60 Minutes

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I got back from the race in Nebraska early enough to watch the 60 Minutes deal with Tyler, talking about Lance. (If you missed it, here is a link that shows some of it.) I wasn’t sure I even wanted to write anything about it. I didn’t hear anything new here. In my opinion, the “release” of information to the general public, through an avenue like 60 Minutes, was the most significant part of the story.

Obviously, Tyler wasn’t comfortable talking about the whole thing. To me it seemed like he’d been instructed, or ground rules had been set, to not mention other peoples names that were involved in the investigation. It was like, “Lance flew me and another rider down to Spain.”, or “we all saw Lance inject EPO.” If I was asking the questions, I would of asked who “we all” were. But, like I said, I think he wasn’t going to do that, which I can sort of respect.

I don’t think Tyler had any intention of narcing on Lance until he was called to testify under oath. Just like all the other guys that are going to do the same thing. I’ve written many times, the threat of jail time will really make an athlete sober up and face the consequences.

It amazes me that I feel sorry for some of these guys. I really do. Somewhere in my mind, I kind of want it to sort of just disappear. The sport is way to small and I am too close to too many people involved. It is going to affect many of my friends. Most of these guys affected my life too. Not just the races we rode together, but because of the things they did, they actually changed my life. I have no idea what those changes are, but for sure, they made my life different. But, on the other hand, I can easily see how you get “caught up” in the whole process, without ever having bad intentions.

What we have to remember here, is that at this time, 2011, it is a very different culture and attitude in relation to drug usage in cycling than it was in 1999. I’m so glad it morphed this way, but it took some time. I’m not even sure when the 2 year ban for getting caught was implemented, but I’d bet it wasn’t until much later. When someone was positive in the ’80’s, it wasn’t even 30 days.

What really pisses me off is that now that the general consensus from nearly everyone is that it is wrong to use drugs in the sport, it is still unbelievable prevalent. Everyone is going on as business is usual. It has been driven deeper underground, but it is still everywhere.

I don’t have as much of a problem of Lance using drugs to race in Europe and win the Tour as I do of Lance going to Leadville and beating up on Dave Wiens in the Leadville 100. That started the process of then Levi coming to the race and making a joke of it. Why are these guys so greedy that they can’t be happy with riding in the “supercharged class” and stay the hell away from races, and people, in the sport that have an actually passion for it. I am so glad that I didn’t accept the invitation by Trek to go to Leadville and help “pace” Lance to victory in 2009. I wonder how Matt Shiver and Travis feel? They are both great guys and I have to assume they have some feelings about it now.

I think Tyler was being honest on most everything he said on 60 Minutes. What I don’t think he was right about was when he said something like 3 or 4 guys on every other team were doing the same thing. That wasn’t even close. Maybe 3 or 4 guys in the whole race weren’t doing the same thing would have been a more accurate statement.

Hopefully this is the final wake up call. I had once hoped that the sponsors, especially the American bicycle companies would put their foot down and say enough is enough. But, they were finally overcome by the greed and $$$ of the whole success and threw their morals out the window. I guess it is just business for them. Then I thought ASO, the group that runs the Tour, would be the control. Don’t get me wrong, they have done more than their share to try to establish drug free bike racing, but it wasn’t enough.

It needs to be the riders themselves. But, I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Oh, and BTW, all the guys out there like Johan Bruyneel can go Fuck themselves.

Maybe we could all pitch in and have Johan come and give us one of his inspirational speeches and “motivate us” into being better than we can be.


36 thoughts on “60 Minutes

  1. Brian

    I agree with you on most all accounts. What they did at leadville was a crime as well. They’ve had no shame, only gain in all of this. The real hero’s of the sport are the ones that aren’t getting the big money or the glory. I’m glad the rest of us can still give our all and enjoy this sport without the money or fame. For the betterment of the sport I hope these guys go down, but it’s not going to affect my training and racing either way. I love riding/racing and will do so as long as I’m able.

