F#%€ the UCI

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It’s time for the honest riders in the sport of cycling to just say fuck you to the UCI.  It is a joke that they issued the Astana team a UCI Pro Tour license, a day after it was reported that the majority of their team participated in a systematic doping program.

We just don’t get it.  The powers at be in the sport really don’t give a shit about the health of the sport or the riders or really even the fans.  All they care about is the money.  Even Bernard Hinault says it’s all about the money.  And the Astana team brings in a ton of money to the sport.

Here is a doctor that has been banned from the sport receiving, reportedly, 30 million Euros for currently doping cyclists.  And no one seems to really care.  At least the people that seem to have the power to do something about it.

The current Tour de France winner, Vincenzo Nibali says he’s good with the finding.  Actually, to quote him

“The problems in this team are also in many others. I don’t think our team is the worst because in other teams there are worse people than there are here, I won’t name names.  There’s Mafia in Sicily, as in the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean we’re all gangsters. As cyclists we’re always trying to show transparency. I’ve always practiced clean cycling and I will continue to do so.”

Wow, I’m not even sure what to make of that.  A report came out that said 17 riders on his current team are associated with a banned doping doctor and he says that.  So, he is implying, by his personal observations,  that “many other” teams are worse than his.  This is without a police investigation into these other teams, just Vincenzo’s personal views from his observations and interactions.

It is unbelievable that the current Tour winner could be so dismissive of something as important as this at this time.  The sport is in horrible shape, using Nibali’s beliefs.

The UCI licensing commission stated – “[The team] has initiated a reorganization of all the support personnel of its riders in order to strengthen its fight against doping within the team to ensure greater prevention and repression,” the commission wrote.  “In view of the heavy and repeated doping cases, which occurred within the Team, it is therefore essential to monitor the implementation of such measures on the ground.”

So, here’s a team that has been shown to have a systematic doping program set up and that the UCI is granting their license because Astana has agreed to “strengthen its fight against doping”.  What fight against doping?  It is contributing to the ongoing process of doping.   I don’t really think there is a fight going on anywhere at this point.

On another note, it’s so nice to see that United Healthcare just signed  Janez Brajkovic to race for them.  Janez has ridden the past three seasons for Astana, and the previous 6 seasons for Johan Bruyneel’s Discovery and RadioShack teams.  Maybe UHC can get a few more of Bruyneel’s guys or Astana’s rejects to come mess up our racing over here?

When Janez was asked about the Astana situation, a team he has ridden for the past 3 seasons, he said, “I’m not going to really think about it a lot. I think there are people in cycling that are deciding what to do, what not to do, how to sanction them. My job here is to deliver for this team now. I’m going to focus on this.”  Pretty profound.

I’ve been getting a few emails and messages from friends.  Friends that ride for UCI Professional teams here in the US.

Here are a couple-

“Steve, What the fuck?  Can you believe they gave Astana a license?  Who is paying these guys to govern our sport?  The whole thing is a joke.”

And another – “So when do we get to say, “fuck the UCI”?  We won’t start a race with dirty cheats in it.  If the other Pro team are really racing clean, Why would they ever start a Pro tour race with Astana in it?”

Anyway, I’m thinking the whole thing is a shame and that we, once again, are just nothing.  And by “we”, I mean all the bike racers that aren’t riding on UCI Pro Tour Teams, plus all the fans of the sport.  Maybe we can rely some on the sponsors to police this?  How about Specialized?  They’re are still probably patting themselves on their backs for Vino winning the London Olympics on their bike to pay much attention to this.

It’s time that there is a whole house cleaning here.  No, it’s time to burn it down.   The whole thing is so polluted that it seems pretty impossible to clean.


PS- Vino personally responded to the media reports on his team today.  He said he had no plans on taking any legal action just now.  He said

“That has never been our goal – of course it’s unpleasant, but we can talk to our lawyers to see what our options are. It used to be we fought back by racing hard on the road, so yesterday I talked with the team by Skype – everyone was really happy, and the last three days have been a deep team building experience – this whole experience has deepened our resolve.

