Finally, My Suspicions Confirmed! Triple Crown Fixed

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

I’ve been trying to put the pieces of this together for nearly 20 years and just by chance, I saw this article that finally confirmed what I already knew. It is about the Pro Championships in 1993 when Lance won a million dollars.

I was racing the Triple Crown of Cycling back in 1993 when Lance pocketed the $1,000,000 for winning The Thrift Drug Classic, The Tour of West Virgina and then Philadelphia (US Pro National Championships).

Lance won The Thrift Drug Classic, destroying most of us, by nearly lapping us on a long loop. Ron Kiefel, Coor’s Light, finished 3rd. In West Virginia, he rode away with Micheal Engleman, Coor’s Light, never to be seen again.

So, it came down to Philadelphia and the US Pro Championships. I don’t really remember much of the race until it got important. I remember, very clearly and vividly, how fast Lance rode up Manayunk Wall when he dropped us. I was at the front of the field taking the right, right, left approach to the hill. When I came around the left, Lance came by like he was on motorcycle. I didn’t even stand up to attempt to go with him. He was over the top before the rest of us were 2/3 the way up. It was a joke.

Lance bridged to a break of a couple Euros, plus I believe Roberto Gaggioli, again Coor’s Light. I’m not positive it was Gag, but pretty. Anyway, we ride around a lap a couple minutes down on the break and then, poof, the next minute Lance is riding by himself. And what was weirder, we were catching the remaining riders of the break and no one was chasing.

I was thinking, how weird is it that those guys just shut it down when there is so much money on the line. I think it was still $15000 for 2nd and $10,000 for third then. So, we caught the rest of the break and there was still a big lap and then the small laps at the finish. This is when I realized it was fixed. Coor’s Light put their riders at the front and were rotating “chasing”. But the deal is they weren’t chasing at all. That wasn’t the sign though. The sign was that Davis Phinney was rotating in the “chase”, even though 100% for sure they were going to be working for him if it came down to a sprint. I knew that they had been bought.

After the race I talked to a couple of the riders from Coor’s Light that I knew very well. I asked them what was the deal. They said that it was not fixed. I didn’t believe them and actually asked them again later after a few months past. Again, no.

These guys were/are pretty good friends, so I sort of believed them. I did understand that there was a lot at stake and that if it leaked out, then all hell was going to break loose.

A few years later, I was staying with Andy Bishop in Burlington Vermont. Andy is a friend who was riding for Motorola when Lance won. He was in the race. I asked him about the deal and he said that it got all screwed up. That originally, no one from the Motorola wanted to come over from Europe to race, so it was just a small team. But after Lance won Thrift Drug and then West Virginia, everyone wanted a share. He thought he was going to get a 6 figure split and when it all came out in the wash, he got only a fraction of that.

I realized at that point, there was a lot of money unaccounted for and that my observation was most likely right. I figured that Phil Anderson, Lance’s Motorola team mate, was going to get the money, probably have it deposited in the Isle of Mann, then get cash and give it over to everyone they paid off. No way to trace it, all clean and tidy. But, I realized that I was never going to know.

That was until I saw this article that says that Stephen Swart, a New Zealand rider for the Coor’s Light Team in 1993, later for Motorola (admitted EPO use while riding for Motorola) did a sworn testimony, and in it he said that they(Coor’s Light) were paid $50,000 to not race.

Finally, I have the answer. This had be buggin’ me for a while. Funny how that is. It was just one of those things that didn’t add up.

Man, when it rains it pours, concerning cycling “scandals” recently. But, finally clarification of a question that I already knew the answer to. I guess that real secrets are hard to kept and that time has its way with them.

They even made a video tape of the miracle.

26 thoughts on “Finally, My Suspicions Confirmed! Triple Crown Fixed

  1. ED

    As the character in “Magnolia” says, “We may be done with the past, but the past isn’t done with us.” What a shame these cyclists are now going to be damaged by events of years ago, but deservedly, I suppose. Phinney, Kiefel and other names I respected now tainted. Fixing a game in baseball gets you banned for life; what about cycling? The amount of damage the sport of cycling will suffer due to Lance Armstrong will be stunning.

  2. AT

    Haha, fixing bike races is actually more common than doping. It is the same culture that creates both animals…

    And it doesn’t just happen to the show races and post Tour criteriums. This also happens at the lower level racing.

    It gets back to my suggestion about removing the money from the sport. Dont make bike racing a possible occupation or income source.

  3. peter

    It is my contention that Lance and everyone else that has been tarnished with the doping brush be banned from all forms of cycling events until the day after they die… What goes around , comes around.

  4. tilford97 Post author

    ED-Don’t look at this as the same as the other stuff that is going on with USADA. It isn’t close.

    Like AT says above, money exchanging hands in a bike race is normal. It happens for a variety of reasons. And many of these reasons are fair and alright.

