Riders Speak Out

A tweet can often substitute news these days but Marcel Kittel’s message is worth sharing for the sake of it, especially because many readers don’t use Twitter.

Better still Kittel is not alone as other riders have stood up to express themselves on the USADA-Armstrong case, a refreshing balance to some of the odd views expressed by some big names. In the spirit of Twitter I’ll keep this post short.

After the USADA verdict on Lance Armstrong there was silence but since then the peloton began to speak up. Some big names have offered surprising views – hola Alberto Contador (“there’s been a total lack of respect for Lance”), hallo Tom Boonen (USADA “only talk nonsense”) – and there are quite a few more, surprising as the likes of Contador rarely say anything controversial. Everyone’s allowed different opinions and its via conversation that thinks will advance. Although when a rider offers louder criticism of USADA than known drugs traffickers it’s leaving us confused.

So it’s welcome to hear riders speaking out against doping. It should be obvious, banal and reflexive but it’s not. Kittel’s tweet is a good example but just one amongst others like André Greipel and Taylor Phinney and plenty more than I can name although not exactly a majority in the peloton.

A Skil-ed communicator

When the USADA judgement landed it took a while for the peloton to find a voice. The sport belongs to everyone but riders are the face of the sport. Many of them just want to enjoy riding and racing without media controversy. But we should welcome those who stand up and speak out otherwise they leaves the airwaves, column inches and web pages to others. Like the rest of us they don’t have a magic solution but it’s good to hear some encouraging voices.

140 character conclusion
A simple message like Kittel’s tweet should be just that. But it feels necessary to print them to offset the more controversial views of others.

166 thoughts on “Riders Speak Out”

  1. what else is el pistalero going to say? his name has been dragged through the mud and there’s probably more to come.

    gotta be a nervous time for a lot of dopers. hmm… wonder why papa schlek is talking about his boys quitting?

  2. Perhaps Contador wants to keep on side with Lance in case Lance decides to spill the beans at some time in the future. His reasoning may be that Lance may not incriminate him if he thinks he stuck by him. That’s my theory, but who knows why Contador would release such a blatantly divisise statement at such a time.

  3. As a Brit (living overseas) it pains me to say that our traditional “foes”, riders from France and Germany, have shown far greater leadership on this subject than others. Bravo Marcel. Bravo Andre. I heard Sammy Dumoulin was also pretty outspoken.

    Going back to Kittel and his fellow teammates, the more I see and hear the riders from the Argos team, the more impressed I am with them. If only they didn’t wear white shorts….

    Sadly, the theme from some very high profile Spanish riders seems to be “it’s not doping if you don’t test positive”. Is this a cultural thing or has the USADA report not being translated accurately or, being cynical here, are people setting up their defences in advance in case the Puerto case blows wider again?

    • All I can say is let’s be careful with national stereotypes even if they might be easy to apply in some cases as it’s not fair on some.

      As for Argos-Shimano, yes they are quietly building a pro team in a modern way with supportive training, encouraging riders to speak for themselves and plenty more. It’s a great case study to watch.

    • You might be forgetting Millar/Cavendish who have both been critical of LA and even Wiggins who Im no real fan of has also been critical. Millar in particular has stuck his head above the trenches by suggesting a change at the UCI needs to take place.

      I would agree with Inrng that its not fair to stereotype although there does seem to be quite a similar message coming from the Spanish camp at the moment…

      • Have people really forgotten that Wiggins was a Lance fanboy? And the statement he now made was just typical PR crap. The real attitude of Wiggins was seen during the Tour when he snapped and started raging when he was asked about doping. That revealed what his real attitude towards doping is and what actually was behind his and Sky’s excellent form. Hint: Employing a certain doctor Geert Leinders from Rabobank’s doping days helps. The old days of doping haven’t gone anywhere. The peloton is still doped.

    • Yes, it’s really been a strange set of responses from Spanish riders. Chechu Ribiera also came out and said he never saw Lance dope or was aware of doping on the team. So either he was not in the inner circle (which I would say is not true since anyone on the TdF team was surely in the inner circle) or he just received a check from Armstrong to comment this way. I’d like to hear from Roberto Heras which is you recall, did ride with Team Dopestrong in the Tour and was also busted after leaving to ride for another team.

  4. I wish some of the riders would speak up against Sky. Brailsford’s quote in the Sky press release about Julich was sickening to me in its cynicism, self-contradiction and false piety:

    “Bobby has shown courage in admitting to the errors he made long before his time with Team Sky. We understand that this is a difficult step for him and we’ve done our best to support him.

    “It’s important to emphasise that there have been no doubts about his work with us or his approach as a coach. He has done a good job and been a good colleague during his two years with us. Bobby has our best wishes for the future.

    “We’ve made clear our commitment to being a clean team and been open about the steps we’re taking. Although it’s never easy to part, we believe this is the right thing to do.”

    Right — so Julich confessed, he’s been clean for 10 years, he’s a great coach, he’s helping your young riders race well and race clean, so you’ve “done your best to support him” by . . . sacking him. If Brailsford had any real strength of character he’d denounce the crap his Sky masters give him to read and quit. He’s allowed himself to be made part of the problem, and he should be ashamed.

    • I wonder where this leaves the two young US riders who just signed up – Boswell and Dumbrowski – both cited Julich as key reasons why they joined Sky. I wonder what Julich is alluding to about why he left in 2006. If he did ride clean in 2004 & 2005, his results are quite remarkable when put into context with those that he beat.

    • I think the support translates into a financial package to say goodbye. They’re not being fired on the spot in disgrace.

      Not that the policy is great, my worry is that this just catches the honest riders.

      • Just wondering how Julich is ‘honest’ when he lied at his job interview. If you’re hired on a team that declares ‘no doping’ to be key and lied to get into the job, where is the lack of fairness in DB’s decision.

        If anything, in the Team Sky point of view, Julich has got 2 years of a great career out of a lie.

        I don’t think the original policy is a great one for Sky, but can you blame them for sticking to their guns? If Julich lied to them about that, what else could he have lied about?

    • And I wish more people would speak up to criticise these kneejerk reactionary Sky-are-the-problem posts that crop up within seconds of any doping discussion.

