Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

The CyclingNews' first update of the day finds more detail on the European Cycling Union's rebuffing of the ASO and its plans for Paris-Nice this year. But, they also want to UCI to rethink its stand on the pro tour schedule. Meanwhile Pat McQuaid, fleshes out his call for sanctions against teams who participate in the "outlaw" Paris-Nice event this year. McQuaid sees very dark days ahead for cycling if the ASO persists in its threatened actions. In other UCI news Frank Vandenbrouke is taking the cycling body to court for "sanctioning" his team if they select him:

"This is pure insanity," Paul De Geyter, Vandenbroucke's manager told Belgian newspaper HLN. "There are no other words to describe it [the decision of the UCI]. Frank has been punished for offences that occurred in 2000 the night before Omloop Het Volk. A punishment he has already served. Furthermore, they are accusing him of racing in Italy under another name. They have never questioned us over that at all and have taken all their information from the media. They also accuse him of being good friends with Bernard Sainz. Are they going to determine who a rider can talk to now?"

The VeloNews posts the Mailbag column, and you can guess what the major topic of discussion is.

ESPN reports that the IAAF has requested the CAS double Justin Gatlin's four year ban for PED use. Gatlin himself has appealed the initial ban to the CAS, with a hearing expected sometime in May.

ESPN also says that major European track and field meets will not invite anyone who has ever served any sanction for doping, even if individuals have served their suspensions. This may be a trend for the future in all sports and is being used as a further deterrent against doping. So much for "paying your debt" to sporting society.

Racejunkie goes to the heart of the matter with a youtube "special" throwdown "featuring" Pat McQuaid and Christian Prudhomme, or someone. As RJ says at least the ASO admits to being angered over past egg on its face, what's the UCI's excuse?

KTLA Morning News Blog asks all kinds of questions about what is natural, what is medical, and what is PED, and wonders how we can tell the difference, and what can and ought to be allowed. No answers. Landis and testosterone are mentioned as an example -- syn T is a legitamate medical supplement, so why is it banned?

Our tax dollars would be better spent going to the FDA than to televising congressional witch hunts of professional sports figures and their cronies - who turn a doping investigation into a circus of lies and back-stabbing; for which they will forever be remembered.

But the FDA regulation doesn't present nearly as much Theater as congressional hearings, and the public wants entertainment. Or, as was said about the apparent steroid use in baseball, "fans want their dingers". Perhaps Clemens' greatest sin was being a pitcher, and not a hitter.

Cycling4Charity promises pictures, one of Floyd Landis, from the recently completed ToC.

Eat Sleep MTB compares a recent workout to one of Landis' pre-tour as passed by Allen Lim, and concludes that he sucks. TBV compares his to ESMTB, and concludes he is glad he is has a day job.

Team Armada has another picture of Landis on the recumbent at Vision Quest Camp. It looks like he's banging away on his iPhone, using the trike as a convenient seat.


Gary O'Brien said...

Good thing someone's looking out for the best interest of the riders. You know, um . . . the one organization who speaks out and promotes a clean, safe, healthy sport, fair treatment, clear, consistent doping rules and sanctions that aren't subject to the whims of one national organization over another, the whims of governing bodies or race organizers trying to make an arbitrary point . . . you know. The, uh. . . Hmmmm.

I'm no Vandenbrouke fan, but how many times does one have to be punished for the same crime? It's one thing if the guy can't get hired, but according to the rules he's eligible to race any event, correct?

jrdbutcher said...

Agreed on VdB.

This is a rampig up of the black listing. The early stages include suggestions not to hire racers that were sanctioned, unless they plead/renounce/admit like Millar. If they are hired, they won't race. An investigation will be re-opened and they will effectively be suspended indefinately. Witht the short shelf life of a pro's career, the problem is solved in the opinion of certain sanctioning bodies and promoters.

Regardless of what CAS does later this month, Floyd faces the same sort of battle if he decides to persue returning to whatever is left of top level pro road cycling.

At this point, he's getting very close to serving a 2 year ban. That's also a message. Patty McQuaid told him to save his money. I'm grateful to Floyd for going out on a limb, defending himself, and doing more to show the system for what it is than anyone else. I feel badly that he had to pay such a heavy price to reveal a system that is much more corrupt than doping with T ever could be, even if he did it, which I don't think he did, and the evidence doesn't support.


MMan said...

