Doping – No Choice Now?

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I was just reading an article over at Velonews about Jonathan Vaughter’s take on Dan Martin’s win at Liege. I liked getting more of a history on Dan Martin’s history up to now, but when Jonathan gets to the end of the article and starts his spiel about how lucky Dan was that he never had make a choice about doping, it irks me to death.

This seems to be Jonathan’s mantra. I have young riders on my team that never had to make the choices that I had to face. It’s bullshit. If you’re a young rider in the sport this very minute, you have to make that choice. That choice is now a reality in virtually all sports.

Vaughters said, “Dan didn’t have to face the same decisions as those other guys. Never. And thank God for that. Also thank them for that. I’ve watched many guys with incredibly strong resolve against doping slowly succumb to the system. We are lucky we never have to see Dan tested that way.”

Excuse me Johnathan, but Dan was racing in 2005, a time when all his current team mates confessed to have been doping in the sport. He was beating up U23 guys in 2006 when Floyd Landis was disqualified after winning the Tour de France. I’m pretty sure he was exposed to doping in the sport of cycling.

I’m sorry Jonathan, but your story is off. Off by a lot. Dan Martin had to make that choice. He still does. And every other rider in today’s peloton still has to make that choice. WADA is issuing warnings, nearly on a weekly basis, of new drugs, mostly in the clinical trial stage, entering athletics. They’ve done it twice this month. After the first warning, wouldn’t you know it, 5 guys turn up positive. And they are all cyclists. I have no idea if any other sport have a positive from the drug, but cycling seems to always be the sport that show cases the newest and greatest of doping products.

Anyway, one of my quirks is it is pretty easy for me to spot contradiction. This one by Jonathan Vaughters seems to be his never ending theme. The sport is clean now. “The Tour can be won on 5.9 watts/per kilo, you don’t have to be doing 6.7.” On and on, trying to show the general, somewhat educated fan, that we are approaching a level playing field. I’m sorry Jonathan, but you wrong on this. And it doesn’t help when you get caught up in false and misleading statements. He did it at the Tour last season, when confronted with the outing of the 6 month suspensions, he categorically denied it, even though it was true. It is obvious that he has his own agenda, and I’m pretty confused on what it is.

It seems once you join JV's team, you never have a concern about doping in sports again.  Sometimes this amazing occurance even proceeds the joining of the team.

It seems once you join JV’s team, you never have a concern about doping in sports again. Sometimes this amazing occurance even proceeds the joining of the team.

15 thoughts on “Doping – No Choice Now?

  1. Rod

    Vaughters sings the praises of a clean Dan Martin and we get the news that
    a “formerly unclean” Petacchi has retired. I feel better about the sport already.

  2. Jordan

    I think the ‘choice’ that Vaughters is saying Dan Martin didn’t have to make was: “Take these drugs or say bye bye to your pro career.” As for all the positive tests, just shows that cycling is actually testing right? I’d say catching guys is better than getting no positives. If you are getting no positives something is obviously wrong!

  3. channel_zero


    Who are they catching and why is it ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS continental pros? It’s not like they have more budget to dope at the Continental level.

    Thanks to Ashenden’s work at re-examining samples, the UCI’s mistakes and USADA’s actions we know without a doubt red-hot positives are in the APMU where there is no action taken to open a case. All of this complies with the bio-passport process.

    It is game-on for doping in cycling. Not to the no-limits EPO/CERA era, but peptides are delivering really good results. Why are guys some riders skinnier than many generations past and so powerful? Peptide doping. It gets the Watts/Kilo ratio pretty darn high. Not EPO/CERA high, but darn close.

    Is Dan doping? I don’t know. I hope not. Is he on a cleaner team? Probably. That’s the best anyone can do given pro cycling’s history in the last 20 years.

  4. Terri Thater

    I don’t always agree with what Steve writes, but he’s dead-on when it comes to Vaughters and pro cycling right now.

    Look at the history of LBL and who’s won it. Lots and lots of admitted dopers. I’d put money on it that five years from now we can add the winners in 2011, 2012 and this year to that list. It’s a hard race. And you can’t beat the guys who are on the sauce. That’s a proven fact.