      Had Julich been on Garmin he may have confessed privately, but we wouldn’t have heard about it for four years. Had he been on almost any other team I doubt there would have been any pressure to confess at all. Sky meanwhile get him to confess, offer him financial support, and yet they’re the bad guys?

      • They are the bad guys with this ill informed, knee jerk policy that discourages honesty and encourages those that have something to hid to stay quiet for fear of getting sacked – despite their obvious good work and value. Haven’t heard from Sean yet… he’ll stay quiet and keep his job! It’s a bad policy if what they’re trying to do is help with the truth and reconciliation that is needed at the moment. It’s not only Sky though, Cycling Australia is equally complicit with its reactions to Whitey and Hodgey. Hopefull OGE keep Whitey on.

        • There has been a huge cycling boom in the UK on the back of the recent velodrome triumphs, TDF and the Olympics. These revelations (or at least to some they are revelations) have come at a bad time when we are trying to encorage kids into the sport. Parents new to the sport will be very reluctant to encourage their kids to participate if they believe the sport is still rife with cheating and doping.

          Sky’s approach may be a ted ham fisted but to condemn them for trying to promote cycling as a clean team sport for youngsters where no part of the management/training team has had anything to do with drugs, is harsh.

          If you want to fire arrows, fire them at the UCI. Sky are merely trying to fill the void of guts and leadership that is required at the top of the sport. Until somone gets a grip at the top, more and more teams will have their own policies and approaches if they are going to attract the young stars of tomorrow.

          • Hah hah….That’s why Sky hired Geert Leinders, Sean Yates, etc. because they where so serious about no-one having a doping background. /s

            People are so gullible. That’s what nationalism does. Sky is no more cleaner than any other team. Whenever someone’s being overpowering, like the US Postal like Sky train or the British cycling team was, alarm clocks should ring and loud. But nationalism makes people deaf and blind. That’s one of the reasons why I despise nationalism besides it being totally irrational.

    • I personally don’t feel that the “Zero Tolerance” policy is a bad one. Imagine for a moment that Mr and Mrs Boswell and Mr and Mrs Dumbrowksi want their boys to join a team where doping isn’t even discussed let alone a part of.

      Is Dave Brailford really going to say “Well – there are a few team members who may have been associated with doping in the past but I trust these guys – so you don’t have to worry” – No. The only sure-fire way to give these parents the trust and absolute confidence of continental cycling is to bring them into a “zero tolerance” team.

      Same with the Rabobank withdrawal – Is Dave Brailsford really going to risk the jobs of all the staff and riders – if Sky are telling him that we absolutely cannot afford to be involved in any scandal (forgetting the irony here for a minute of News Corp). I don’t think so.

      I admit that if someone really wants to dope – then you won’t stop them – zero tolerance or not but at least you can dismantle / or make it very hard for them to have any kind of support network that assists or encourages doping.

      • Sky’s suddenly found zero tolerance policy is just smokes and mirrors. Like Pharmstrong’s cancer foundation.

        Besides if you are going to fire anyone who admits their past/present doping, you will only encourage the omerta. Say nothing and you will keep your job, and only lose that if you get caught. Admit doping and you will lose that job surely and instantly. There’s absolutely no incentive to reveal anything. Quite the contrary, there’s every reason to lie as you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  5. It’s indeed interesting to see that german, french and american riders speak out in a fairly reasonable voice. I reckon you must (and I know it from german media) first go through a major doping scandal and the then following shitstorm to be able to view the whole issue from a different standpoint. And also to become sick of the hypocrisy, as some Pros obviously are.

  6. So funny how this site is so biased against Contador… He is not defending Lance, he is against all the bullshit and hipocresy that is going on these days. Otherwise remove titles to Fausto Coppi or Bjarne Riis. The only cheater here, the only corrupt who bought UCI is Mr. Lance Armstrong, so I think you should better clean your own asses before looking after others as an excuse. The big time dopers here are yankees, and it has been demostrated, so please cut the bullshit if you want to have an independent website. Move on.

    • I’m only relaying what Contador said.

      I know you are trying to be provocative but let’s remember Armstrong has had his verdict but the evidence showed a big network of Yankee Spaniards like Dr Del Moral, Yankee Belgians like Bruyneel and Yankee Italians like Dr Ferrari and a long list of Yankee clients from Italy to Russia, Kazakhstan with money flowing around Yankee states like Switzerland and Monaco.

      • Exactly, they had to come to europe to do their shit. Problem is the referees, called UCI, go after Valverde or Contador, never did it with USPS. It’s actually USADA, the yankees, who are now moving removing the shit… They should have done it before, now it’s pointless. It’s no news to me that LA is a big asshole, but what i say is that UCI was bought by NIKE, TREK, GIRO AND OAKLEY, Not by Fuentes, or Ferrari, or Contador or Valverde, or any other country.

        THEY ALL DOPED, BUT THE ONLY ONE TO BUY THE UCI WERE YANKEES. So either USADA goes against UCI or shut the fuck up.

        • @MaLOL is your real name Alberto Contador? Obviously Lance has taught you well in how to attack truth sayers, although I don’t think he was scanning independent blogs.

          Despite my Yankee bias, I think you are stupid! Maybe Kittel isn’t riding with Contador, because he isn’t eating the same steaks.

        • Perhaps some of the other national cycling federations need to follow USADA’s lead. The reason they are catching the Yanks, is that it is a Yank outfit – that’s the US bit in USADA.

          Riis has already coughed to doping and his Tour victory has been erased. If Pantani were still alive he would have been stripped as it was clear he was on the juice and no doubt Ulrich will come completely clean, then we can start over.

          You can’t compare the doping of the way back when – it was a cottage industry compared to the qwholesale industrial doping that emerged in the early 90’s and beyond. That’s what this really rests upon, that doping was an arms race, it was institutionalised, expected even, and the big names of the time did nothing to stop it. Lance has got his come uppence. and it took USADA to do it.

          Maybe if Valverde et al spoke up like Millar we might have more respect for them. May be the Italian authoirties will demonstrate they have the balls to pursue the doctors and the dopers.

          Contador’s mistake is he thinks we all went to school just to eat our lunch. We know he doped, you know he doped – he just needs to man up, admit it and then we can all move on.

