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November 24, 2017
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  • Tommy

    Well spoken Wade….

    • martin boas

      Let’s get off his back. At a time when every-one was was trying to get a (cheating) edge he made a bad mistake. Perhaps he could have handled it better before now. But don’t forget the tens of thousands of gut wrenching kilometres he has done drug free. To me it’s a very sad moment…not a moment to enter into a banal debate about the rights and wrongs of his career.

    • Derreck

      Wade did not speak well… In fact he spoke rather badly.
      Stuart O’Grady needs to pay pack all the money he has received from the the government ie us.
      He is a fraud and deserves no respect nor leniency.

  • Matt

    That makes sense Wade…if you believe that he used EPO once, only once and nothing else during his entire career…which is unlikely. By the way, a cheat is a cheat and yes I do understand how things were then.

    • Given the period, I’m not sure I necessarily equate the word “doping” with “cheat”. It was much more complex than one guy taking some drugs to gain an advantage over all the rest. However, I think I’ll have to agree to disagree with many people on this point.

      • Benny The Kid

        Yet you don’t cut Lance the same slack…

        • Nathman

          Stuart didn’t bully his teammates into doping or sue those who brought allegations against him.

        • ironinthesoul

          There is a difference. Lots of riders stopped taking stuff when the culture shifted, and they kept their head down. Lance was a total dick about it and actively ruined other people’s careers when they questioned him.

          Wade: Doping IS cheating. Just because everyone was doing it, doesn’t make it not wrong. Otherwise we can excuse pretty much all of history. The fact that everyone was doing it can help us understand the reasons why and perhaps be a little more understanding but it was still wrong. Doping is cheating, even if everyone is doing it. If there was one guy riding who wasn’t on drugs then he was cheated. Or, all the guys who could have been pro but couldn’t compete with the cheats. It’s not victimless even if the guys were doing it just to keep up with other cheats. But, O’Grady didn’t just keep up, he won a stage and wore the Maillot Jaune.

          • Benny The Kid

            Fair call lads, agree with that.

      • Johnson

        With all due respect Wade, that is BS. Doping is cheating full stop, the era changes nothing. Just because they were all doing it does not mean they were not cheating themselves, the public, their families and most importantly, the small amount of riders that never succumbed. Do you think Bassons felt cheated?

        Forget the doping, I don’t think that is the source of the resentment for Stuey at the minute. I think any cycling fan with half a brain would not have been terribly surprised to find out he used EPO considering he held the MJ and won a stage in what has become known as one of the dirtiest tours on record.

        What is very disappointing is the years of silence from a so called patron of the bunch, an experienced, respected rider who could have led by example. Every time a big doping case broke was another opportunity for SoG to admit to his past mistakes and for him to help break the culture of doping. He lied for many years, all the while condemning others who were caught and only admitted to it when no other dishonest option was available. It is also disappointing to read his statement – he must think people are complete idiots.

        Ride in his shoes? I totally understand why they use the stuff – people cheat in every day life all the time for much less and I am no different. If I was a young man coming through the sport at that time I don’t think I could have resisted the temptation. I would hope though that my conscious would have not allowed me to live the lie for so long though.

      • Geoff

        I believe the culture of doping was so endemic in the late 90s. It pervaded all the way from the highest level down. Even at a club level there was evidence of it – like packaging from an amphetamine pill which was found on the ground just after the start of a race which the club I was a member of was responsible for organising. (The consequences could have been unpleasant as it was a hot day.) The rider who was believed to have dropped the pill packaging was a top South African pro at the time. I didn’t take it any further, other than getting a pharmacist friend to check out the packaging from the pill – she confirmed it to be an amphetamine. – What was my culpability in the matter for not taking it further?
        That doesn’t excuse doping, but we need to understand the picture of just how pervasive it was.
        I think for a lot of riders it was a classic case of the prisoner’s dilemma. You didn’t always know if you opponents were doping, but there was a fair probability that they were. If they weren’t you might have an advantage if you doped, but if they did and you didn’t you had no chance. Add to that the pressures of making a living for a professional cyclist. If you doped, you were likely to be on an even or better footing to your opponents, while if you didn’t your chances were equal or worse. Thus, the decision to dope would have been logical even if it was unethical.

        • raphanatic

          nice one! i agree, the prisoners dilemma is a very nice analogy to help understand decision making at the time, the reasons for the omerta, and the way forward in this case.

      • Well, O’Grady used unfair means to gain an advantage over his rivals which makes him a cheat. Also, I can’t cut him slack for doping just because “that-era” argument. As you mentioned, he lied during the ASDA and Vance questioning which for me is even a bigger breach of trust. If he had confessed before the Senate report came out, he would have been in better situation.

