Your Timing Stinks Jonathan

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Okay, by now everyone has probably, or should have, seen the article that Jonathan Vaughters wrote, or had written, and then published, in the New York Times Sunday Review’s Opinion Page. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, here is a link.

The synopsis of the article is that Jonathan explains what dreams he had and then what toils and sacrifices he made to attain those very dreams, only to be faced with a no-win situation. Quit the sport or take drugs. He chose the latter.

Then he goes on and explains how he couldn’t stomach the moral line he crossed, so he did quit and made it his mission to create an environment where future riders didn’t have to make the very choice he did.

The problem with the whole thing is the timing and the content of the article stinks. I’m not sure what the process is to get published in the New York Times on Sunday, but he obviously has the right contacts. I used to subscribe to that very paper and they should be embarrassed giving him the platform to write such a self serving, self indulgent and self absorbed article. The piece completely defies critical analysis.

My take on the article is that it is disingenuous, feeding the general readership, an ignorant audience on the subject, misinformation.

I could easily rip the thing apart on multiple levels. But, that would be a waste of my time.

Jonathan has an ulterior motive here. I assume he is doing damage control of what is about to come.

If Jonathan really wanted to pay his penance and receive some redemption, he would need to quit being so vague and cryptic and give us, the educated audience, some details and specifics. Until then, it is all spin doctoring.

How about these results showing the 2% improvement that PED’s give you? Maybe he should multiply that number by 5, at least.

1999 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stage 3 Mount Ventoux Climb

1. Jonathan Vaughters (USA) US Postal Service 56.50.9
2. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Casino 42.7
3. Wladimir Belli (Ita) Festina-Lotus 43.8
4. Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) Euskatel-Euskadi 51.84
5. Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 1.01.2
6. Kevin Livingston (USA) US Postal Service 1.25.5
7. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis 1.40.6
8. Unaï Osa (Spa) Banesto 2.01.1
9. Tyler Hamilton (USA) US Postal Service 2.18.1
10. Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Spa) Euskatel-Euskadi 2.18.2

26 thoughts on “Your Timing Stinks Jonathan

  1. Zach T.

    The article was in the Sunday opinion section of the paper, which usually supports a broad theme and a number of smaller pieces. From what I understand, many opinion pieces are elicited by the editors. Vaughters probably has a long-running relationship with their sports editors and with all news about doping coming down the pike, they wanted to get his take and also allow him to revisit his semi-confession from a few years ago.

    And for what it’s worth, it’s not that hard of a feat to get an opinion piece in the NYT, provided it’s timely, well-written by an expert of the topic, and touches on a conversation of national interest.

  2. Bill E

    Completely self serving, and total bullshit justification. We all have dreams; what happens if the entire world lies and cheats to achieve their dreams? Make the most of your given ability and move on.

    Only reason he’s coming clean is beating USADA, et all, to the punch. And, I would suspect, to further try and look all good and honest and forthcoming, so when all this turmoil causes potential re-shuffling at the UCI, he can make a play for more power.

  3. VCScribe

    If JV was really all that penitent, he’d resign. And he’d ask Dekker and Millar to resign, too. And if it comes out that Vande Velde was doping, then him, too. Garmin Squeaky-Clean ain’t all that clean if it’s being managed and “mentored” by a bunch of guys who were “forced” to dope to achieve their dreams. There was a time for bleary-eyed optimism a few years ago, following the Landis affair, when we could have drawn a line in the sand, said “fess up,” and everybody’s sins, including LA’s, could have been expunged. Ride clean as from NOW (then). But jokers like Vaughters have been shucking and jiving since then and mouthing platitudes about clean sport and a new dawn. Bullshit. Bust them all. Lifetime bans.

  4. Rad Renner

    No one is ever going to confuse Vaughters for a writer, but I do understand where he’s coming from. Many of us, hell any of us, dreamed this dream in our own personal variation. Hell, I still do it, and I’m 47. Such is the power of our imagination. And while I’m not entirely unsympathetic to his point of view (and his peers of that time), it is worth noting that not everyone faced with that decision made the choice that Vaughters did. Many did not, and their dreams died right there. Vaughters is guilty of making that choice, and he has to live with that, publicly, for the rest of his life. That’s not an easy thing to do (see Lance Armstrong), so I give him credit for that, no matter his motivation. Does his explanation seem self-serving, esp. given the circumstance surrounding it? Sure, but not damningly so. Everybody wants a chance to explain themselves and deserves it to some extent. In Vaughter’s explanation I do get a sense of the heartache that he felt, and obviously still feels, that he was placed in such a morally challenging situation. And I think it’s exactly that heartache that drives him now, working to provide the next generation of dreamers a chance to live up to their ambitions without having to compromise their integrity. The purity of “the restless dreams of youth”, and all that. We have to believe it’s still possible; otherwise, why bother at all?

