You need to Walk the Walk if you Talk the Talk

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

I’ve let this Jonathan Vaughter’s “issue” mull around in my brain from the last few days and I have a few more observations and beliefs. So, I guess I’m going to post again on the same ol’, same ol’.

First and foremost I can’t believe how much time Jonathan has spent on the internet the past week. I have no personal knowledge if this is normal for him, but he seems to be posting anywhere and everywhere that his “mission statement” has been critiqued. It seems unfathomable that he has enough hours in the day to be doing this.

I have to admit, that I wasn’t following Jonathan’s stance too closely before this all went on. Now I’m more up to speed on what Jonathan’s thought process is. I have to give him credit because he says much of what I would like to hear pertaining to doping in cycling. When he is on forums or where ever, his spin on the subject mirrors much of what I believe.

My main problem with Jonathan at this point is that his actions, as the czar of the Garmin Pro Tour “Clean Team”, don’t seem to mirror his words on the subject of doping in the sport. This is a big discrepancy. Huge.

Jonathan responded to a comment I left at an article titled, A rebuttal to Steve Tilford’s hatchet job on Vaughters, at the that – Let me clue you in: I choose guys because they are talented. If you want to start digging into who doped and who didn’t in the last decade, you’ll never figure it out. Some guys will get away with it and no one will know. Some won’t. So, talent+desire to race clean now+honesty to me about their past=bingo.

This statement bothered me the most,even though he came close to “stepping over the make it personal line” at the end. Here’s the deal with the line. For one, the talented guys statement-

I have no idea how Jonathan determines who is talented and not talented once they have be suspended for doping. I very much doubt there are any scientific studies out there on the long term impact of using PED’s and then riding clean. In my book, once a rider has been suspended for using drugs in the sport, all his results and any impressions I had on his ability is completely erased. I have to make an arguable assumption that if an athlete uses drugs to train and race for an extended period, then there are going to be some long term affects to the positive. When Jonathan can produce one long term studies on using these crazy good drugs that cyclists are using, then I’ll let him decide who is “naturally” talented and who isn’t. Until then I call bullshit.

According to Jonathan in the NYT piece, Almost every athlete I’ve met who has doped will say they did it only because they wanted a level playing field. That says something: everyone wants a fair chance, not more. Jonathan’s stance on rehiring previously suspended doping riders seems to be let by gones be by gones. I could understand this mentality if it was 2002. But, even according to Jonathan himself, riders can win Grand Tours and the Olympics Games competing clean. He says he believes that Ryder won the Giro clean and the Olympic Games can be won clean, then his current actions and parameters for hiring riders previously suspended for drug use seemed to be flawed, and contradictory to his words. When he is currently hiring riders that are coming off doping suspensions for the Garmin Team he directs, he is really hiring riders that are just cheating. The “clean team” is an sanctuary for these guys.

And finally, it’s not such a big deal, but I wish he would quit saying the the testing and the biological passport is working. We all realize that it isn’t even close to working. I’m not saying to abandon the programs, but let’s not portray the programs as close to successful. The question I get the most often from the general public is “Don’t they get tested?”. The uneducated fans think the drug testing is good, which has been proven incorrect time and time again.

Janathan said in the comment at atwistedspoike, “If you want to start drawing lines, we can all play that game. Serves no one. Either people have the resolve to clean it up going forward or not. End of.” I want Jonathan to start drawing lines. Forget the game and his recipe for “bingo”. I want the line to be that there is a Zero tolerance for drug usage in the sport of cycling. I believe Jonathan has made a convincing argument that the sport is much cleaner now than when he was facing the challenges of doping. If he believes that then his actions need to start mimicking his words. Then it will be End of.

Here is a photo of Thomas Dekker, who I presume is in the middle of a long term, extensive study, determining without a doubt, how “talented” he was as an athlete before he got on a long term PED program.

60 thoughts on “You need to Walk the Walk if you Talk the Talk

  1. e-RICHIE

    People who dope, or got caught, or are/were associated with PEDs or their distribution chain, or admitted to it after the fact despite never having tested positive – these folks should not be allowed a position back in the sport, salaried or otherwise, in management or otherwise. The profession’s history includes ex dopers retiring and finding ways to stay in team cars, manage, or even own. That’s just wrong. The hypocrisy has to end atmo.