  2. Dave Johnson

    Well written Steve. It is great hearing the perspective of a champion such as yourself. I just wish Lance would “man up” and quit making his friends look bad while he attempts to salvage his name and reputation. A big apology to the world is in order here. It’s not like any of us think any cyclists from that era rode clean. Like you said, maybe there were 3 or 4 guys in the entire peloton that might not have been on something. I think you are being optimistic, though. I would say that 100% of the riders in Grand Tours we taking PEDs. Additionally, you are right to be angered by the continued use of drugs in the sport. Is someone like Contador that much better than everyone else or is it more likely he is on something? Unfortunately, the longer this goes on, the worse the sport looks. If we aren’t careful, it will soon have the credibility of Professional Wrestling. Finally, the hypocrites like Bruyneel and the other managers that are perpetuating the problem need to be removed from the sport. There needs to be a ZERO tolerance attitude adapted with lifetime bans and, perhaps, even prison time. The only way to rid the sport of the problem is to show the riders that everyone, including team management, is committed to the goal. To this end, there needs to be a whistle blower reward paid to riders who know of someone on PEDs and it needs to be lucrative, say $100,000 paid by the team with the doped rider. And, if a Pro-tour team gets caught with a rider using PEDs on the roster, they should lose their Pro-Tour license. If the teams tested the riders with the same penalties to those caught, the drug use would stop. The cycling community needs to send the riders a wakeup call. And anything short of being militant about enforcing the anti-drug rules sends the wrong message.

  3. turbo

    Between Arnold Swarts and Lance Arm it seems my roll models growing up are letting me down. Guess I only have the man in the miror to look up to now. I dang sure dont want to cheat on my wife and would feel bad for the other racers if I had to cheat to win. How do they live with themselves. Have they ever herd of bad Karma. Scumbags

  4. kansasboy


    I’m glad to see you a bit pissed off in public here.

    It is something that took so long to “surface”. Just not enough to go around.

    Life has been dirty for so long…

    I remember understanding that the things track and field athletes were doing was steroid enhanced back in the early eighties. When I ran at K.U. and made the cross-country team… The Russians came over for a great track meet in what 1983?

    They were serious, K.U. had a few seriously gifted athletes that could compete with them in the sprints. Me I was just an average schoolboy runner from high school.

    What is the point? It is the facade of “juiced”/not “juiced” competing, not competing. Rubbing next to each other.

    Our friend Nathan Sheafor told me that he met a guy from Denmark who didn’t sign a contract with La Vie Claire back in the eighties. The guy wouldn’t accept the take what the doctors give you clause.

    I think you have been seeing this since the beginning in Europe, no? What in the late 70’s.

    So what a hassle- is it maybe that some guys just lied so loud and so long… What would make them do it but the money?

    Hard to care about it except you can buy sainthood and sell the lie. Just another indicator of the real problems in our nation, time, society, world.

    Kermit Gilbert

  5. TC

    After seeing this story, it makes me feel sorry for all the riders. They have the choice, but really if they want to continue to race in the pro peleton…..they don’t. Just as he says he was so close to achieving his lifelong goal, what else was he going to do. It seems less offensive at the time than it does now in front of 10 million fans on 60 Minutes.
    People hate Lance for denying, but he has no choice either. Tyler makes a good point about admitting guilt, you have to open up on everything. I now realize why the standard is deny, deny, deny. If I was in Lances shoes, I would do the exact same. Personally I don’t care if he doped…..everyone did. Its the persecution of a single person that upsets me.

  6. Daniel Burkert

    I’ll be a lifelong Lance fan if he never admits to anything and even goes to jail over it if need be. I may not trust Lance but I trust the guys on the other side of the situation WAY less. I hope he’s clean.

  7. tilford97 Post author

    I agree, the choices were hard. Always. But, there are way easier way to make money than to cheat your friends and people you don’t even know out of their life experiences.

  8. SenorBlanco

    I gained a lot of respect for Tyler’s situation during the interview. I had previously been of the mindset of “he is just trying to sell a book”, but I don’t think that is the case.

    I don’t think he would have come out with these allegations had he not been up against a grand jury. I would do the same thing in his spot.

  9. Hudson Luce

    It’s not about making money, it’s about the fame and the glory, too. If you get to a certain level, and the only way to get to the top, where your name is a household word worldwide and you’ll be remembered long beyond your death, is to dope – because everyone else is doing it – it takes incredible moral character to say no and be consigned to the back pages, the footnotes of history. And that’s what happens, the cheats get the fame, the glory, and the money. Honest people lose, but that’s the way of the world in microcosm … Look at how the multimillionaires and billionaires of the world, the robber baron capitalists of the past and of our own time made their money. They got it by shady backroom deals, by corrupt business practices, by using political advantage to screw over their competition. It’s no surprise that it’s the same in cycling, especially at the upper levels where there’s so much at stake.

  10. Jeff Cozad

    I’m wondering what the ASO may do here w/respect to Da Shack and BMC and their entries into the TdF.

