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Letters to Cyclingnews - April 9, 2004
To be honest we do need to ask some questions about the revelations of Manzano.
1) When he was fired in September (for indiscipline) why did he wait until March before talking?
2) Why did he do an exclusive deal with AS, radio COPE and Antenna 3 TV, rather than talking to the UCI or the Spanish sports body responsible for these things - money?
As of now we know very little as, due to his contract it was only today (Friday 2nd) that any other medium has had access to him, and then only a press conference, so we are short on details. While I don't like Belda I don't think there is much truth in this beyond the ramblings of a not very bright rider trying to get revenge; I, like everybody else, will have to wait and see if it's true or not.
One point: why are Kelme out of the tour on the (unproven) word of one person while Cofidis are still in the tour after the (true) revelations of the last few months? Expect more "trouble" as teams fight to get into the new pro-tour (20 teams remember) and those who don't fall by the wayside.
Barry R Taylor
The entire Manzano affair has shed a bright light on the ineffectiveness of the current sanctioning system put forth by the UCI to combat doping. Currently, individual riders are sanctioned for doping offenses, while their teams basically are not held accountable for what is going on inside their organization.
I think Mr. LeBlanc of ASO has touched on what could be the most effective deterrence to the cheating that is killing the sport. By not allowing the team to compete in any ASO events, including the Tour, it hits the Kelme organization, where it hurts the most. The team will not be able to get any results, nor will it gain any exposure for its sponsors. These are serious consequences for the Kelme organization.
Perhaps the UCI should not only sanction the individuals who are caught cheating, but also the rest of the team. If a rider gets a positive result during a stage race then the team should be not allowed to start the next stage, thus disqualifying them from the race. If a rider tests positive during a single day race then his team should not be allowed to start any races in the next week or month.
The problem is that there is no incentive for directors and cyclists to discourage their peers from doping. Under the present rules it is easy for the peloton (and the caravan behind them) to look the other way from the cheating minority. The sport will only start policing itself by tying the cheaters to the rest of the organization that support them (either directly, or indirectly by keeping their mouths shut).
Imagine if Bettini wasn't allowed to start Milan San Remo, or if Simoni wasn't allowed to finish the Giro, or if Heras wasn't allowed to start the Vuelta, or if Armstrong was sent home while wearing the yellow jersey because a teammate tested positive. I think those guys, their directors, and their sponsors would do a better job are discouraging their peers from obtaining an illegal edge.
In response to the gentleman who is asking about documented proof and logs of drug taking, I would simply ask if he has read Willy Voet’s book with the infamous 'drug log' that detailed the amount and cost of the injections for the riders so that they could pay for them at a later date? There are records and things are being recorded, but they are not by the individual riders. And if Manzano was to produce a log with detailed explanation of what he took, would anyone believe him? How easy would that be to fabricate? That is why doctors are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, so that riders no longer have to keep track of aspirin in a training log.
He has photocopied proof in a safe in Spain. The details WILL come out; be patient.
Chris Dineen's letter of April 2 is right on the money. Many of us cycling fanatics are crushed by the continued revelations and unavoidable reality that the lust for money has created a dirty, dishonorable culture of drug abuse and deceit within the peloton. Granted, this is nothing new. To update a famous quote, races are not won on Power Bars and water alone. But entropy is the fundamental state of the universe. All things evolve, either growing or dying out. The cycling drug culture has grown and now our young cycling heroes are dying out.
I must admit I am a cynic when it comes to corporate greed and the lust for money. Thus I feel that no remedy short of the "immediate and maybe draconian measures" measures Mr. Dineen mentioned will be worth the time and effort. We must have mandatory, independently verified testing of all riders, lifetime suspensions for the first offense and a long-term anonymous survey of riders (brilliant idea, Chris!).
Some might argue that such draconian measures will kill off our beloved sport. But I ask you, if our sport is not cleaned up, what are you fighting to save? A sport in which the spectacle of heroic athletic efforts and the epic drama of competition is a facade for corporate greed and a culture in which riders are used, abused and thrown aside to die?
Perhaps my last statement is a bit dramatic. Perhaps I'm making too much of a situation that really involves only a minority of the those racing. If so, it is incumbent upon the silent majority to change the culture from within. Demand the draconian measures as a way of preserving your own livelihood and the honor of your sport. Do not turn a blind eye to the truth and do not make the choice to be sucked in by the pressure from above to participate in the undoing of the greatest sport on Earth.
My sincerest compliments go to Dr. Ivano Fanini, whose courageous stand against doping in sports of all sorts has lasted for many years. Fanini is not only courageous and principled, he is compassionate, having provided a place for the repentant Jesus Manzano on Amore e Vita. I wish both men the highest success -- Fanini for his principles, and Manzano for his revelations and his new direction.
I hope Amore e Vita prospers remarkably. They deserve the widest possible fan support.
Dr. Michael Bauman
So anyone still think it was a bad move for Tom Boonen to move to Quick.Step? He would have never had the same support at G-W from USPS. Plus he would be working for Hincapie and then playing the "maybe you can ride the Tour" game like so many of Postal's other riders have had to do for the rest of the spring. And check out the gap back to Hincapie and the others in the pics. Everyone in the break knew Quickstep's strategy, yet Boonen still blew past. Looks like he will be a force in the classics for years to come.