“I told the trainers, Fofonov, Shefer, the riders, that they have to use this helpless anger to prove that the team has won before and will win again without doping – this whole thing has left a deep impression on the team and will motivate us all season, and that is going to help us a lot.”

So, on the bright side, at least this whole deal is giving the Astana Team extra motivation for next season!


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63 thoughts on “F#%€ the UCI

  1. VCScribe

    (Recovered comment)
    Steve, when do you plan to address the 800 lb gorilla in the room: the riders and team officials on BMC who have clear connections to doping practices, doping pasts, associations with doping facilitators, etc.? Many of us share your indignance, but your ignoring the situation so close to home seems hypocritical.

  2. Ron

    (Recovered Comment)
    And I guess Nibali is perfectly ok with racing clean against doped competitors????!!!! THAT in itself says soooooo much about what he likely has going on himself! Lol!!!!

  3. mike crum

    (Recovered Comment)
    vsscribe, so well put… wont happen.. would love to see the bmc team get busted, then steve will finally write a post not about drugs.. lol!! guys a joke. probably hiding his own past drug use..

  4. Evan

    I hear the emotion but you are wrong. They are in the middle of changing a corrupt system of rules. If they went ahead CAS would deny the revocation The UCI is going to get rid of Astana wait and see they will do it

  5. Pepsi Frank

    So much for a cleaner peloton and the sport turning the corner. They didn’t stop doping in 2006 and only those who make mistakes are testing positive.

    The one thing I have not hear of in the past ten years is a rider complaining of racing at two speeds. This leads me to think that virtually everyone is doping. Even on your beloved BMC. Sorry to break it to you friend.

  6. VCScribe

    BMC: formerly employed George Hincapie, admitted doper. Stiil (through next month?) employs Cadel Evans, admitted associate of Michele Ferrari. Team managed by Jim Ochowicz, former employee of Thom Weisel. Riders include(d) Daniel Oss, Marcus Burghardt, Samuel Sanchez, Thor Hushovd, and Alessandro Ballan who, along with Evans, were all listed on the UCI/WADA ‘index of suspicion’ based on anomalous analytic findings.

    Will this ever get a thorough airing in your blog?

  7. Kevin Lyons

    You are correct, for that kind of money and basically no penalty, what does Dr Ferrari care? zip, nada.

  8. Bob

    Why don’t you start the protest off by sending back your masters world champ jersey and by refusing to wear the rainbow stripes (wrongly) on your sleeves in road events?

  9. Bob

    Nope, Steve is a hypocrite windbag. However, he has been saying “fuck the UCI” by wearing rainbow stripes on his sleeves in criteriums for years.

  10. Mm1

    Do grow up Steve. The UCI cannot afford to ignore its own current rules or to waste time and money losing another appeal to CAS. The UCI is committed to following the new WADA code, which comes into force in January and they are also committed to publishing and implementing the recommendations of the CIRC, which is due to report in the New Year. When Astana fail to comply with the conditions set yesterday a way will be open to revoke their licence. Brian Cookson has been very careful to rebuild the UCI’s relationship with WADA and to ensure a seperation of powers for decisions on doping and licencing. What we won’t see anymore are arbitrary decisions (or cover ups) being made behind closed doors.

  11. Pepsi Frank

    And that world championship trim can only be worn in events where it was won. Mountain bike cross country and masters cyclocross is fine but he can’t wear it in road races.

  12. Vojtek

    People are free to say what they will and to complain about the situation, but it is very clear if your eyes and mind are open. Cookson has explained the UCI position and it is simple. Astana has followed all the rules that the UCI has set in place for teams to gain a licence. Therefore, the licence was issued. He is not happy about the decision because of the controversy, but the rules are set and Astana has abided by the rules. There is no mystery. Like it or not, the rules have been followed and applied in an appropriate and just manner.

    Before one judges Astana in this private kangaroo court of internet opinion, one should have a serious look at all the other teams, riders and support staff. Nibali is right! Even BMC is not without suspicion as so many say. To think that it is a problem isolated to Astana ridiculous.

