost everyone in that period was using banned methods. In the ethics of all this if we assume many were up to no good, a test is whether people have moved on from that period. By running a clean team, Vaughters is buying redemption in bulk. He’s probably a decade in advance of many other team managers.