Author Topic: Omerta - the beginning of the end?  (Read 3743 times)

spesh

  • It's starting to look a lot like Cthulhumas!
Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« on: September 06, 2012, 01:04:13 pm »
Apologies for another doping thread, but in the light of recent events, this may be significant.

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/12806/Museeuw-admits-doping-was-part-of-daily-life-when-he-raced.aspx

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In January 2007 Johan Museeuw admitted to doping in the final year of his career, but the former top Classics rider has now elaborated and suggested that he used banned substances for far longer.

“I am the first to admit it openly, and perhaps many people will blame me that I break the silence, but it has to be done: taking doping was part of daily life for almost everyone back then,” he told the Gazet Van Antwerpen.

At a time when Lance Armstrong decided not to contest USADA’s charges against him and at least ten of the Texan’s former team-mates are understood to have given evidence, Museeuw is arguing that the moment is right for people to come forward and be fully open.

“We must break with the hypocrisy. The only way to come out of that murderous spiral is to tackle the constant denial, the silence that continues to haunt us.

“If we aren't open about it the digging into the past keeps on going further. A collective mea culpa is the only way we can open up the road to the future.”

If someone like Museeuw decides to come clean, and he wasn't merely a 2-bit domestique in his time, then perhaps other riders, past and present, may be encouraged to speak out. Before their DS does it for them...

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vaughters-confirms-past-doping-by-danielson-others-at-garmin

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Writing openly in the Cyclingnews forum, Vaughters further said that Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie had doped in the past, bluntly discussed personalities on the team and discussed his standards for hiring riders, all the while relating virtually all of it to doping.

Follow the link in the CN story to the Clinic forum at your risk! Kudos goes to Vaughters (CN user name JV1973) for sticking his head in the lion's mouth and engaging with the regulars in there, even though it's tin-foil hat central.

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"All of your theories and conspiracies.... It's like watching monkeys trying to figure out how to open a coconut."
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 01:20:49 pm »
Yes,  the floodgates appear to be opening.

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Jonathan Vaughters ‏@Vaughters

Anyone who thinks I'm a slick talking PR man, guess I, idiotically, proved you wrong. I'm just a dumb ass. Apologies.

In vino veritas perhaps?

spesh

  • It's starting to look a lot like Cthulhumas!
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 01:39:16 pm »
In vino veritas perhaps?

Possibly, but it's a pretty good bet that JV is one of the people who spoke to USADA, and probably also testified to the Grand Jury in the Novitsky Investigation. As such he's got a good idea of just how much un-recycled waste is about to hit the rotating ventilation equipment. I think he's working on the theory that it's better to get some of this out now, before things get really ugly.
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 04:27:13 pm »
Yes,  the floodgates appear to be opening.

Hope so. Then we can get on with watching the racing without bothering about the tiny marginal gain (in comparison with the hardships to be overcome and all the other things riders can do to improve their riding, and excepting lunatic episodes like Floyd Landis' TdF "win" and Pantani's Alpe d'Huez climb) provided by doping. It's all about watching people suffer...
The journey is always more important than the destination

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 05:04:47 pm »
Perhaps we have different definitions of marginal gains. 10-20% increases in power suggest that doping doesn't give marginal gains. That is why so many riders did/do dope. Clean riders are almost always outclassed when their opposition improve that much.

For comparison, there is about a 15% (according to Hutch) increase between untrained and optimally trained.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 05:12:23 pm »
Perhaps we have different definitions of marginal gains. 10-20% increases in power suggest that doping doesn't give marginal gains. That is why so many riders did/do dope. Clean riders are almost always outclassed when their opposition improve that much.

For comparison, there is about a 15% (according to Hutch) increase between untrained and optimally trained.

Is that from The Hour? I've been meaning to read it.


LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 05:28:07 pm »
I recall it from a Bike Show broadcast with Hutch but I think he states the same figure in his book. It has been a while since I've read it.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 11:22:29 am »
Perhaps we have different definitions of marginal gains. 10-20% increases in power suggest that doping doesn't give marginal gains. That is why so many riders did/do dope. Clean riders are almost always outclassed when their opposition improve that much.

For comparison, there is about a 15% (according to Hutch) increase between untrained and optimally trained.

There's more to it than training. Winning is in the head as well as the legs.

Take Contador's ride to Fuente Dé the other day. He didn't just win because he was fast and determined. There were tactics, taking advantage of Rodriguez' weakness - an inability to keep up on a shallow climb for hours on end, no matter how explosive he can be up 1-in-Stupid for 500m - and Rodriguez being half-asleep.

Contador reckons he's not fully race fit since he's been banned from racing and, if he's still doping after the beef affair, he's bonkers, so I think it's unlikely since the eyes of the world are now upon his passport and his every sample.

If he'd been doping, Valverde would have been what, 1 min behind, rather than breathing down Contador's neck? Without, we have to assume, doping, Contador dropped Rodriguez for more than 2 mins and Froome for 5 mins. What won it was intelligence, strategy, alliances (with Tiralongo especially), good team management, determination and the ability to suffer. Doping would have gained him another half a minute or so unless he did something really stupid and obvious like using testosterone à la Landis.

The journey is always more important than the destination

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 12:03:32 pm »
In my mind, its much more likely that the Rodriguez, Valverde & Contador are all doping, contador to the least extent just now.
I have not seen every stage, but every one I have, I have found incredible.

FWIW, I agree that contador played a masterstroke on that stage.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2012, 12:27:49 pm »
Intelligence, tactics and team management are all pretty useless when your opponent is strong enough to ride you off their wheel.

Andy Hampsten won the 1988 Giro because he was the stereotypical climber, light and not strong on the flat. In the early '90s, despite having the same weight and power output, he was getting dropped by the same folk he was easily dropping a couple of years before. Doping makes that much of a difference.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2012, 12:42:45 pm »
In my mind, its much more likely that the Rodriguez, Valverde & Contador are all doping, contador to the least extent just now.
I have not seen every stage, but every one I have, I have found incredible.

FWIW, I agree that contador played a masterstroke on that stage.

If they're doping, they should ask for their money back.

No, I've watched every stage and found none of them incredible. I may not be able to sprint up 25% climbs, but I know people who can, and they're definitely not doping (unless you count occasional cake, chips and Adnams as dope). In the Vuelta, they're all hurting, including the domestiques.
The journey is always more important than the destination

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2012, 12:43:47 pm »
Intelligence, tactics and team management are all pretty useless when your opponent is strong enough to ride you off their wheel.

Not necessarily, as Contador demonstrated the other day.
The journey is always more important than the destination

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2012, 12:50:51 pm »
Doping doesn't stop pain and I think most of the racers are doping, as has been shown to be the case several times previously.

Have you read anything from Tyler Hamilton's book? You'd find it enlightening.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Byronius Maximus

  • Onion Johnny junior
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2012, 03:02:57 pm »
Yes,  the floodgates appear to be opening.

Then we can get on with watching the racing without bothering about the tiny marginal gain (in comparison with the hardships to be overcome and all the other things riders can do to improve their riding, and excepting lunatic episodes like Floyd Landis' TdF "win" and Pantani's Alpe d'Huez climb) provided by doping. It's all about watching people suffer...

I'm not sure I quite see what your point is.

Do you mean that you don't mind doping because you're saying it only offers a 'marginal' gain? That's quite clearly not true when you look at the current top riders stats against those of 10 years ago.

Or do you mean that you don't think the current riders are doping so you'd rather forget about it all?

