Doping News During the Tour, Let Lance Keep his Titles??, Levi Follow-up

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I think it is more than a little strange that the UCI always waits until the Tour to start releasing the positive doping tests that have been going on for years. It seems like they are trying to let all the media attention from the Tour, hopefully, hide the bad publicity of doping positives for cycling.

Today they released the doping positive of Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. A British rider that was wined and dined by both Sky and Garmin. Here is a guy that has a blood profile screwy enough to be suspended, and the two “clean” teams of the Pro peleton are fighting over him. It goes to show you that these teams don’t do shit for testing or checking out the guys that they hire. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

Just last week, the UCI published another list of doping positives and buried on the bottom of the list, Dennis Menchov’s name was listed, and he was suspended for two years for adverse biological passport findings. That guy had been associated with doping his whole career and they snag him for a messed up biological passport for the previous 5 years, after he retired. Great. Plus, they leave him win the 2009 Giro win, even though they boot him out of the 2009 Tour. Go figure that.

Three other guys were on the July 10th release, Leonardo Bertagnoli, Carlos Barredo and Leif Hoste. They disappeared with little fanfare it seems.

How about the poll of past Tour riders that said that 12 of the past 25 Tour de France winners say that Lance should keep his 7 Tour titles? It is very suprising because you’d think that it would be politically incorrect to state that publicly. The most interesting yes, in my opinion, was Andy Schleck. Man, that guy is an idiot. At least Contador and Eddy Merckx are bright enough to not answer the question.

I know that Lance thinks that he “deserves” his titles. I understand his argument. My problem with it is that he knew, at the time he was doping, that if he was caught, he would be stripped of the wins. That was part of the deal. And he was “caught”, so disqualifying him from the race seems natural. His argument about a lifetime ban seems much more valid than the Tour title question.

It’s very hard not to think that every past Tour winner that says Lance should keep his titles was not doping themselves to win the race. I have to assume that is true. I can’t think of another reason to have that view. Cycling has always been polluted this way.

Levi racing last weekend got a lot of people riled. I had a lot of comments on my post, but over at his Strava page of the race, there is a lot of banter. A couple Pro riders, including Jamey Driscoll, who finished 2nd to Levi on Saturday, in the Crusher in the Tushar, pipes in. You know my views, I hate the guy is racing still. Here is a answer that Levi himself addressed after a comment about him racing – I actually agree with your sentiment and it wouldn’t make sense for me to show up to national level races and compete. But please understand that the Crusher is a timed, mass-participation event with all ages and levels of ability, and it’s all about pushing yourself in a spirit of fun. It’s an event unlike the races that Jamie, for example, gets paid to do.

I’m not sure what 1st place was, but I read it was $2500. Maybe it was only $1000. Plus he won $250 for “winning” the KOM. So he might of won $2750. Even if he donates his prize money to charity, the prize money didn’t go to Jamey Driscoll. Let me tell you, in this day and age of sucky prize money, $2750 is nothing to sneeze over. Maybe to Levi it is a race to “push yourself in the spirit of fun”, but to a lot of the other guys, it was a straight on bike race.

I got a email from another Pro rider who decided to talk to Levi about his feeling – Hey Steve, I read your post on Levi and thought I would share a story with you. Last year at a local race I told Levi that I am angry at him and that I wanted to bury the hatchet because I did not think it was fair to single him out. His response was “Why are you angry?” When I told him that he acted unfairly and cheated he flatly denied that he cheated anyone and went on to say that he never doped for the domestic races that he won. Either this man is disillusional or stupider than he looks. All I wanted was a little apology or “I can see how you feel that way.” Fuck him

These guys don’t have remorse. These are pissed they were caught and that is the only thing that bothers them. They think that everyone was doing it and it was just business as usual. I was racing this whole time and I can categorically state that no, everyone wasn’t doing it. Guys that Lance and Levi beat up at Leadville weren’t doing it. Guys that Lance, Levi and Chris Horner pounded at Nevada City weren’t doping. But, according them, they weren’t doping during that time either, or according to Levi, at any domestic races. I guess he forgot he was disqualified from the Criterium Nationals back in 1996. That race seems pretty domestic to me. But, maybe he was just riding it in the “spirit of fun”.