    While it wasn’t anything new to folks that follow the sport and read what has been going on, I really liked one bit in the story, the insertion of the Marion Jones stuff. “I’ve never failed a test”…. It was a very nice way to get that point across.

  11. chad

    The reason LA is being singled out is because he won 7 tours and was the god father of cycling for 10 years.
    Personally I’d like to see the UCI and Johan go down but the riders will always be the ones to hang. They are the ones with the fame.

  12. eddysboy

    …and the damn drug problem of those dopers 10-20 years ago are coming up and continuing their doping ways in the freaking Master category races and rarely is there any threat of suspensions.

  13. Matthew J. Domnarski

    Well said. I never made it big in cycling but its also one of the reasons I’ve been able to enjoy it into my forties and beyond.

    Now that I have kids I’m so glad that its cleaning up, or at least being talked about. I never felt pressured to risk my health that way but I never tried to make a living out of it.

    I work shitty hours and drink a lot of coffee, but that doesn’t even compare to only being good as your last result. Maybe we can get back to the concept of genetics, hard work, dedication, tactics and luck will reap success instead of corruption and greed.

  14. Ks roadie

    As a young racer I was shown the path to be a pro. It looked hard, but worth the effort. That is until I saw the dirty, sleezy, cheating, honest to no one, underbelly of the sport. I was willing to sacrifice all to be a pro, but not myself. So I’m sorry LA and TH (ok well everyone- with few exceptions) had no choice. Niether did I, I walked away from the sport (or what they turned our sport into for seven years, although I never lost my love for it.
    Those guys were my heroes. Who will be my son’s heroes? Will they turn on their sport and loyal fans? Thank god for Andy Hampsten, Greg Lemond, Steve Tilford, Alexi Grewal, Xavier Tondo (RIP) and all the others who LIVE their lives honestly.
    I would rather cheer an honest man to last place, than see another cheat on the road.
    PS Why is Mancebo allowed to race in our country? At Joe Martin I boo-ed and jeered him in English and Spanish (just to make sure he heard me.) Hope you all do the same. “Mancebo- no Drugas, no tramposos. Salida, repaso a Espana.”

  15. Forrest

    I just wish they asked Tyler some more questions. I have a list of questions. “When you were riding for Phonak and CSC did those teams have organized doping?”, “How did Lance react after he taught you dope and you left the team to become your own team leader? “You talk about blood doping with your own blood, what really happened with that defense of vanishing twin, did you accidently dope with someone elses blood at the time?, Etc…. I wish the guy from 60 minutes was a cycling fan, it could have been so much more in depth.

  16. dirty_juheesus

    First order of business is to expunge Armstrong from the Leadville record book.

    That’s the right thing for the promoter to do.

  17. Aubree Dock

    Steve, do you have any statistics on any of Lance’s former teammates being caught for doping? Point being, without doing any research, but rather from memory, it seems as if these few riders that have tested postive were no longer on Lance’s (or Johan’s) current team. i.e. Tyler busted after leaving, Floyd busted after leaving, AC busted after LA/JB left Astana….see where I’m going with this. Maybe it’s coincidence, maybe not, but it seems as if a rider were with Lance/Johan, they were safe from being caught, but once those riders move on, they are at risk and ultimately some have gotten busted. So have any riders ever been busted while on Lance or Johan’s team?

  18. Adam

    If Ghandi had somehow found his way to the European peleton I have no doubt that he’d have been doping within 6 weeks.

    It’s a toxic environment.

    My supercharged dream team:

    Mother Teresa
    Walter Kronkite
    Abe Lincoln
    Richard the Lion Heart
    The Dalai Lama
    Wavy Gravy
    Martin Luther King Jr.

  19. Ken

    I wonder if Chris Carmichael was an innocent bystander in this, thinking his training programs were responsible for Lance’s success? If not, then he’s just as much of a hypocrite. If so, man, did he ever get taken for an ego boost ride.
    I agree–a real cycling fan would have asked better questions going far beyond Lance.

  20. Josh

    So many will fall here. But the way the UCI got paid off is disgusting. It’s a private club. If these clowns really wanted to keep this sport clean, it will require 100% transparency. I’m so tired of it all that I just don’t care who wins anything anymore. And I believe there are many good people involved here. It’s just too bad that money and fame create such monsters. It’s nothing new or unique; it’s just stupid.

