Jonathan Vaughters – The Team will Continue

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Jonathan Vaughters announced, via tweeter, that this Tom Danielson doping positive won’t derail his program, that he has too many “good people” to support, thus he and Doug will continue with the sport and not abide by this statement – “It’s true we ask for that [scrutiny] and still in ten years we’ve not had a rider dope on our team. Ever. We’ve lived up to that. That was the initial promise. If that ever is broken then Doug and I are out.”

Did anyone really expect anything different?  The initial statement was ludicrous to start with. Anyway, I’ve been mulling over the whole thing and can’t even put it into words, right now, how foreseeable this whole deal was.  But, I will.

Think there is any bad blood between Jonathan and Lance?  How about Lance’s response to Jonathan’s tweet announcement.

jonathanlance copy


57 thoughts on “Jonathan Vaughters – The Team will Continue

  1. Pluto

    I have spoken with JV a few times….he always comes off as cynical and dismissive. His general attitude is– I am a f@#$K of a lot smarter than you–…..the guy is not very likeable, and more than a little arrogant. However, cycling is full of that kind of personality…not sure why.

  2. the Dutch

    ”Selfishly” implies this not withdrawing of JV form Garmin is an unselfish act from him, the mans legacy grows and grows I must say. Or is he saying without him there will be no team Garmin. That would be a bit like a God syndrome I would say. One thing he has in common with his biggest fan: LA.

    Vaughters certainly isnt one of the bad guys in cycling but sooner or later also he would knock his head, in the past he could always say things like ‘machine calibration error’ on high htc’s or other blood values, this is something that can’t be explained by that narrative.

    But lets wait for the B- sample…

  3. Franz

    How do we know this statement is true “Vaughters certainly isnt one of the bad guys in cycling”? Was Armstrong not one of the bad guys until he admitted to doping?

  4. TTT

    Vaughters asked to be released from a significant six figure contract with Credit Agricole because of his anguish over doping. He may have plenty of faults, but there is a certain integrity in that which should be recognized. Other than Frankie who refused to see Ferrari, what American Euro-pro from that era did anything equivalent? Not Armstrong, Hincapie, Landis, Hamilton, Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Vande Velde, Danielson, etc. The Vaughters hate is over the top and Lance’s comment is just laughable.

  5. Bolas Azules

    I remember looking at the individual / team photos of the Mercury & Saturn boys in the early 2000’s and just chuckled. These lads were all on the gear and looking like college football players and they stated their goal was to ride Grand Tours. Hilarious stuff for sure. Seems they had the same team influence the 7-Eleven lads had back in the 80’s. Bigger faster crit machines.

  6. Dave LeDuc

    I have it on good authority that Vaughters didn’t want to pull the plug on his team because it would let down his favorite clothier in Boulder, The English Fop

    On another note, stop gloating on the interwebs. You seem a little too eager to post about each phase of this drama, yet some facets of this sort of situation leads right to your door. Och? BMC? Tough questions there

  7. jza

    In some very limited interactions with JV, I would say his attitude is more “I did a lot more than you” rather than “I am smarter than you”. And he has a point, if any body else can start a u23 team and build it up to the world tour while Lance and his buddies are breathing down your neck, your entire talent pool has a doping history that could break at any time and sink it, and you have a much smaller budget than most of your competition, then you should get off the internet and go do that.

    JV gives a lot more time to the peanut gallery than he should. He is also much more revealing than he needs to be (or should be!). But he obviously loves the sport and most would say he’s a net positive.

    Yes he says stupid stuff. The one positive and it’s over was stupid. The TD eskimo thing was incredibly stupid. But I think the reason he gets so analyzed and picked at is because he is the most transparent and communicative team director/owner in the sport.

  8. Marty Pierce

    The whole doping issue is ridiculous and hypocritical because it only seems to come down to who gets caught. You can have a perfect image as a clean racer until the point you get caught and be guilty as the next guy. Not sure there will ever be a comprehensive solution to the problem of doping. The teams can’t control it the UCI can’t control it and the riders don’t want to be at a disadvantage to the cheaters so they become one. 5% performance advantage from doping was probably the difference between the winner of the tour and 15th place overall.

  9. Pluto

    Don’t misunderstand my dislike of JV for Hate or that he has many redeemable qualities….I was just merely stating that he is arrogant.

  10. Pluto

    Good Point….Remember Tom Shuler was positive for steroids….7 Eleven were not angels and racing against them always left me wondering….

