Deals, Cheating or Just Part of the Sport???

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Since a few guys have “confessed” about the deal Lance made to win a million dollars, there is a lot of buzz around about deals in the sport and whether it is cheating or just part of the competition. I wrote and a post a couple years ago, when Alexander Vinokourovwas “caught” paying Alexander Kolobnev to guarantee a victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

In that post, I told of a story about making a deal in a big money criterium in Northern California, the Coor’s Devil Cup. I scanned the newspaper article from the San Francisco paper and the article makes the situation look bad, unsportsmanlike and what some would consider cheating. It wasn’t.

In that post, I wrote – I’ve written about this before, but cycling is a very strange sport because of drafting and team tactics. The best guy doesn’t always win the race. And a rider conceding to not win before the race is officially over isn’t “fixing” the results. It is the weaker rider trying to maximize his results. It happens all the time.

The Lance situation is different. He got together, before the race, and made deals with at least one team, possible more, to “fix” the race. Then he made more deals on the road to guarantee he would win. Plus, there was “extra” money to be thrown into the equation. It wasn’t just the prize list that the sponsors, etc., had already spent. There was an extra $1,000,000 that was backed by an insurance policy. So, some unlucky corporation, or maybe individual, had to pay Lance out a lot of money because he won the Triple Crowne. That changes up the situation quite a bit. At the time, I didn’t think too much of it. But looking back now, it seems just wrong.

I’ve made lots of deals throughout the years. By lots, I mean lots. And I’m not unique. It is a common thing in the sport. It might be a simple as telling a guy in a break that you’ll pull even with him. OR splitting a prime with a guy you’re off the front with. But, it can be much more complicated, depending upon the situation. And hardly deals are ever made that actually change the finish places of the race. The deals that are made concerning finish order are usually just a rider conceding to another rider to try to maximize his place. I’ll give you an example of a couple situations where deals were made. You decide if you think they were “unsporting”.

The first case was up in Milwaukee, at a Superweek race, Alpine Valley. It was towards the end of the race. I was in a 5 rider group. There were 3 guys up the road, so we were going for 4th through 8th. It was a couple laps from the end and I was falling apart. I finally realized that I wasn’t going to make to the finish if I keep pulling even. So I decided to sit on. I started receiving a far amount of grieve for it, so I told the guys that I wouldn’t sprint and would finish last.

So, I sat on for probably at least 30 minutes. On the last lap, maybe 10 miles from the end, I looked back and another group of riders were coming up. I told “my guys” that they better get going. I started rotating through again, not wanting to get caught. The last time up the climb, maybe 5 miles from the finish, looking back, I could tell the group behind was going to catch us. Right then, a guy out of “my group” attacked. I sat, and none of the other 3 guys could respond. So I jumped up to the guy, but was done. He said something about pulling through, I told him I was dead, which I was, and said again, I wasn’t going to sprint. He pulled me to the finish, I didn’t sprint, but ended up 5th.

The group behind us caught the remainder of our group and I don’t really remember how they ended up, but not 4th or 5th for sure. After the race two of the guys from the original group came up to me and started giving me shit about beating them. They were pissed. I didn’t understand it at all. The situation had changed. I had made an agreement to get last in our group, which was 8th place. I didn’t make a deal to get 15th, which is maybe where I would have finished had I just sat on and gotten caught by the chase group. When the mix of riders changes, then all the deals are off.

Here’s an example of that. My team mate, Brian Jensen, got up the road in a big local race down in Oklahoma with Stefan Rothe and two or his team mates. It was really bad for our team, but I was riding like hell when they went up the road. I watched as Brian rode away with 3 guys on the same team and was thinking what a disaster that was. I was in the 2nd group with two guys from the Tulsa Wheelmen, Will Gualt and Janne Hamalainen. Plus, Chad Cagle, Stefan’s team-mate was there. The course was maybe a 6 mile loop with a hard climb every lap. Will and Janne are both super climbers and were pretty much doing a two man TT for hours. Chad and I were just sitting on. Chad, because he had 3 team mates up the road and me, because I was riding very poorly, using Brian being in the break as a pitiful excuse.

After sitting on for maybe 50 miles or so, I started feeling way better. Good enough that Will and Janne were going too slow for me climbing. I only had to worry about Chad, which is a big worry if it comes down to a sprint. So, with two laps to go, on the climb, I attacked. I got a good gap on Chad on the climb and felt pretty good going over the top and got into a rhythm. Crossing the finish line with one lap to go, someone yelled I was only 50 seconds back on the leaders. I thought that was impossible, but on the climb, I saw a couple guys from the break a lone. We were lapping guys too, so it was a little confusing who was who.

