Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Roundup

The CyclingNews further reports on the schoolyard brawl between the UCI and WADA. It's an eye for an eye now as WADA has withdrawn its support from the UCI's bio passport program, ostensibly in retaliation for the UCI lawsuit against former WADA head Dick Pound. Pat McQuaid expressed his shock at the action as "we haven't done anything against WADA...this is against Dick Pond":

McQuaid also stated that the organization would continue its best efforts to implement the biological passport program, even if WADA withdraws its support. "From our point of view, we are still committed to the biological passport," said McQuaid. "This is a knee-jerk reaction from WADA and I hope that in the coming days with some consideration they might take a slightly different view.

In other news Andreas Kloden responds with anger at the insinuations that he was involved in the systematic doping within T-Mobile in 2006, and with the ASO looking for minority ownership of the Vuelta the director of the race has "warned" Astana that they had better not do anything "stupid". It's nearly impossible to operationally define "stupid" in cycling these days.

The Boulder Report's Joe Lindsey writes an apt open letter to Dick Pound, Pat McQuaid, and Hein Verbruggen. Here's hoping someone clues them in and they take the time to read it.

Bike Radar breaks the news that Valentino Fois, a domestique for Pantani, has died of unknown causes at age 35. As common with many unmarried Italian men, he was living at the parental home, and was discovered by his mother. Fois was recovering from substance abuse problems, and had served a doping suspension. The BR report contains this section, which has be reprinted some places with everything after "habit" removed, in an example of the very premature and opportunistic exploitation it warns against:
Fois had spoken in recent months about how doping had acted as a conduit to what later became a full-blown drug and alcohol habit, but it would both premature and opportunistic to use attribute his demise to the wider problems of his sport. Fois was always known in the peloton as a fragile and deeply impressionable individual.


It is more than likely that Fois, like Pantani, was killed by depression. Cocaine might have been il Pirata's ultimate poison, but his life was gradually squeezed out over several years, not obliterated by a few grams of powder. For years Fois had been suffering in the same way. In recent months he'd found some relief in books on Buddhism. He'd undergone successful treatment in a clinc for addiction and mental health problems. But it may all have been too little. The man who hoped that cycling might prove Fois's life raft, Amore e VIta boss Ivano Fanini, told me last month that, while making excellent progress, Fois was still clearly grappling with old demons.

It bears repeating: whatever that autopsy tells us, Fois's death should be seen as nothing more than the tragedy of a young man who'd spent years at odds with himself and his world. He never gave up, but sadly, this morning, after 34 and a half years, life gave up on Valentino Fois.

Living Vicariously may have made a bunch of people on his flight sick with the flu he'd caught, but at least in between visits to the bathroom he got to read "Positively False" and found Floyd Landis' arguments about incompetency at WADA compelling.

The Service Course takes the cycling media to task for labeling certain teams and riders as "clean" and uses part of Floyd Landis' interview with VeloNews to make his point:

“From my point of view, the problem that is taking cycling backwards and not forwards is that it’s becoming polarized. You have teams like Team High Horse, or whatever they’re called these days, and Jonathan Vaughters’ team, and they are saying we don’t care about winning, we just want to be clean and so it’s okay with us to get whatever place we get because we’re not doping. You know what? That’s one of the most offensive things you could ever say. That immediately accuses everyone who finishes ahead you of doping. That’s hypocrisy. That’s asinine. They have to stop saying that. It’s all fine and good that they are against doping, but for them to say we’re not interested in winning, we’re just interested in being clean is an accusation of anyone that is better than them.”

We'd be happy if everytime a writer said Joe Blow was a "clean" rider, it was qualified correctly: Joe Blow, a professed "clean" rider, we might be closer to the degree of skepticism that would be realistic.


bobble said...

Nice parting cheap shot from Vuelta director Victor Cordero:

"I want to emphasize one thing, the only problem with the absence of Astana is Alberto Contador, who deserves all the respect because he will be the future of the cycling world"

Great to see this yahoo falling in line already now that ASO bought a minority piece of Unipublic.

I'm sure the rest of the guys on the team are happy to know the director thinks they're a bunch of chumps.