        • Let me get this straight. You are decrying Armstrong, yet defending Contador for defending Armstrong. And he is defending him. The statement is pretty clear.

          Furthermore USPS were the only ones IMPLICATED (since you are fond of capitals) in ‘buying’ the UCI. Anecdotally, there was a certain cyclist popped for clenbuterol where the UCI did not release the results (and allegedly told AC to keep quiet about it) until a german journalist broke the story.

          Are you actually defending Ferrari? Never mind.

          • You are completely right. I´m defending that rules are for everyone, and on time. Too late makes no sense, otherwise tours won’t be 3 weeks anymore, they will be eternal.

            Let’s start an investigation against Indurain… Zulle was doped, rominger was doped, ulrich was doped, virenque was doped… well.

            It’s gonna be another 6 years with no tour winner… wait… perico doped… ok… 14 YEARS WITH NO TOUR WINNER, that’s what you want? seriously? and you call yourself cycling fan?

          • Mercx doped, coppi doped… I wonder if i ever saw a tour with no doped winner before 2005… I think tour organisers should remove all victories…

            This site commenters stink… just like the whole internet.

      • And you are not relying on what contador said, cause i’ve seen the video and contador clearly said first “I´m not trying to defend Armstrong, but…”

        YOU ARE RELYING ON MARCEL KITTEL to show your biased opinion, but you are a coward and you need Kittel to show it. You fucking idiot.

        • MaLoL you are making almost no sense whatsoever, I’ve tried to find some kind of meaning from your comments (taking into account that English is probably not your first language), but it still seems to be just a vague, incoherent and very angry rant and I can’t even make sense of who you’re angry with, well except for Inner Ring.

          Why you’d be angry with this blog’s author is also a complete mystery; this site seems to be one of the most well-reasoned, balanced, fair and intelligent comment blogs I’ve come across on the entire internet, on any subject.

          There really is no need to be so rude.

        • Mr MaLol,
          Ever thought of some anger management training. Sounds like you need it.

          Normally this blog escapes the attention of people like you, with most contributors offering reasoned and polite comments. Please go and find a site more suitable to your incomprehensible rants.

      • Well said. And let not idiots demean the great work you do.

        I think we all know that many of the previous winners could not stand up to modern standards, the Cannibal included. The main point is that Lance gamed the system outrageously for outrageous gain. And in doing so corrupted many others. So his case is different.

        I dislike sanctimony but somehow us fans have to be assured that the systematic cheating is over.

        How do the Japanese keep their Keirin clean?

  7. here’s a stereo-typical observation about C-I-V : they are all dopers and desperately hope this blows over before someone turns over another rock and finds them hiding underneath

    • I find it interesting that Indurain, Contador, Sanchez, Valverde are all singing from essentially the same hymnbook; against witness testimony.
      As a serious question, is this a cultural difference issue? If it is that would be the most satisfactory explanation.
      Conversely, it is a bit coincidental that decrying witness testimony is coming just before the start of the Puerto trials.
      If only they had just DNA tested each and every blood bag in the ‘freezer’, including the one labeled AC. That would remove any doubt. The Fuentes bomb has a second explosion coming. Hopefully it is even handed and does not concentrate on cycling.

  8. @MaLoL, er what? In case you did not read the Contador quote here it is:

    “It appears to me, that in more than a few places, they are not treating Lance with any respect at all; they are humiliating and lynching him, at least from my point of view. They are destroying him. They are speaking about Lance now, but there is not any sort of new proof or anything. They’ve based everything on witnesses that talked in 2005. I respect the decision of every rider, but I would have liked that they did things earlier. We are controlled to the maximum. We have to be available at every moment. The measures that we have now are at the maximum they can be.”

    You are saying that you are OK with that? The reason this “lack of respect” is coming through is that catching Lance was rather difficult. Contador himself would have a lot more respect if he took his logic just a tiny bit further and thought “why didn’t Lance say something in 2005, let alone now when he’s been caught.”

    • Contador is a drug cheat. End of story surely? (That is the charge Lance uses against Hamilton et al, risibly, given his cheating. ) All that he is going to say has to be viewed through this prism. Lance has thrown away any chance of respect through his actions against all who spoke out. Careers destroyed by his actions.

      • I used to like Contador because he dethroned Armstrong. I was disappointed but not surprised when he got popped for clenbuterol. After his statement on the Armstrong matter, I am done with him. Go Tejay, Froome, Cuddles, et al.!

  9. Anon, that thing you mention is big bullshit. And Contador is right; they didn’t want to stop the motherfucking when he was cheating and everyone knew, why do you want to stop him now?

    Cut the fucking hypocresy and your yankee paternalism. There is a machine that can detect EPO after 6 weeks, that machine was rejected by UCI, they chose the one that can detect EPO just after two days.

    Lance is a victim, but they all knew it. The new cheater here is the UCI, those are teh onew to prosecute, not fucking Lance Armstrong, because now they are destroying cycling. Take UCI to prison, otherwise shut the fuck up.

    And stop this extremely stupid hipocresy and paternalism, so yankee it stinks…

    • I think you should seek help. I know Spain is suffering from massive youth unemployment, financial crisis and cheating cyclists, and that might be troublesome for the Spanish teenagers, but your problem is of a mental kind. You’ve got serious problems with anger management and rational/logical thinking. I’m afraid that if nothing is done to your aggressiveness and delusional world view, you might actually get violent and hurt someone. Please do something before it’s too late.

  10. And by the way, who the fuck is this Marcel Kittel? did he removed the two little wheels already?

    Why Cancelara or schlecks or any real rider is as quiet as a bitch? because they are all bitches… So let’s keep on with the prostitution job, or let’s take UCI to prison, but this biased paternalism, as i said, stinks.

  11. @MaLoL I am not sure how many “yankees” are using or reading this blog. I certainly am not a “yankee” and as far as I can tell the blog is based in the UK. I think you are a bit confused about bias.

    This is likely due to most of the media and new information that it available to us English readers is coming from the USA and some recently from the UK. I feel that INRNG tries to present as much other language information (so far Italian, Dutch, Spanish and often French, I have not seen German yet) as possible. Thus the only bias here would be the language bias.

