Who is Worse?

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Whenever the drug thing comes up in conversation, it truly amazes me how many times eventually someone will say, “Fuck it, we should all just start using drugs.” Then nearly everyone talks excitedly about the prospect of riding that fast. But, when it comes down to the chase, it seems that most of “my guys” just want to beat up on the riders that they perceive as riders that are doping. In this imaginary scenario, they have no desire to use them to ride against their normal guys, just the cheaters.

I think it’s an interesting differential. Get back at the dopers by doping and beating them? I don’t think that makes much sense. It has been happening for decades in Europe and no one seems put out too much by it. Someone wins a bike race and the rest of the guys lose. I don’t think that punishes the doping riders much.

So, in these discussions, it seems to be a consensus, that the riders that are domestically riding and doping are much higher on the moral deviate ladder than the Euros. Especially the foreign guys that come to the United States and take slots on US teams and then whoop up on everyone until they eventually get caught. Or not caught, depending.

I have to agree with the domestic dopers rubbing me the wrong way much more than the Euro riders. When I think of true bike racing pricks, the first name that comes to mind is Ivan Stevic (how about that Driveway Criterium Result in his resume?). That was so obvious that any team that he rode for shouldn’t be allowed to ever have a license again. He raced over here for years and took thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money away from regular domestic riders. Now he’s racing over in some Eastern Block country, winning races like Tour of Serbia.

Anyway, I’m not sure why guys like Stevic, Kirk O’bee, Nathan O’Neill and such, seem more morally despicable than the Euro guys, including American Euro guys. Maybe it is because I can sort of see the thought process of trying to climb the European peleton ladder and that ladder had no rungs if you didn’t dope.

But, the guys beating up the US domestic riders, that seems to be pure greed. And the arrogance of dictating the races and acting all almighty is so wrong. I guess that since I’m closer to the scene here, is hits closer to home. Maybe RealCyclist.com can sign a two year deal with Roberto Heras now that his doping infraction has been thrown out by Spainish courts. He and Francissco Mancbo would make quite a team and really dominate the NRC calender here in the US.

Whatever the perception, it is everyone’s responsibility to address it. I couldn’t believe when I was looking to see what Ivan Stevic was up to nowadays, how many interviews and articles popped up on google from Velonews, Cyclingnews, etc. touting what a wonder boy Ivan was. This was before the “news” came out that Ivan was in the US racing because he’d been caught it Italy selling doping products. Then he just disappeared and reappeared somewhere else. Our sport sucks in that regard.

Ivan Stevic winning in Georgia, before his issues.

And in China after his reappearance.

11 thoughts on “Who is Worse?

  1. Mark

    Agreed. It’s not really cheating is it, if the reason for doping is to be part of the Euro PROgram.

  2. notPro

    Tour of Serbia is probably a big deal for a Serb. Your picture has him in the Serbian National Champions kit at Georgia.

    On the prick scale Stevic is off the scale, but the driveway represents something that is good about American racing. 300 Racers on a Thursday for weeks. Pretty cool in my book, you should race sometime. What is disappointing is when pricks like Stevic show up. The other disappointing thing is the number of chances these dopers keep getting.

    So, i’m thinking of setting up a team. My rider criteria are simple. Have you ever been sanctioned for doping? Do you have a dirty history in the sport? Not on the team sorry. I don’t care if you win a lot of races. Winning a race is negated by a factor of 10 if you are a doper.

  3. Pingback: Tilford’s Take On Doping « CYCLINGSPIN

  4. Franz

    I assumed that the riders doping domestically were trying to make the bottom rungs of the “European Peleton Ladder”. Do you think they would have better luck if they skipped racing domestically and just bought a ticket to Europe?

  5. tilford97 Post author

    Franz-That is the way it seems to go. At least foreign domestic to European. I just wish they would skip the trip to the US and go directly to Europe to see how well they do against a more “level” playing field. It is a much harder life living the dream over there at a basic level.

