The Spokesmen #87 – Give Me Back My Cycling!



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  1. Stuart Lynne
    September 2, 2012

    As fascinating as this all is, as a morality play, the problem is that it is simply bringing back past problems and making the general public think that this is still happening. The general public will not understand the incredible progress that has been made in the pro-peloton WRT to doping over the last five years.

    USADA should be concentrating on finding today’s dopers to keep today’s races clean. They don’t have an unlimited budget and money spent chasing Armstrong is money that cannot be spent on drug testing today’s riders. Spend money on developing better tests if you think that the current ones are not good enough.

    Going after Armstrong is all about politics and shutting barn doors after the horses have got out.

    Unfortunately the end is not really in sight. This will continue to drag on in the back rooms, court rooms, headlines, blogs and twitterverse for a long long time. In the end it is the current generation of riders that will suffer as the sponsors leave and public interest in watching them race dies off.

    In short, more commentary on what is happening in races (road, not triathlons 🙂 ) today. Not endless back and forth on who doped when and maybe they are still involved somehow somewhere still today. If there is doping happening NOW we need to discuss it.

    Sign me as someone who could care less what happens with LA but is seriously interested in making sure that the current peloton (at all levels) is clean today.

  2. September 2, 2012


    I totally agree with the intention of your comment and understand the feeling that we should concentrate on “now”, rather than “then”… however… (you knew there was a “however”)…

    We can’t really move forward and address “now” without truly understanding all aspects of “then” and how cheaters got away with it, who they were working with, and the network of support. There are too many people from the past still involved in the present and they- along with the currently broken UCI- need to be rooted out and kicked out of the sport. There are still far too many tentacles of the past wrapped around the present and holding back the future.

    You are 100% correct that much has been done to eradicate doping- much more than virtually any other sport in the world- but a lot remains to be done and those who were part of the “dark era” really need to be forced out. The UCI needs to be totally dynamited and rebuilt. The WADA and USADA both need to do a better job of working with other parties as well. The entire system is in shambles.

    As I ranted during the show, “I want MY cycling back!” I want it returned to the fictional glory I once believed it had, before we knew about how bad the doping was. I want to have my faith restored, and I want the rest of the world to see cycling as believable and credible. If we have to crucify our heroes- who did bad things- then so be it. The sport is bigger than our heroes. But without rebuilding the credibility, the “heroes” will long outlive the sport… and that’s just wrong to me.

  3. Stuart Lynne
    September 2, 2012

    You can have a clean sport that is respected by the general public (and therefore hopefully by the sponsors and parents of the next generation.) Because they really don’t care or notice if it is not in the headlines.

    Or you can have a clean sport that the general public assumes is just as dirty now as it ever has been (because they don’t really read past the headlines.) This is a sport that will only have scant support from the aforementioned sponsors and parents of the next generation.

    Put an * (asterix)next to their names in the histories and lets move on.

    This is also known as not biting off your nose to spite your face.

    Right now USADA is a big Rottweiler that has its jaws clamped around the symbolic nose of the sport of cycling and the result will unfortunately not be pretty.

    And USADA does NOT care. The bigger the scalp the better for them. That does not mean its best for us.

  4. September 3, 2012

    Again, I can not say you are wrong, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Though this all really, really hurts to watch- and you are right, it’s far from over- this is needed, in my mind. Rip the Band-Aid® off, get the hurting over, then move on. I sincerely believe we’ll be better off (the sport) when all is said and done… but it won;t be as fast as any of us would like.

  5. September 4, 2012

    This Jorg Jaksche interview from is worth reading;

    His closing comment is exactly what I keep referring to, when I say that the USADA case against Lance is so necessary and why it is about much, MUCH more than just one man.

    “Every year they say it’s a new start and the cleanest cycling ever but that’s not true because it’s not a new start every year. We’ve had a lot of chances in the past and now we’re still struggling. The credibility of cycling is going down but that’s not the fault of USADA. It’s the fault of everyone because everyone in cycling has some guilt and punishment and consequences are part of this guilt. Most people just don’t want to see it but what WADA and USADA, what they’re doing has to be done.”

  6. September 4, 2012

    I think the Sports Scientists covered the LA / USADA debate pretty well with a good summary of the usual arguments that come up, lots of references to points of view on the matter.

    I don’t agree with everything they say (and they have historically not been LA fans), but they do a decent job of making the case.

    While I have consistently felt as Stuart does (it’s not a LA PR machine thing – it’s more of a ‘so what good is this going to really do?’ thing) – I do hope for the sake of sport that this truly does ‘change’ things for the better and is not just motivated by a scalp USADA wanted to collect for some time now.