We I got to the top of the climb, there is a couple mile section along a 4 lane highway. Just a few hundred meters ahead, I could see Stefan and Brian together. I knew they were the leaders. I was planning on catching them and going right by them, but Stefan looked back just at the right time and saw me. When I rolled up, he instantly said that he had a deal with Brian. Then Brian told me they had a deal. Brian had made a deal with them 2 hours earlier, understandably, because he was out numbered 3 to 1. I told them I had no deal. Both seemed a little mixed up. Then I attacked. Stefan easily caught me. I told Brian to go to the gutter and drill it to the finish. The wind was coming from the left and Brian only left enough room for me, leaving Stefan in the wind. Even so, I barely outsprinted Stefan at the finish.

Stefan was super pissed. He immediately slammed on his brakes, did a u-turn, went to his car and left. Stefan and I go way back. He’s a super guy and really good rider. So, I emailed him that night and explained the situation. I told him the every same thing I wrote above. That all deals are off when the mix of riders changes. I gave him another scenario.

I asked him this. What if Will or Janne would have jumped up to them? It just happened that I was Brian’s team mate. Do you think Stefan would have told them that they had a deal and that they had to finish 3rd. No way. When the mix changes, then all the deals are off.

Here’s another deal, that I wasn’t involved in, but it still bugs me. Back in 2001, I was at a race in Arkansas or somewhere, and I heard that Ian Dille, an up and coming rider from Texas, had finished 2nd in the U23 National Road Race. That was an awesome result. Then I heard the play by play and was shocked. Ian was away at the end of the race with Mike Friedman, who now rides for Optum. Anyway, Ian was ripping Mike’s legs off and Mike told Ian that he wouldn’t sprint and would get 2nd. So, Ian buries himself all the way up the final climb. A few hundred meters from the finish, Ian looks back to see if they are going to make it and Mike jumps him and wins.

When I heard the deal from Ian, I was super pissed, even though it had nothing to do with me, my team, nothing. I told Ian that he should file a protest with USAC. He asked me on what grounds. I told him unsportsmanlike conduct. Ian was disappointed with the whole thing and accepted it as it was.

I remember reading Mike’s interview in Velonews after the race and he said something about Lance “acting” like he was dying for the TV in the Tour, then destroying Jan Ulrich later on during the stage. Somehow comparing that to his situation of actually telling Ian that he was conceding, then jumping him to win at the end. It was bullshit. From my perspective, Mike Friedman “cheated”. A deal is a deal in the sport of bike racing. Mike should have been disqualified.

Mike is a super good guy. He was green back then and would never do that nowadays. I’m sure if he had a chance to do it over again, he would.

I’m sure he now understands how serious and binding a verbal agreement is in a bike race. That is why I am still bothered by the situation today. There is no going back on your word in cycling. It is very important for the sport, that the deals, no matter what they are for, are always kept.

Anyway, these are a few situations in the sport that might seem strange to the layman, but goes on all the time in bike racing. It seems a little strange when money exchanges hands, but that usually isn’t wrong. Sometimes it might seem a little unorthodox, but cycling is a very unique sport, where drafting and other influences decide the outcome of a race. The deal making isn’t a bad part of the sport, it is just a part of it.


37 thoughts on “Deals, Cheating or Just Part of the Sport???

  1. Greg

    Hey this was very interesting read. I think another point to make is that cycling doesn’t pay for shit most of the time so money exchanging hands might seem kinda cruddy but if you’re making $20,000 a year, an extra $500 or $1,000 is a pretty big deal, so if that’s the difference in payout between 2nd place and 8th place, then making a deal with your breakmate might be totally worth it.

  2. Belivelo

    I would have been pissed at you in your first example at superweek. You were only able to jump to the attacking rider because you sucked wheels so long. You would not have gotten 5th if not for the group that you wheel sucked? Sometimes you make split second decisions that are not completely ethical in hindsight. Do it too many times and you get pretty unpopular at races.

  3. John Sandberg

    I’ll never forget the first time I was confronted by a possible “deal” in a race. It was a WORS MTB race and, with about 20 minutes from the finish, another racer offered me all his prize money if I would let him win (so he could get the maximum series points).

    I’d never heard of deals in bike racing prior to that. I was absolutely appalled by the idea. Still am.

    The way I see it, you compete at the very best of your abilities every time you enter a race. Those abilities are both physical and tactical. I definitely don’t include “deals” in the tactical category.