    And agreed, UCI and the pro cycling establishment for I believe this culture of cheating to win spreads far beyond the UCI are the main culprits. But, the cleaning has to start somewhere. I feel that most people are hoping that what’s been happening during the past few months is just a beginning and that the sport will be cleaned up and emerge in a far better shape than it’s ever been.

  12. I don’t care if this blog is based on Afganistan or in Colombia, what i care about is the biased opinion against Contador, you already showed in some posts.

    So let’s take UCI to prison or keep on with the prostitution, but please, let’s try to have equal regulations to all prostitutes, because 218 tests in a ten years career seems like a big joke to me. The cheater here are UCI and all those yankee companies who bought UCI. Let Contador win the races as he has been doing all this years, play fair. Don’t play like assholes as you have been doing all this time.

    • Man. We get it. You love Contador without condition: He can do no wrong. He is innocent, misunderstood, and unfairly judged. He walks on water. He heals the sick. Right, Right…We catch your drift. But your continued ranting about ghastly circumstance now that is not a perfect world and equal treatment for all… Really? Human behavior is always messy. Perhaps step back, recover from the psychotic surges. Take a deep breath, maybe a walk. Perhaps a beer. I’m sure once you finish a pint, you’ll feel much better. 🙂

    • Remember sweetness – inhale calm, exhale conflict

      and if I can offer you one piece of advice it is that you probably need more bran in your diet.

      Make your point by all means, but there’s no need for the aggression and foul language – we can discuss contador withyou, but not if your spilling your Buckfast and shouting obscenities thought the letterbox.

  13. Yes, Bravo to Kittel. It is not that he has just supported the suspension of Lance, but attacked the apparent complicity (or should I say complacency) within the Pro Peloton. If we want to get rid of the scourge of doping, part of it has to be driven from within the Peloton.

    But they are only part of the solution, everyone needs to step up, from owners, managers, event organisers, testing organisations, supporters and of course the UCI. Everyone needs to pull their weight.

  14. Well MaLoL you have certainly covered yourself in glory here.. I don’t know how much of a regular reader of the blog you are but the blog encourages dialogue amongst it readers and is by far the better for it, it’s not a troll magnet like other forums.. I have never intoned any bias from @inrng , I have found he has always presented a balanced and fair viewpoint .. I know he must have because I have disagreed from time to time.. Doping isn’t some magical invention since Postal started .. ONCE anyone?? What surprises a lot of readers and fans is that some of the biggest names in cycling have not even come close to denouncing the Postal affair, not just the Spanish.. I think you need to get some perspective and read a few other of the @inrngs posts I think you will find them balanced and written to encourage discussion not diatribes like you have started.. It benefits no-one.

    • +1. This is probably the best blogsite for procycling on the web, with an outstanding host and some pretty reasonable, thought provoking, contributors. Cycling Tips is another good one and it is annoying when the comments section in these sites deteriorate into angry tirades. MaLoL, if you really want a rant, try joining the Cycling News forum as it might be more your style. I do agree that something needs to be done about the UCI but I’m afraid this problem runs much deeper than just “Yankees” and “Yankee companies” and Contador’s recent history and current views are a potent symbol of how the problem is still with us even now after all of these years.

      • Yes.
        What you both said.

        I just followed Mr. Kittel on the twitter. Never thought much about twitter but boy am I glad I signed up this season. All the good stuff you can’t find on the usual outlets is there. I watch race feeds on the computer when I can and twitter is a good compliment to that for sure.

        Surprisingly a seemingly positive post has generated what must be the most F-bomb usage in the amount of time I have been a reader/participant and arguably the history of this fine blog. Turbulent times in cycling and the big shake up looks more and more the looming reality. Wouldn’t be surprised if ASO plays their hand this winter and the spring looks different. They tested the waters a few years ago. Time will tell.

        What I like about Mr. Kittel’s thoughts though, they are clearly based in Logic!

  15. and Bobby Jullich just confessed and got booted too … this is getting to be a Benny Hill skit …

    ALRIGHT! I CONFESS!! I DOPED TOO … (UCI reaction to follow) …

    can we all go home now and wait for the man at the center of this hurricane, yes Lance, i’m looking at you, to speak up and be the hero he’s been telling us he is? these are all the supporting actors and actresses, not the star of the show. it was NEVER about Floyd, or Tyler, or Levi and the Garmin Gang … and it’s not really about whether or not the Spanish riders back him or not, or what the Germans say …

    it IS about the single biggest doping effort (to date) that cycling (allegedly) had dropped on it and the one man at the center of it all : Big Tex, The Boss, Mellow Johnny and whatever other aliases he goes by …

  16. MaLóL – There’s a place for drunken incoherent ranting about who did and who didn’t dope and crazy conspiracy theories. It’s a forum called the clinic at Cycling News.

    Of all the “non de plume idiots” Inrng is the consistently the most unbiased and sensible and these comments are the best place to have a sensible discussion. Please stop spoiling it.

  17. It is beginning to seem that the likelihood of a rider having doped in the past can be estimated by their comments on this issue. Lance is a victim, Ferrari is the best coach ever = doped for sure. Lance is being persecuted, he never tested positive = probably doped (and still does, if active). Lance doped and you can’t believe in him = is probably clean (and may have admitted to past indiscretions) or = is a dope (see Liggett, Phil). It is disappointing to see Contador and Indurain’s comments.

      It is beginning to seem that the likelihood of a rider having doped in the past can be estimated by their comments on this issue.
      Lance is a victim, Ferrari is the best coach ever = doped for sure.
      Lance is being persecuted, he never tested positive = probably doped (and still does, if active), or = is a dope (see Liggett, Phil).
      Lance doped and you can’t believe in him = is probably clean (and/or may have admitted to past indiscretions).
      It is disappointing to see Contador and Indurain’s comments. I believed the meat thing.

        • Your logic is just absurd. If he was a doper he would be completely silence, which is not the case… he says his opinion, and his opinion is that what is happening is ridiculous, all of a sudden LA is a doper, as we did not know it already… I guess you didn’t. what a surprise…

  18. I applaud Kittel for speaking his mind and hope others of this young generation not only support it but voice theirs as well. You’re all the foundation that will get us through this mess and give us our beautiful sport back.