    These cats can tell a nice story, talk about how it was when they were neo-pros, stand in front of a crowd and let folks know they’re sorry, so very sorry, they caved into the temptation – but they can do it from the sideline.

  2. McFly

    I used to do just regular drugs (pills and alcohol) but have been clean and sober for over 4 years now. I am glad society gave me a chance to do the right thing and clean up my act without banning me for life.

  3. e-RICHIE

    McFly – I am glad to read that you are sober. Your substance abuse didn’t break any laws (trafficking notwithstanding…). In professional sports, there are rules, regulations, and banned lists.

  4. Jeff M

    Hey Steve, I have a question for JV. Would he hire himself as a rider onto the Garmin squad? In other words, if a rider came up to him now looking for a spot on the team with the exact same history as JV (same race results and a years later public confession of doping) would he say “bingo” this guy has talent, and is honest?

  5. Curious George

    Father Time-
    Do you care to respond to the comment about checking with Floyd and his old boss? What is JV implying here? What leads to your doorstep? What are you hiding?

  6. Barry

    Steve, to me it is pretty obvious as to how JV justifies his rider selection. He wants to get the young super talented riders before they get into the clutches of the evil doping teams, and he wants to rescue those that fell by the wayside on other programs but wish to ride clean. Basically he wants to “save” himself before and after the cathartic decision of his professional racing career. you will get no lines because that does not serve his internally propelled mission statement.

    however I will give him one point on his twisted spoke rebuttal. you seem very sympathetic to BMC for obvious reasons, and if shady pasts was an issue for you I think you should state where your lines are drawn, since you request that of him.

  7. Liam

    So Richard, if we did that, who coaches the current crop of clean cyclists?

    I guess it could be like the ’94-’95 MLB replacement players ordeal. That’d be fun for cycling, and its spectators. After the cleansing, a cat 3 from Georgia (the country) would be the new best rider in the world, and Jim Johnson, a USAC level 2 coach from New Hampshire, would take over RadioShack Nissan Trek.

    You’re right, that’d probably be the best solution.

  8. John K

    I guess one issue I have with the doper thing is that for every Thomas Dekker out there, there are a hundred talented kids somewhere working their asses off and riding clean who could use the kind of support that Vaughters gives guys like Millar and Dekker.

    How many potential Talanskys, Danielsons, Vanmarkes and so on are out there making the many sacrifices one must to develop their talent and chase their dream? They all get passed over for some burnouts that established their palmares illegitimately and then are supposed to reprove their talent only now without drugs (or on them but don’t get caught again..).

    They make a good marketing message for his purposes I guess but I still don’t think it’s right… However, life ain’t fair so this is the way things are.

  9. Dr. Marbuse

    Cynically, I think we need to run cycling like the NHRA runs drag racing. Have two categories: Stock and Top Fuel. You race stock get caught on PED’s you are out for life. In Top Fuel, you can race on anything until it kills you or both your balls fall off (hence Armstrong could still be eligible).
    2 seconds ago · Like

  10. dlshulman

    What bothers me most about Vaughters’ so-called confession is that he takes no responsibility for the riders he hurt by his drug use. Seeing Moncoutie’s name in that top ten list from the Dauphine time trial stage hit home for me. I thought, shit, that guy could have had an even more amazing career if he was racing against clean riders.

    A huge part of taking responsibility for a wrong is making amends to those you have hurt. It seems to me that Vaughters owes at a minimum a sincere apology to riders like Moncoutie (one glaring example) from whom he stole $$ and prestige. Shouldn’t he be paying him prize money too?

  11. Tom Rogers

    Years ago I thought I could have had a carreer in cycling, then around 1991 something happened to our sport. The golden boys know who they are. Once you cheat, if you get caught or not, you’re a cheater. I try to continue to embrasse the sport I love but it has been hard to do. I love the glory years! Better cycling through modern science…. not a fan. Now my son wants to race… as long as it’s an honest living and you can make something of it, I say yes please. I’d rather he didn’t but like his Dad he loves the sport. Cycling has seen better days Steve. Thanks for the blog!

  12. Jeff M

    @VSscribe Yeah, I was wondering who would answer with Mr.Millar. 😉 So, if Mr.Millar hadn’t doped in the first place, would JV have hired him? See where I’m going with this?