    But, this was a little different. “Fixing” the race so an insurance company had to pay out a million isn’t something that had ever happened before.

    My interest was purely getting an observation verified. It wasn’t the money changing hands.

    That being said, those guys “sold out” for way too little.

  5. Bill N.

    Ben King’s huge solo for the US title wasn’t exactly what it seemed either. There were some reports afterward of Levi and a few others agreeing not to chase him down because he was signed for the following year on their team. I’m sure there is more to that story as well. Maybe in 10 years we’ll get to hear more about it.

  6. Skippy

    several hours of trying to post comment PISSES ME OFF !
    Steve i enjoy your posts but do not enjoy the effort required to have a say or add value to your efforts to acquaint the readers of info that adds to your knowledge & experience of Cycling

  7. Jason Snow

    Thats not nearly the same thing Bill N not even close and being a former elite cyclist deals are made all the time I don’t blame the coors light guys at all honestly they should have asked for more money. I’ve hired guys to help me get to the finish and I’ve agreed to split money with guys during the race

  8. kansasboy


    Say it ain’t so Joe.

    I’ve been wondering what the connection was after all this time. Are you saying the boys at Coors Light were riding my K-Dog/Big D, custom titanium bottom brackets in the biggest throwdown in cycling History, while peddling their Serottas around those courses?

    I’m gobsmacked.

    I just can’t seem to leave that cosmic Kanzas connection to cycling behind. Guess you are there too.

    If anybody is in possession of said piece of cycling history- the custom bottom bracket parts- hidden behind the Colnago bearing cups- please send a photo to Steve. Love to see a photo of the part again.

    Man I love this theory.

  9. Andy

    Steve, who paid the money? Motorola? Do you know that Lance knew of the payment ahead of time or that it was a design of his making? I have a hard time believing he had 50k laying around for the fix. Obviously there is a lot more to the story and some dots are yet to be connected.

  10. Rich

    he had 50K laying around after winning the race…haha

    That being said, nobody really got much of anything in that race. The million would have gone to all of Lance’s team, the 50K to coors light….then maybe more money to the guys in the break with Lance. *dont know if it was all coors light in that break?*

  11. Dave

    I remember hearing that Lance told Lloyd while they were at the start line, “I got this thing in my back pocket.” He was right.

  12. chris

    Didn’t Lance pen a little column for Winning Magazine during these races? His race/training diary, or something. I think Bob Roll later helped him with it.

  13. Mike Rodose

    Jason Snowy:

    Aside from your pathetic bragging, you are admitting to cheating (fixing results). It seems safe to then assume you had some “help” with all your results. Because you’re an admitted cheater.

    Whether it was other riders, pills, injections or other shortcuts. It’s cheating, you bum. I can only imagine what your tax forms look like. You and Papp-smear should co -blog…

  14. Touriste-Routier

    Sorry Mike, deals are made all the time, be it splitting primes amongst a break, one rider being allowed to go for point sprints or KOM points, splitting prize money, or offering cash/services to rivals; this is how it is done. If you don’t want to know how the sausage is made, stay out of the factory. And there is no Easter Bunny…

    Jason never said he fixed results, he enlisted help. If someone really thought they’d beat him, they wouldn’t accept an offer; sometimes you get $ for nothing, as you weren’t going to be a contender anyway.

    As for Coors Light taking money for not contesting, why not? Their pay day is larger by doing so. The only person eligible for the $1m bonus was Lance. Sure a national title was on the line, but even these can have price tags.

  15. JB

    Steve, you know damn-well that Davis will NEVER admit to the fix. The kind of dad that sends his son to Och instead of Vaughters (who’d offered him a great deal) is a sick, sick dad.

  16. BS

    It appears that the Triple Crown was fixed as early as the first stage of the West Virginia K-Mart Classic (Canaan Falls Road Race) when Armstrong (in the yellow jersey) drops the peloton, bridges to the break 2 minutes up the road (while towing Coors Lite’s Engleman), miraculously dumps the break with Engleman, and easily wins the 2-man “sprint” for victory. Watch the youtube video of the K-Mart Classic- it’s hilarious and it’s obvious that something’s not quite right. How is it possible for the race leader go on an uncontested 100-mile 2-man breakway??!

    The timing of the suspicious race coincides with Swart’s deposition regarding race fixing. Swart testified that the hotel room agreement with Coors Lite took place when Steve Hegg was second place in GC. Hegg took second place in the prologue and was not in second place at any other time- so the meeting must have taken place after the prologue and before Stage 1 (Canaan Falls Road Race).

    Steve- can you comment on how the Canaan Falls Road Race transpired from your point of view? It looks like Armstrong/Engleman went 1-2, a fairly large chase group came in ~2 mins later, and the peloton finished 20 minutes back.


Comments are closed.