    Btw – has the 2010 Vuelta al Pais Vasco and 2011 Tour of California gc winner voiced his opinion yet? Time to come clean buddy.

  19. Yes, it seems that when you support Lance, you are a doper. I was sure about Indurain, now I’m sure about Contador and SO disappointed with Sammy Sanchez. We haven’t yet heard from many on the Postal team. I am waiting for Popovich, Ekimov, Pardnos. Humm, other guys from Postal: Boonen, Hoste, Salvadeli, Van den Broeck, we haven’t heard from them. I am REALLY interested in some of the Americans from the team that did not make it on the TdF squad: Tony Cruz, Jason McCartney? AND, what about Chann McRae? He was in the middle of all of this (LanceGate) but now is the DS of Chipotle-Soler. Really nice guy. I’m sure he’s told Jonathan Vaughters his story.

  20. Cycling is an epic sport. Pro cycling is a disgrace of a sport. The UCI is very much like the IOC – insular, nepotistic and self-serving. It seems from the comments we are hearing from the ‘stars’ (and my former heroes – that’s you Big Mig, that’s you Conty) that many of the participants are complicit in this, and have their heads buried in the sand. Pro cycling is dominated by greed at the expense of everything else, much like many other pro sports in these times. While this greed proliferates we will never get to the bottom of the drug issues, as their is no vested interest in the UCI opening it up.

  21. Inner Ring

    Lance’s bullying and hustling is well known. He used to leverage information against other riders for his advantage and there is no reason to believe he is not still doing this. All current riders still have a lot to lose and Lance can influence their future from the sidelines as a team powerbroker and a businessman.

    What really bothers me is the the riders who have confessed or been outed publicly continue to lie. Even the poster child Hamilton proclaims that the current riders are clean. This is ethically dubious. I am all for contrition and forgiveness, but if we are not getting a defensive lie we are getting a half truth nearly everywhere.

    In the industry there will be general consensus that it is no longer tenable to support Lance but that the current peloton is still salvageable. What’s more it is beneficial to talk of a line in the sand when everything changed and people started riding clean. Hamilton must be responding to a new boss, his publisher or others in the cycling industry, when he says he thinks the problem was solved after Lance. It’s wrong, it challenges the morality on which his book is based, and sold.

  22. Boonens comments have been lost in translation.

    What he said in Dutch/Flemish was he never liked Lance and believes he was always full of crap but also believes everyone including USADA acting all “holy” are full of crap.

    He also mentioned that we (the riders) may need 24/7 watchers to gain back creditability.

    • just, curious: how certain are you of Boonen’s comments being mistranslated? Because the “quote” above in the body of the post from Boonen (if correct) is incredibly disappointing.

      • The interview I watched, which I believe is the interview that cyclingnews is quoting was done by sporza at some race track.

        To argue that Tom is in some way an Armstrong/Dope supporter or undermining the facts which have been presented by USADA by extracting a quote “only talk nonsense” is grossly unfair on him because so much more was said in the context of the interview.
        In the interview they asked something like “Has this (USADA report) shocked you?” and he responded “Nothing in the report was new to him and all of this had already been told” and then he went onto say “USADA are exaggerating” which I interpreted as them exaggerating their role in the investigation to make themselves look better because he went onto say “they are acting like the holiest business in the world, they are full of crap”.

  23. While I really like your website, I don’t understand how you manage to bring up Boonen as a doping/Lance fan after what he said in Sportweekend?

    Some things he said in the interview:
    – I’ve never been a big fan of Lance
    – USADA said nothing we didn’t knew already
    – Armstrong should speak out to end this saga
    – It’s logical that Leipheimer got kicked out of the team as he swore that he knew nothing about this Lance story.
    – Verbruggen is part of the whole mess

    I think picking up that one line is totally misrepresenting the idea and the message of that interview.

  24. Don’t worry too about the comments from MaLóL, he tunrs up in all corners of the internet spouting his rude obnxious Contador fanboi spiel.

    Contador is a proven drugs cheat. Proven. Drugs. Cheat.

    I don’t care for his words, views or opinion.

    To slate LA for the recent goings on with UCI / USADA would be somewhat akin to being a pot and calling the kettle black.

    I lost all respect for “El Pistolero” after the chaingate saga when he went on Youbue to preach his innocence. Um Hello ??? The entire viewing public saw him turn round, take note that Schleck had a mechanical, and then kicked his way up the hill.

    No class.

    No panache.

    He will be a forgotten rider in years to come.

    He seems to be UCI goldenboy at the moment which is why they allowed him to race for 18 months pending his ban. Hugely disresectful to clean riders.

    • I’d rather we debate ideas via the comments rather than give personal attacks.

      Different views are fine, like with the riders and when writing the piece above I deleted a paragraph where I said things to the effect that if Samuel Sanchez doesn’t like the idea of a doping case without a positive doping test ideally we’d want to sit down with him and discuss the pros/cons of witness testimony rather than roast him alive over a quote.

      • Yep, you’re right (as usual), I just get a bit wound up when I see the same names making blistering attacks also.

        Does not make me better to stoop to the same level I suppose.

        Quite happy for you to remove my comment above.

        Really enjoy this blog, one of the best around. I just find it annoying when it gets dragged into the murky depths, not helped by me I accept.

      • I’ve always chosen my favorite riders from those that never doped, or at least, hadn’t been caught nor suspected yet. It’s tough these days, because I have to suspect the entire peloton. But Samu has been my favorite for quite a few years now, and I don’t know whether to drop him, or to give him the benefit of the doubt for not understanding the difference between hearsay and direct witness testimony.

        Should Sanchez’s comments here (translated?), http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/samuel-sanchez-criticises-armstrong-ban, be considered a non-analytical positive?


    • I was in the internet for years telling LA was a doper. All the world was against me. USADA probed me right… shame you need such a huge media movement and usada to see reality. I need no media or USADA to know indurain was doped too, I know bout cycling.

      I´m used to people against me on the internet… time puts everyone in its place. Just happened now with LA and my opinion about him. Sorry i didn’t start cycling 5 years ago but 20 years ago…

  25. “Everyone’s allowed different opinions”

    This, I must say, is complete bullshit. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.