Since the anti-dopers' activities have been likened to a "witch-hunt", I was reminded of them hearing the Texas Celtic band Clandestine this weekend do a Steeleye Span cover:

One night as you sleep in your goose feather bed
We will be kneeling at your bedside
We'll pray for your soul like the good Lord said
Let all be forgiven let none be denied

Then one night as you sleep in your goose feather bed
We will be standing at your bedside
Your bones will be broken and your blood will be shed
Your eyes will be taken and your hands will be tied

Then we'll take you to the forest
Where none will hear your cry
And we'll cut down the Sycamore and Broom
And it's there we will forgive you
And it's there we'll watch you die
Like a dancing silhouette against the moon

And you will burn, you will burn
We will purify your soul in the fire, in the fire
And your spirit will live forever
It will rise, it will rise
From the ashes and the embers in your eyes, in your eyes
And your spirit will live forever

Praise the Lord
Another soul is saved
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord

Ali said...

"...The early stages include suggestions not to hire racers that were sanctioned, unless they plead/renounce/admit like Millar."

Yep, I guess it's just tough luck if you're a false positive. That's a lifetime ban.

Or even worse, innocent athletes confessing to taking PEDs when they didn't, just so they can salvage their careers. Now, that's a perverse system.

Wouldn't this new ruthless approach to doping control require some sort of reevaluation of the testing methods used. I suppose an innocent person can recover from two years out. Nobody recovers from a lifetime ban. Better get those tests right, boys (and girls)

beeble said...


I see your point about the Mccarthy-esque blacklisting but, unreliable testing aside for the moment, I don't think you can deny that being prohibited from competing (and not making any money) might scare the hell out of some athletes just enough to not cheat.

I said some not all...

jrdbutcher said...

Zack Lund – Propecia, Alain Baxter – U.S. version of a UK legal over the counter cold product. Finasteride (Propecia) has now been removed from the prohibited list. The stimulant Baxter inadvertently ingested is probably more of a hindrance than a help in WC level slalom. Yet, these guys received the full weight of WADA with a maximum sanction. They didn’t dope, in any meaningful sense, and their sanctions offered no deterrent value to them or any other athlete. They did help demonstrate a few glaring weaknesses of the system.

I won’t bother rehashing cycling’s faux pas’s.

Screwing up the athletic careers of top level competitors through piss poor rules application, lack of due process, railroading, black listing, un-peer reviewed science, acceptance of breaks in chain of custody of important samples, WADA good neighbor policy, stacking the arbitrator pool, and holding kangaroo courts w/o the actual marsupials present, doesn’t have much of a deterrent effect either. It usually scares the hell out of people and is kind of a turn-on for a few “special” others, sort of like playing Russian roulette would be.

The end is so far fro justifying the means here. I can’t bring myself to give a rat’s rear end about theories of deterrence. FWIW.

wschart said...

At present, a convicted rider gets a minimum 2 year suspension, plus now there is also an additional 2 year prohibition against signing with a pro tour team. Depending on what stage a rider's career is at, a 2 year ban could effectively be a career ender. Some riders manage to come back, like Millar. Some might have been able to, but decide it isn't worth it. Even if you train faithfully during your suspension, it just isn't the same as being in actual competition.

Yet despite all this, riders still dope. Do you really think that life bans will have much effect?

jrdbutcher said...


Lund did not get the max. He got 1 yr and lost results, including Olympic games results - the ones that mattered most to him.

Baxter got 3 mo and lost his Olympic medal. The result that mattered most to him.

Demonstrates absolute liability being attached to an athlete and virtually no liability being attached to officials.

Stupid, stupid sanctions. Stupid, stupid system.

jrdbutcher said...

The riders, teams, UCI, and ASO are closing in on the point of no return:

For all practical purposes, the riders have already passed it and are now just along for the bumpy ride. Their collective chance was to organize/unionize, present a united front, and refuse to ride until reasonable work conditions were met. Unfortunately, their interests were too divided and they were too willing to take the scraps offered them. They continue to have little control over their own destiny.

The teams now find themselves on the hot seat. Those with TdF aspirations are loath to offend ASO by not riding Paris-Nice. Those with aspirations in non-big three tour related races will be loath to ride and face sanction by UCI. Track riders, on road teams, will not likely line up for Paris-Nice. Unlike a good many road riders, track riders generally value participation in Olympic events. Patty McQuaid has served a suspension for riding a non-sanctioned race in South Africa during apartheid and will have no problem suspending riders who cross the line now. But, the teams are answerable to their sponsors and sponsors want their riders to race. No racing, no sponsors. What’s a team director to do? These are the fruits of sitting on the fence too long.

UCI and ASO have taken hostages, they have guns, and they’ve taken aim. We need Clint Eastwood at a time like this. “Are you feeling lucky, punk?!?”

I’m guessing ASO is feeling luckier than UCI. They’re still punks. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.