    Tilford- you have been racing for all these decades and these things are just now outraging you? In the year 2014? Have you been racing and living with blinders over eyes and covers over your ears? Have you not been beaten by doped riders right here in your USA?

    Open your eyes and open your mind my friend. The answers are all right before you.

  13. davidh

    The UCI’s astana decision looks and feels terrible, but as others have pointed out it is not irrational from a rules and due process point of view. That the UCI is respecting the rules instead of making it all up is an important step forward. The WT license also gives the UCI maximum leverage over astana right now, which Cookson seems to recognize in pushing Vinokurov to appear before CIRC (http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/uci-chief-cookson-vinokourov-needs-to-open-up_355797).

    Maybe it’s all a smokescreen but I think it is too early to say the new regime is corrupt. There’s certainly reason to be skeptical, though.

  14. davidh

    As for all of you who are howling for Steve to rat out his partner, smash his trophies, euthanize his cats or whatever: get a life and move on. I can’t believe the personal bile being spewed around here. The lack of principle in demanding — through an anonymous comment — that someone “open up” or “come clean” speaks for itself. You guys suck.

  15. Wildcat

    About the stripes. It will never be a decision I will need to make, but if I ever won a world championship anything on a bike – you bet your ass I would be wearing those stripes around all the time. I would have caps, socks, underwear, condoms, everything with the stripes. Hell, I would likely get a world champ stripes tattoo on my arm.

  16. kanzasboy

    Steve and friends,

    I haven’t bothered for months, years…

    Here is a link to “real” reporting via a “German” reporter on the “Russians”- those bad people, ha, ha, ha…


    Do you have the time…

    It’s all joke, has been for decades…

    Being clean is fun… but not much money or records in it….

    Because we are people, no one really finds out what is going on…

    Love to ride, never had the money to ride….

    Like a amateur even…. Funny need to “suffer” and be “right” without doing any WORK…

    Just saying all the way back to Kansas…

    Circle it is…need money to ride race, leisure, necessary…. make money by working the drugs…

    In the sport world…

    Ha, bwah, ha

  17. Bob

    If you’re going to have a strong opinion, that’s fine and great, but you’d better be consistent. You know, and not be silent on teams that you have a personal connection to. Then you’re a corrupt hypocrite.

  18. Christopher

    Really davidh? Because until Steve addresses the 800-lb. gorilla in the room (Och and BMC) he’s a hypocrite of the highest magnitude!

  19. donkybhoy

    And what about the rest of the WT teams and their doping?

    When will UCI get rid of them or do we have to wait till the police of the various countries catch them evading taxes and breaking other laws before they get booted.

    The idea that Astana are the only team doping is a laugh.

    Nibali won the TdF, yes, but would he if Contador and Froome didn’t crash out? I wouldn’t be the farm on it!

    Sky won the TdF without breaking a sweat in 2012, and 2013. Do you think they are clean?

    JV’s runs an internal testing program to monitor his riders, but it could also be argued in order to prevent them testing positive 😉

    This is pro cycling and doping is part of the culture. It will take monumental change to break it.

  20. Bill K

    Things are so much better now since they “got” that basterd Armstrong.

    For years now, I’ve given up paying attention to European Professional bike racing. I have some doubts about American Professional racing (which is really semi-professional because of the pay scale), but all in all, I’d rather watch a Cat 1-2 industrial park Crit, than the TDF. (Hell, include a Cat 3 race in there)
    PS. Give Steve some slack..

  21. channel_zero

    You must be new here. Steve’s been commenting on doping for a very long time.

    And that includes saying nothing about Och/Riis. I’ll take his insights anyway.

  22. Paulie

    Are you serious, BillK? You’d rather watch a bunch of doped up cat1-2 or cat3 guys whirl around an industrial park than watch the best riders in the world fight it out over the toughest terrain? Seriously?

    Congratulations, you’ve been upgraded to a cat1-2 pro in the naive class.