  5. Bill

    I wonder, now that Vaughters has come clean, if the USADA will move to strip him of any titles he won, as well?

  6. Ryan

    Bill – if he testified against Lance to the USADA, then he should be granted some sort of immunity and will not lose much of anything I suspect.

    As for the whole Vaughters situation, I thought he admitted doping a very long time ago. Maybe I imagined it, but I always viewed him as a confessed doper.

  7. VCScribe

    Rad, what exactly do you give JV “credit” for? Mouthing PR spin in the NYT in the face of a huge doping scandal that might involve one of his own riders as well as himself? And you say he’s “driven by heartache” to provide the next generation of dreamers a chance without having to compromise their integrity . . . Who? Millar and Dekker? Bullshit on stilts.

  8. Skippy

    My Comment to ” Grizly Adams ” who has been retweeted by JV today !
    No reply from YOU on my comment y/day !

    ” On reading the JV story i wrote a Blog post which you can read by clicking on the link !

    What JV did not do , is tell US , the audience , HOW HE WOULD FIX the broken wheel !

    My Blog post makes CLEAR THAT HE , together with others , acting in concert CAN FIX THE WHEEL !

    Nothing BRAVE about demanding that the past misdeeds are put to rest with ” AN AMNESTY in ALL SPORTS “!

    Once only offer , to allow the ” ROTTEN CORE OF SPORT ” to be exposed ! Pass the due date , and YOU THE ATHLETE , retired or active , will receive ” LIFE TIME BANS !

    In addition within TWO Months those associated , can peruse the ” published admission Info ” to see if those , with whom they/you were associated , have owned up ! IF NOT , YOU WILL RISK THE SAME LIFE TIME BAN , IF YOU DO NOT EXPOSE YOUR INVOLVEMENT/COMPLICITY ! Be you retired Athlete , Sports manager , Team Owner , Mechanic , Soigneur , whatever , YOU ARE AT RISK , should you choose to stand by , in the false hope that those errors of Judgement do not surface in the following years !

    Retired from Sport and working in Media , Sport Management , Coaching/Training or started a business using skills learnt on the job ! ALL GONE BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD NEVER GET CAUGHT ! No admission , when the crap hits the fan , you lose everything ! You will not even be allowed to buy tickets on line , to attend a Sports Event once you are BANNED ! Guess it will be no fun sitting at home watching the TV , because that will be the only option available to those with “ LIFETIME BANS “!

    DON’T be the Mug taken down by those who thought they could beat the system ! They , your erstwhile friends , won’t care about what happens to you , since they will be in as deep a hole !

    IOC & WADA can make this happen ! BUT will they , are they only interested in the Revenue stream OR do they only care about the ” 2016 Chemical Olympics in RIO “?


  9. Skippy

    Looking at the Dauphine placings i see ” Davide Moncoutie ” , who if general opinion is correct , would be placed no 1 after all the others were ruled out for reasons known only to them !
    Time WADA & IOC got to work on ALL Sports Feds and rid us , the public , of the BLATANT PED problem that exists even in shamateur sport !

  10. Formerly Jim

    If JV is anything he’s strategically astute.

    Well he did hire van Petagem awhile back because he didn’t know how to win, but that’s different.

  11. Sean YD

    Ryan is correct. Jonathan Vaughters first broke the news in 2009. You can listen to him here (starts about 2:00 in):

  12. Rad Renner

    VCScribe, to be sure, I don’t think Vaughters is any kind of hero. What I do give him credit for is admitting what he did, that it was a personal failure, and that he is sorry for having made the mistake. Basically, I give him credit for what Lance still refuses to do.

  13. tilford97 Post author

    Sean-I don’t think this is a “coming out” statement to the cycling community. I really don’t think that Jonathan has tried to hide the fact that he took drugs when he raced professionally.

    I remember riding in Redlands, way back, and we were warming up for the TT and someone asked him what he thought the difference was racing in the US or in Europe and he said you don’t have to carry a ice chest around in the US.

    He never hid it from the cycling community, it was always vague, such as when he was exchanging messages with Frankie.

    I can’t see this statement as anything other than a calculated attempt to put out smoldering fires before the rage.

  14. Jason

    Vaughters seems to me to be that kid that sucked up to the teacher, stayed late to clean the chalkboards, preaching what a good soul he is only so when the teacher is not looking he can steal the answers and cheat with no suspicion. I always disliked those clowns for thier many faces.

  15. Daniel Russell

    Mark – “Good! The whole lie is coming crashing down!”. It does not matter what USADA, WADA and the UCI do, hearing the truth from Frankie, Tyler, Floyd and Jonathan shines the light on a corrupt era. Hopefully Tyler’s book will bring it all down, what they did, how they did it, how the UCI covered up positive tests and the omerta that kept it all running. And we will all know the truth about Lance – titles or no titles.