  13. Bernd Faust

    McFly you put yourself in a disadvantaged position…you recovered and now you move on, call it a second chance..
    The Dopers in sport have already naturally giving talent/ they dope, break the rules and look for banned /illegal advantages..this destroys the essence of sport..the ethical foundation etc….these people are mentally ill….I think they should be locked up in a psychatric instituition..there they can play sports and compete against each other..these people to whom young kids look up at least sometimes…should be proud of themselves with what they got….keep it clean and be a rolemodel…
    For me as an adult.. i see it like Steve….you take are erased….but on the other side , I feel sorry for those guys/girls because in my view they are mentally retarded!

  14. Manhattan Mitch

    Hey Steve, With all this drug talk never herd you say anything about your friend Dewey Dicky,He beat up on us local and national guys???

  15. ceramic

    To follow up on Barry’s comment: I, too, would be interested in hearing more about your thoughts on BMC, a team owned by someone connected to the Phonak scandal, and run by one of the key players in the Lance ‘miracle’, and led on the road by a rider who knows everything Lance did and another rider who has had an ‘off-year’ after dominating last season. Where are the demands for them to state their “line”?

    I, too, wished that JV had come clean about his cheating a long time ago, but the more I read from him about why he chose not to, the more I understand his position. Agree with him or not, he is the ONLY person in his position speaking up, answering questions, and furthering dialogue on the subject.

    Every other team adopts a “Let’s focus on the racing and keep it positive” approach, and history has shown us where that leads: to cover-ups, scandals, and more sophisticated cheating. The biological passport is working; it’s what happens after the results are known (to a select few) that clearly isn’t working.

    Vaughters has drawn a line; it’s just not the line you would draw (nor perhaps I), but neither of us is in his position.

  16. channel_zero

    I think JV likes to give everyone the impression there is a line. Make no mistake, the goal is to alter the line as he sees fit to manage an adverse situation that may arise.

    In other words, good PR.

    e-RICHIE is exactly right.

  17. chuck martel

    From the Arizona Republic:

    ST. LOUIS – When former Diamondbacks slugger Luis Gonzalez heard the news about San Francisco Giants star Melky Cabrera’s 50-game drug suspension, he knew what would come next.

    “I got upset because I know that it brings back people saying, ‘Oh, he had to be doing something,’ ” Gonzalez said Wednesday before serving as the color commentator for the Diamondbacks TV broadcast. “You can’t have success anymore without people questioning you.”

    Gonzalez knows this well, and it’s why he wishes there were a way for him to clear his name by releasing the results of all the drug tests he took during his career.

    Gonzalez had an unusual late-career peak that culminated with an incredible 2001 season, in which he hit a franchise-record 57 home runs.

    As players from the so-called “steroids era” were busted, others, like Gonzalez, became guilty by association. Even Diamondbacks Managing General PartnerKen Kendrick once openly acknowledged having heard “whispers” about whether Gonzalez was clean.

    That’s why Gonzalez, now a special assistant with the organization, wishes he could sign a waiver to allow the release of the various drug tests he took during his playing days.

    “In today’s society, you’re guilty until proven innocent instead of innocent until proven guilty,” Gonzalez said.

    “What do you have to hide? Throw it out there. Hey, let me sign a waiver for the people who think I did it. You throw your record out there and then everybody’s got it. It’s public knowledge and you clear your name.

    “If you’ve got nothing to hide, then you don’t have nothing to worry about. I have nothing to worry about. But I’m sure the union is going to want to protect their guys and not throw everybody out there.”

    Baseball did not begin testing specifically for performance-enhancing drugs until 2003, but tests that year were confidential as they were intended as a survey. But Gonzalez said he took drug tests well before 2003.

  18. FL

    Wow. This is the most myopic, narrow minded, idiotic drivel I’ve ever wasted the time to read.

    I always suspected you were a bit of a prick, Tilford – but it’s confirmed now. Talk about having “unfathomable” time to spend on a subject – this is the third post you’ve written about it. Maybe it’s time you get a real job like the rest of us.

    You are awfully quick to judge JV – but let me ask you – what in the fuck have you ever done to improve the sport?