        Stuey claims he took EPO in ’98 just to survive the Tour. He won a stage and wore the yellow jersey for three days. Clearly, he’s again trying to make us believe that he was a victim of the system. But I beg to differ.

      • Christian

        What about the riders that didn’t take EPO and as a result were out of contract after 1 or 2 seasons? Or the riders that didn’t turn pro in the first place, because they knew that without EPO they wouldn’t have a chance, but they didn’t want to cheat or take the risk of dying at night? And yes, there are quiet a few of them. I know some personally, who gave up their dream after 2 years in GS1 teams back then. I myself didn’t sign the GS2 contract in 2000 that i had in front of me for that reason. As a result, a peloton of EPO users was left, justifying there doing with the “everyone else is doing it”. They cheated, and everyone who says no, doesn’t understand the bigger picture. EPO was a game changer and destroyed many dreams, for the ones who were not willing to take it. It makes me sad, reading articles like this or the one from Tommolaris on cycling central. You guys still don’t get the influence EPO had and that everyone had a choice, no one had to be a pro. We all trained like crazy and did everything we could to get a contract, but everyone who signed a contract back then knew that he will have to make the decision for or against EPO at some point. Oh well, how do they say, cycling is like church, many attend only a few understand. Just a shame OG, who tries to pull a Zabel here, maybe he should copy and paste his current confession in 5 years, gets defended on websites i used to like to read.

        • pauldr

          You are right, most of the dopers either kept racing or went into admin or coaching. Made lots of dollars, some even wrote books. What about all the poor guys who took the high road?

  • Marcus Simpkins

    Good comments but maybe he should of come forward long ago when asked? its the lying all his career which gets me?

    • Rhys

      br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}If he didn’t lie it might have cost him his career/job..? Quite the dilemma

      • Dave

        If he had voluntarily told the whole truth (no “it was only two weeks” bullshit, the spectacular 1999 Tour Down Under performance a few months later needs to be addressed) some time earlier but still after statutes of limitations had passed, he might have been let off with standing down from the sport for a season and training solo on unmarked gear until his return.

        But the lie obviously grew too big.

  • allthegearandnoidea

    Absolutely, positively agree with your analysis.

  • chickasmith

    A lot of people make mistakes and he will have to walk in his shoes for the rest of his life having done this, especially as he held the yellow jersey and won a stage in Tour 1998. We will never know how many riders in this Tour or this era were on the juice – could be high as 90%. Does that forgive him? Probably not, because there were some (not many, but some) clean riders out there who were in his shadow and are part of the dirty era even though they rode clean …

    I guess its a shame all around …

    • Isaac

      What about Armstrong, Contador, Schlek? Are they off the hook too?

      • chickasmith

        I never excused O’Grady for what he has done … like everyone who has made a mistake in their life (and who hasnt?) he has to face up to himself and his world around him

    • jemima

      The 1998 tour was called the “Tour of Doping”. If you weren’t doping (which was probably only a few) you were at the back riding paniagua. There would have been no way you could have kept up.

  • Bern

    I understand your opinion, but my opinion is that a cheat is a cheat, whatever the circumstances, culture and pressure he found himself under. I totally agree there was a deep ‘grey’ area, but there is always a line (its just harder to see in all the grey) – all riders at O’Grady’s level found themselves trying to survive in this grey area – but some of them stayed the right side of the feint line and chose not to dope – they are cycling’s only true heroes.

    • jules

      mate there is cheating everywhere in sports. there is probably no pro football team anywhere that hasn’t cheated on the salary cap. cricketers manipulate the ball with fingernails. soccer – cheating has been integrated into the game. what is it about drugs that so outrages people? the truth is, O’Grady was almost certainly just leveling the playing field – and yes, i agree on the ‘true heroes’, but you can’t blame O’Grady for that, solely.

  • Dennis Josefsson

    “…that way, you’re one kilometer away and you have O’Grady’s shoes.”

    Anyway, I’d be a lot more inclined to give O’Grady a pass if I found the “I only did it once”-part even remotely believable. But there have been too many riders who have used the same defence, too many unlucky riders, at the same time as we know that the dopers were, and still are, way ahead of the testers.

  • Alex Hinds

    We don’t yet know whether he did co-operate with ASADA fully as there’s been nothing from ASADA – though it seems unlikely. His silence while White was panned, and O-GE’s piecemeal response to doping through the Vance Review are puzzling.

    The review itself comes across as window-dressing when none of the key policy points were enacted, and riders like O’Grady and Davis don’t come forward, and staff like Stephens remain in the closet.