  23. Andrew

    But all the American’s that got busted said the sport has been clean since 2006. This is so confusing. Surely, CVV and Big George weren’t lying to us.

  24. davidh

    The comments here accuse Steve of deleting posts, call him names, and accuse him of being “bought” by BMC/Och — all quite personal and quite specific. Since my assertion that “you all suck” seems to have offended your tender sensibilities, I will be more precise. Do you really think Steve has inside information on doping practices within BMC? In the absence of compelling evidence that he does, I think continuously haranguing him about this is being done for sport and to score points. Those pursuing this line of inquiry appear to be mean-spirited and cruel.

  25. orphan

    Are you kidding? Clean 1,2’s crit? Tell me where. Organized team doping programs like Grand Performance in the midwest.

  26. euro

    Don’t forget Hincapie’s pro team. They are still sponsored by George’s crooked clothing company, Chris Carmichael’s training company and Mark Holowesko’s US Postal crew from a few years back. Some things never change…

  27. Bolas Azules

    I think there’s a very basic disconnect.

    “Can you believe they gave Astana a license? Who is paying these guys to govern our sport? The whole thing is a joke.”

    ? ? ? “Who is paying these guys to govern our sport?” ? ? ?

    This is where a lot of people are missing the point. It’s not YOUR sport; it’s THEIR sport. You are simply allowed to try to race in their events, watch their races, cheer for their riders. No more than me owning the NFL or the New York Yankees.

  28. VCScribe

    davidh —

    Not offended in the least by your comments. I just think you’re missing the point: Steve is one of the most vocal critics of doping in pro cycling and the dishonesty and omerta that surrounds it and its governance. My deleted comment (don’t know it Steve deleted it, but it and one other reader’s concurrence with it CERTAINLY disappeared earlier today) asked a simple question — why vent so much of one’s spleen regarding Astana and Cookson’s apparently soft response when the stinking evidence of crookedness at BMC — the team that employs Steve’s partner and footed the bill for the party that Steve attended in Paris in July 2011, when Evans won the Tour — sits there in front of him every day and is treated with . . . silence? You see no irony in this? Steve is probably understandably reluctant to slam his partner’s employer, but then it makes many of us wonder how he can be so black-and-white about the doping issue when it involves ANYBODY else.

  29. WM

    If certain readers’ posts are being deleted, censored or edited, then the blog will lose credibility. If Tilly wants to blog about very controversial subjects as he always does, then the readers’ reactions should be allowed without any discrimination. Sure, some comments are over the top. But, that’s okay and you can’t escape the fact that it was Tilford who opened the can of worms in the first place. You can’t title your blog entry “F#@$% The UCI” and then lead off with the sentence “It’s time for some honest riders to say fuck you to the UCI” and not expect a ton of criticism and opinionated comments. Plus, the continued total stonewalling of the BMC questions continue to erode harm the blog’s as well as Tilly’s credibility. It is what it is. Create the heat, face the heat.

    Criticism and lots of opinionated comments are great. It’s all entertainment! It means people are reading your blog! That’s the goal, right?! Everyone should be allowed to say exactly what they choose to say without censorship. Last time I checked, that is one of the basic values of the United States. It’s called the right to free speech and is detailed in the 1st amendment of The Constitution of the United States.

  30. ted

    DavidH, not only is your ignorance showing, but it’s obvious you haven’t even comprehended what is written by Tilford or readers. Nobody has accused him of having inside information on BMC doping practices. He has, however, been repeatedly asked to comment on BMC. Do your homework before you make foolish and accusatory comments about people.

  31. 2pak

    Nobody has a clue what to believe anymore. I do know that Vino’s latest comments make me laugh really hard and laughter is good, no? Tell me a lie and say they did not make you laugh too! Funny guy.

  32. Vino

    Vino say thanks.

    Vino very happy with self. Life good for Astana, life good for Vino. Vino triva question- what colors favorite for Vino? Haha No secret, Olympic Gold and Dollar Green Vino’s favorite colors!

    Have good one. VINO 4 EVER!!!!!

