Mancebo is Back

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Yesterday, Bill and I were talking about Francisco Mancebo and Bill had no idea where he disappeared to after his stint here in the US.  The clean team, Rock Racing, was the first to bring him over to pollute the US domestic scene and then he just decided to hang around. Competitive Cyclist, the Kenda hired him.

Anyway, he eventually signed a contract to race for SkyDive Dubai and there he disappeared for the last couple years.  I thought that was perfect, having to hang around in the middle east to not race.  I guess that didn’t work out too well because in an interview, he said his back up plan was to change disciplines and race MTB marathons.

I’ve written about Mancebo a few times.   After finishing 3rd in the Tour de France, he got caught up in the Operation Puerto deal and instantly announced his retirement.  But, he couldn’t stick to that decision and finally ended up here to “cherry pick” the US NRC series.  He smeared all the domestic guys for a couple years and then poof, gone again.

But, he seems to have made his way back again.  He is currently racing, and winning, the Cascade Classic in Bend Oregon.  He won the first stage yesterday, which finished on a 22 km climb.

This race he is currently riding for Canyon Bicycles.  He is probably guest riding for these guys, but no matter what the relationship, I don’t get why anyone in their right minds let this guy wear their jersey.

He was the winner, number-wise, with 20 bags of blood stored during the Puerto fiasco.    He confirmed the truth in Puerto by instantly announcing his retirement as he left the Tour de France, along with a bunch of other guys, including Jan Ulrich, Ivan Basso and Oscar Sevilla.

Now he has returned to his sanctuary back in the United States.  And to his winning ways.  I don’t understand the mindset of the US teams that welcome Francisco with open arms.  These guys are just announcing to the sport that they don’t give a shit about doping, because this guy has a doping past next to none.  He never served a doping suspension, so using the argument that he can race because he has served his time doesn’t apply.

As long as guys like Francisco Mancebo can find rides here in the United States, our sport, domestically, has no chance of getting out from under the dark cloud of doping.

Francisco all smiles in his leader's jersey.

Francisco all smiles in his leader’s jersey at the Cascade Classic, which is going on all week long in Bend, OR.

32 thoughts on “Mancebo is Back

  1. Francisco Mancebo

    I’ve been a regular visitor to your site for years and now you make fun of me? Don’t you remember all my stories about the Emir? See if you ever get another Christmas card from me again

  2. VCScribe

    Same mindset that lets teams be managed and coached by guys with solid doping histories and/or connections. Not too far from the mindset that lets one attend TDF after-parties celebrating victories of teams that employ dopers. Who dat??!!

  3. Bill V

    To be fair look at the level of competition he’s up against. It’s definitely not a top tier field of domestic racers. Maybe half of the top ten are racing with a pro license.

  4. Mark Te Ruki

    I see Ivan Stevic is racing again too, maybe he can make it back to the USA to steal some more prize money again as well.

  5. Donkybhoy

    Why would you expect Canyon bikes to be any different from all the others that have no problem with doping, as long as they do’t get caught?

    Even then they don’t care too much when a rider gets caught the doping rolls of the sponsors like water off ducks backs…..

  6. Bob

    Waaaaaaaaa, dopers stealing my money, if only there was no doping in professional cycling (never gonna happen) I’d be a champion! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  7. Jason Sager


    Now mancebo’s on dirt with me I have someone to “no show” drug test with after the races. We can play hooky together and say “oh we didn’t get the message about the surprise test”.

  8. Levi

    ” I don’t understand the mindset of the US teams that welcome Francisco with open arms. These guys are just announcing to the sport that they don’t give a shit about doping, because this guy has a doping past next to none.”

    You’re truly unbelievable. You must have hit your head too many times, because the gray matter is seriously lacking Old Man. I completely agree with the statement you made above that I quoted here. The PROBLEM here is that by this thinking, and I agree with it, no one should do anything to affiliate with a present or past doper, and certainly not do anything to help them OR reap benefits from any sort of dirty program, athlete or coaches.

    Obviously the rest of the world doesn’t agree, just tune in to the Tour and see our Hero Dope(er) Christian Vande Velde doing his new job as a major commentator on the sport’s biggest race.

    Back to the point, YOU affiliate with many dopers, dirty programs and CERTAINLY coaches or directors.

    You can stand up on your little soap box and cry about doping all you want, but until you actually do some dirty work and take a stand against it, by calling out all of them, FRIEND OR NOT. You are nothing but a hypocritical, bloviating ASSHOLE!

    “If you hate something, don’t you do it too” ~ Eddie Vedder

    The same quote that YOU wrote could have a few words changed and apply directly to you. You’re such a DICK!

    ” I don’t understand the mindset of Steve Tilford, how he welcomes an affiliation with BMC, one of the filthiest programs out there with open arms. This guy is just announcing to the sport that he doesn’t give a shit about doping, because this group has a doping past next to none.”


  9. XYZ

    Few thoughts on a lot of this from some first hand experience.