    O’Grady had no suspension waiting for him, it’s outside the statute of limitations, and was unlikely to be sacked if there was any consistency with the treatment of White.

    Did O-GE senior staff know he had doped?
    Did they keep that information from Vance?
    What was the point of the Vance review?
    How does the team handle potential future cases?
    If O’Grady only doped in the period before the 1998 Tour, why does he have an adverse test result for Stage 14?

    Nobody is evil, or good, or whatever but it’s still disappointing. A sorry episode.

    • jules

      “Did O-GE senior staff know he had doped?”

      given that Robbie McEwen also competed in the 1998 Tour, i heavily suspect the answer is Yes. come to think of it…

    • Henry

      My mail is O’Grady and White were both doping when they raced together on Confidis. Came from the slip of a tongue… not surprised by this. Think Stuey stuffed up not coming fwd earlier. I’m disappointed in him and to me it destroys everything he did. I don’t blame him for doing it… Just the sitting on it till he retires. Poor form.

    • donncha

      Vance Report recommends no leniency for any doping cases, historical or new, brought to light after July 1st. Stuey falls into this category, so OGE have to fire him. If they don’t, for me it shows they’re not really credible on the anti-doping front and the report was a whitewash.

      • velocite

        Sadly, yes.

    • CB

      Just read your piece on SBS CC regarding O’Grady and the problems inherent to an anti-doping amnesty. A very good article indeed. Well done.

  • Byron Mitchell

    Well said Wade….

  • Matty

    I don’t think O’Grady is a bad person and agree that the 90’s was a very different era. I just wish that he (and many others like him who have been caught and used similar lame excuses/justifications) would treat us cycling fans with a little more respect and not insult our intelligence by suggesting he only doped for 2 weeks and then never again. Please come on, Stuey, pull the other one!

    • Southernhoax

      You seem to take this personally. Let me assure that Stuey did not once think about you when he made his very poor decision.

      • Howie

        Well maybe he should. Fans that believed in him…..

  • Surly

    We say and write these things about people we can relate to. A ‘reasoned’ and reasonable response. In the end it comes down to personality and the amount of friends you have in the peloton and media as to what legacy awaits you. Not all who fall victim to the system are so lucky as O’Grady will be.

  • Rocket Surgeon

    As you say, there is no upside, only downside, to coming forward. Until this is changed we can never progress beyond the petty moralising we see from some elements of the media, officialdom and fans. Realistically, I just don’t care. I’ve enjoyed his exploits over the years and wish him all the best for the future. What’s done is done.

  • This is quite incoherent, Wade.

    On the one hand, you say not to judge O’Grady. On the other, you use your position as a ‘voice’ within cycling to judge those who have a different reaction from your reaction. So then, the rule is only not to judge famous or nice people? If you’ve achieved something in sport lower ethical standards apply?

    Likewise, you say there was no reason for him to speak up earlier. But this whole post is because – three days after retirement – the news finally comes out. No one enjoys O’Grady facing whatever it is he’s going through right now, but if he spoke earlier his retirement week would not be so messed up. In other words, there would be great benefit if he spoke up earlier.

    I know you like the guy: you give all the positive dot points. Please consider that those who are disappointed might be just as convinced as you of those positives.

    • Hi Chris, my point is not to imply that I’m judging the people who judge O’Grady. And I don’t say that there was no reason for him to speak earlier – I said that there was no incentive for him to speak up.

      I’ve never met O’Grady and only know him in the same way that you would. It’s true that I like his public character, but I don’t know him personally. I can definitely see how people are disappointed, but for me it doesn’t come as a shock. It was the 90’s and early 2000’s after-all.

      • Thanks for replying, Wade.

        My comment was not about your motives – just about the written piece that I (still) find to be somewhat self-contradictory. And when I discuss liking SO’G, I certainly mean as a public character – the same way I still like him. And I have far less chance of meting him than most people!

        Can I ask about your ‘incentive’ comment? Do you mean an external incentive? Perhaps from a governing body, or the like. If so, I kind of see what you mean, but don’t see that it helps. One point of ethics is learning to do right simply because it is right. Even if we ignore that, I reckon there’s enough incentive to speak up early when we see what SO’G has to face now.

        It doesn’t match up to think, ‘I admire his character’ AND ‘They should have given him opportunity to be honest.’ (Frankly, I harbour that contradiction in my reaction to all this!)

        • Hi Chris, with regards to my comment on “incentives for coming out”, I mean that there is little external upside for the athlete to tell the truth. Only downside. If O’Grady could have predicted the French Senate inquiry, then he may have seen the upside to coming clean a few months ago.