    One of the most beautiful moments during a bike race is when you’re at the limit, nearly blown, and you’re trying to measure yourself against whomever you’re racing for the final push to the finish (whether it’s for 1st or 100th). Those moments involve self-doubt, courage, resolve, fear and probably about 10 other emotions. But to game the moment by making a deal completely destroys it by reducing the moment to little more than a business transaction.

    Deal making invites corruption, misunderstanding (both of Steve’s examples underline this fact) and, IMO, an unsportsmanlike element to any form of competition.

    In the last decade or so I’ve realized that deal making is a part of road racing. That realization, along with the prevalence of doping, has nearly destroyed my enjoyment of the sport. Because I have no idea if what I’m watching is real.

    I love your blog Steve and I appreciate that you explained your perspective on it.

  4. Rod

    Shades of gray Steve? Deal being made, money being exchanged. Sounds like the pot calling the
    kettle black. The authorities will decide this, not self-righteous internet postings.

  5. Oldster

    I too would have been annoyed with you at Alpine Valley, you played possum, told everyone you were playing possum and then suddenly had the energy to bridge? You suckered a few into covering for you and pulling a bit more than they should have. That was always a hard race back in the day, just finishing was a feather in the cap. 5th place on back was like a mountain bike race, folk were spread out all over the place

    The Stefan thing is 50/50 – there was some gray area and you were kinda right. That being said, next time you are smashing into a parking meter or something make sure he isn’t around. I would have sheepishly exchanged checks with him and offered a beer so as to not upset the balance of the universe

    As far as the deal making, its part of the sport. We’ve all been duped at some point, not really a hanging offense. Gag – what a world class douche. hasn’t been in the news for a while, surprised he’s still kicking around – figured Graeme Miller had him “taken care of” before he went back to New Zealand.

  6. SB

    I was in a 3-up break in a small crit and we agreed to split the primes by taking turns. We each ended up getting 1 prime, then we sprinted for the finish. My prime was some coupon for something I have no interest in. I blame Lance.

  7. 1speed

    Steve — I always find your posts interesting and informative and I agree that the Thrift Drug Million Dollar Payout was a fraud on a whole different plane. However, in this case, as much as I love hearing the insider perspective, I have to call bullshit on all of this. It always floors me when pros use the “it’s a pro thing — you wouldn’t understand” logic to explain what really amounts to simple dishonesty. You may not agree, but cycling isn’t for the pros. In a sport like cycling, pros only exist as conduits for the promotional aspirations of their sponsors — that is, were it not for those aspirations or the belief that there is a return on thier investment, there would be no sponsors and without sponsors, there would be no pros. You’d all be just a bunch of very talented weekend warriors. And those promotional aspirations can exist solely because of the financial value of publicity you generate. That’s why the seemingly odd pairing of the USPS with cycling worked back in the early 00’s — it brought publicity overseas, which opened avenues to increase the USPS presence in overseas shipping. Without that value, USPS Cycling never exists. So, in effect, the whole system comes down to the public’s response. And the public — the lay people you refer to here — doesn’t expect (or perhaps more accurately, doesn’t want) there to be deals in the peloton, which means you are perpetrating a fraud on those fans by making any kind of deals that require anything less than a bleeding-out-your-eyes, fight-to-the-death effort to win. What we want — what we expect — is for your pain and suffering to be honest and true so that we see the glory of a win or any other placing is truly hard-earned. So a team’s tactics work better and they shepherd their boy to the win ove ra singularly superior rider? Too bad. Work harder. Put your own support in the red zone to ensure that doesn’t happen. But don’t use it as an excuse to make deals for a position, because whatever you want to call it, the truth is that’s fraud plain and simple. I wouldn’t speak to the much greater evil concerning the use of PEDs and how that impacts pros specifically (vs. the overall integrity of the sport.) I will take your word on that because your perspective is grounded in a reality I’ll never know. But this? This is a joke. Deals are fraud plain and simple. A simple analogy proves that: in a former job, I sometimes had to compete with other members of my department for projects. Sometimes the deck was clearly stacked against my team — either due to experience of just general rank in the pecking order. Would I ever agree not to put my best foot forward if I could negotiate a place on the winning team’s proect group afterward? Hell no. I’d have been fired for even suggesting it. The whole point of those comeptitions was to get all of us to raise our game. Tanking it because I had a lesser chance of winning wouldn’t have been a harmless deal — it would have been a dis-service to the client. And as a client of pro racing — i.e., the consumer that your sponsor is trying to reach — your deals are a dis-service to me because I am not being given an honest product. And I hope I don’t sound like I am attacking you personally here — that’s not my intention and if it seems that way, I apologize. I get that racing is more chess than checkers — there comes a point where winning for the lone guy in a breakaway against a team working together becomes a fool’s errand. But the crazy fool who still puts it down and tries to disrupt the status quo by going for it anyway even against those odds? That’s honesty and if he blows himself up and gets swallowed up and spit out the back, I’d still be far more impressed and supportive of the sport for his 200th place than if he made a deal to finish 5th by accepting the status quo. Anything else is just, well, dishonest.