I clipped this photo from Facebook.  Here Levis is leading a line of riders.  I guess the guy at 2nd isn't happy with Levi's weekend fun ride pace.  What a great photo.

I clipped this photo from Facebook. Here Levis is leading a line of riders. I guess the guy at 2nd isn’t happy with Levi’s weekend fun ride pace. What a great photo.

53 thoughts on “Doping News During the Tour, Let Lance Keep his Titles??, Levi Follow-up

  1. San Fransisco Jacks

    You have no idea how far $250 goes at the San Fransisco Jacks monthly meeting. But we tell George to leave his cash at home.. but bring that huge wad!

  2. channel_zero

    These guys don’t have remorse. These are pissed they were caught and that is the only thing that bothers them.

    Exactly. And USA Cycling is part of the problem.

    Again, there are some good people at USAC, but the leadership, that cannot be fired, is perfectly okay with doping.

  3. Consistency Sake

    If you give Lance his TdFs, you gotta do the same for Floyd (2006) and Alberto (2010). It’s all the same.

  4. joriverdog

    I am no physiologist, but it stands to reason and common sense that if you had a pretty good doping program going on….there would be benefits that would last past even one month. Increases in Mitochondria, Mirco vascular benefits, increases in muscle mass and decreases in body fat and who know what else…so maybe you did not dope one week or two weeks , or even a month before a domestic event…you still cheated and benefitted in no small way. Cycling has become a bit sick at the top levels, and like Tyler Hamilton said in his book…”I still believe it is going on”

  5. H Luce

    Proofreading: ” I was racing this whole time and I can’t categorically state that no, everyone wasn’t doing it.” That’s opposite to your intended meaning, I think: “I was racing this whole time and I can categorically state that no, everyone wasn’t doing it.”

    When you’re racing for $2750, it’s not for “fun”, especially if you need the money for rent, food, etc. Some rich guy cheats you out of that money, it’s more than obscene, but I think a lot of that is precisely what went on.

  6. H Luce

    And it just occurred to me, if Levi is racing for “fun”, then he should relinquish his podium spot to the second place winner, who should get the top podium spot and the prize money – and the same for the KOM prize. If it’s for “fun”, then his result shouldn’t be in the official standings.

  7. Ben

    I disagree a bit. Garmin can get a blood sample, and do some testing, but dont have access to the whole profile. Maybe they and sky need to start asking for the full profile, i dont know if they can even get it, but a single test doesnt give you much.

  8. mjl

    Today they released the doping positive of Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. A British rider that was wined and dined by both Sky and Garmin. Here is a guy that has a blood profile screwy enough to be suspended, and the two “clean” teams of the Pro peleton are fighting over him.

    I thought it was slipstream policy to require the athlete to provide their blood history. Did slipstream get that far in the process?

  9. Jon

    Any money Levi ever wins by coming in first should automatically be given to whoever came in second.

  10. The Instigator

    Some might be interested to know that Levi is at the big Specialized dealer convention in Monterey, CA this week. See – just like Christian getting a sweet commentating deal – cheating pays.

  11. Paul

    So… as much as I don’t think that doping should be in sport, I do think it was an era that we are going to be eternally climbing out of. Levi is a friend of mine, and though I was crushed to learn that he was doping during his career, that does not change the fact that he is a very talented athlete, generous and willing to help, and also, in a level playing field of doping he was not the fastest.
    In orchestrated doping, semi controlled by ludicrous doping profiles and arbitrary biological markers, those athletes all doped to the same level… so it by default was fair in the top part of the peleton at certain races. This is not a defense of doping but merely a reflection on the time.
    The picture of the gentleman flipping off Levi is just as unsportsmanlike as the hashtagging of photos of Levi saying #doperssuck and so forth. If you want the moral win, do not stoop to the level you are insulting. Keep it classy and be stoked that your clean athletic abilities can be tested against the best; those people you watched as a kid suffering up the big mountains, the guys who inspire us to take vacations that involve bikes, and the guys that make us frustrated on Strava, but also fuel our love of sport.