  33. Vojtek

    Channel Zero, You have misunderstood my meaning. I have read this blog for quite some time and am well aware of the doping posts. I was trying to make the point that he has been riding for a very long time at a high level and yet he is still confounded over the doping issues. As if it was something new. You would think that he would have understood the realities many many years ago and either accepted them or walked away. Yes, his insights have merit and I accept them as well. Yes, I am also curious about the BMC/Och dilemma.

  34. Steve Tilford Post author

    VC-Queries deleted? Nearly, mostly all the queries are from you, here in the comments section and, as you can tell, they are all here.

    Where is BMC in this “story”, other than being a Pro Tour Team? Is there one rider from their team listed in the Padova investigation? This isn’t about BMC any more than it’s about Omega Pharma or any other Pro Tour Professional team. This post, sorry to say, isn’t about BMC, it’s about the UCI handling of the Astana issues.

    I now understand why Velonews took the comment section off their website.

  35. Marko

    I thought I was the last guy to believe that it really isnt a dope sport. Steve, I think you need to see this for what it really is. The sport you love is really nothing more than all star wrestling, only with more drugs running through it.
    It even oozes from most of your local fellow competitors. Drugs by the ton, if cyclist didn’t take it, the pharmaceutical industry would collapse. Lance was smug, because if we really understood how low the system is, we’d need therapy. At least he made more money than Baron the Claw Von Raschke.
    I know some of the Pap case guys and you wouldn’t like who they know. Sorry

  36. Mr. De Facto

    That was a long time ago… most of those guys have been busted or moved on to win the National Championships.

  37. VCScribe

    Steve, did you re-post your initial post this AM? Maybe for SEO reasons because you had an expletive in the headline? All I know is that my initial comment regarding my puzzlement at your venom directed at Astana and the UCI vs your silence with regard to BMC’s own questionable recored re doping and rider and management associations, as well as Mike Crum’s reply to my post, disappeared early this morning. I have posted my initial comment on my Facebook page, and I posted a screen shot of Mike Crum’s reply there as well. Don’t know what happened. Whatever.

    But now that we’ve gotten your attention, what up re BMC?

  38. Weedy McBoulder

    Hey dude, those are some bold statements. We’re gonna need some clarification to get that past the censors, ok?

    Who or what is a Baron the Claw von Raschke?

    What and who do you know from the Papp case? What are you referring to specifically? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Drugs by the ton? No. Collapse of the pharm industry without cyclists? Hardly. Are there alot of drugs involved? You bet your ass! No more, and maybe less, than other sports. USA has the biggest appetite for legal as well as illegal drugs of all types in the world. That’s a fact.

  39. Doubting Thomas

    It is Tilford’s blog -so he can say and do whatever he wants -and shut comments down too, or just quit blogging period. So, STFU about your RIGHT to free speech or calling him names-his blog, his rules. I for one enjoy getting his perspective on things. Maybe he knows something about BMC, maybe not -maybe he has /is doped, maybe not. Who cares? He is writing his opinions-and they are damn entertaining at the least, sometimes very informative, and lately -he is the only current/ex rider willing to put it out there, so go start your own damn blog if you don’t like it. Not that you can’t disagree -he has always put up with way more abuse than I ever would-but what ever happened to civil discourse? Anyway, he DID call out BMC, TJ, and Talansky -and the whole damn peleton, just the other day! And today he told the UCI off -what do you want from the guy? Should he quit racing, and Trudi quit working -what good would that do? At least he has the courage to do what he can to change things, unlike many of the posters on here today. So try to play nice, and yes, no surprise-the UCI just told all of us to fuck off, so tell them to fuck off right back- by NOT watching, not buying a license, not buying TREK or Specialized or you name it stuff, by not going to the dopers Gran fraudos etc… The fact is, the UCI, the sponsors, and the teams-led by Och Vaughters etc-know that YOU don’t really care, and YOU will keep buying their stuff, so, like the NFL – they will continue to allow doping until hell freezes over, or until the MONEY stops coming in. Period.