The bogey-man of a world of two-speed cycling has been raised before, with dopers being the faster speed, and riders without chemical assistance straggling in their wake. It has also been said that no amount of doping will turn a donkey into a thoroughbred. Jesus Manzano's revelations make it seem more than likely that widespread doping is going on in the pro peloton.
At the same time race winners are tested on a routine basis. I may be naive, but I do not see how routine testing of race-winning athletes can yield so few positives if they are doping.
So maybe, just maybe, the two speeds are already there. But it is the naturally superior athletes who are winning and the slower speed is represented by those riders who are not getting to the podium. Is it not just possible that the widespread doping is being practiced not so much to score podium positions, as to avoid DNFs?
Jimenez was a long-standing sufferer of clinical depression and Marco overdosed on equal doses of self-pity and cocaine. We all want a clean sport, but your argument goes too far, my friend.
The root cause is as you mentioned: in sponsored pro cycling there is no revenue, only costs. As such, sponsors demand winners and are tight with the purse strings. Rider salaries stay low and contracts are short. Thus for both sponsors and riders, the margin of error is nil -- win at all costs. If you can come up with a scheme to convert cycling from sponsor-base to paid admission/revenue-base, then you deserve an honorary yellow jersey. But otherwise, testing and no-dope contract clauses are the only way. Will it ever be 100 percent foolproof? Probably not. But an end to professional cycling? I'd rather throw the baby out with the bathwater.
A few years ago my friend was riding to work in Rosanna a northern suburb of Melbourne. His route had recently obtained a new set of traffic lights less than 1km from his house.
A carload of mulletmen drove past my friend and the passenger mullet yelled the usual abuse.
Passenger mullet turned to driving mullet for approval for his outburst and they both gave a good laugh at the brilliant comments handed out to the cyclist. Driving mullet was laughing as he looked at passenger mullet. As they turned the corner driving mullet was still staring lovingly at passenger mullet and did not see that the new set of lights were red. He proceeded to hit the car stopped in front which was waiting for the new set of lights to change.
My friend simply road past the carnage and let out his best "aaah-haaaaaaa" (think Nelson from the Simpsons and you get the picture) and rode off the rest of the way to work a content cyclist.
This happened in about 1993 and I still love telling the story, only wish I was there!
Either my vision is still blurry following my weekend trip to Las Vegas, or Steffen Wesemann was riding what appear to be Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed levers with a triple crank setup. Can anyone comment on what was going on there?
Huge congratulations to Roger for another great ride in today's Gent-Wevelgem. Lets hope he gets the recognition he rightly deserves and gets into a team so we can see him in a major tour.
Mr Block wants to make the case that advertising to any market is a one time thing. If it is successful and sales go up (they did go up in the EU with the Postal team) then Mr. Block contention is that the USPS should then stop advertisements.
In the real world this attitude leads to the peaking and then decline of business. You need to remind the consumer that you are there or your competitors will gain the consumers attention. Toyota has the largest selling car in the US (which was one of their goals) but they have not stopped their ads. Mr. Block should take instruction from Toyota.
I’m sure I won’t be the only one to comment on Mr. Gore’s gaffe, but with no disrespect to Oxtoa intended, it must be pointed out that he didn’t race up the Hautacam 40 seconds faster than Lance Armstrong in that year’s Tour. Rather, he completed the climb something like eleven minutes slower than Armstrong, and was able to win the stage because he hit the foot of the climb with 11:50 in hand. 40 seconds isn’t the margin by which he out-rode Armstrong, it’s the somewhat slim margin he held him off by.
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I think I had my biggest April Fool's laugh on April 6th. Last night at the Rose Bowl training ride, a southern California favorite, a rider from the Velo Club La Grange team was telling me that he was going to the Sea Otter stage race. He was very worried because apparently Chris Horner had already ridden the 3 km prologue course in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. He told me in all seriousness that Horner would not have to ride the prologue and his time would be used as the benchmark. I thought this sounded very strange and told him that every one in a stage race must ride the time trial on the specified day. He insisted that cyclingnews.com had stated that Horner would not have to ride the prologue.
After going home I decided to check cyclingnews.com to see where this gentleman had read his facts. I am a pretty avid reader of cyclingnews.com and couldn't understand how I could have missed this news bit unless it was the latest news and I hadn't seen it yet. I found the information under special edition news on April 1. I had skipped the special edition news after reading about Zabel requesting height regulations for the podiums and realizing the special edition news was your version of an April Fool's prank. Being a sixth grade teacher I had had my fill of pranks that day. Apparently you fooled one person. When I see him again I will have to ask about that benchmark time.
I am riding to Geneva, Switzerland from Worcester in England (about 700 miles) for the Red Cross on June 29th. I have the English part of the route sorted out, but I need assistance with the most direct cycle friendly route from Calais to Geneva. Can anyone help? I would be most grateful.
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