  12. Wayde

    Did I miss a memo? You’re dragging Horner into the mix? I’m a fan Steve, so don’t take it the wrong way, but I’m trying to keep it all straight.

  13. Brian

    Levi and others like him need to have some class and just go away. Him winning TCiT is ridiculous and taking any money just multiplies the effect. That is money he is taking from other riders. Is the guy never satisfied? But, he must feel entitled and/or welcome or he would not be there.

    Levi never doped domestically? Give us a break! What sense would it make to only dope in Europe? There is almost no testing here in the US and there are big and prestigious races. So, the motivation and the opportunity is there. Plus, he is already doping and enjoying the fruits thereof. Why stop? It has to be assumed that he doped domestically and he is a proven and admitted liar and doper. How about the ToC wins? Are we to believe he was clean and yet he beat that world class field during the doping heyday? How about when him and George Hincapie teamed upon Neil Shirley at the US Natz? George won, Levi second, and Shirley got worked. In my book, Neil Shirley is the real 2007 US Pro Road Champion. When a person, in this case Levi, has proven themself to be a liar and a doper and admitted the same under oath, then the lame denials of doping should be treated with extreme skepticism. Extreme skepticism. That’s why your mom and dad told you to tell the truth when you were a kid. If you become known as a liar, no one will believe you when you really need to be believed. It’s a case of “The boy who cried wolf” and is really basic common sense… something that seems to be sadly lacking in cycling.

    You have to give people like Greg Lemond, Travis Tygart, Christophe Bassons, and Dick Pound their due credit. There were many others, too. Betsy Andreu… Matt DeCanio tried to tell anyone who would listen… They all tried to tell the truth to the world years ago and the world responded by at best avoiding the issue and at worst directing all the anger and resentment toward them instead of toward the real culprits- the doped riders and their complicit cohorts. In the end, Pound, Tygart and the others mentioned were proven to be right all along. Greg Lemond spoke the truth all along and was wrongly vilified for doing so and made to look like an idiot. He and his wife Kathy should be getting awards for enduring the storm of negativity they had to live through for simply standing up for the truth and for what was, and still is, right.

    Should Lance be given his seven TdF victories back? The simple answer is no, because he broke the rules. But the real answer isn’t that simple because if you take his wins away, you have to do the same for the victories of Floyd, Ullrich, Delgado, Merkcx, Anquetil, and so so many others that I don’t recall as of this writing. And then, who gets the victories after you have taken them away? The second or third place finishers? They were all admitted or proven dopers, too! Where do you draw the line? The justice has to be meted out equally or not at all. The authorities have neither the stomach nor the attachments to do so. Same goes for the public at large. And, realistically it cannot be done because of the pervasive nature and the long history of doping. In the end, there seems to be no simple answers. The deeper you dig, the deeper you need to dig.

    The sport of cycling is a great thing. The sport of bike racing can also be a great thing. But sadly, competitive cycling has been something altogether different for a very, very long time..

  14. Greg

    Just FYI — Levi is reportedly signed up (again…he did it last year but flatted out) for this year’s running of the Downieville Classic All Mountain MTB race ( that will be held the first weekend of August. Outside of any USAC competition, it is arguably one of the biggest MTB events in the country (with maybe the Whiskey 50 the biggest given the large prize purse of that event). He’ll be racing against the likes of Carl Decker and other genuine, legit MTB pro’s.

    If he wins, I’m hoping he gets boo’d off the podium.

