Strong, Credible Evidence

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I’ve been having a little email chat/banter, back and forth, with an old friend of mine.  It is about a certain rider that I think shows all the signs of a rider that is doping.  This rider has never tested positive and, as far as I know, never had anything mentioned publicly about implications of doping.

I’ve been having these discussions, with this certain person, over the past two decades.  He’s been involved in the sport for as long as me and has historically been either evasive or just downright opposite, of my views of the prevalence of doping in the sport, both here and in Europe.  It’s as opposite as his defense of Lance back around 2000, when I wasn’t.

We got into it again recently and he said the rider was a shoe-in, looking at the start list.  This race wasn’t the Tour de France, which might be somewhat predictable before the start, but it was a one day race.  When you can pick the rider that is going to win any given race, on a professional level, before the start, then there is something screwy going on.  One of the coolest things about the sport is that it is very unpredictable.  It is a little more predictable for one day races in Europe, with whole teams controlling the race for a single rider, but still only one guy wins and the rest of the teams look a little silly after the fact.

Anyway, my friend has a selective memory and got a little feisty and said,

Steve, don’t think for a second that I didn’t believe extensive doping was going on in the 90’s and 2000’s. I knew it like everyone else knew it. No one spoke out in public back then including you.

I had to remind him of an interview I did back in 1998 with MTB Action about the prevalence of doping in MTB racing and the road.  I think that was pretty vocal.  That was 17 years ago.  That is very depressing.

Anyway, he was implying that we were all guilty because of the silence.  He said that he needed “Strong, credible evidence” of doping by this rider.

I asked him what that would be?  The same evidence I had knowing that Ivan Stevic, Tom Danielson, Kayle Leo Grande, Ryder Hesjedal, Lance, or dozens of other guys that were riding juiced.  I told him that I had the same evidence, personal observation.  I guess that isn’t enough for him.

But, it isn’t good enough for anyone.  I’ve been asked a ton of times, if I am so sure that a certain rider is doping, why not just go public?  Also, that USAC has a program for reporting a suspect rider.

Look at Greg Henderson’s situaton  after he went public and tweeted about Fabian Aru doping.  Greg tweeted –

Sad to see @FABARO1 “sick”. Mate make sure next time u come back to our sport “healthy”. Aka. Clean! #biopassport! Or don’t come back!

— Greg Henderson (@Greghenderson1)

I am so sick of it. It becomes common knowledge within days. Why try cheat

— Greg Henderson (@Greghenderson1)

Now Aru is threatening, or actually, suing Henderson over the tweet.  Even though Henderson tried to apologize, via twitter.   It must of been such common knowledge, in the pro peloton, that Aru was having some issues, but without evidence, Henderson is most likely screwed.

And, for the USAC program, I have no confidence in the tests.  Obviously they don’t work close to anywhere close to as well as we all hope they might.

That said, I don’t think that there is ever any strong, credible evidence.  Not until a rider actually confesses do fans believe that their hero doped.

I insinuated that Ryder Hesjeal used drugs, in a post about Tom Danielson.   Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin’s Team Owner, came back at me asking how I could imply that Ryder, who had won the Giro, used drugs, just because he rode a year for the Postal Service.  Then, just a little while later, Jonathan had to confirm that Ryder did dope, but only when he was MTB racing, after Michael Rasmussen named Ryder in his book.

That irked me to know end.  At a twistedspoke, I had a whole post dedicated to my Hatchet Job of Jonathan Vaughters.  I wonder if he feels a little silly citing Ryder as an example of how clean the sport is since he won a Grand Tour.

I didn’t know Ryder doped because he rode for the Postal Service.  I knew he doped because I raced against him dozens of times and it was very apparent that he doped.  It isn’t that hard to recognize.

Anyway, my friend is sticking with his stance.  At the end of his last email, he said,

“I am an optimist for the future generation and I believe ____________ is part of that new generation of clean riders.”

He is wrong, but I have to admire his optimism.  Won’t it be great if it even finally works out that way.

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19 thoughts on “Strong, Credible Evidence

  1. donkybhoy

    Look at Valverde racing better at 35 than when he got caught for seeing Fuentes. New generation, same old doping and cheating. Check out Caruso(katusha) taking something rom his shorts and popping it into his mouth from yesterday’s LBL.

    The testing is way underfunded, way behind the doctors/pharmacists and UCI couldn’t give a fig about doping.

    Vaughters if full of it. He doped. He cites the spike in Hesjedal’s BP at his 2011 Giro win as Machine Calobration Error and uses the same excuse with Wiggins 2009 4th place BP blood spike. How convenient!

    The sport is full to the brim of those who doped, those who enable doping, those who supply doping and those who profit from doping. It is part of the fabric of the sport and will take a monumental effort to eradicate. We have not seen that monumental effort.

  2. IzzyStradlin

    BMC is definitely one of the more curious teams out there. Och obviously has a track record, but the team really under performs for its budget. After all, they are one of the original big $$$ super teams.

    Gilbert is a big step down from his Lotto superman run. Thor could never produce. TJ does not seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but his results aren’t super shocking. Phinney seems to do and say all the right things.