  19. Scott Cahow

    Here’s how you do it. Fill in your name….your real name, don’t hid behind initials or a screen name. Then let’s see if you have stones to call someone a prick or narrow minded in his own house. Tilford is willing to put his credibility and opinions on the line for the world to see on a very complex and polarizing subject, knowing full well that there will never be a solution to the situation that satisfies all. What he he done to improve the sport? The obvious answer is that he’s a clean rider and an unflagging advocate for honest competition. Yes, it is easier to take the moral high ground when you don’t have to start the conversation with an apology for the cheating you’ve done in the past.
    In the mean time try not to lower the level of discourse with name calling and insults, it reflects poorly on you and what you have to say.

  20. Ben

    FL – At a bare minimum, Steve has either introduced us to cycling, encouraged us to ride more, allowed us to race against a legend at local races, etc… My knowledge of him? A person that while racing all around the world, took time to beat up on us locals at just about every local race in the early and mid 90’s. It was Steve that inspired me to be a better rider and enjoy the sport even more. Not because he knew me or gave me advice, we have only spoken twice, he probably wouldn’t even recognize me. The point is, if this is the least he has done… I hope to provide so little to someone else at some point. You didnt have to read on, but you did. Feel free to disagree, but as Scott mentions…. quit hiding behind a screen name.

  21. FL

    Scott –

    1) Well said – and I sincerely apologize to both you and Mr. Tilford for the name-calling done in the heat of the moment. Kindgarten lesson #2 forgotten: “If you can’t say anything nice…..”

    2) I disagree with you on one important point: It sounds very much like Mr. Tilford thinks he has the answer to a complex situation – as he so openly speaks about both here and OUTSIDE “his house” (see A Twisted Spoke link) where he misquotes JV. This is offensive and irresponsible. If you are going to quote someone – do it correctly or don’t do it at all.

    3) His house or not, derogatory comments like this which Mr. Tilford made to JV in the comment section of his own blog post and I quote directly: “I have no idea how you have enough time to keep up with all this electronically. Maybe you’ve just blocked off this whole week to keep it all going in the right direction? To me, it seems like you might have to start again on a “program” to have enough energy to deal with it all,” suggesting JV begin doping again is as classless as anything I’ve seen a “pro” say. It was unprovoked and unprofessional.

    4) I’ll refrain from visiting “his house” any more as I clearly have no stomach for the decor. I hope Mr. Tilford’s sponsors appreciate his “credibility and opinons” more than some of his peers do…..I’ve gotten to witness them live and up close and they are no different there than in the written form….distasteful, egotistical and off-base.

    Apologies all around, once again.

  22. Bill K

    “Almost every athlete I’ve met who has doped will say they did it only because they wanted a level playing field.”

    I find this pretty funny. Riders dope in order to win more, or in some cases, to win once in a while.

  23. Inga Thompson

    Rider can and do compete all the time without drugs….successfully.

    I applaud Steve for the bravery and honesty of his comments, not hiding behind some initials, like FL Step up to the plate, FL, and reveal yourself. Otherwise, I consider you to be a coward.

  24. AC

    I agree with “atmo” on the points of not allowing ex dopers back into the sport professionally. I realize these situations are complicated and reasons for taking drugs may not always be simple – but in a sport like this the positive affects of taking the drugs don’t go away. Plenty of studies show how many of the drugs change bodies for life – and training for a month, a year, or years on any of these drugs certainly leaves you stronger than before. That to me is rather unfair no?

  25. Daniel Russell

    Didn’t FL win the 2006 Tour de France? At least for a few days?

    Inga would certainly know about doping having to race against Jeannie Longo.

    Great thread, can’t wait for the USADA testimony and the Tyler Hamilton book, they should blow things wide open.

    But Steve, what is JV saying that leads to your door. He seems to know something, you are too quiet. That makes people curious.

  26. flo

    respect you steve, but wrong about dekker,millar. although i consider you a clean ridr, there are many who have made mistakes. from a business point of view jv makes the right choice, by hiring major talents, no matter their backround. pro sports, entertainment, etc.

  27. Inga Thompson

    Flo, I must politely disagree with your comment. It was not a mistake when they took drugs. It was a choice. It compromises the whole sport. I think they should be banned for life and all medals stripped. Maybe, the seriousness of their cheating would be taken seriously. Racing is not a right, it’s a choice, a passion and a luxury. I personally resent the assumption that since I’m a cyclist, I must have taken drugs. I am beginning to appreciate the fact I never won a gold medal. Now I can say…..’I have Silver Medals for a Reason!’