    The USADA has explained the evidence it has presented and given arguments to support them. If Boonen wants to have a counterargument he absolutely has to address each one of the arguments USADA has already presented. Why are USADA’s arguments nonsense? Which ones and how, Tom?

    So, go eat your chocolate cake, Tom. You no longer have any respect from me.


    • Thanks for that link – I read another of his blogs and came across this of which I was not aware:

      Virtues, according to Aristotle, are a job lot: you can’t be a generous thief or an honest glutton, because your vices will eventually disrupt and defeat your virtues.

      Seems entirely appropriate at the current time.

  26. LOL at MaLOL … everybody be quiet, lest we wake the sleeping child after he’s worn himself out with that tantrum, or 2 liters of sidra … or more bran in his diet

    Brad McGee’s article nearly had me welling up as the entirity of his situation in 2005 … I nearly had a baby as he jumped off the front on the Champs Elysee, only to be dragged under and drowned by the Kazakh with 500-1000mls extra blood in the tank. So much would have changed for that one man for that one win – on the Champs Elysee ?? The magazine covers, the contracts … the money for his family’s future … the fame. Sigh.

    Maybe a controlled weight check every morning of a grand tour ? That would of course be very much in the riders health interests as they could be protected against dangerous dehydration..
    Ashenden DID say they have no known means of detecting autologous blood doping …
    fluid = known weight

  27. I don’t 100% agree with Team Sky’s black and white approach to doping but I do think that the sanctions for current dopers are too lenient. In my cycling utopia I would give all riders six months to come forward as part of a truth and reconciliation process with bans drastically reduced or waived and from that point forward to ban any rider caught doping from all major races and a lifetime ban from management.

    How can we aspire for a clean peloton when two of the main protagonists at next years TdF are likely to be Valverde and Contador. We can only hope that riders like Phinney & Kittel continue to have the courage to voice their opinions.

  28. It does seem that Spanish riders have a different perspective here. True, Valverde and Contador have been sanctioned/maintained their innocence and have a “doping lineage” but they’ve also both had open public conflicts with LA. Contador sure didn’t seem to care much about how lance felt about him in 2009. I would also add that this whole shit storm seems pretty focused on Tour riders. The classics boys are pretty tight lipped and I think it’s interesting that you never hear about the controls after Flanders or P-R. Does it make sense to believe that only grand tour riders (specifically TdF) doped?

    • My understanding is that a GT rider is more likely to dope/blood transfuse/whatever due to the repeated day-after-day nature of the racing. A one-day racer has, like the name suggests, only to ride for one day, then can rest (ie not race) for a while to recover.

    • makes perfect sense. Rominger already told that to david millar long long ago… 3weeks you needed dope to win, not in classics though… just in case, millar doped to win world championship time trial, hehehehehe…

  29. I didn’t realise Boonen had said that. I feel devastated. I’ve always loved Tornado Tom, but now I’ll have to add him to my “iffy” list.

    • In the actual Dutch version of the interview at Sportweekend Boonen is extremely critical of Armstrong and Verbruggen, and presses Amstrong to confess. He has no doubt about Armstrong being guilty. He is a bit irritated about a new generation being drawn in like at Rabobank, which is pretty much like David Millar’s message. The Cyclingnews piece takes it completely out of context. It’s bizarre to lump him together with Contador’s denial interview.

    • I am not a fan of this idea, in that a lone rider doping on his own could destroy the livelihoods of everyone else on the team. A counter argument to my point could be that the team should not allow such a thing to happen, but to add to all the previous expletives ‘shit happens’. But I agree that further debate around sanctions is required.

    • The problem comes in that it gives a rider the chance to hold a gun to the team’s head. whether it is contract negotiations or payback for being slighted, left off the team etc.

      Teams could be the best defence against doping in that they can prevent the dopers from reaching the start line, however they cannot blood test a rider the morning of and get results back in time. A legal system whereby such cases could be examined would need to be implemented alongside any team sanctions.

      Still, this might be better than where we are at the moment – the lone wolf attitude leaves little incentive for the teams to actively monitor riders aside from the ethical stance some have taken. Cycling is a team sport, so there must be consequences for the team. Don’t mind the idea of race bans. sanctioning the team would work a lot more effectively if the team’s revenues were impacted.

      • “they cannot blood test a rider the morning of and get results back in time” actually, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that teams/coaches/individual athletes are explicitly banned from doing dope tests themselves, and not just in cycling. I very vaguely recall a case a few years ago where a (association) football team got in trouble for it. It makes sense as well as being able to do your own tests would make hiding doping easier. (Also in cycling it would break the no-needles rule).

    • ” …just when things have been so positive following on from the lovely summer of sport at the Olympics and Brad winning the Tour.”

      Olympics is and has for a long time been a doping fest, and Wiggins/Sky winning the Tour US Postal style was anything but positive. It was a flashback from Pharmstrong years, but I guess for British it was as exiting as Lance’s/US Postal’s domination was for Americans. And the Americans believed Lance was clean as a whistle also. Nationalism does that to people.

      Still waiting for Boardman confess his own doping past…

  30. I have been reading a lot these past weeks, both on twitter, blogs and cycling websites, and there are one thing that puzzles me.
    I understand that fans express their opinion about who is dirty/clean or good/bad, that is what fans do.
    What I don’t understand is when major cycling journalist and pundits or for that matter fellow cyclist / staff, do the same. This is people who is close to the peloton and if they know someone is doping or is selling dope or is pressuring some riders to dope, then they should take their knowledge / evidence to the appropriate authorities so a proper case could investigate the evidence. Of cause not to the UCI, but there have to be some ADA’s out there who could do the job, and if not then directly to WADA.
    I can’t see this whole mess is being solved by raising suspicions about people, if you know something then say it.