  11. Krakatoa

    Perhaps the thing JV does best is manage his public perception. I already see evidence of that in the replies before mine. Yeah right, the guy was so distraught over doping, he walks away from a contract with CA. Not “one of the bad guys”? “Integrity”? The guy starts a team comprised mostly of “ex” dopers… HE’S a doper, and everyone just flat-out takes him at his word? Because he cried during his “sorta” (IE incomplete) accounting of his past?

    This situation proves (at least for me) that we really can’t take the chance on these guys in competition after they’ve been caught (or have admitted). I don’t think we have to vilify or banish them from mention, but there’s just no way we can let dopers back inside the sport itself. Let them write or commentate, but stop taking the risk that they’ve cleaned up their act. The data is clearly against them. Even “caught” dopers dope again (and again). It’s their nature.

  12. DUDE

    there is nothing more selfish than continuing. JV leads the life of a 1%er as he flies around in private planes, drinks fancy wine, etc etc. This is a dream come true for him financially and popularity wise. He’s no less of an egomaniac than Lance.
    I hold accountable Garmin and Cannondale. These main sponsors just need to pull the plug. I believe they could actually get more press and sell more product by releasing a statement today saying that they are suspending the teams involvement in competitions for the rest of the season. It wasn’t like the team was scoring any results to begin with.
    Inconclusion JV is a fucking dickhead, Cannondale/Garmin have no balls and the cycle will continue.

  13. orphan

    It’s sad. If you really think about it ped abuse is no different than meth abuse. The addict knows the final out come and it’s not a good one. The big difference though is lots of these guys are set for life with all the $ they have stolen from others. Meth addicts end up with nothing. I’m not sure it would change much though even if they ended up poor. They still would risk it for the high they get from the fame. I really don’t see how you put an end to it. I do think one and done would help.

  14. Bolas Azules

    Krakatoa – I agree. To me, many of the sport dopers are just flat-out junkies. They can not help themselves. The dopers that skate through their careers and make it to the other side to retirement seem to have many deeply rooted issues and it seems many continue with illegal non-P.E.D. drugs in retirement; Marco Pantani style and all the boys who got hooked on the Belgium Bunny juice years ago.

    Others like T.D., Tyler Hamilton and many other multiple cheaters can not live without ‘a fix’ no matter what the potential punishment is. They are so high on being ‘The Man,’ being fit, crushing the competition and winning that they just can’t stop. They dope regardless.

    Just my thoughts but I’m sure there are volumes of sports psychology articles written on this, enough to fill a library.

  15. Bolas Azules

    I don’t think Tom Schuler ever tested positive for anything and is actually one of the very good guys ever to race in the U.S. He’s is also one of those guys – like Lemond – were you could trace his ability way back to an early age and his adult accomplishments are inline with what you could foresee. And I might add I think he’s healthy to this day.

  16. Krakatoa

    Why does JV try so hard to manage the opinion of the peanut gallery? He either feels he needs them, or he has a weak self-esteem.

  17. Pluto

    I think with a lot of the PED’s the athlete gets a ”High”….look, If you have ever had poison oak badly enough (I did once) and you were prescribed Prednisone….well you would understand why these guys might want to use this stuff. They Feel Great! Better than the grumpy tired guy who is putting in 20 to 25 hrs a week w/o it. I have never done epo, steroids but I imagine they make you feel great….once you go down that road and you win…well it is easier to do it again.

  18. Pluto

    Mea Culpa….I was too rash ….I should have fact checked. Sorry’s again to TOM ….IT was not Tom Shuler who was popped….

  19. Dave LeDuc

    Where do we even begin with this? You obviously haven’t been paying attention

    1) Och was/is Thom Weasel’s stool pigeon at USAC
    2) While employed by Weasel’s financial outfit he was the broker for an individual named Hein Verbruggen
    3) When Floyd was attempting to blackmail his way into a contract, -7 sent Och speak with him
    4) Speaking of -7, member of the inner circle

  20. Brian

    Hold on there TTT, let’s not make Vaughters and Frankie out to be heroes of some sort. Even they would not accept that. Yes, they made some good decisions. But they only made the good decisions after making the bad decisions earlier. Still, I applaud their efforts and give them their due credit.

    The guys who really are heroes are the guys and gals who have trained and raced their hearts out cleanly and honestly. The real heroes are the guys and gals who spent their money on bikes, entry fees and travel and other expenses while never knowing the race was rigged. The real heroes are the riders who spoke out about the doping problem. The real heroes are the guys and gals who gave it their all to get to the top only to find the top was polluted with dope. The heroic guys and gals who made it to the national team/WT pro level only to find a glass ceiling made of PED’s and chose to not avail themselves. Those heroes decided to remain clean and they paid the price. They either quit and found another job or they raced at a lower level. They didn’t earn the money the dopers did. They don’t have gran fondos. They don’t have cycling clothing companies and they don’t have jobs commentating about the Tour on TV. How about Greg LeMond? He spoke out loudly and was made to look like a fool. LeMond lost a bike company because he had enough guts to speak the truth and he stuck to his position. There were other pros like Bassons and Simeoni who did the right thing and paid a high price. All those people I’ve just described are the real heroes.