    Will it really ‘change’ things? Near as I can tell, the LA / anti-LA camps haven’t really seen defections, LA still has all the money, UCI is still corrupt and not a ‘rider’ organization (same could be said for USOC), and if you ask the standard person 3 years from now who is the ‘winning-ist’ rider to ever ride for the US, they will probably still say, ‘LA’ if not for any other reason that retractions rarely get much media attention once the smoke clears. So if you’re an up and coming rider, what is going to dissuade you more from doping? (a) more rigorous testing / investigative protocol that will catch you in a timely manner or (b) an approach that ‘might’ eventually get you once you’ve attained your fame, $ and glory?

    You can clean up the sport at a point in time, but corruption will always seep back in when $ are involved.

    Again, I’ve grown more open minded in the past months (mostly because there have been some excellent points made by folks that back the USADA move) and I hope Tim that you’re right – that this may lead to a better place.

    I really would like my kids to grow up watching a race that isn’t so clouded by cheating as the ones I just grew to accept. Time will tell and the saddest outcome for me truly would be to say, “I told you so”.

  7. Don B
    September 4, 2012

    Carbon clincher brakes. Hmmm. Why can’t we have disc brakes? Then the wheel material would matter little… as far as brakes are concerned.

  8. September 5, 2012

    btw @David – I thought your choice (2x I think) of the expression (‘thrown in the towel’) regarding LA not going forward with arbitration was not the most appropriate analogy.

    A better analogy would be that LA has a stack of chips in front of him and he simply folded with nothing more than the ante and a couple modest raises in the pot. Nobody sees any of the cards and he walks away with pile of chips.

    Also – to Donna’s point. I wouldn’t necessarily assume he ‘gave up’ – rather he may have cut some other deal (with or without USADA) that will keep the hand folded on the table and his brand relatively intact.

    He may have also realized that without his name attached, USADA doesn’t even make the news to the general public (I actually couldn’t name the last 3 riders that USADA has formally charged – and I follow cycling). In other words, he removed himself as a PR play for them.

    In short – I’d be careful about assuming LA uncharacteristically just ‘gave up’. More true to form, he may just be playing a ‘bigger game’ rather than going forward with arbitration he was sure to lose (regardless of the evidence).

    Of course all speculation – and I do hope to Tim’s point that this is final push to truly clean house and MORE importantly, put things in place that prevent it from creeping back in – all at the same time of not completely destroying cycling’s image with the general viewership. The ‘enthusiasts’ will all be happy, but they won’t have anywhere in media to go watch it anymore.

    …… (sigh) ….. I’m just depressing myself….

  9. Donna Tocci
    September 7, 2012

    Kevin – thanks for the comments…it truly is a sad state of affairs these days. As you know, I agree with you…Lance is “protecting the brand” at all costs. I can’t say that’s wrong, at this point. Think of what admitting this will do to the Foundation, which does so much good. If the deal was to make this go away, then he really does “win”…and millions of people that the Foundation helps win, too.

    Read all of Tyler Hamilton’s book yesterday. It’s a mind-blowing read. Lance will deny, deny, deny…and protect the brand. But, I suggest that everyone who loves cycling read the book and get ready to face some hard truths…I know I did. And then, maybe, just maybe, as Tim so desperately wants, the sport will start to move forward and we can have something we are all proud of again…I’m not sure it’s possible, but for Tim and all others who love the sport so much, and who haven’t been completely jaded by the last 15 years, I truly hope so.

  10. September 7, 2012

    Donna – there’s a lot at stake for the brand too, not just for LA (cyclist), but for LA (cancer fighter).

    One of the USADA charges is growth hormone usage. Last I checked, it can cause testicular cancer.

    That kind of revelation could play in the other direction and in a very ugly way – whether it was a growth hormone that actually caused his cancer would be irrelevantly lost in the firestorm of press and speculation.

    Starts to muddy the water a bit on keeping the two LA versions separate. I think that’s good in concept, but the reality is; there is only one person here, it’s not a case of split personality and both ‘conceptual’ LA’s are coupled very tightly together.

    Still – I’m sticking with you and Tim. There is more to be gained by the truth – and let’s all hope the truth both bloodies the sport, but eventually heals it. I’m not sure how much I trust Tyler’s version, or Landis, etc.. but like you said, somewhere in there is the truth.

    Thanks again for all the time all of you put into the podcast. Makes my runs / rides go by faster to have the company.

  11. oboe
    October 1, 2012

    Read all of Tyler Hamilton’s book yesterday. It’s a mind-blowing read

    Just finished it myself. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to participate in the discussion of doping and professional cycling.

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