  31. I just have to say that everyone has their own opinion and is entitled to it and that includes inrng even if he is clearly showing a bias, because everyone else is also. That being said, what exactly is the USADA’s reasoning for going after someone who no longer is in the sport? I’m not saying Lance Armstrong isn’t guilty and didn’t act in a terrible way about all of this, but really what does this do for the sport? As many of the riders have said, they don’t care about this because it is the past and the sport needs to continue moving forward and this case has nothing to do with the future or moving forward (unless Mr. McQuaid steps down). Yes, it seems LA and US Postal/Team Discovery doped and cheated just like 90% of the peloton in those days. But what does this case accomplish really? This case was a waste of American tax payer money and doesn’t change anything. The present and future of cycling has nothing to do with LA and his doping regime. The only reason the USADA went after LA and US Postal/Team Discovery was because they wanted a big name to hang their hats on. I would much rather see the UCI and other agencies put in reforms to continue moving forward to fight doping rather than wasting time and money on going on past and retired dopers.

    Also, the fact that those who cheated but then decided to come forward and admit to it where given reduced bans is a complete joke. These people cheated and doped as well and shouldn’t be given benefits just because they helped you get your big fish that you can hang your career on. That just shows the hypocrisy of the USADA and, in my opinion, raises some serious questions as to their integrity.

    • As this site is so biased I am suprised you take the time to read it.

      As has been said before USADA did not just go for Lance, but others who were/are still heavily involved in cycling. John Bruyneel is the case in point. I for one believe that it is important to tackle even those that have retired, at least to show that if you are currently doping with impunity you may not be so lucky in the future.

      Armstrong ruined the careers and lives of people who revealed his drug cheating and he lied under oath. From your comments it would seem you have no desire to right this wrong.

    • They didn’t just go after Lance, USADA went after five individuals, 3 of which still active in the cycling world and working with, or at least potentially working with, young American cyclists. The USADA case was not about the past, it was about the future.

      USADA were also the first major credible organization to expose the corruption in the UCI. Although courageous reporters have been actively reporting these details, USADA made it official. Then when the UCI tried to deflect as usual, USADA stared them down and made them act. People can no longer look the other way. The reasoned decision called the entire sport on the carpet including the governing body of the sport.

      Lance is not a victim in the case, his actions for so many years were the cause of the case. Had he rode into the sunset, brought bruyneel with him and allowed the sport to change, maybe these actions would not have been necessary.

      As for the individuals that gave statements, I don’t believe all were based on altruistic reasons, (some were: Hincapie, Vande Velde, Zabriskie, they had nothing to gain and everything to lose), but their testimonies were not just against Lance, they were about the systematic doping that pervades the entire peloton. They exposed secrets to the authorities charged with rooting out doping, so they are acting on a more level playing field.

      And the charge of wasting tax payers money is ridiculous. The role of government is to protect it’s citizens against forces larger than individual citizen can confront on their own. (i.e. young cyclist against the corrupt cycle of doping that Lance and co. turned into a systematic program) USADA is also non-partisan. It was originally Bush that had Tom Brady stand up at his State of the Union Address and promised to root out drugs in sport.

    • To be fair, it’s only the “recent past”.

      This dates back to 2010, it’s not exactly ancient history. And besides, we have to remember that Armstrong for years has been held up as the poster boy for cycling, what with his (extremly brave, one has to concede) recovery from cancer and his exceptional number of wins in the tour. He (and the UCI) have mutually benefitted (and so has his charity, which is at least something) from the very high profile that he has gained due to cycling and even more so from the Tour.

      Those saying that Armstrong is being made a scape goat, I believe, are slightly off target. He’s been made an “example of” would be nearer the truth. Personally, I believe, rightly so.

      If you allow yourself to be set up on a pedestal you take the risk that you are going to be knocked off.

      True, his doping is no better or worse than others but I defy anyone to say he hasnt gained more from it than others.

      • Agree with all your points, except that he was brave. I’d suggest he was driven, sociopathic, and manipulative. His treatment of Besty Andreu and his female ex masseur was not brave. He survived cancer, that is all.

        A kid in hospital with cancer who smiles and laughs is brave. Not Lance Armstrong.

        A rider who gives it a shot, races against these cheats, then chooses not to cheat is brave. Not LA.

        He is in fact a weak bully and a con man. The fact that he is hiding away now shows it even more. Even if he stood up and faced the music, he wouldn’t be brave.

        • Well said. The fact that LA still won’t come forward and take responsibility tells what a sad pathetic low life he is. Indeed just a greedy, power hungry sociopath with no moral backbone at all. I feel sorry for his children. A person like that shouldn’t be allowed have children at all.

  32. There is a substantial literature on the economics of regulation under various levels of and needs for monitoring and enforcement. In situations where adequate mon/enf is too costly, impractical or otherwise not possible, one governance approach is to stipulate the regulations but allow or require the formation of decentralized cooperatives to manage the monitoring/enforcement. Inside the cooperatives, the members specify the ‘internal’ monitoring arrangements and are then legally bound to one another (joint and several liability) in cases where sanctions are necessary. The premise is that where higher-level institutions can’t adequately monitor the rules, the peer pressure from smaller groups bound together through common interest and common penalty will incentivize better compliance. This sort of thing is typically an approach to the commons problem, but the analogies to cycling are easy.

    Substitute “teams” for “cooperatives”. If an entire team is liable for the transgressions of one of it’s members, that will change not only individual behaviors at the rider level, but also hiring practices and potentially the relationship between sponsors and doping.

    On this last point, JV remarked lately that rich-owner teams are potentially more likely to have problems than sponsor-funded teams due to accountability. Accountability to a complicit owner is no accountability at all. I think I agree, but I’m not sure there’s a regulatory solution to the rich-owner problem,…maybe someone can think about this for me.

    Even in the absence of action by the UCI, if the ASO were to suspend for one year from all events teams with riders who were on the suspect biopass list or with confirmed positives, I suspect it would change a lot. I’m not sure, but I think on balance the changes you’d see would be for the better. At least it would be a signal that those who govern the sport really are serious about having clean competition.

    • A further alternative regarding accountability between “rich owner” and “sponsor-funded” is “national federation backed team”, as Brad McGee mentions in the article linked to above, eg Oraca, Sky. The chance that the Aussie or Brit Federation would encourage doping (which a “rich owner” may be tempted to do) seems remote.
      (I realise this arguement falls down a bit with Astana, but hopefully you take my point)

      • Maybe not encouraging, but turning a blind eye would have the same result.

        Michael Rogers the Aussie on Team Sky was named in Levi Leipheimer’s deposition as being one of the men in black, and later admitted using Dr Ferrari, for just his training advice. He denies using drugs.