From what I know about the current biological passport system (although I don't know that much about it), it would be possible for riders to dope to a small extent and get away with it, but they wouldn't be able to dope to an amount which would make a noticeable performance difference because this would be picked up very easily. So if that's what you mean then I can see your point.
Maybe Frank Schlek's positive test in the Tour was an indicator of this; from his performance, you'd never really accuse him of doping, but maybe he was doing so in order to create a marginal gain and ended up pushing it slightly too far so got caught out.

Apologies, I've gone well off topic here.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2012, 03:10:19 pm »
He was caught for using a masking agent. Presumably because his doping *would* be detectable otherwise.

Byronius Maximus

  • Onion Johnny junior
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2012, 03:31:57 pm »
Ah yes, good point.

I'm not sure how this fits in with the idea that the biological passport detects the effects of a substance, rather than testing for it directly.
From my understanding, a masking agent is meant to stop the PED being detected, but can one be used to stop the effects that would be seen on the biological passport?

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2012, 03:36:01 pm »
'masking agent' is a generic term that can be used to describe anything that whilst itself is not performance enhancing, can aid in the evasion of detection. Eg diuretics can enhance clearance rates of drugs from the system so if you were to try to reduce body fat by eg taking clenbuterol, you would also take a diuretic to speed up clearance of the residue, minimising the window of susceptibility to dope tests. Frank Schleck was done for a diuretic.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

spesh

  • It's starting to look a lot like Cthulhumas!
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2012, 07:18:08 pm »
Three weeks ago, Jonathan Vaughters wrote an OP/ED for the NY Times where he finally admitted to doping.

In the article JV posed the question as to how do riders that decided not to dope reconcile the loss of their dream.

One rider that decided not to hit the hot sauce answers JV's question:

http://www.podiuminsight.com/2012/09/06/gregg-germer-why-i-didnt-dope/
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

spesh

  • It's starting to look a lot like Cthulhumas!
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2012, 07:35:43 pm »
Of course, the culture of cycling omerta didn't just encompass the riders and team staff, but also those who reported on the sport. Those who were willing to write about the seamier underside of the sport often found themselves frozen out of access to the stars and their teams, and even those who weren't so outspoken could be blackballed for merely sharing a car with someone like David Walsh, as happened to Australian journalist Rupert Guinness:

http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cycling/a-moment-of-truth-and-not-just-for-armstrong-20120907-25jp5.html

ETA:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vaughters-confirms-past-doping-by-danielson-others-at-garmin

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Writing openly in the Cyclingnews forum, Vaughters further said that Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie had doped in the past, bluntly discussed personalities on the team and discussed his standards for hiring riders, all the while relating virtually all of it to doping.

There's an interesting coda to JV's outing of three of his riders at Garmin, as mentioned in the OP - when Bicycling magazine's Joe Lindsey spoke to JV after Cycling News and Velonews ran with the story, it appears that the three riders don't have any issue with what JV did:

http://bicycling.com/blogs/boulderreport/2012/09/06/the-coming-wave/

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As yet, none of the three riders have publicly responded. But when I spoke with Vaughters by phone, he said that he had talked directly to all three and apologized for his actions.

“It’s frustrating watching everything you and your team do get picked apart,” he said of his reason for posting on the forum (he’s a longtime, if infrequent, commenter). “And, fair enough, people are suspicious and cynical because they’ve been lied to, but I feel like the only way I can prove to people that I’m not lying, because everyone has lied in the past, is to be somewhat grotesquely transparent.”

Vaughters added that not one of the three riders was upset with him. Which is quite curious because, normally, you’d expect a rider to be absolutely furious that someone shared such a sensitive secret so carelessly.

If Vaughters is right and the three aren’t genuinely upset, the question is, why not?
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2012, 12:00:08 pm »
Yes,  the floodgates appear to be opening.

Then we can get on with watching the racing without bothering about the tiny marginal gain (in comparison with the hardships to be overcome and all the other things riders can do to improve their riding, and excepting lunatic episodes like Floyd Landis' TdF "win" and Pantani's Alpe d'Huez climb) provided by doping. It's all about watching people suffer...