  28. flo

    i respect your opinion, and thank you for the olympic ideal. like i said, pro sports, entertainment. now if we can take the olympic ideal and promote it into the european peloton. remember 2000,
    ulrich,kloden,vino. remember the e.german womens’ swim team.
    look at lemond, clean, diamond in the ruff, not to many who could achieve against the best dopers of his time, back in the 80s and 90s. i think jv has a happy medium towards uber dopers, say ulrich and maybe clean guys like tommy d, who like you will always be silver medalists. in my opinion tommy d is clean and vandevelde is a doper, yet tommy d is the better athlete.
    needless to say, any experienced sports doctor will be able to discern a doper from a clean athlete, with proper sports tests.

  29. channel_zero

    Tell it like it is Inga!

    Should Weisel and Johnson be escorted out of USAC in hand cuffs, you e-Ritchie and Tilford should run USAC.

    You guys have enough gravitas to start dealing with the problem in the U.S.

  30. Bernd Faust

    Peter Reid (canadian ironman worldchampion) once said: I can beat any doper on any given day, but I can not perform two top races f.e. a sprint triahtlon this sunday and than again next sunday, hence the Doper can. So it makes it clear those people who dope are dirty boys/girls…In any sport worldwide doping should be managed/punished the same way..etc.. this is and probably never will be the case..toplevel sports is a business, and business is dirty!
    Men take viagra so they can perform, instaed of looking for another woman..if you can’t ride your bike fast any more, why not go swimming..Life is to short not to have real fun and not to be true to yourself…Laughter is the best medicine not EPO or Anabolika or all the other artificial crap I don’t even have a clue where one can get that from..I never was and never will be interested in…So lets just laugh about those poor creatures….Usain Bolt calls “himself” a legend..maybe there is something wrong with him already, since the only Legend Jamaica has is Bob Marley…well time will tell
    Ex-Dopers should work with elderly people , as motivational speakers, so to speak like sexoffenders can’t be around young kids anymore, but can still speak to the elderly….here is the 2nd chance..
    Einen schoenen Tag wuensche ich!

  31. Derek

    Interesting dialogue:

    Inga: ‘Mistakes’ are choices….they are bad choices. Should an 18 year old kid have the rest of his career condemned because of a bad choice he made? Maybe so. But I respectfully contend that while nobody DESERVES a second chance in anything necessarily, offering some people a second chance can be a win-win situation.

    Steve: I could not disagree with you more. While I recognize your passion and certainly your abilities, credentials don’t equal credibility on this topic. JV is no anti-doping savior – I’m not sure he ever claimed to be. If you believe he should be banned from the sport for life because of his infractions, fair enough. But making baseless insinuations regarding cyclists like Trent Lowe and Ryder Hesjedal because of their being hired at one time by a dirty directeur is reckless and smacks of McCarthyism. JV has been pretty polite not naming names and calling out your past association with someone “dirty” like you have done with Lowe and Hesjedal. Perhaps you can do that for us now and put everything on the table?

  32. Bernd Faust

    Well the doping discussion is complex and endless, like when people talk about religion etc….neverending..etc..,
    but choices are a differnet scenario.
    A woman from the neighborhood can walk up to an 18 year old and say; hey you want to have sex…. A woman from the neighborhood walking up to an 18 year old saying, hey you want some Anabolika or Epo, come on..
    That 18 year old has to be already brainwashed…thinking about doping for month if not and where to get it..whom to talk to..etc.. I wouldn’t know where to start, a normanl person would never even consider doping….this is not a choice , this is a planned criminal act..etc…

    These are apples and oranges and therefore it’s all “Negative”…it’s just sad and bad…

    Long live those who are slow but honest….

  33. Inga Thompson

    Legally, 18 is considered an adult. Yes, people make mistakes and deserve a second chance, deserve to continue to forge their path in life with job, family, everything the good U.S.A promises us with our rights. But, sports is a privilege, not a right. By implementing a lifetime ban instead of a slap on the wrist might help these young adults make the right choice for themselves, instead of being so easily manipulated by a bad director or such.

    This is were strength of character comes into play. I applaud those that make the right choice in the face of bad peer pressure. Are you giving a green light to chose to accidentally make a bad choice because someone else pressured you? Potentially losing the privilege to pursue your passion. Welcome to being an adult.