  8. Brian Murphy

    Anytime the winner is getting paid it is entertainment not sport and that includes misnamed scholarships.

  9. bob

    There’s not much difference between the Thrift Drug million dollar “fix” and what you did in the Coors’ Devil’s Cup. As you point out, the difference, IMO the only difference, is that Lance made pre-race deals.

    If I understand your Devil’s Cup story correctly, Holbrook and you made a deal almost immediately because he couldn’t hang on. Fine, we’ve all done that. But then it sounds like he started to feel better and was going to renege on the verbal deal, so you offered him cash to throw his race. So, yeah, he was unethical to renege, but you were unethical to throw cash at him to abide by the earlier agreement. I see you talked about splitting primes and whatnot, but that is a completely different deal – that’s OK when you’ve got a breakaway group, everyone is working, and the split is so the breakaway succeeds without worrying about primes, NOT so that one rider wins over another, which is exactly what you did.

    So yeah, Lance made a pre-deal with a few guys. So what? It was O N E M I L L I O N D O L L A R S. You’d have made a few phone calls too. Let’s remember it was a 3 race deal, so after he won the first (cleanly, right?), no other rider had a chance, so the only ‘person’ cheated was the insurance company. Boo hoo. Don’t tell me you care about them — you sure don’t care about the insurance companies in the Obamacare debacle. I don’t think you have any moral authority here. Giving someone money to throw their race is just that, whether it is during or before the race, whether it is $200 or $50,000.

    We all know how little some pros made, so those pre deals lance made probably made life a hell of a lot easier for a bunch of guys for a few months at least…something you can probably relate to, yeah?

    Finally, as you consider yourself an adult and able to make your own decisions, greasy ponytail and Coors Light were adults back in 1993 and they made deals with Lance because it was a good deal for them.

    Is it cheating? YES. Someone is getting cheated. Maybe no one had a chance at the million but surely someone besides lance had a chance at whatever the 1st place check was. But…it’s part of the sport. My whole reaction to the Lance fix is one hearty shrug.

  10. jpete

    This is the only sport I can think of off the top of my head where collaboration with your opponents is an at times essential part of maximizing individual gains. What other sport do you actively cooperate with someone you are trying also to beat. I feel this paradox is what makes the tactics so interesting, brings the “chess” into it.

  11. Asocratic

    Lots of comments that the Alpine Valley example was not so legit. But what is the counter factual? 1; Steve sits on a gets yelled at, 2; They start attacking (each other) whileSteve sits on the chasers. Thats why the deal is conditional on nothing changing. The deal is, If we stay together as this group I will not contest the sprint. Its not, I’ll hang with the slowest rider of this group till the end. What if Steve’s scenario was worded different. While he was pulling trying to help prevent his group from getting caught riders in his group started to pop off the back, then what? Don’t forget what the group is getting out of the deal. They get to work together and if they start getting caught they have a potentially rested rider that can help. Once the group breaks up or gets caught, there is no longer a group deal.

  12. scott

    i totally agree with your thoughts on deal making and changed circumstances, excepting your suggesting filing a protest against friedman. being a dick is not a uscf violation.

  13. Robo

    It’s not sporting. It’s collusion. And between that and doping, the deck is stacked against sponsors and insurance companies offering prize money. The more cycling is tainted by this kind of behavior, the less likely corporations are going to get involved and provide much needed sponsorship. (The irony of corporations being scared away by the misdeeds of others is not lost on me).