  15. kjabsdfkjbsdf

    Hey dumb shit, Horner is red hot guilty. Do some research and ask some people who know more than you.

  16. chuck martel

    Evidently the use of drugs in elite level cycling was common knowledge in the peloton for years. “Clean” riders are just as guilty as dirty ones in that they were lending legitimacy to contests that they could not win. The best course of action would be to eliminate from competition any rider that held or holds a UCI license as of yesterday. Start all over again with a new crop of unblemished riders.

  17. Jamie Morgan

    Boycott any cycling event (non-sanctioned race, charity ride, fondo, etc.) allowing the dopers AND make your boycott extremely public. Hit the promoters and event sponsors continuing to support dopers in their wallets. Directly tell Burke you will boycott his Tusher Crusher until he changes his position.

    Make all of the boycotts public and be a positive action example for other clean cyclists to emulate.

    Stop buying Specialized products since they clearly have no issue with Levi as a marketing representative of their company. Publicly state why you are boycotting Specialized – as their principal consumers, we possess HUGE power to dictate how they will act moving forward.

    It is time that clean cyclists take our sport back by our own direct actions. Let’s stop complaining and be willing to make real choices, and potentially competitive sacrifices, to force the promoters & regulatory bodies to respond to our desired direction for cycling.

    Cycling is our sport, and it will die immediately without our continued participation.

    I was thinking Levi could have shown up the following day if he was simply out for a fun cycling outing. He could know in his solitude how his timing matched the clean racers competing in the real event. His participation was about one thing – his own continued publicity and ego. Levi = Lifetime Doper.

  18. Getskied

    I think it is common knowledge that a doped peloton isn’t a “level playing field”. One rider with hematocrit artificially boosted to 50% will have a different benefit than another with the same artificially boosted level. We won’t ever know how Levi would have competed cleanly against a clean peloton. One thing is certain, the noble course would have been for him to slide back out of the prize money spots near the KOM and finish.

  19. bj

    I completely agree about the prize money and the podium, but the KOM? reallY? I guess I did not realize Strava was all business these days, I mean I realize some people take it waaaay to serious, but stripped of a KOM because you are out having fun and not racing for keeps doesn’t make sense

  20. Arno Nymous

    So, so wrong, Paul.

    Put simply: doping affects different people to different levels. “Responder” is a word bandied around.

    And it goes like this: if you grabbed 10 guys who all had the same power for 60 minute efforts, after 5 years of full-time racing and training at the pro level (ie they are hitting their genetic potential), and doped them exactly the same way, with exactly the same products and same amounts, those 10 guys would end up putting out different power, no longer the same.

    They become products of the doping.

    Yes, they are already elite athletes, incredibly physically and mentally tough, training harder than anyone else yadda yadda. But the bottom line is it is not fair, no matter what, ever.

    It’s entirely random.

    And definitely not level.

  21. mark - Bici Italia Cycling Tours

    Levi=no class. The example these guys are setting is that it definitely pays to dope. Just make sure you have a bigger doping rat on your team to rat out to the authorities if the shit goes bad. Levi, George, Zabriske, and Christian ALL came out of this looking spotless. Anybody notice that with Christian doing the Tour commentary this year that there is ZERO talk about doping from Phil, Paul, and Bobke?

  22. I Hawkeye

    Interesting that a lot of comments that cheaters shouldn’t prosper but never any mention of Frankie Andreu as a cheater still prospering. I believe he as even stated that he was no different than the other cheaters. Still in cycling and even commenting on the Tour. I don’t believe he ever gave back any earning for his doping years, he even went to work for US Postal when he retired from racing.

  23. donkybhoy

    That photo is shit. Why do it behind his back? Why not to his face or better still, runt he guy off the road and tell him dopers like him are not wanted…….not flipping him the finger behind his back. If you gonna do something do it to his face!

