I finally get the Vaughters damage control plan. He is going to methodically, pre-release information, before it is dropped like a bomb from a B-52, hoping to help negate the bad press and astonishment from the eventual fallout of the Lance deal.
And I hate it. He can make up all the schemes and reasons for what he does as the team director for Garmin, but it is all smoke and mirrors for self preservation of himself and his riders. Here’s a link from an article from Cyclingnews.com that goes over some “beliefs” Jonathan has on doping in the sport. In this article, through Cyclingnews forums, he outs Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde and Dave Zabriskie. We’ll all heard the CVV and Dave Z. names, but Tommy D. is new to the scene. He goes on to explain why he hired Tom Danielson and not Jörg Jaksche.
This is a quote from Cyclingnew.com, which quotes Vaughters- “So, Tommy D… Here’s a guy that has used o2 vector doping, and with some success [Oxygen vector doping refers to increasing oxygen delivery to the muscles via increased hemoglobin, ed.]. But when you test him, without o2 vector doping, you quickly see this guy has massive aerobic ability. O2 transport isn’t the limiting factor with his body/mind. However, he is not a mentally strong athlete. He succumbs to nerves and pressure very easily.
“So, in looking at his physiology and psychology, the rate limiting factor is the latter, not the former. So, working on that makes huge strides. Giving him o2 vector doping is akin to putting a bigger engine in a car with a flat tire, because you want it to go faster. yes, it will make the car with the flat tire go faster, but you could just go ahead and fix the flat tire instead?”
I’m not going to rip Jonathan again for this. He is full of shit. Completely full of shit. I’m going to rip Tom Danielson. Here’s my personal observations and history of Tom Danielson, with a few jabs at Jonathan during the rant, probably.
Ever since I heard the guy’s name, Tom Danielson, it has been associated with doping. From square one. The first time I heard anything about the guy, without hearing his name even, was when I received an email from Ned from something like 12 years ago. (I’ve been looking for the email, but it must be on a different computer or hard drive somewhere.) Anyway, the email said something like what I thought about some kid from Fort Lewis, that the previous fall couldn’t even come close to riding with the group up the passes, on the local weekly training rides and then comes back the next spring, from training in Arizona, (I think) and he’s dropping everyone. I said maybe it didn’t have to be doping and some guys are natural climbers, since I had never personally witnessed or seen the guy. I didn’t realize the extent of the change.
I don’t remember when I first raced against him. I had asked around and realized that he had finished 3rd in the collegiate MTB Nationals in New York in 2000. My friend, Jed Schneider, who was living in Topeka, at an apartment in an old building of mine, was going to KU that year and finished 2nd behind JHK. When a guy struggles at the collegiate level in MTB racing and then all of a suddenly can out climb just about any rider in the US over one winter, he gathers tons of attention.
The Mercury team hired him and when I saw that he won the 12 mile TT in the Estes Park Stage race by over 5 minutes over 2nd, I put him on the, for sure, cheater, cheater pumpkin eater team. It was done, he took drugs. I remember talking to a friend from Michigan, Tinker, the next year at the Iceman Cometh and he said he was training down in Arizona with Danielson about 2 weeks before he got really good. Everyone knew.
At the time, I was surprised that Tom Schuler hired him to ride for Saturn. Danielson proceeded to fuck up race after race I competed in. Redlands, Nature Valley Gran Prix, all of them. I remember being in a elevator after the time trial in Nature Valley with Bill Stolte and Danielson gets in. I ask him how it went for him and he says something like he rode 9:10 and won. The race was 6.25 miles I think. I said something back like, “Tom, it was 10km, that would be over a 40 mph average.” He said “Yeh, I rode 9:10.” Bill and I just looked at each other and didn’t say another word. The guy was a tool.
He managed to smash, self admitted doper, Tyler Hamilton’s record on Mount Washington Hill climb and win just about every other climbing race he rode.