  21. Dan Rather

    Chris Carmichael has been involved in doping for a long long time. He was injecting junior riders with steroids without their knowledge (these are vitamins!). Google: Greg Strock and the lawsuit against USA Cycling. Carmichael paid $30,000 to settle out of court to keep his name off the lawsuit. Dirty to the core.

  22. Slick

    Steve, my brother Guillermo and I talked about this last evening.. While you’ll always have cheats in all aspects in life, what about the Race Organizer’s role in doping?

    Take the Giro Italia. Stage 14. Extremely difficult mountain stage. Then Stage 15. 7.5 HR of mountains.

    How is a world class athlete supposed to recover from days of that kind of racing? Food, sleep and massage?

    I am not advocating that’s a reason to dope. But race organizers need also to be realistic about the human body and the race conditions they’re expecting riders to endure.

    Crazy, I tell you. Crazy.


  23. Sean YD

    The penalty for a positive test for doping in a stage race was 10 minutes.

    Kind of hard to believe, isn’t it?

  24. Daniel Russell

    Here is a given – most people will stop at nothing to win a bike race.

    Hopefully the next young rider who is asked to dope, after seeing Tyler’s confession, will just say no. It’s not worth it.

  25. Bryan Miller

    When Steve says these guys changed his life, what he means is they cheated him out of a lot of money and fame. Totally agree on Leadville issue–Lance would have a damn hard time beating Wiens without his blood bag–even though Wiens has been semi-retired for several years.

    And no–Lance wasn’t competing on a level playing field. Only the richest riders had access to such sophisticated doping. It was a lot more like a monopoly among a few who cheated the rest. You can say that about Lance though–he brought doping to a whole new level.

  26. Zach

    Agree about the distances, frequency, climbing, and overall demand that many of these races and stages require.
    People started doping at first to deal with the pain, then they learned to make it easier. Its difficult to recover from days like the Giro without some help.
    I have long thought if the sport is to be cleaned up then they are going to have to do something about stage/race length and brutality to the rider. I certainly wouldnt want to do it.

  27. longshot

    @Ks roadie, Tilford even admitted that maybe 3-4 guys in a whole Tour weren’t juiced, yet you somehow throw a couple Grand Tour winners in your guaranteed-clean-hero shortlist. I’m not accusing anyone, simply pointing out that you wouldn’t have any idea who, if anyone, in the history of European cycling was racing clean.

    @stevetilford, similarly you conveniently only villify LA for doing Leadville and imply that the entire rest of the Leadville pack is lilly white. You know dam well that many many American road and XC riders, masters, and top performing amateurs are juiced. You couldn’t possibly guarantee that LA and Levi were doped at L-Ville, nor that the entire rest of the field is clean. If you want to kick out everyone who has ever doped then the line might be pretty long and my 105th’ish place finish might dam well be on the podium.

    Mud-slinging against some while arbitrarily vouching for others won’t help the sport at all. Naive assumptions about your friends, heroes, or the entire top finishers at L-Ville except LA and Levi detract from the necessity to acknowledge how widespread doping is in cycling on ALL levels.

    Guys like Vaughters and Stapleton are trying to change the game, and are doing so through actions rather than publicly trashing the sport.

    Lance-Johan flame doesn’t do anything for anybody. It’s your blog, but I’d prefer you use your popularity to help the sport move forward rather than to be pissed off at Lance, claim L-Ville is a “joke”, etc… L-Ville is awesome, and I loved doing it and also loved watching Lance and Wiens race. Not every day that guys like me get to line up in the same race with LA. It is very exciting, maybe not for the few who had a shot to win if he didn’t show, but for the rest of us it was a rare opportunity. Same as when Floyd did it, same as every other year…

    If you want to help pros quit beating up on amateurs and make a positive difference for people racing purely out of love for the sport, lead a movement for USA Cycling to start an ‘Elite Masters’ class. Or disallow people to race both Elite and Masters in the same year. That is much more of a travesty of justice than for a current pro like LA to beat up on a semi-retired pro like Wiens.

  28. tilford97 Post author


    I don’t even know where to begin addressing your comment.

    First of all, are you implying that Dave Wiens takes drugs? I surely hope not.

    The Leadville thing is bothersome because it isn’t a level supercharged playing field. I can somewhat understand some of these guys justifying the use of drugs by using the excuse that everyone that they are racing against is using the same thing. But, obviously, that isn’t the case at Leadville. The guy that sponsors my local team, Kent McNeil finished 13th in 2009. And he doesn’t really race bikes. He owes and works at a bike shop in Omaha, Nebraska. Doesn’t live or train at altitude. So let’s not imply that the Leadville field is stacked with a bunch of Professional athletes that are “using”. That is just stupid.

