Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Agendas here, there, and everywhere

We originally wrote this back in September, but never got around to posting it. With some of the week's interesting speculation, it seems a good time to play...

Who's got an agenda?

Floyd Landis wants to ride his bike, win races, and support his family. At this point, he also wants some vengence.

WADA wants positive drug tests to justify funding, doesn't care about any sports, and wants to appear to be infallible. It seems to have no interest in tracking sanctions, only AAFs.

Mr. Pound wants a legacy in WADA, perhaps as revenge against the guys who finished in front of him at the Olympics. See Avery Brundage and Jim Thorpe.

USADA wants positive tests for funding, doesn't care about sports, and doesn't want scandals that jeapordize funding. It has a need to publicise AAFs, and a requirement to list sanctions. It doesn't seem to be required to publicly track AAFs through suspensions or other resolution. While it professes to be interested in finding truth, it is only giving Landis what it feels obligated to provide, even at the cost of a photocopy.

USA Cycling wants US athletes to do well in competition, and does as little anti-doping as it can get away with. The '84 Olympics loom in the background. It has no reason to publicise AAFs.

The UCI pays for tests because it has to, and is a somewhat reluctant signatory to the WADA code. It wants a sport that is clean enough not to scare away sponsors. It wants everything under the ProTour umbrella, and wants leverage over the holdout grand tours. The UCI gets no gain from announcing AAFs. Problems for the ASO delight the UCI.

The French Ministry for Sport doping office (AFLD) probably wants clean sport. I'm not sure they have any other axe, other than continued government funding; they now own the LNDD, so probably aren't keen to throw it under the bus.

M. Lamour, head of the French Ministry, is about to replace Mr. Pound as the head of WADA, so he would like WADA the institution intact, and probably not too much damage to the things under the ministry -- AFLD/LNDD. He may not have much investment in Mr. Pound's reputation.

M. Bordry, head of the AFLD that now controls LNDD would like to avoid scandal, and be able to continue justifying funding for things like upgrades to LNDD security.

M. DeCeurriz, head of the LNDD, wants his job and his reputation.

The LNDD lives for funding, and funding comes from positives. It is to their advantage to announce AAFs, and to do things internally rather then ship them out to another accredited lab (eg: Laussanne).

The ASO wants control of the Tour without being under the thumb of the UCI; it wants a clean enough event so as not to scare away sponsors and coverage. It would like a determination of the champion before the next year's event starts. It is associated with the lab by nationality and physical proximity.

The IOC would like doping scandals to go away, as they are bad for their image and business. It is not clear it cares that much about cycling. It would like WADA and the labs to retain some credibility before the Peking games.

L'Equipe lives to sell papers, where sensational doping stories work well. As locals, they have probably cultivated relationships in the LNDD and the Ministry, leading to leaks. The ASO owns L'Equipe as well as Le Tour, so there may be some sibling rivalry as well.

Le Monde, which broke the THIRTEEN AAF story also lives to sell papers, but has no ties to anyone else involved. They like raking muck.

Sponsors in general want an absence of scandal, and a smiling champion they can trot out for meet-and-greets in the months before and after a Tour. They also like their teams to perform well.

Fans want races with panache, and an absence of scandal. Pantani is still revered, though most profess to wanting a clean sport.

Riders are hard to generalize. Most probably don't like dopers or want to dope, but some do, and some of those have brought paychecks to their teammates.

The lawyers involved are either ambulance chasing leeches, or defenders of the highest truth, depending on your other predilections.

The arbitrators are all in the WADA pool, and would like further cases. Whether they get more by being perceived as pro-WADA or pro-Athlete is unclear.

To play the game, print this post, and cut the paragraphs into strips. Go to the ATM and withdraw all the cash you can get. Mix the strips with your money and form a loose pile. Take a match and burn it all. Blow the ashes away, and remember how you felt watching Stage 17 to Morzine. Get on your bike and go for a ride, and contemplate what a beautiful sport it can be.


daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...


Well said. Excellent summary of the agendas from every angle.

- Rant a/k/a "el-Ranto" ;-)