    I raced with Mancebo a few years back, and to sit here and smear the guy in the dirt is something that also holds growth back in the sport. On and off the bike, he was full of insight (and lets be adults here, understand I am being sincere and not making childish doping insinuations) and he was glad to help out the less experience riders. He did not have to do that by any means, riders come and go every year.

    If any of this is true, why is it constantly slapped across his face? Is that your problem to call it out in a direct fashion? Let him rectify that and live with the actions from the past if they are true.

    It is nothing but discouraging reading the same rants over and over, all the while hearing the same lame arguments about lost money, promotions, opportunities, races, etc. Guess what? That is life in general; perhaps move on and look forward, maybe that will help things progress rather than kick the same dead horse again… and again, and then maybe once or twice more after that. This sport can be it’s own worst enemy most days.

    It is tiring reading about others rant about how terrible they think someone is; it comes across immature and petty. Enjoy the sport for what it is, and if racing is tainted to where you can’t stand it and need to rant about it online, go do something different.

    Blogging is like sex, everyone thinks they are good at it…

  10. JKM

    I kind of agree with Levi,, Tilford.. You apparently make your nut blogging… Maybe u should roll up your sleeves and stop talking shit and put that energy into changing things.. you seem to be a lifer regarding trying to make a living talking story of cycling. End of the day, you spend time bogging on animals, weather, your carefree world of traveling and racing…. Maybe time to do something constructive for the sport you make money from!!!!!!!!

    On the other hand coming from a person that has always had my wheels on dirt and go back to the glory days of MTB dominance.. The road element and all the pussys crack me up.. All you guys let so much shit happen and let the little men from all over do shitty things and fuck it up.. How about good old fashion justice.. Send Manceso over to Boise for a race,,, we can talk with him.. maybe its time for him to go home! Where ever the fuck that is!!!
    Fuck if I lined up against a guy like him in Bend on dirt,, We’d have a talk and, I think he would choose to race elsewhere, I’m sure of that.

    Regarding the tour and Christian and that deal.. Yes media is fucked up with NO scrupples.. I say pull the fucking plug on media in the US, no TV, NO money it goes away and send all them fuckers back to Europe to make any money and fuck the whole road bullshit whiners, dopers and flyweights.. Road bikers are ok, the top tier racers,, fuck em,, far as I’m concerned the whole pro road element is fucked up.. if I was a clean pro road cyclist I would be burning down USA cycling .org.. What in the fuck do they even DO but collect money???

  11. Roberto

    Everybody is right Steve. It’s too much of the same thing, over and over again. Mancebo hasn’t been suspended. I don’t know all the reasons why, but if you’re legally allowed to race, and you’re a bike racer, what you do is race. Everybody said our problems were over, when Tygart destroyed Lance. But that’s obviously not true. All Lance has become, is a scapegoat for everything wrong in cycling. And everybody points and says see, look what we did to Lance, everything is better now. But it’s not. Anybody with a brain, sees the double standard. You can’t take away Lance’s titles for being a douche, so it had to be for doping. But you then have Riis admit to doping, yet he keeps his title. Everybody has to be on the same page, and you can’t allow one rider to get away with it, simply because you like them. If we don’t erase them all, we can’t fairly erase certain ones. Just because we don’t like them. I support Lance getting back his titles, and I support Mancebo being able to race. Unless we erase all the dopers from the sport, we will continue to have problems. You can’t single out individuals, and claim you’re cleaning up the sport. Because everyone knows it’s not true.

  12. Hans

    I back Steve this dude is dirty as dirty can be. The problem I have is, cross the line once…your credibility is shot. I Francisco’s case, his track record is not too good. Is Mr.Macebo racing clean? Not a lot of testing in the USA due to the cost. The controls can be easy for this pro to beat.

  13. Steve Tilford Post author

    XYZ-There are tons of guys that race that are full of insight and help other riders. They just didn’t happen to have 20 bags of their blood sitting in storage waiting to use to compete.

    Do you maybe think there is a reason that guys like Mancebo and Sevilla have to come to the US, go to Dubai, or hang out in Colombia to race? They both seem to be smearing the competition where ever they respectively race, but are pretty much excluded from racing in Europe. (Smearing guys in Colombia isn’t something that is very easy to do.)

    Do you think that Mancebo should have had to do a “time out”? How about Basso, Valverde, etc., did they just have bad luck and should have been punished more than Francisco? Do you think it is right that he keeps coming back to the US to win our NRC races? I don’t.

    I think guys that dope should be removed from the sport forever. I think that the use of PED’s stay with you for your whole life, even if you currently aren’t using them.

    I wish he would just disappear forever. It does our sport no good.

    That is my opinion.

  14. Dieter Drake

    Another stellar post…

    This might have been relevant in 2008 or so. In 2015? Eh, not so much. The general apathy is everywhere; cyclists don’t care and the public tuned out after Oprah.