  14. Bob

    I got this advice from one of the top 2013 NCC riders after a local race. “Next time, when you are on the rivet like that, instantly tell the guys in the breakaway don’t drop me, I’ll do all I can to help and I promise I won’t sprint and I’ll take last in the break. Then, obviously do that because it will follow you for years if you go back on your word.” Your Alpine Valley example I think is OK. One of the guys attacked the group. The other 2 miscalculated how much effort to put into the break. You weren’t really leaving the other 2, you were leaving the guys bridging up from behind. I would be interested to hear from those 2 guys if your version of the events is the same as theirs! 🙂

  15. H Luce

    Let’s see: if you do it in the course of a race, it’s mind games, the mental/emotional aspect of the sport, because nothing is really guaranteed; if you do it before a race, with a bunch of riders who have sufficient capability and number to produce a certain (or near-certain) outcome, it’s “fixing” a race… Hmmm, I don’t know about this, it’s a pretty fine line, and there is the rule that no rider shall compete to lose a race, which in essence is what happens in these deals.

  16. chuck martel

    “Cheating” implies that someone is being cheated. In the case of a bike race, who is that someone? Another rider? Riders in the grupetto? Teammates? Sponsors? Evidently it’s not like horse racing where that kind of activity can lead to a lifetime ban and jail time or worse.

  17. Bob L

    My view/understanding is pretty straight forward:

    In group races, not TT’s, it’s all about deals. Example:
    1. 5 man break is a deal between those riders to work together to influence the outcome of a race.
    2. A few teams come to the front and work together to reel in the break is a deal that influences the outcome of a race.
    3. Sprinters drafting all day to take a win in the last 200m is a deal between riders that influences a race.

    These are excepted and part of bunch racing. It all happens during a race as it unfolds not predetermined which I think is Steve’s point. Teams, drafting and tactics of road races are all deals to some degree but are played out as they happen.
    The description of everyone giving 100% for the whole race not relying on anyone else is only possible in a TT. I don’t much like watching TT but watching a break trying to succeed with the peleton chasing is pretty awesome.

  18. Skippy

    When are you racing next Steve ?

    Guess a few of those you will be competing with will be remembering these scenarios , computing how it will affect any outcomes ?

    Best wishes to all for the festive season .

    No doubt ALL will have seen the ” dodger ” , failed to miss the bullit meant for pistolero ?

  19. Touriste-Routier

    I tried posting this the other day, but kept getting an error:

    “I am shocked, shocked, that PROFESSIONAL cyclists would conspire so that the only person who could possibly win the $1M triple crown bonus, would actually win it… Let’s see, I am a full time athlete in a low paying sport. As prestigious as this race is domestically, if I am not a US citizen, I can’t win the USPRO title. 1st place in the Philly race was worth $25k, or I could get $50 – $100k by not winning, plus whatever my prize money would be for my place finishing $15k for 2nd, $10k for 3rd…). What would I do… Even if the “bribe” was less, you still have to do the economic math… ”

    I was on race staff for this series; considering the potential payout, it is no surprise that certain aspects of the race were arranged by the riders. What is surprising, is that some are talking about it so openly, especially considering there is nothing to be gained at this point. While I understand people being offended by this, the way the sport is organized and conducted lead to situations like this, particularly when the stakes were so high, relative to their normal earnings.

  20. channel_zero

    The collusion is as old as the sport. Go back a little ways in UCI history and you’ll find Hein Verbruggen as president of the UCI claiming he’s fixed the race fixing issue.

    Some enjoy the elaborate on-road calculations, some want the collusion to be forbidden. It’s **ALWAYS** there and not always rider-to-rider. Could you imagine one DS contacting another offering pay for work closing a gap? How about offering pay to assist a stronger team when your team has no chance?

    For the “I watch cycling in July” crowd, how do you think those long-range breaks stay out there? Collusion. All teams agree it’s okay for those riders to go and try to stay gone. That’s greatly simplified, but should illustrate the point.

    Not saying what Lance did was right, because it wasn’t. But, that it is a *very* difficult problem to contain and has been since the beginning of organized competitive cycling.

  21. The Cyclist

    I’ve heard of deals like this one back in the Peace Race: back off or someone will stick a pump into your front wheel. Well… that’s a real deal, unlike the Monopoly crap Lance been playing to get “his” million.

  22. channel_zero

    the way the sport is organized and conducted lead to situations like this

    Bingo. Not going to change until there’s some leadership changes at USAC.

    I would love to know who pitched whom on the whole payout scheme. Och maybe? Wiesel?

  23. Touriste-Routier

    This has nothing to do with the UCI, USAC, or any other governing body, but with the very nature of the sport.

    You have 20 – 25 teams competing in a pro race, who at times must work together towards common goals.

    Individual racers and team staff sometimes have loyalties that go beyond their teams, to nationalities, friends, training partners, former teammates, future sponsors/teams/teammates, etc.