    I’ve been blackballed more than once for not succumbing to what those above me wanted. i.e. ….being a team player and ‘getting on the program (drugs)’. In the end, I kept my integrity, despite the incredible frustrations. As I’ve aged, I am content with my choice of choosing to not get to have a gold medal, fame, money in exchange for a clean conscious and integrity.

    Giving a hall pass for cheating is nothing but a downhill slide. It potentially compromises their deep sense of achievement, always knowing they cheated. It eats away at you with time. If it doesn’t eat away at you, there is something wrong with your character.

    Since you don’t post your whole name, Derek, I am assuming that you’re not an Elite level athlete, but a spectator. Until you have suffered the consequences of racing against drugs, medals at Worlds, Olympics never obtained because of others using drugs, dedicating decades of your life to a passion, yes, credentials DO matter.

    I chose to fight to keep moral integrity in the sport. You seem to be okay with ‘acceptable’ amounts of cheating. I hope this isn’t a testament to your own personal character.

  34. channel_zero


    The ‘olympic ideal’ *inside* IOC blessed sports is finish first and don’t test positive. Remember that WADA got started because the IOC was embarrassed by still more doping scandals. It looks like they are set to be embarrassed again.

    Steve, Inga, e-Ritchie, keep telling it like it is. Reality is biased to your world views.

  35. honeybadger

    Steve, thanks for a great discussion. I think you’ve done wonderful things for the sport of cycling and I have the utmost respect for you. Now can we go back to talking about things like Bromont, cross racing, construction, and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and our local boy Joe Schmalz?

  36. Jeff Cozad

    Inga – Spot on!

    Steve – Thanks for fighting the good fight.

    Now I’m waiting to see what happens on the 23rd, re: “He Who Must Not Be Named”.

  37. Derek


    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I’d like to respond without the personal attacks, if I may. I was under the impression that this blog is written for athletes, elite or otherwise, as well as spectators. If I am incorrect, I apologize. I also made the assumption that dissenting viewpoints were respected. But as you’ve just demonstrated nicely, assumptions can be dangerous – so consider my lesson well-learned.

    My specific occupation and personal character aside, I’m in a profession where possessing credentials means the difference between being employed and not-employed. And I know quite a few people that have all the right credentials yet possess none of the credibility because they say or do things that undermine that, regardless of their achievements. You see, being a billionaire, or having a diploma on the wall, or knowing how to ride a bike really well doesn’t make anyone a good judge of character, necessarily.

    If it makes things simpler for you to sort people into ‘acceptable’ or ‘unacceptable’ categories by a pre-established benchmark, I completely respect and understand that, with all honesty. We all do that in different walks of life. Murderers versus non-murderers, and so on. Once again – if you, or Steve, think that anyone admitting to, or being convicted of, doping should be eliminated from the sport for life, that is a valid opinion on your part that many will share. I’m neither dismissing the veracity, nor the strength of your opinion.

    What I do take issue with (and clearly state in the aforementioned comment if you read it) is making dangerous insinuations about current cyclists purely because they were hired by a dirty individual. Specifically I make reference to Steve suggesting Ryder Hesjedal should be unemployable because he was at one time hired by Johan Bruyneel. If, as a junior, you were hired by a coach who ended up pressuring you to do things you didn’t want to do, and which you refused to do, which ultimately resulted in your contract not being renewed, why should your name be black balled for the rest of your career, as Steve suggests in his commentary over on a A Twisted Spoke? (ref:

    Does anyone really think that is fair? I’m merely suggesting that if those are the lines by which we now will consider someone as “acceptable” or “unacceptable” – if that is what is required to “fight the good fight”, then we’ve reached a new low in the sport, which few may be able to be completely cleared of. While you are comdemning Ryder, also condemn anyone who has ever ridden on any Livestrong development team – Davis Phinney’s son included.

  38. Wild Weasel

    I wish Richard would get off the interweb and get to work on my new frame. What kind of saddle do cyclists buy for a dead horse – I was thinking of a Regal

  39. Dopingleaks

    All who have inside knowledge they don’t dare share under their personal name: there are ways to leak. Wikileaks may not think sports matters, but many of do.
    [email protected] is open for any copy. It will be published online, re-written and redacted if need be. Just make a proper anonymous email account, and send over what you have to share.
    We need the truth out there, even if the “coward” cannot afford or justify comprimising family safety to be a whistle blower.
    Leak, if you can. Listen to your own values, and do what feels right.