        Last I heard, he’s still riding for Sky and they’ve taken him at his word.

  33. I don’t take rider’s support of due process as a priori admissions of guilt. These guys are constantly being accused of wrongdoing, rightly or wrongly, every day, for years, and must be beyond defensive of their’s and their colleague’s reputations by now such that they demand hard evidence play out before stringing up anyone – anyone. They have great respect for each other and the life’s work it’s taken to even be in the discussion, one worthy of being crucified by “fans”. Our faith in the riders and organizations have never been more seriously challenged. Though the personal vitriol and ravenous appettite to blame and persecute should be tempered a touch. The sport is changing.

  34. Well, we may not like what Contador and others are saying. I definitely don’t. But what they are saying very much represents their world of cycling and the world of cycling led by the UCI, Verbruggen and McQuaid: No positive, no problem is probably what they have been taught since they were juniors. The good thing about their comments is that we know were they are, we know their position and we know what has to change.

    We should be much more worried and concerned about people who are telling us exactly what we like to hear just to make us happy and to make us look somewhere else while they can just carry on like before. That happened i 98, again in 06 and right now someone is trying again. Of course it is much more difficult to identify these people who have already adapted to the new situation – and to handle them – but we need to focus on that, we have to keep asking questions and to be more careful about creating new heroes.

  35. Anon addresses this indirectly in his language-bias comment above, but I find myself asking in the case of these “expert” opinions (Contador, Indurain, Sanchez, et al.) whether the relevant non-native English speaker has read or even perused (seen?) USADA’s reasoned decision, including the appendices and supporting materials. Somehow I doubt it, in which case it’s not really a reaction to the USADA report that we’re getting, but rather (maybe?) just a reaction to the news of more Lance doping accusations. IMO, the journalists doing these interviews and writing the stories do us a disservice in failing to address and report just how informed the supposed expert’s view is. After all, these champions are being interviewed as authorities in the world of professional cycling, though their views in this case could be nearly baseless.

    In Kittel’s case, bravo! One look at his twitter site shows that his English skills are top-notch, and I bet he, too, found the rider affidavits pretty compelling reading. And as to who he is, even among the only-modestly informed, his record of 30 wins in the last two seasons kinda speaks for itself, no?

  36. Honestly, I think the Spanish perspective here is just different. They seem to feel that if you don’t get caught when it counts, it’s too late. I’m sure Indourain doesn’t want people poking around in his closet either, to be sure! I also think that Contador’s comments with respect to Lance are telling in that he thinks Armstrong’s performances are still noteworthy. He did win the race 7 times in a row and even if he was doped, there’s a lot more to winning the Tour than showing up with the best medication. I think there’s room for more than one perspective on this issue>

    • no. what these guys are saying is this?

      -rules are for everyone. That means, rules should be the same for LA and for Biarje riis.
      -Fauto coppi should be banned otherwise, and also rominger, and so so many others. therefore, much better to be probed guilty or otherwise, let them run.

      -8 years!!!! that’s the rule!!!! no changes after 8 years, no matter what. What happened to this rule???

      -Contador was tested postivie, for fuc**g clembuterol, due to a rule… Seems like rules are not for everybody, right?

  37. I’ll keep banging on until this fine blog or someone else lists the management who are ex dopers, or “unfortunate” in that they seem to keep managing team after team that has dopers…

    By my count there are 45 DS’, team owners, doctors, etc. on the 18 Pro teams.

    How come we are expecting the riders to be clean, and keep thinking of more stringent checks, when the guys managing them are a major part of the problem? Heck, even BMC’s Jim Ochawicz supposedly has a kid whose Godfather is none other than LA himself. You’d almost need to be a convicted serial killer before anything is done.

    I’m not calling for these guys to be sacked, just if people are looking for solutions they could include the management as well.

    • +1
      It seems an operative question is who in cycle sport management is NOT a former user of banned substances? Goodness. Aldag, Zabel, Stephens, and those 40 some others. Could professional cycling teams operate effectively if the 45 usual suspects were shown the door? Figuratively, cleaning house.

  38. This I think was also the nature of the USADA case saying doping was endemic and systemised and therefore must be team directed. In which case those “directors” should now be firmly in the firing line. Can’t have one rule for riders and another for team management. It isn’t credible.

  39. Contadoper is just afraid Pharmstrong will rat him out. They were on the same program in 2009 after all when riding under Bruyneel. Everyone surely remembers how Clentador flew up the Verbier that year.

    I really hope that Lance either finds his backbone or just decides to be plain old vindictive Lance, and spills out everything he knows. Exposing all the disgusting rot, like UCI, Fat Pat, Hein and Contadoper. That would give a chance to a real change. Now I’m afraid that things will just be brushed under the carpet and everything will stay the same. It will be just like after Festina and nothing will really change. The culture of doping and corruption will continue.

    • Do you really think that bruyneel would give same doping to two riders? seriously?

      do you think he would give Contador the same advantage than to Lance, if he didn’t even give him a proper wheels for timetrial?

      I think people here say they know about cycling, but the reality is that you have no clue about facts… you look like soccer fans… you look like normal people, like 95% percent of the population. As woody Allen said in Annie Hall: “You should be happy and thank god to be a miserable person”

  40. Every now and then I’ve enjoyed reading The Inner Ring and regretted every time I read the comments.

    Because they are all opinions presented as facts with a same percentage even coming close to reality. Gotta love spectators, easy to criticize from the side lines.

    I’ve sat down with both Alberto and Lance, both are actually nice guys (as a most people, when you get to know them), neither are perfect. Interesting how so many talk like experts on a sport or call out people that you’ve never sat in the same room with.

    Lance has not being shown much respect, but that’s why I’ll stop reading these blogs like most former and current pros.

  41. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmvqIT-Xlug

    enjoy cycling, enjoy dopers.

    Marcel Kittel is gonna suffer a lot at the very back of the peloton next year. What an idiot.

    By the way, Chechu Rubiera also positioned himself in favour of LA, just in case you didn’t see it yet. Big balls, defending the indefendible. Fuck of Kittel, with your team of pussy clean riders, sponsored by shimano… what a shame. Go to mountain bike or ciclocross sweetheart.

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