  24. Bill Laudien

    For you guys who came into the sport during Lance’s third tour, a little history lesson. Levi was a middling 22 year old domestic amateur no better than Matt Cooke. His first result of note was the amateur crit title which, not so surprisingly was invalidated for a positive doping test. After that he was picked up by a very suspect John Wordin team. ( John Wordin the same guy who “coached” Floyd Landis from a middling mountain biker to a world class pro). After that was a stint on Saturn…another team with a tarnished history. And every team that followed had the same history and the same reputation. So those of you who continue to change your absurd argument from ” he didn’t do it” , to ” everyone did it”, now to ” it didn’t matter, he was better than you without dope” should probably find a new song to sing…this one doesn’t hold up either.

  25. Bolas Azules

    Love these guys that dope to the gills for YEARS – some on a 260 day-a-year ‘program’ and think that because they didn’t shoot-up the day of a race they aren’t ‘doping.’

    WTF! Not only are they cheats, they really have no idea what they are putting into their bodies or what it does to them. Like so many ex-pros and ex-dopers, enjoy your heart attacks, cancers & drug additictions later in life.

  26. Bolas Azules

    BigBill – the 1989 Tour T.T. Lemond won was a one direction T.T. With a “moderate tailwind” sure it was fast but it doesn’t mean he was doped.

    Conversely, I am with you that the ‘vitamin B-12 shots’ the federation and their eastern block coach were shooting into the asses of every Junior at the OTC as far back as 1978 were infact PEDs and anyone from that era that claims to be ‘clean’ needs to re-think what they are preaching.

  27. Spencer

    Quick correction, the UCI didn’t suspend Menchov after he ‘retired.’ The suspension dropped while he was still racing and his team terminated his contract. We are just now hearing about it because the UCI never sent out a press release. While it’s certainly not ideal, he was indeed caught, forced out of the sport and a big money contract because of his passport irregularties. The press is the only one here who seems to have not done their job. They should have snuffed that faux retirement out from the get go.

  28. Francisco Mancebo

    I would relish the opportunity to give the Midget an earful, and you too

  29. Jeff M

    Jon- I like your idea of Levi having to give the prize money automatically to the 2nd place guy. Levi would effectively be the domestic of Everyone in the peleton. That way his “just for fun” racing would be legitimized in “his mind” and the rest of the guys racing wouldn’t mind making a convicted doper, bust his ass for them. Sure, Levi would eventually drop the rest of the guys but at least they could use him up until he got sick and tired of not being on the podium, no prize money, no glory, no motivation to win because he isn’t allowed to. Gee, that doesn’t sound like “fun” anymore.

  30. gerrycurl

    Levi clearly doesn’t believe in his sanction, because to show up any ANY competitive event (regardless of affiliation) is to say “I’m not really banned”. I remember some years ago when Tyler Hamilton went ahead and rode (and won) Mt. Washington during his (first) ban, he was castigated by either USAC or the UCI for violating the spirit of his sanction.

    Levi (and I know you’re reading this), you might not believe you should be prevented from racing, but listen here… Most of us are not impressed. You hereby suck.

  31. Mark

    Any one who sponsors the hairy little midget will never receive another dime of my hard earned money. Specialized, Zipp, SRAM, Quarq, Oakley, Clif Bar and Road ID can all go screw.

  32. GrizzlyAdam

    It’s not based on Strava, it’s just an award given to the first rider across the top of the climb. It’s not even given to the fastest rider, just to the first.

  33. le heckleur

    fucking John Wordin !! that guy is greasy as hell. I’d love to see the financials for his ‘veteran-owned non-profit.’ Getting free bikes from Raleigh and then selling them to the government for wounded warriors…all while receiving preferred veteran status…how long was he in the military again? A few months maybe? A word of warning to anyone involved with Ride 2 Recovery…

  34. Bob Schwartz

    “Did Moninger get bumped by NBC for the doper?”