    Insightful perspective about motivations. Agreed about self-righteous anti-doping mantra PR machine. On the other hand to be fair, what choice does JV have when the governance which is to monitor/ignore/sanction doping practices also decides professional team status, rankings within that status and race selection to a large degree. How can one be in the system and reform it in that case? I feel for JV’s plight in that one but would prefer silence to empty rhetoric. It just comes across as hypocritical BS.

  6. Jordan

    I’m not saying it is perfect, it clearly still has to improve. But pointing to having more positives than any sport doesn’t mean other sports aren’t using the drug.

    Perhaps I’m just full of naive youthful optimisim and hope. As for guys being skinnier than ever, I don’t know could just be the guys racing bikes. I’m skinnier than 95% of pro tour riders, so being skinny isn’t everything. ( 1.8lb/in of height, 5% body fat. I don’t have the power they do though!)

  7. f

    I read an article recently that Tennis was getting biological passports to detect more drug usage. They obviously feel they need more drug testing. They were comparing it to the cycling passports. The article mentioned that in tennis they had done 31 drug test in the year. In the same year cycling had done 3 ,XXX drug tests or about 100x the testing of tennis.

    It defi

  8. channel_zero


    Tennis has a doping problem. Nobody recovers from hours-long tennis matches in mere hours then returns to play the same level of tennis the next day. And yet, that is exactly what’s happening.

    Tennis can ignore positives just like the UCI has and still appear as though there is meaningful anti-doping with the bio-passport. In theory, it is a good system, however it has been implemented in such a way that the federations control all test result processing.

    You might want to google the phrase “tennis has a doping problem”

  9. Anton

    Anyone that ever thinks this sport is ‘clean’ or will be clean is delusional. So let’s quit talking about doping and just enjoy the racing. Who cares who wins ? I like the scenery, the spectacle and the tactics. It doesn’t matter whether they avg 42kmh or 39kmh.

  10. Daniel

    Whatever the case, it’s less doping than in the past. Give Vaughters some of the credit. Guys like Valverde, Scarponi and Contador have had their wings clipped. The pro sport is indisputably headed in the right direction. The “choice” mentioned was whether to dope or find a new job. You’re off here, Steve and it’s unclear where you obtained your moral high ground.

  11. e-RICHIE

    >>> It is obvious that he has his own agenda, and I’m pretty confused on what it is.

    JV has an agenda. It’s call JV’s World. He should be out of the sport, not a pundit, not a manager/coach, and certainly not an owner. He’s clinging to the idea that he can be a Messiah and change the very rules he helped write when he agreed to cheat. Now, it suits him to preach against the system in which he participated, and even excelled if no one better showed up that day. I don’t know why he gets a hall pass when other cheaters are sidelined, fined, banished, and disgraced. Oh, and from the picture above, he should have a salad once in a while. He’s fat.

  12. Benotti69

    I would love someone to show where, when and how guys like Valverde, Scarponi, Contador, Schleck and others all decided we cant dope anymore. There is less bloodtesting than ever before. Ashenden resigned from the Biopassport because it was a joke.

    So less doping, doubt it, all the same dodgy docs are with the same dodgy teams.

    Vaughters and Brailsford talk about their teams being clean, why do the other teams not do the same?

    Why not? They are still doping, which begs the question how can Garmin and Sky beat dopers? Not on bread and water that’s for sure.

  13. tilford97 Post author

    Daniel – “Obtained my moral high ground?” This isn’t brain surgery. It doesn’t take too much critical thinking to understand the aspect of of lying when being interviewed . If a person wants what he has to say to be believable, then he has to make it a point not to make misleading statements or just outright lies.

    If we, as a sport, are going to rely on ourselves to police the sport, then I want the people policing to have a “moral high ground”. I don’t think Jonathan, as of now, has that trait. He has pretty much volunteered to led us, as a sport , out of the dark. It doesn’t help much when he keeps blowing out the candle himself.


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