  6. H Luce

    It’s a shame someone doesn’t drop a 500 microgram dose of pure Sandoz acid into people like Stevic’s water bottles. If you’re going to dope, do it seriously…

  7. Peter Erdeos

    While I ordinarily respect your opinion and value your advice, I gotta’ disagree a little on this. Stevic was greedy,but domestic pros are too, or they wouldn’t race Pro 1,2 races. They wouldn’t cut back alley deals with other pros when they are out-numbered by a strong local amateur team. They wouldn’t pimp 2’s or 3’s or happen to get into winning breaks with them. It’s Darwinism in cycling. ProTour teams come here and kick the shit out Conti Pro teams at TOC. Conti teams, like United Health, kick the shit out of Pro 1 teams at Nature Valley crit for the primes and the money. Your team shows up and kicks the shit out of 1,2 teams at Gateway. It’s the way of cycling Stevic will fade away and work in a factory somewhere. Guys like you have the freedom to walk away and make a real living in the greatest country in the world.

  8. Ken

    And now the news that a former Omega-Pharma-Lotto rider, who has ties to the team, is caught importing TB-500 from Australia. This is a drug for improving performance in HORSES. It makes one suspicious of van den Broek and Gilbert just by association.

  9. tilford97 Post author

    Peter-I have to disagree here. I do agree that many cyclists are very competitive and that if you had to segregate one group out, that would be the Professionals.

    But, being ball hogs, like Toyota did at Tulsa a few years back, isn’t a cycling mentality. I gave Scott Monniger a piece of my mind after that fiasco.

    Better riders usually win. And better riders tend to be on teams with other good/better riders. That is the way of the sport. But, regionally, I have never had more than 5 team mates on my TradeWind Team ever. We can’t hardly field a team at Joe Martin or Nature Valley. Right now, we have a total of 4.

    Ganging up on others is team cycling. It gets ridiculous when teams show up with 8 guys, or 10 in the Toyota/Tulsa case and smear everyone. I like to go to races and race offensively. When the domestic professional teams are hiring all these foreigners that are obviously doping, it becomes frustrating, to say the least. And then the trickle down effect. Do you think that Kirk Obee was on his own personal program? Obviously not if you look at the list of Navigators that have tested positive in the last decade. It spreads like a virus when teams disband.

    I’d be happy to race against any team in the world that isn’t super charged. I would love the Tour de France to be held in Eastern Oklahoma, near Talimena. I want to race the best riders in the world ever chance I get.

    And what most people don’t realize is that the best guys in the world aren’t that much different that you and I. I’m sorry to say. Andy Hampsten was 4th in the Tour de France the first year he rode the event. That was when cycling was not nearly as popular in the US as it is now.

    The main difference in the discrepancy between European Pros and American riders the last 20 years is the drug usage. That is a fact.

    It’s just like when MTB racing got so polluted. If those guys want to take drugs to race bikes, then they should go race bikes against all the other guys that are taking drugs, but stay off of my playground because I’m sick of it.

    It is just sport. And many cyclists the last 20 years haven’t acted so sporting.

  10. FHG

    Peter has a point and I do agree with you that it is frustrating when you know you are racing against people who are doping. I too have to concur with your statement that the best guys are not that much different then the rest of the guys racing. The difference nowadays is that some have access and means to obtain the best drugs. On a level playing field it would be the guy who trains hard but smart and who races to his/her strengths, reads the races well and is mentally tough wins. That is the natural evolution, call it Darwinism.
    Just look at Wimbeldon, Jo Wilfred Tsonga beat Federrer yesterday, Federrer beat Samparas to start his run, Samparas beat McEnroe and Becker to start his dominance, McEnroe ended Borg’s run. That is true evolution.
    That is not happening in cycling anymore.

    Also now with the news about BMC soigneur being caught with 200 doses of EPO and Wim Vansevenant being caught with TB 500 which is an equine drug, it is clear that the teams are still not getting it.

    BMC is under the charge of Jim Ochowicz and owned by Andy Rihs, both have been implicated by Landis. And I have always been suspicious of Gilbert’s dominance.

    The Omega Pharma Lotto incident is really interesting because the drug supply has been tied back to the biggest pharmacology lab in Australia. Van De Broeck was a Johan find and Omega Pharma is a drug manufacturing company. One of the implications against Lance is that he received special drugs that created the same effect as EPO from a drug manufacturing company. In hindsight one can now raise the question as to why Lance all of a sudden started to race in Australia during his comeback. They are all in league with each other. What a world we live in.


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