    So I give Vaughters and his ilk the credit due, but no more than that. Hero is not a term that I would use to describe Vaughters. He made that statement about not continuing if someone on his team was positive long ago.

    Vaughters should stand up and make good on his word.

  21. Peter

    Is “Dave Leduc” really on here posting or is someone being a smart ass and pseudo posting as him?

  22. Crash

    Remember the Tour of Georgia when Danielson won the Brasstown Bald Mountain stage he was touted as “the next Lance Armstrong”? Dicks of a feather….

  23. krakatoa

    Thanks Bolas A.

    Addiction is not strictly substance-based, and isn’t just for traditionally “addictive” drugs that we were taught about (you know the ones) in elementary school. Addiction has far more to do with the psycho-biological tango of the brain. Once one has been down the rabbit hole (and enjoyed the ride), it’s hard to resist going back and taking peeks over the edge. Sometimes they end up back in the hole at some point. More often than not.

    We can’t simply say to ourselves that we’re just done with it and everything just gets “ok”. Whatever psychological chasm exits in the person’s life while they were initially doping, likely still remains post-suspension.

    But we do not approach the doping issue in this country as having a central core of addiction at its root. We tend to go with face-value “cheating” and the solution is to just “stop”. Anyone who dips back is just considered disgustingly selfish. The thing is, ANY cheating is a selfish act. But addicts have such hurt deep within them that they turn to selfish acts as a manner of coping. Addictively.

    We can become addicted to many things. Many behaviors also. Doping is part physical substance & part behavior. Both aspects can be addictive. The power one feels from the substance or the need to feel like they’re getting ahead of everyone else. Some people get addicted to banging chicks in bars. Some girls get addicted to being in love (and have a gazillion boyfriends, one after another). Some people get addicted to buying $10k bikes, because they get a false feeling of power from having the “best” possible equipment.

    But what we’re left with is the fact that the dope AND the behavior are not acceptable to the majority. And those who have fallen down the rabbit hole have to be accountable for their actions. I personally think that while sad, it’s just something that is permanent (as far as consequences). There are certain situations and professions where a violation of the core values is not something one can recover from. Teachers who were once porn stars (for example). If the kids know that their bio teacher did gang-bangs, she has lost credibility and authority / respect in the classroom. Lawyers who steal from clients. Sorry. They can’t be lawyers anymore (and for that matter, convicted felons need not apply to law school, no matter what). I’m fine with forgiving. Heck, I’ll even ride with you. But no way will I trust that you’re in my race with me (and racing clean). I can’t risk it.

    For me, it’s not about punishment. It’s about a permanent loss of trust in certain situations.

  24. krakatoa

    I agree. JV needs to turn the page and conquer new frontiers. He seems well-funded to take his next venture. He should go do it.

  25. TTT

    You’ll notice that I never used the word “hero” to describe Vaughters or Andreu. Having said that, I agree with you. The guys with unimpeachable integrity are those who adamantly refused to dope knowing it effectively would shutter their professional careers, at least in Europe. Fully agree about LeMond too – he paid a heavy price.

    Back to Vaughters, I believe he had a genuine change of heart and his mission with Garmin was sincere. Obviously others believe it’s all a ruse and he’s just as dirty has the day he set the record on Mt. Ventoux.

  26. Larry T.

    I think JV wanted to the right thing (after he did the wrong one) but now he’s got the MBA and the same attitude as the rest of ’em. Same as Tex, the old “We can’t stop now, we’re doing too much good here” routine. Next it’ll be the “Actions of one, lone doper shouldn’t reflect on our program or on any of the others…blah, blah, blah”. How many times have we heard that baloney?

  27. krakatoa

    JV’s positioning statements about having specifically formed a “clean team” (as if it was some kind of stand-alone goal) have always been absurd. He MAY want a clean team (who wouldn’t?), but first and foremost, he wanted a team. His team. There isn’t a lot of money to be made (sport-wide) in cycling, but if you can parlay that reputation as a professional racer into a WT team ownership, and you can collect more sponsorship dollars than you put out in expenses, the possibility exists for some real money. This whole thing is a hustle. Clearly, he believed that the “clean team” premise was something that could attract sponsors. And he’s still in business today.