  40. Aaron

    Steve – I’ve been lurking here for a while. I love reading about your observations of the world from the perspective a cyclist, not to mention all your stories.

    I’m actually on the fence with the JV editorial (which is rare, since I have strong ideas about the topic), so I will not comment on the specifics of this debate. However, my immediate reaction to his article is one that I haven’t seen discussed (though may have missed). Considering the timing of his editorial, and the medium (NY Times), I felt he was indirectly advocating (w/o naming names) the need for USADA to vigorously pursue armstrong, and for the Court to uphold USADA’s standing. Maybe this wasn’t his point. JV can answer that. But if so, it was an important message coming from a leading person in the sport, considering the PR BS coming out of team armstrong.

  41. PeterE

    We live in a world where Arnold Schwarzenegger was on President Bush’s Council for Health and Fitness. Seriously? That dude free-based more PEDs than the entire Festina squad yet here he was in a position of prestige and as a supposed “expert”.
    We also live in a world where everyone supposedly gets a 2nd chance, eg. Metta World Peace, Justin Gatlin, Martha Stewart, etc.
    Now the interesting point is the guys like JV who got away with it yet don’t give up the money, don’t apologize to the guys who never made it because they raced clean, or the guys he beat who raced clean. Those are the victims of Vaughter’s bullshit. The kid who didn’t get picked on the national team because he won’t cheat like Vaughters is a victim.
    For that I think Vaughters is a complete tool. He got to where he is now in this sport based upon what he did as a damn cheater.
    That shouldn’t make him a spoksemodel in the fight against ridding the sport of cheaters.

  42. Jeff

    I certainly hope Lance fights it. I’d of course bet he’s guilty as charged. It’s just that we shouldn’t be deprived of the “parade of cheaters” led by JV. Sorry JV. You’ve just got to go, along with so many others, from Zabel to Yates. The problem is that the sport will always be infected while directors and officials and commentators who built careers with the needle continue to run the show.

  43. Jeff M

    Following in the same vein of PeterE’s comment, I believe our society gives 2nd chances because we’re always ‘one decision away’ from giving in to temptation every single day of our lives and when someone admits to it and demonstrates remorse, society gives the person a 2nd chance because it understands how hard it is not to give in. I think that’s really the crux of this whole Armstrong fight. There’s an apparent mountain of evidence against him but he remains defiant. We want him to say “Sorry, I gave in to temptation” but he refuses to. He’s really testing us as a society. He’s really the one drawing the ethical line. A very big ethical line that covers all of us.

  44. PeterE

    But see, JeffM that’s the problem with JV. He isn’t sorry. He’s sanctimonious. It would be like Pablo Escobar coming back to the life and saying “I think that we need to improve the fight against recreational drug use”. Wow. Swell. You made billions off trafficking drugs and now you want to help rid society of it. Is JV offering to give back any money or wins? Is he offering to apologize to the guys he screwed out of spots on teams or placings in races?
    Armstrong’s problem is he built himself into this larger-than-life her0-like figure that, combined with his massive ego, he can’t ever admit what he did was wrong (which is an unproven assumption) so he’s gone the total opposite way and chanted the “I’m the most tested” mantra and what that hadn’t worked, bought his way out or had the UCI act as his lap dog in the current proceedings, waged a PR war and called former teammates liars and worse and blogged and tweeted crap that even the Federal Judge said was crap> He even used his charity to lobby Congress to stop USADA.
    He’s gone down a path of no return. Either he absolutely never cheated or he did but won’t ever admit it because what are all the cancer survivors/sufferrers and his charity going to say?

  45. Raul

    @Jeff M

    I dunno. Personally I think the crux is that Armstrong went out of his way to help facilitate (or force) the use of PEDs among _other_ riders on his team — all for his benefit.

    Note that it would be somewhat defensible if he thought everyone should take PEDs and was some sort of evangelist for their use. But to the contrary, once riders left his circle he ensured they were no longer protected. Even within his circle he used PEDs as a weapon — c.f. dumping Floyds bag o blood in the 2006 Tour as reported by Walsh…

    It is this that makes the Armstrong “case” different IMHO. You cross the ethical line when you harm others…

  46. Raul


    I go back and forth on the JV thing. If you haven’t already check out the “JV Talks” thread in the cycling news forum — he responds to some of the questions there. Helps flesh out his view beyond the NYT article… Me? Still on the fence.

