Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday Roundup

Sportingo posts an op-ed piece which wonders if any sports heroes are truly "clean" and uses Floyd Landis and Justin Gatlin, as examples of those who are not. Even the ones who have been thought of as not doping could be, and an unwritten code among competitors may be at work:

1) If you take banned substances in certain sports, you are accepted by other athletes because the majority are doing the same.

2) Don’t get caught. If you do, you are on your own. Other athletes will not pass comment on your positive test, but if pushed will condemn you as a cheat to protect their good name and that of their sport.

To which we'll add our own:

3. If you are in the non-doping portion, and are accused, you will be thrown under the bus anyway.

The VeloNews reports that WADA will participate in a "doping summit" in Paris October 22-23 which was organized by the French Sports minister Roselyne Bachelot and will include the UCI among other agencies:

"WADA is willing to further assist cycling and all other sports in finding solutions to the doping issue," said WADA president Richard Pound in a statement.

The CyclingNews continues to write about the war of words between the UCI, which reiterated its' stance Monday that Alejandro Valverde will NOT participate in the World Championships, and the RFEC who , along with Valverdes' own legal representation, promises to take the UCI to either civil court or to the CAS in the dispute. Valverde continues to insist that he will go to the Worlds, and will wait until the end of this week to take legal action against the UCI.

CyclingNews letters
on Friday contained this backpedaling by Jacob Motola:

There have been few times in my life where I have found it necessary to admit that I may have made a mistake and to apologize publicly for something I have said or done. This is one of those times.

Greg LeMond is a gentleman and someone who has a love and passion for cycling equal to any of us who have straddled a bike. His passion for cycling is only eclipsed by his integrity willingness to stand up for what he believes in. He loves this sport and is willing put himself out there, he was willing to defend his position and educate rather than attack. I have nothing but respect for someone who is willing to do so.

I feel I have every right to be angry about what is going on in our sport. I have no right to question Mr. LeMond's motivation and less his integrity. I believe in Mr LeMond and wish him nothing but the best.

This sounds like a response to phone call from Mr. LeMond or his Attorney, in response to an earlier mail we quoted where Mr. Motola rhetorically asked, "What did you get for your soul, Greg?" An emailer fairly pointed out we should carry the followup, which we'd missed.

Rant writes about the accountability of athletes who face bans and the loss of their reputations when accused of doping as opposed to the agencies who render the accusations and seem to have no accountability if they are found in error. Alejandro Valverde may be taking the UCI to court over their actions against him, this may be his only recourse:

When those who make the rules feel that they don’t need to follow their own rules, the system loses credibility. When labs are found to be lax in their processes, procedures or even the training of their personnel and nothing is done about it, the system loses credibility. When athletes are held to a standard of fair play, and the anti-doping system isn’t, the system loses even more credibility.

Champions of Scalleycat contend that the real "Landis Trial" will be held on September 22 at 5PM in Reno in an alley behind Bike Brothers. Bring your skinsuits. Sounds fishy, but we'll bite.

Ruminations on Life and Cycling
is a little bummed about his almost-great picture of Four Floyds.

Bikes And Beer shows that Landis did attend a post SM100 gathering in a dimly lit place that was serving -- and that he has an iPhone.


wschart said...

re the "omerta" alledged to exist in pro cycling: there may be a good reason why such exists. While riders may have suspicions about other riders, unless they actually witnessed drug use, or a rider in question actually admitted drug use, all they have are suspicions. In a highly competitive situation like the peleton, if you make allegations against another rider without a firm basis, you open yourself up to allegations in return.

How many riders in 1996 actually knew that Riis was juiced? I don't know, but I'd bet that it was actually very few, if any. Some may have suspected; I can't say at this time that his performance was so remarkable in context of his previous efforts as to attract attention, but unless one actually had seen him shotting up (or whatever method was used), what good would have done to "speak up"? It might look simply like sour grapes

Scott said...

It's bad enough that you have to quote every Floyd-supporting and Lemond-hating letter published on Cyclingnews (which are frequently written by the same person). Can you please spare us the speculation of whether this dude is retracting because of legal threats? Maybe he just realizes he is wrong, as you surely will someday.

Scott said...


Although it's surely true that riders don't want to make unsubstaniated allegations, I don't think that's the reason people fail to speak. Much more likely (and well documented) is the fact that riders who speak out are shamed, abused, and no longer employed in cycling. Look at Simeoni and Manzano for examples. And even they refused to actually talk about fellow riders.

It's generally accepted that the Top 10 the year Riis won was all juiced--there has been no serious talk of an ersatz winner. Indeed, what speaks loudest for the existence of omerta is the utter lack of people talking about doping, despite its apparent ubiquity according to memoirs and cycling histories.

jrdbutcher said...

Poor Jacob Motola. Why the about face on LeMond? IMO, LeMond has acted in a way contrary to how most would expect a gentleman to act as it concerns his speculation on the current generation of professional riders. LeMond was a great rider. He may or may not have ridden clean during his competition years. There is no proof that I’m aware of, either way. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Lemond for riding clean.

Why is the champion rider less generous? If he knows what he claims to know, for a fact, then bring on the proof and when Mr. LeMond finds himself at a hearing, answer the legitimate questions (no legal basis not to, but he refused anyway) on cross