  16. Bill K

    JV needs to find a new line of work. If he gets a pass from USADA, the UCI should come down, hard, on him. (along with some other “soon to be named” riders)

    This is like giving a child abuser, a pass as long as he feels sorry for his past transgressions.

  17. Ted Lewandowski

    Here is my repost from your previous post – Vaughters on Hold…

    Here is a direct quote from an article that was posted on

    According to the Telesport story, George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team), Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma Quick Step), the Garmin-Sharp riders Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde plus Jonathan Vaughters have given evidence to USADA

    Telesport attributed the information to an unnamed source, and claimed they will be given reduced six month sanctions, starting September. Vaughters has rejected this as being untrue.

    It might not be immunity but is it as close as it gets.

  18. Mike Rodose

    JV is convinced he’s 1 step ahead of perception and public opinion.

    But…This is a Big Deal. Lifetime ban should be administered because JV is a Dirty Bird and a Bad Influence and a Coaching Farce.

    His sideburns are glued on!

  19. chuck martel

    Who could, or can now, be clean? How would we ever know for sure? Why not cancel all the licenses that are now extant and start over from scratch? If you’ve held a UCI license, you can’t ride in a bike race anymore. Sure, it seems a little draconian, a couple of innocents might get an undeserved ban but they probably weren’t good enough to successfully compete anyway. A new start, and new riders, with drug testing of each and every competitor before and after every race. That will end all this moral outrage.

  20. JP shores

    Ok so the Garmin team ride is August 27th in Olathe, Ks. I guess the question and answer session could get a little more interesting! How about, since you doped, then why did you fire Matt White in January at the Tour Down Under? Why should you even have a job leading The “Clean” Team? All of your European success’s were from taking PED’s, so what now makes you an authority at the level you have obtained by cheating? Here is the link to the Matt White firing:
    I just keep losing respect daily! Get this crap cleaned up and let’s move forward with fresh faces!

  21. Mark S

    What came first,The top guy that started doping to win more? the mid ranked guy that started because he thought the top guys were doping or the new guys that thought everyone doped and it was the only way and started beating the top guys ,evil cycle

  22. Skippy

    When are people going to realise that ” THE PAST ” has to be forgiven ” so as to flush the Rotton Garbage out of the system ? Some big fish will get off scotfree , they will be doing what others we do not know of , have been doing in previous generations .
    Only by starting over from a specific date , for FULL DISCLOSURE , will we, the public , be able to be certain that those going into SPORT , are on a level playing field !

    ” JV ” has according to other comments been sitting on his hands since 2009 , well i sent him a tweet two days ago , no answer , probably beneath his dignity , to respond ! Until he shows a way forward , i for one will NOT ACCEPT that he is CONTRITE about his past !
    We need leaders to SOLVE not followers saying they are unhappy with the current leaders !

    JV , you want to start a new “UCI type of ORG. , then show how to solve the problem that currently exists . In other words :
    PUT UP or STOP WHINING ! i for one find 3 years of nothing , far too much !

    Your ” capcha ” causes repeats and thus aggro . repeats are NOT necessary !

  23. Dave J

    After reading everyone’s retort, I am left to wonder how the problem is going to be solved. Isn’t that really the crux of everyone’s frustration, including the professionals “forced” to dope because “everyone” else is. It is a fact that doping has been around since the beginning of time. I suspect cavemen looked for advantages over other cavemen when hunting for food…perhaps, there were “magical” berries that gave one the advantage over another. It is also a fact that the dopers are light years ahead of the doping detection technology. And, as we all know, as long as one person dopes everyone else must dope to keep the playing field even. And as history suggests, there will always be one person that dopes or cheats in another fashion. (Certainly Jimmy Johnson didn’t win 5 Cups because Chad Knaus played strictly by the rules). If you don’t care about an even playing field, then the issue is moot.
    I am going to go out on a limb and face the possible ridicule from those reading and suggest the only REAL solution is turning a blind eye to doping…sort of a don’t ask, don’t tell situation like the military has enacted for the gay folks. As long as there are millions of dollars (or euros) on the line, lifetime bans aren’t going to do the job; It won’t be long until someone starts a “doping-friendly” cycling federation (look to bodybuilders for proof). If everyone is given the same access to PEDs, the playing field will be (in theory) even. And, one would argue that because everyone is on PEDs, it negates the need for PEDs. As horrific as this seems, especially to those who don’t want to taint their bodies with drugs, if you look at the situation objectively, it is the only valid solution at this time. In the future, there may exist technology that can detect anything foreign at anytime. But then, athletes will be taking things that are not on the banned substance list and saying they rode clean (which I suspect is how Lance get’s around the whole issue). The long and the short of it is it is a very complicated problem without a cut and dry solution. Whether or not JV was self-serving (aren’t we all at times) isn’t really the issue. The issue is, in order for any rider to fulfill their dreams of WINNING on an international level, they must dope or find some other way to even the playing field.


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