  40. VCScribe

    Steve, no offense – – – –

    You’ve banged on Vaughters and his rider hires. You’ve banged on Tom Danielson. You’ve banged on Lance and the Posties. You’ve banged on Ferrari and his associates. You’ve expressed real anger at the UCI. And I think all of this is justified. These guys are cheats, or enablers, or both, all down the line. But you have a reasonably close association with a Pro Tour outfit that has a fairly well-documented history of employing and being managed by folks with doping connections, or at least there are very strong indications of such. And what do we hear from you about this? Crickets . . .

    What’s good for the goose, you know? (had to stick in another animal metaphor)

  41. Eric

    All of those cheatin Astana mutha f@#kas should be handed LIFETIME BANS. The penalty for getting caught is simply not strong enough to keep the dopers from doping. Hand them a lifetime ban and teach them “would you like fries with that”.

  42. Johnny N

    Who appointed you as the judge and jury here? Steve Tillford is capable of speaking for himself. The people who wrote about the free speech were right to do so. According to them, their comments were being selectively deleted. Steve says no. Well,there’s a difference of opinion and the commenters have their right to say so. This blog has a comments section…you’ve just used it. If the blogger is all about fair play, then all the comments should be allowed, don’t you think? Like the one guy said, “If you created the heat, then face the heat”. What if YOUR comment was deleted? You okay with that?

    But, ultimately you are right in that the blog is Steve’s. He is the one in control and he can do as he pleases. That’s the way it is and rightly so. But in the spirit of fair play, I agree with the commenters who say that all comments should be allowed. And, it is part of being an American to want to exercise free speech. Please don’t bash people who feel the same way and say so.

    For the record, I read and enjoy this blog and am glad Steve takes his personal time to do it. I’m also glad he has a comments section… he gets alot of flak and is under no obligation to provide that forum, so I give him full credit. Sometimes I agree with his posts and sometimes not… I do not condone nor agree with alot of the vitriol spewed toward him, but I am a supporter of the right to do so. Happily, Steve so far seems to agree with most of that.

    Thanks for reading. Now, get on your bike and enjoy life..

  43. Matt

    I’m a tipsy commenting here, after 2 bottles of Pinot. This is a question for the guys. If Steve or his partner had a wiff of anything going on at BMC right now, do you think she would let him say the things he’s saying on this blog? She wouldn’t have to tell him outright “maybe you shouldn’t be saying this stuff” it would just take a glance from her. Right guys? And people have been pulling this “but what about what goes on at BMC wha, wha, wha” for months. If my wife worked at an oil company and I was one of the most vocal critics against some horrible corruption in the oil business and there was a chance of it going on where my wife worked, uh it would motivate me to stop. I would STFU. But Steve keeps saying what needs to be said. And he could get serious tail. Seriously who else is saying this? Steve- please keep saying what needs to be said, thank you. P.S. Steve-I went to the Moline, IL Criterium to see you race the last time you were there, I wouldn’t have traveled that distance to see any other cyclist. Thank you, Steve.

  44. Vojtek

    “VC-Queries deleted? Mostly all the queries are from you, here in the comments section and, as you can tell, they are all here.”

    You do realize that if a query HAD been deleted it would not be here, right?

  45. Rich W

    I read this blog via RSS and every once in a while he will republish a post (to update it or fix grammar). This effectively deletes the original post/comments.

    That’s where the confusion about deleted posts is coming from. The update will wipe all the old comments.

  46. MS

    I didn’t realize the 1st Amendment covered commenting on personal blogs. Those dudes had some serious forethought. This changes everything!


    As Rich W said, sometimes Steve updates the title of a post, usually immediately after posting, to fix a typo in the Title. This is in part because the title is part of the URL for example:
    I just checked and there appear to be 3 comments attached to first version. I will look into this more later today and see if I can restore/move the “missing” comments to this post.

  48. CW4

    Man, I bet Steve wishes he had written a post about copper pipe instead…

    Doesn’t have to be a P123 crit to be doped in the US, look at the masters races


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