  47. Inga Thompson


    Many of your points, I could agree with more. Yet, the point of letting people make a mistake, slap on the wrist, relative to sports, a luxury, sorry, I just can’t go there with you. It feels like this to me: It’s okay if you cheat until we catch you, then we’ll give you a slap on the wrist, then a second chance. It spoils the whole sport. Remember, this isn’t a right, it’s a luxury, so, less leniency than a Felon trying to make a second ‘go’ at life. I thank you for the reply, thoughtful, well written. You’re obviously intelligent, but there is a fatal flaw to allowing doping, any leniency toward something that is a privileged. Feel free to contact me personally if you have something to say that you won’t say here. My contact info is public. Anything that I write, I am willing to stand behind because I don’t have the luxury of hiding.
    p.s. Would you have even responded to my comments if I didn’t have my ‘credentials’?

    apologizes that this response is so late, but incredible busy ‘putting up the hay’.

  48. tilford97 Post author

    Derek-I’ve been sort of absent from this discussion and just skimmed over a few comments. But, I’m wondering what this means – “JV has been pretty polite not naming names and calling out your past association with someone “dirty” like you have done with Lowe and Hesjedal. Perhaps you can do that for us now and put everything on the table?”

    I’m really perplexed here. JV has been polite? I think he was the one inferring something by his “doorstep” comment. That was totally uncalled for and completely off topic.

    For me, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never been on a team where a rider has ever tested positive. One rider that was on a team I raced for, Steve Speaks, Schwinn, tested positive for steroids maybe 3 years after being booted off the Schwinn team. Other than that, I can’t think of any personal association I’ve had with any sponsorship program or rider that would make you say this accusation.

    Please respond.

  49. PeterE

    Well looks like Armstrong chose option 2. Whether you believe him or not, you gotta’ give him credit for falling on his sword to spare some longtime friends and former teammates from having to testify against him. I don’t know if that was his intention, but at least guys like George, Levi, or whoever else (except for Vuaghters who made a self-serving bullshit admission, casting himself as a victim just to save his DS job) don’t have to go through with the deal now, unless Bruyneel wants to keep playing ball, and if he does, no matter what LA says now, it’s going to get uglier…….
    Inga, I remember you riding away from a field my wife was in in Seattle and also Altoona during the trials. You put 2 minutes into the field solo for almost 40 miles in Altoona. Sweet move. Back then it wouldn’t have ever crossed my mind that a feat like that was questionable. Sadly, if you raced now, I’d be too damn cynical to believe it, just like I had a hard time watching Sky in the TDF this year pound everyone up every climb with guys like Boasson Hagen
    Be grateful you don’t race in this era. It’s more like pro wrestling now (at least that’s how they were viewing it on ESPN this morning)

  50. Inga Thompson

    What breaks my heart is most every cyclist out there is now viewed as ‘questionable’ by the public. Every one of us has paid the price of this era. I do wish someone would also pursue Jeannie Longo with the passion they have pursued Lance, especially in the light of her husband getting busted for EPO. I, personally, cut off all my hair, about 2 years after retiring, saved my pony tail in hopes that testing would become so advanced that they would have my ‘full history’ (this is how ashamed I am of the sport and why I disappeared when I walked away)

  51. Jeff M

    @Inga #57 comment. That’s really sad to hear Inga. Someone should do a documentary on your story. It would be very timely also.

  52. cesaro

    Steve – what you’re not understanding is JV is making a point by hiring past offenders who have gone clean to exemplify that a rider can perform and possibly (hopefully) win races riding clean; take D Millar for eg. Your idea of a zero tolerance is missing the point completely.

  53. tilford97 Post author

    Cesaro-I understand JV’s idea. The problem with this is that he also says a reason to give these riders another chance is that they didn’t have a choice because of the pressures to get to a level playing field.

    And then the next sentence is that you don’t have to dope to win now. So, any rider he hires that comes off a current day doping suspension doped for a different reason that the riders of JV’s era did. They doped for glory and money.

    There has to be a line drawn, a time when it is totally unacceptable to hire past doped riders. And when you’re proclaiming to be the “clean team” that line should have been drawn a while ago.


Comments are closed.