    Maybe GVA has his own program…and Santo’s crazy results were after he left.

    My guess is a few riders like GVA have their own program….but the team is clean-ish.

  3. Pepsi Frank

    “But I’ll leave you with this: You might want to ask Floyd about his old boss. See if that leads to your doorstep?” – Jonathan Vaughters

  4. MS

    Tilford’s Law: “If Tilford discusses doping in cycling, the probability of some tired bitter old wretch mentioning BMC approaches 1”

  5. Jacque Meihauf

    I have to say that “JV” has a very good point in that first comment. Read the crankpunk article and you’ll see what I mean. BMC, it’s staff, and it’s riders are no more clean than anyone else. No more dirty either though. The proof has been in the pudding for decades. If you haven’t seen it, then you are blind.

    That said, Tilly makes a good point…sort of. I do believe that it’s easy to see when some riders are juiced. I’ve seen it myself. But, when you accuse someone of doping and won’t even mention the name, that’s just idle bullshit.

    If you’re going to accuse someone, then have the courage to say who it is you are accusing. To do otherwise accomplishes nothing even if you are speaking the truth. And to continue to not include BMC in these discussions undermines your credibility.

  6. El Jabón

    Isn’t it possible just to report the guy?
    Also, isn’t the increased parity in top-level cycling is representative of a cleaner sport?
    Cheating sucks, but it’s also part of every game. Think lacrosse, hockey, soccer, football, etc. where good cheating skills are widely taught and valued and accepted as legitimate skills. Unfortunately there is little you can “cheat” with in cycling other than with your physiology or to put a motor in your bike! LOL
    Just to add another perspective to an already very stale topic. Nothing is ever 100% fair!
    For me, I’ll just enjoy the spectacle and continue to fart loudly and uncontrollably in the pace line if I ever need that “extra-edge” to win those Cat 5 races. 🙂
    -El Jabón.

  7. channel_zero

    Yes, there isn’t enough testing, but, we have evidence the UCI is not sanctioning positives. WADA reported cycling had about 90 in-competition urinalysis positives explained away with TUEs for 2013. (no 2014 data yet) CIRC report confirmed the UCI does not sanction all positives.

    One of the primary problems is a lack of transparency. If you got some aggregate statistics on test results, you could then judge how well the sport is actually monitoring doping.

    Cookson is actually going the other way by centralizing anti-doping processing in Switzerland and therefore burying any information that an outsider could possibly use to evaluate the integrity of the sport.

  8. channel_zero

    BTW, think about the hit rate the UCI is getting if they had 90 urinalysis positives in 2013 when they test maybe 3-6 riders per race, where the UCI is the anti-doping authority.

    That’s some “sick” podiums!

  9. Aldo Sfalcin

    I was lucky to get a one day experience officiating the World Road Cycling Championships in Canada during the height of the doping Dark Ages. I became privy to the blood corpuscle level of some top male pro riders and found all of them at or near 50. The maximum level allowed by the UCI is 50 and the average male is much less than that. Too obvious. As to JV and his stable of ( stopped a long time ago) dopers he should be shamed out of the sport. He ( Mr. Experience) did not know? Old caught cheaters still racing may be getting back to their (easier win) bad habits and should have been initially banned for four years instead of two and as to Olympics cheaters like Rebellin good ridence for life. Tainted Vino wins Olympics? Come on.

  10. mike crum

    put those cyclists on a lie detector test. 450 bucks.. 20 riders on a team.. not too expenive… none of this bullshit about the urin or blood sample was mishandeled.. lol.. lie detector.. simple.. cheap.. there be no pro riders left, but at least the public would know what we already know.. lol..

  11. El Jabón

    I used a lie-detector in school. The thing doesn’t really exist. You are just looking for physiological changes in response to probing questions indicating any kind of arousal (like nervousness). Works pretty well if you know how to use it! But alas, it is a pandora’s box…

  12. Larry T.

    Seems like this fellow competitor should be reported to his federation for some targeted testing? Naming him in public without eyewitness accounts of cheating or failed tests might get some attention, but it also might get you into serious trouble via the guy’s legal team. One of many things I find odd, NOBODY returned any sort of positive dope test in the 2014 Tour de France. Nobody? The biggest race of the year and nobody is tempted to seek a little edge over his competitors? Of course one guy was nabbed for EPO (and quickly confessed) later but not ONE SINGLE positive test? Makes me think testing in the races is almost useless these days, though of course this information can (is?) be used in the biopassport program which has nabbed a few cheaters recently. UCI saying Astana is so corrupt and dirty they should have their license revoked, only to end up with a wimpy slap-on-the-wrist is troubling as well. Sadly the sport’s still in the “one step forward, two steps backward” mode. Sponsors have dwindled down to rich chamois-sniffers, repressive political regimes and the bike industry as a result of doping scandals (combined with general economic woes worldwide) so there’s not too much farther to fall, but it’s looking like nobody is truly interested in stopping the steady decline.

  13. Click and Clack

    Maybe we can use Gauis Baltar’s cylon detector? We all know how well that turned out

  14. Doubting Thomas

    Let me make it easy for you all- how to tell if someone is doping? Do they have a pro number on? A masters number?


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