    JV may not be running a doping program, but there is no way to prevent his signed riders from going “indy” to keep their careers going.

  28. Brian

    Yes TTT, I understand you never used the word hero in your accurate comment. I wasn’t implying you did, either. I also believe Vaughters did have a change of heart and that’s why I give full credit. I think he has largely done a good job with his team.

    But, he’s the one who made the bold and very public statement about bowing out if one of his riders tested positive. If you make statements such as that, people will call you on it. The lesson is that you shouldn’t shoot your mouth off if you’re not going to back it up. Otherwise, you will be labelled as a hypocrite.

  29. krakatoa

    TTT, see my essay on why I can’t simply “trust him” anymore. It’s why he doesn’t really belong in the operational side of the sport anymore. Nor do any of the others who have been caught (or have admitted use). I appreciate the honesty, I appreciate the apology. I’m even willing to forgive. But even those who have been forgiven from certain transgressions of the past, shouldn’t be permitted to have access again.

  30. Mike Rodose

    Hola Bolas:

    I think some guys were doping and some weren’t on those teams. To say the whole team (every year’s roster) was a doper is hopefully wrong! And certainly unproven.

    Which riders looked like dopers on Saturn and Mercury in those photos? You may absolutely be correct!! Asking for your perspective. Not disputing some were dopers. But am disputing ALL were. that’s why I ask which specific riders looked like they might be on PEDs.

    Photos? Let’s all take a look. Will be fun!

  31. Pepsi Frank

    We can only hope that Cannondale and Garmin pull JV’s money. All of the dopers and ex-dopers need to get out of our sport.

  32. Larry T.

    I wouldn’t put the start of the thing solely in mercenary terms, I believe he wanted to do the right thing at the start – give riders (including those who cheated in the past) a chance to ride for a team that would accept results as long as they knew they were from riding clean. But as I wrote earlier, he’s caved in these days and become pretty much like the rest (his support for Velon for example) in trying to maximize the sponsorship coming in while talking out of both sides of his mouth, depending on the audience.

  33. Dave LeDuc

    Usually I’d be posting from a rooftop near you, but you guys are in for a treat. Dewey and I are on the way to Leadville to get our racing fix. Whooooot!

  34. Tonio

    VERY good last two paragraphs. Otherwise, I think you are stretching meaning and definition of addiction.

  35. Krakatoa

    Last thought on this. I’m reading excerpts of L.A.’s deposition and remembering something. Five years ago, people like me would speak the truth about the Apple DOPEling Gang on forums such as this one, and 85% of you would toe Lance’s line of BS like you were loyal pack mules. And here we are today. That 85% has joined in to take their kicks against the body. You all know who you are, too. Reading what I’m reading on the other tab really makes me hate you guys. Go ahead, dislike it.

  36. Blake

    Genuinly interested in the basis for your “gullible” comment. It seems a stretch to suggest he planned the whole thing to give himself credibility as an antidope crusader while running a team. His version of quitting to stop doping is corroborated by Hamilton in his book. On top of that, there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to his antidoping stance, nor any barrier to former dopers in managment who remain completely silent on the issue. In short, it seems you think he’s playing a ridiculously long con that has no advantages and makes him a lightning rod.

    And I understand that people don’t like his confidence/arrogance/outspokenness, nor the appearance of hypocrisy and former dopers involved in the sport, so they go after him more than any other manager. But compared to the plethora of other options (och, white, riis, johnson etc) JV takes as much flack from the “no dopers in managment” crowd than all the others combined. Why? Because he vocally opposes doping in a way that’s perceived as arrogant. Thats the only thing that sets him apart from the others. In a sport filled with ex dopers and enablers, is he really the target we should be going after? I’m not saying I completely buy it, he may be running a scam (like brailsford), but surely we can find more productive targets at whom to direct our unsubstantiated vitriol.

    If there’s more to the story than “I dont like him, he’s a doper, and I don’t buy it” I would love to receive an education, but it seems like the above sums up the case. And thats a pretty weak reason to single him out, especially given there’s a real chance he’s actually trying (not sure anyone at all is succeeding) to improve the situation.

  37. Blake

    Agree that continuing is selfish option, but “no less of an egomaniac than lance”? Maybe you need to reread the usada report, because Lance did 100 times worse than trying to keep his job and spinning it on twitter as unselfish. He destroyed multiple careers just for suggesting he was doping. Jv’s worst is a snarky tweet. They’re as different as a pound of c4 and a firecracker.


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