    Why don’t you answer the question why you are so excited now, tonight, lining up to race Leadville with Lance? I hope you realize, by now, that Lance has taken drugs virtually all of his cycling career. In my mind, that nullifies all his results. From when he was a teenager on. Sorry. That is the way I choose to deal with guys that take drugs to beat up on their peers.

    And answer why anyone that loves the sport, as you are implying you do, would do anything but flame Johaan Bruyneel. It is the Johaan Bruyneels of the cycling that are the enemy of the sport. They weld the power, propagate and escalate the drug culture. Plus, the make an enormous amount of money from their fraud.

    And, I don’t have any problem with Pros beating up on amateurs in festival races such as Leadville and/or Chequamegon. Having Pros at these events make the events that more exciting, just like you said. I have a problem with anyone showing up at the races, full of drugs, racing. Pros and amateurs alike. I think I’ve made my opinion pretty obvious concerning this.

    And finally, screw the Elite riders not being able to ride with the Masters. I think the qualification of a Master rider should be solely on age. It is an age graded deal. Not a who is shitty and old deal.

    So, I guess I pretty much disagree with about everything you commented on. But, like you said, it is my blog and I can write what I want.

  29. Neil Kopitsky

    I really need a jersey that says “It’s an age graded deal. Not a who is shitty and old deal.” I just woke up my wife laughing at that line.
    In the face of the doping nonsense, elite old guys lining up with shitty and old guys is pretty trivial. But, fwiw, as a shitty and old guy myself, I think it’s pretty cool when elite guys compete with us. Hell, how sweet would it be for Chris Horner to line up at a 40+ event . . . THIS YEAR??!!

  30. Ldv

    “You couldn’t possibly guarantee that LA and Levi were doped at L-Ville”.

    No. Like you cannot guarantee that anyone is doped at any time. The point this though that if you have gone down that route and doped, what you have had is all those 200km days in a row, packing on the endurance. Doping allows you to recover from those efforts and get up and do it again the next day. You might test clean at the event but you prepared dirty for the race. LA and LL won Leadville in no small part to their years of endurance gained though taking drugs. LL has been sanctioned for a doping violation in the 90s and if you think LA is clean then you are just a believer and your position will never change.

    I have had plenty of opportunities to ride with guys like LA, LL, TH etc I have never done so. They have poisoned my sport. I am an elite rider but I would choose to ride with a bunch of new cat5s than those guys. LA, LL, TH etc… cannot influence me in any positive way. I can be positive for those new guys. I can tell them the word of Steve that a diamond is not a good formation in a 4 man break etc…

    Dopers cheat guys like me who have 2 hours to train after work, we get 3 hours into a race and then they hit the gas as our endurance fails us. Steve is right they cheat us out of experiences. The race might be 80 to 100 miles but the differences in experience and feeling are vast between coming to the finish totally blown but in the front split/break or coming to the finish totally blown and 5 minutes back. “They just demoralized everyone”. Is a quote from Armstrong describing what it was like to race Fleche in ‘94 when Gewiss-Ballan went 1-2-3 after a 70km 3 up TT. The dopers know what it is like to be on the receiving end. Instead of resisting and changing the sport for the better they drag themselves to the dark side, join the omerta and deny, deny, deny.

    Oh, and BTW, all the guys out there like Johan Bruyneel can go Fuck themselves.

  31. kris

    If u saw Chris Horners interview after he won the TOC he was so excited talking about how the race followed alot of the famous Simi Valley training ride. I used to ride that all the time when Chris was riding and before, we had guys like Knickman, Thurlow, Chris, Tomac just hammering u every week.
    Then one day a certain Italian showed up, I was toward the back so i didnt see it but apparently this guys turns to Thurlow as we are hammering up Norwegian grade and asks”we go fast now?Yes” puts it in the big ring and sprints away. Stays away from us the whole ride, a huge group with some of the best American riders and this guy just soloes away from us for 70 miles.
    I think his best placing was about third in the Italian championships so he was by no means a star, just a juiced up worker.
    It pointed out the difference to me of guys who were very good
    versus guys on the juice
    They even rob you of good experiences training.
    Can’t all the dopers just go crawl off into a hole somewhere and let all the people who enjoy cycling as a way of enjoying life by testing yourself stay seperate.
    And for me, i like the fact that everyone rides together in masters. For the most part the Elites are less elite in ego than some small town hero.


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