    The guy seemed to have escaped a positive in the 2000s and the BS that is European pro cycling to make a half way decent living in the US winning what would be training races in Europe. He’s obviously a talent. Good for him. I’ve met him and seems like a nice guy. At least he’s not pretending to be something he’s not on television or the internet, or going out of his way to ruin careers and getting his people to lie for him to the police and juries. We need anti-asshole organization – USAA. Focus on those guys instead and leave Mancebo alone.

    Stop it with the fantastically romantic posts.

  15. bob ganoush

    funny you dodged hot topic – tejay went south due to bad medical “procedure”

  16. ATX

    Do you wish Och would disappear? Do you wish Freddy V would disappear? You swim in the same filth that you chastise. Keep’em coming hypocrite.

  17. euro

    Mancebo is just one example. Then there’s Big George, Little Baldy Leipheimer, VdV, Dave Z, Tommy Dick D, etc etc. They ALL need to go retire with the other dopers and quit pulling in even more cash from all those who “just want to move on” and pretend these bums didn’t cheat their way to wealth.

  18. Mike Rodose

    Two-Speed Teejay. It’s hard not to immediately think of a bad bag. But it could simply be a respiratory infection that exploded.

    Doesn’t mean he was clean or dirty, but his exit might have nothing to do with doping.

  19. #whydoyouevenwatchthetour

    bob ganoush
    pffffff that is a boneheaded statement, do you have any proof, of course not! I’m sure in your mind everybody in the top 50-100 are doping, So sad, I bet that takes the fun out of watching the tour, you would be better off grabbing a and watching NASCAR.

  20. pen 15


    I am so glad to see people above calling you out. I appreciate that you speak your mind and it’s why I read your blog, but you really really really need to speak with actions instead of words on a blog. You hang out with/ride with known dopers. Your wife works team with known doping programmers. Heck how many of them were in the USADA report? Stop riding with these dopers. Take a stand with more than your words. Riding 50mi mtb rides with Sager, and stating he is a wealth of knowledge is not really backing up your “no dope” stance.

  21. Jonny

    Yeah, but what do you REALLY think Levi?

    Just kidding because your post says it all and you’re right on the money. Rather harsh, but you do have the right of free speech.

    I also saw a very long commercial for Levi’s fondo on TV during a stage this year. It made the lying idiot look like he was America’s best cyclist ever! What a joke! It’s proof positive that all those guys “won” by doping. Yeah, they got caught. But, they all made tons of money are still reaping the benefits of their cheating by continuing to cash in.

    Mancebo can’t be singled out without looking like a total hypocrite. BTW, Mancebo does not ride for the bike manufacturer Canyon. He rides for a shop based in Draper Utah called Canyon Bicycles. Maybe Steve should call them up and ask why they hired the doper Mancebo?

  22. bob ganoush

    speaking of grabbing a bag your wife grabs mine often and well- how bout u come out of the closet so I can knock u the f out?
    nascar that’s for your dad the carney –
    Let us also note that use of corticosteroids often nuke one’s immune system – I’ve never seen a contender drop like a stone like that unless something seriously went wrong – maybe he does have infection but reminds me of old school team dropping out en masse because someone got confused

  23. Francisco Mancebo

    Don’t disagree with Tilford, he’ll send you a pathetic email that comes across as kinda aggro. Kinda funny from a 145 pound geezer

  24. Lucas

    The “Steve is a hypocrite because Trudi works for BMC” theme has been very common on this blog. Other allusions are made about a cadre of dopers Steve hangs out with, and are always accompanied by harsh reprimands that he hasn’t called them out yet, when the commenters themselves could…you know, call the dopers out.

    Shit, if you’re all so sure these dopers exist (and I’m sure they do), why don’t you “do something”, as you’re so fond of ordering Steve to do, and start a legal defense fund. Because I’m sure when Steve starts calling out a bunch of people beyond the usual pro-tour suspects he is going to get sued, quickly. DKM and the other righteous vigilantes know what to do: swingin’ their dicks around, “we would’ve shown him”, blah blah blah blah…I almost forgot I was on the internet and that every call of “put your money where your mouth is” is by someone who could take their own advice.

    Seriously, every snide commenter about Steve’s carefree life should vote with their feet and go places nearer their fancy. Similarly, this is a blog, not a solutions manual. It’s hardly weird or hypocritical to bitch about things that irk you on a blog: especially things that win a lot more prize money and attention than other generic (doping) things. But if you think that outing a bunch of names would do anything other than cause Steve a lot of grief you need to read this goddamn post again and get it through your heads that outing dopers has almost zero effect. This is a structural issue beyond knowing who’s doing what. If Levi thinks that outing people has any real effect, that’s debatable. If Levi can’t make any moral distinction between Trudi choosing to support herself working for BMC for reasons that are her own and not shared on this blog, Steve attending their parties, and EVIL DOPERS, well that’s beyond anyones abilities to change.

  25. Bill V


    Steve can defend himself, he needs no help. He shares his thoughts on a public forum and opens himself up to the spectrum of nutjobs, critics, fans, and those who call him out on hypocritical shit. I’m amazed he doesn’t let himself get drawn into the negative comment vortex more often. That said, I do like when Levi comments. He’s usually right!


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