I'm not sure I quite see what your point is.

Do you mean that you don't mind doping because you're saying it only offers a 'marginal' gain? That's quite clearly not true when you look at the current top riders stats against those of 10 years ago.

Or do you mean that you don't think the current riders are doping so you'd rather forget about it all?

What I mean is that doping is just one aspect of professional road cycling that worries me - slightly. I find equally, if not more, worrying:
* The way that it's getting so that the rider in the richest team wins, rather like the Premier League, where Chelsea and the Manchester clubs are winning regularly simply because they have more money than anyone else, or so it seems.
* The places some of the money in cycling comes from - Russian and Central Asian crooks, money-laundering Gnomes and the dreaded Rupert (who no doubt would one day want all pro cycling coverage to be on his paid-for channels and nowhere else).
* The way that traditions are breaking down: Such as riders attacking when their rival has a mechanical or a crash; and the peloton not taking the leader seriously (a rot started by the bullying by Armstrong).

The over-emphasis on doping is the result of trying to force the ridiculous Corinthian ethos of the British public school onto a professional sport that has always been professional, unlike most other sports and pastimes. So much so that the admirable aspects of pro cycling - the fair play on the road, etiquette, camaradie among les forcats de la route and instant and rigid adherence to the rules on the road that you'd think Corinthians would admire - are ignored.
The journey is always more important than the destination

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2012, 03:37:15 pm »
Excellent piece on cycling omerta by Michael Ashenden...

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/opinion-michael-ashenden-on-omerta-101

Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2012, 04:37:52 pm »
Excellent piece on cycling omerta by Michael Ashenden...

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/opinion-michael-ashenden-on-omerta-101

I laughed out loud at this.

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To put it bluntly: where else in the civilised world would we tolerate an environment where citizens were afraid to tell the truth? It was an epiphany for me to contemplate that grotesque realisation. I think omerta’s presence is a truly disgraceful indictment on the stewardship of the sport’s governing body.

Journalists have always been the first to use any underhand method to get a story they can lay their hands on. It's part of the landscape. In my area of business if you haven't got a hair raising story of near disaster you can't be taken seriously, and as for the Police! Any trade has its secrets, even law making.
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"Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts."

spesh

  • It's starting to look a lot like Cthulhumas!
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2012, 04:15:45 pm »
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kimmage-receives-uci-subpoena

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Paul Kimmage has received a subpoena from the Swiss district court that will hear the defamation proceedings instigated against him by current UCI president Pat McQuaid, his predecessor Hein Verbruggen and the UCI itself.

Kimmage confirmed to Cyclingnews that he received a subpoena on Wednesday from the Est Vaudois district court, which is based in Vevey, near UCI headquarters at Aigle. The case is to be heard on December 12.

McQuaid and Verbruggen launched their action in January of this year, seeking damages of 8,000 Swiss Francs each from Kimmage. They have also demanded that Kimmage take out advertisements in the international media publicising the court’s final order.

Depending on what's in USADA's case file, McQuaid and Verbruggen may find that Kimmage's articles in the Sunday Times and L'Equipe are the least of their problems...
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2012, 04:33:21 pm »
That is appalling. As if we didn't know already, it's now perfectly clear that McQuaid and Verbruggen are more concerned with their own interests than the interests of the sport.

It's also surprising - I thought journalists were protected as individuals, and that the courts could only go after the paper for publishing the story. [Edit: I just checked, and apparently not.]

I really hope this act of monumental hubris comes back to bite them royally on the arse.  >:(

d.

JT

  • Howay the lads!
    • CTC Peterborough
Re: Omerta - the beginning of the end?
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2012, 05:11:12 pm »
The lawsuit is a bullying tactic no doubt learned from their Texan pal. Anyway there's a defence fund been setup for Kimmage (against his wishes).
a great mind thinks alike