    I’m curious, have any of you guys that think Moninger was clean read the judgement where the lab results he presented to show supplement contamination were shown to be faked? No doubt he’s gotten a lot of mileage out of whatever he spent for that.

  35. Mike Rodose

    Prove that Lemond doped.

    Like it was proven about Lance and others. Only then we can say he’s a doper.

    Note that Lance, Ullrich dopers in the ITT were doing twice the Lemond distance at a greater speed.

  36. The REAL Pro

    John Wordin is f*cking TOOL! That idiot was and is the biggest manipulator, liar, and bully around.

  37. bigbill

    mike rodose

    greg won the tour!!he the link they weren’t doing double the distance-lemonds 24k speed was faster then board mans 5k speed faster the cancalleras 7k speed,2nd highest ITT speed EVER!!!!!
    compare it to zebriskie’s doped to eyeballs [email protected] kmh speed
    lemonades”clean”24k speed 54.5kmh speed on old non aero no carbon zipp disc808 seems unreal

  38. L

    I raced at the quasi-pro level for several years in the early 90s. Tour of Willamette from 89-94, Redlands, Gastown Gran Prix in 1990, 91, 92 and 93, Nationals, Collegiate Nationals. Not only did I race clean – as in no supplements and no needles (not even IV rehydration) – I did so thinking I was competing against racers who were doing the same. What a fool I was. I raced against Armstrong, HIncapie, Julich and that entire crew of cheaters at one time or another.
    NONE of these dopers deserve anything other than our scorn and contempt. If ANY of them ever shows up at an event I will not only LOUDLY boo, I will gladly and righteously harass them until they are too embarrassed to continue.
    These guys and the culture they participated in ruined the lives of an entire generation of cyclists. They all continue to profit from their lies by refusing to provide the kind of exquisite details that would help combat doping. No one has ever extracted from Levi or CVV or Hincapie their exact doping schedule…all we get is some modified, limited hang-out full of evasions and more coverup.
    I personally know at least one cyclist from Eugene OR, who went to the USOTC in the mid 90s who ended up suing the OTC for the doping they inflicted on him. Until Levi, CVV, Armstrong, Julich and Vaughters step up and start naming the names of the corrupt within USA Cycling, they deserve NO PLACE anywhere near our sport.

  39. Zac

    The stage you’re talking about was mostly downhill and with a tailwind. Greg did his TT with a rear disk, aero helmet, and aerobars. There’s nothing particularly suspicious about going fast in those conditions.

    EPO also didn’t during the 1989 tour, much less in his earlier career when he showed he was one of the strongest riders in the peloton.

    But if Greg Doped, why did he go from being the strongest rider in the world to being unable to stay with the peloton once blood doping came on the scene in the mid-90’s?

  40. chuckg

    well, my girlfriend is a stripper – 5’6″ 111 lbs with DD’s. And I’ll tell you she would not be with any midget of a man…

    ALL RACING IS DIRTY – it always has been drug filled and it always will be…. you cannot control it – it’s fucking impossible to control…. it’s never going to happen, it cannot happen at any level.. REALIZE IT !! SWALLOW IT – IF YOU WANNA WIN – DO DRUGS – or shut the fuck up.

    You all sound like a group of farmers living in a small town, a small town with paved roads and posted speed limits, but there’s no police in the town, so the farmers sit around talking about who they think has been speeding – and it’s fucking pointless.

  41. Larry T.

    +1 If these pricks still show up to “race” a few guys should simply escort them off the course, if you know what I mean. I think they’d get the hint after a time or two.

  42. Art G

    There is no such thing as a “level playing field of doping”.

    Each athlete’s physiology is unique, and some people are much more responsive to blood boosting than others.
    Doping erodes the integrity of the sport.
    When you apply for a racing license, you agree to not dope.
    Whether you are attempting to justify a dopers’ behavior in order to avoid bursting your hero worship balloon, or in order to justify your own behavior, cheating is still wrong, no matter what your excuse might be.


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