    Wins are currency for teams/riders/team staff for future contracts (some desperately need them, others don’t).

    Most racers are dependent on prize winnings (and other payments/bonuses) for significant portions of their income.

    The Triple Crown concept just hyper exploited this by offering an unheard of purse for taking all 3 of the races. It doesn’t take an Och or Weisel to figure this out; if one couldn’t envision this scenario, they wouldn’t have made it into the true pro ranks.

  24. Once a runner

    Can’t say I feel like entering a bike race after reading that. Think I’ll become a runner again. No more bullshit deals and I can run as fast or slow as i want without pissing off my fellow competitors.

  25. Bill K

    Steve, I’m sure that you heard of the deal and payoff that was made by the Schwinn/Icy Hot team, a year or two before you joined them. I can’t remember if it was $5000 or a little more.

    Was that cheating??
    There are “fair” cheaters, and then there are “cheating” cheaters.

  26. Neal

    As everyone has noted, deals in races happen all the time — before, during, afterwards. It’s part of the sport and culture — and it’s not necessarily bad. It’s a part of the frustration, enjoyment, beauty and entertainment of racing. Many here are telling stories about the events of races that happened decades ago in excruciating detail because of all the subterfuge. In a way it’s cool even if it still gets us pissed off.

    But what Lance did is substantially different. In all of the races Steve wrote about, the total prize money didn’t change — only how it was awarded between competitors. Lance, on the other hand, colluded with riders to add $1M extra bucks to the prize pool taken from the insurance company’s coffers — money that wasn’t going to be automatically awarded without a triple winner. The money was basically ripped off from the insurance company without a square competition for it (at least as the insurance company would define it I suspect). Hard to feel sorry for them as they shoulda known better anyway. The bonus criteria and amount only incentivized deal making — there was no stage prize money or other reason big enough to try and stop Lance from winning when riders knew that prize money would flow down to them. The size of the bonus gave Lance the ability to fund his victory. How could the insurance company not have seen that coming from 1000 miles away? Funny, but Lance was a modern day cycling Robinhood of sorts. Go Lance!!

  27. Perd

    Uhhhhhh, that’s a lot of words to spit out when you are on the rivet. The most I can usually muster is “not sprinting”…….

  28. johno

    A great reason i love Mountain bike racing as almost always the strongest rider win’s, Not so much of this BS..

  29. Stefan

    Ha! I saw my name mentioned here so I figured I give my $0.02. That was the Salty Cow Race Extravaganza, Day 2 back in 2009. Tilly is pretty much right on what happened during the race. Originally it was 3:1 (Texas Tough vs. Brian Jensen). Then it was just Alex Welch (my teammate) and myself vs. Brian. We had a deal. Alex was off the front solo but by not much, ready to go for the win. Brian was going to be 2nd. Me 3rd. Nobody thought anyone would be able to bridge up to us with one lap to go. Well, Tilly ended up just doing so and the scenario changed. Basically a new race with 15minutes to go in a 60+ mile RR. Steve beat me by a few inches in the final sprint. Was I pissed? Yep. Did I wanted to win the race? Yep. Was I mad couple of hours later? No. He beat me fair & square in a sprint. I agree, a “deal is a deal”. But, when the race scenario changes (like it did) the situation changes…I would have done the same thing to be honest. I had won the P12 field sprint the previous day on an uphill and was quite happy with the weekend already. Tyler Jewell and I rode out to the race (30miles each way) both days and back to Tulsa and that was a great early season weekend for us making the trip up from Austin.

    Love ya Steve!

  30. Just Crusty

    From a business perspective, the million dollar payoff offer was made on the statistical probability that “all things being equal, fair, and above board” it’s not very likely that one guy will win all three races. The people that made that offer didn’t do their “due diligence”.
    Lance’s action was to conspire to defraud the insurance company. There is a legal liability for that action.
    From a cycling perspective, making “ad hoc” agreements late in the race is a part of bicycle racing. The fact that racers have to continue to work cooperatively in future races appears to be enough to force some sense of working ethics into the peloton. Without the spotlight of Lance and/or the million dollar payoff, those agreements would never have been a topic of discussion.

  31. mark

    100% agreed. MTB racing does away with most of this crap. You have to know how to ride a MTB and do it better overall than everybody else. Teammates can’t pull you along or slow a chase group down to give a teammate off the front a better chance. Riders that blast off the start or sprint ahead just to slow down in the single-track usually get “delt with” quickly (usually a front tire into the back of the rear derailleur) so that road tactic just doesn’t work out well.


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