Anyway, it didn’t surprise me at all when he got the plane ticket to fly down to Austin and meet Lance. He didn’t sign with Discovery then. I think he rode one year with Saturn and then a year in Europe before riding with them. He stuck around the US long enough for just about everyone with any knowledge of the sport to realize he needed to leave our continent and go race with the other super charged guys over in Europe. He eventually did just that signing for Discovery, but kept coming back and cherry picking races. He kept not making the Tour team, so he would come back and win Mt. Evans hill climb. He won Tour of Georgia and then raced Tour of Missouri, California and the other races that thought it was important to have European Pros attend.
So here’s a guy that has so/so results. He can’t win the Collegiate MTB Nationals, but then wins it twice after getting on the program. Man, that title must of meant a lot to the dude. He proceeds to skip all the years of pain and suffering that Jonathan so appropriately describes in his NYT’s op-ed and gets a Pro contract after riding locally for the Sobe-Headshock MTB team. He smears everyone domestically for a couple years and then goes to Europe.
But in Europe, he isn’t good enough to make Lance’s Tour team. Even supercharged, the guy can’t do it. But, here comes Jonathan, the savior of lost soul cyclists. He has x-ray vision powers and can see the inner power that Tom possesses naturally. He also recognizes a “flat tire”. After using his 5 doctorates in exercise physiology to confirm his x-ray results, Jonathan decided that Tom is truly naturally talented. He then puts Tom through his crazy, complicated verbal skills test and voilà, he is a Garmin rider.
At this point Tom can do it. He can ride in the Gran Tours in the top ten. He has it in his ability. He really never needed to take those silly oxygen vector doping drugs to start with. He had it within his inner self the whole time. He really just needed super psychologist, Jonathan Vaughters, (I failed to mention he has a Ph.D in Psychology too) to put him on the true, honest cycling path. Jonathan also had to use some mechanic skills to help get “air” back into Tom’s tire.
I was watching the big screen at the Pro Challenge in Aspen a couple weeks ago, when Danielson was dropping everyone up over Independence Pass and I was depressed. I obviously have never had any respect for the guy. I’ve always “known” he took drugs to race bikes. They did a little exposé on the guy, showing his home in Boulder, with his mother-in-law area and kids’ play room. He was showing off his Tom Danilson branded coffee. I was thinking, man, maybe it is worth it, look what you can attain by cheating all your friends and fans. I was hoping so much that he was going to get caught coming into town, but no, he made it by a couple seconds. It seemed to me to be such a crime the guy was racing the event to start with.
I was looking through the internet for something on Tom and saw an article saying about how Tom wants to move back to Durango from Boulder. Evidently, he has a love for Maui too. I’m hoping most of the people in Durango that support cycling, think much of the same way I do. Maybe the Durango Herald reporter will feel as strongly as I do, and rip Tom a new asshole. Maybe Tom will realize that he has done enough damage to the sport, the reputation of Fort Lewis College, and decide to move to his little place in Maui instead. He can then sit on the beach and contemplate all the life stories he stole from those other collegiate guys that finished 2nd, 3rd 4th, etc. to him at MTB Nationals, over 10 years ago.
Jonathan, Tom wasn’t doing it because he didn’t have any other choice when he was “ready” to turn Pro, Tom was skipping all that. He was doing it to cheat his way into the sport. There is a huge difference there. But, he meets your guide lines, your stringent litmus test, so fuck it.
From Bicycling magazine-
By 2002 the powerhouse Mercury road squad had scooped Danielson up, and early in 2003 he won Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi stage race, prompting famed race announcer Phil Liggett to claim the world had just witnessed the coming out party of “the next Lance Armstrong.”
Phil nearly got something correct back in 2003 I guess.
Below are some of his results courtesy of Wiki. I guess no one has gotten around to adding this year’s Pro Challenge results to it yet. As far as I’m concerned, they are are fantasy results. Might as well not have happened.