  • Michael

    O’Grady is a liar, a cheat and a hypocrite. Quick do jump on the bandwagon criticising other riders who failed a test when all along he was a doper himself.

    I don’t for a moment believe he stopped in 1998. I don’t like his credibility.

    I have been following cycling since 1984. I know how pro cycling works. I can call a cheat a cheat, I don’t need to sugar coat it.

    • NY’er

      Well said Michael. I like your directness.
      I’m disillusioned by my disillusionment. O’Grady will only be p*ssed that the truth finally came out. By keeping his mouth shut for so long (and keeping Omerta alive), he’s part of the problem, not the solution.

  • Cognoscente

    Not judging, but still disappointed. In the doping? Well, like you point out – I wasn’t there and haven’t been in his shoes. So no, that was years ago, we all make mistakes. What I am disappointed in is the manner in which this comes to light and the apparent prior cover up (statements at least). Says one thing then history eventually shows another. So disappointed that O’Grady’s riding career ends on this note but he’s still a legend to me, just a slightly smaller one than yesterday.

  • Nathman

    Well said Wade, I couldn’t agree more. Right now it seems like trial by media, while the usual knee-jerk reactions are happening at all the official places like the AOC, with their execs just towing he popular line to the media of ‘this is an outrage’. Ridiculous.

  • Brisbanecyclist

    Wow Some of us are all so clean are pure. Have you taken way more of a supplement than the recommended daily allowance because it may be of assistance? 20/20 vision is great when you are looking in the rear vision mirror. SGO has made an error. Look at all of the other sports at the time and tell me they are clean, NOT. Give cycling a break, move on an enjoy your passion. It has changed for the better.

  • Paolo

    He lied for 15 years. We have all read his interviews in the last 2 years.All lies. I don’t care how many blood bags he used to pace the Schlecks through France or to win P-R. He lied his whole career. He had a choice in 1998 and he went the wrong way. He didn’t need to be a professional bike rider, he could have been a plumber or an accountant. Many good riders, some maybe better then O’Grady, stopped instead and worked in 9-5 jobs instead of making millions. He might not be evil, but he’s a cheat and liar. He made a choice and now he has to live with the consequences, and one of them is to be judged.

    • echidna_sg

      of course no plumber or accountant ever made a poor decision? or over priced their work or showed up late to the office? *meh* sportsmen are people, they make the same dumb arse mistakes we all do in our jobs and life. I’m not saying forgive and forget, but geez do you really think any sport elite is different?

      build a bridge…

      • Rosco

        Yes many 9-5 working schmos like us make bad decisions.
        Many of us also have professional standards to uphold and face sanction from regulating authorities if we do not. One little mistake in my career and I could loose my professional registration for good. Why should pro cyclists be any different?

        • echidna_sg

          ah but this was in a time when there was simply no test for the substance used… akin to (stretching the analogy now!) the professional standard of the day being significantly different to what it is now (or so we are led to believe).

          I’m not condoning it, not by a long stretch, but I accept that at least a decent proportion of em were on EPO then. It does make me enjoy watching cycling a lot less as I doubt the ability of anyone to outperform the competition ala Froome, but doesn’t stop me enjoying my own cycling, even when I lose to past convicted dopers.

          • Rosco

            What can I say. I’m not surprised, nor do I view O’Grady as a dirty evil gollem.
            Although I am disappointed in the “I only did it once” explanation.

            But when you squiggle your signature on the back of your race lisence, you agree to uphold the rules.
            I’m sure not every doctor’s stuff up is detected, but it doesnt mean they should be ignored either. Hopefully there is some appropriate outcome, even if that is just being kicked off the AOC athletes commission.

            But I get where you are coming from Echidna, it was a long time ago. I suppose the biggest punishment for O’Grady’s transgressions now will be a tarnished legacy.

            • Tom W

              I can guarantee you, the medical omerta is far more deep rooted than that of cycling. I’m sure each and everyone of us has something we’d rather not share, Stuey could still have said nothing!
              What we must not do, is stop people coming forward. If we make it too hard, then the transparency will not be there, and the omerta will live on.

              • donncha

                Seriously? Stuey upheld the omerta for his entire career until he was finally outed. He did not “come forward”. If it wasn’t for the French Senate naming him he’d still be lying today claiming he’s a clean rider.

                • Johnson

                  I agree, he has been lying this whole time, why is he now suddenly telling the truth? As a respected “patron” of the peloton and having ridden for Gan, Cofidis, and CSC amongst others, Stuey would know all the peloton’s dirty little secrets. Here is an opportunity for him to tell all, assist ASADA/WADA and help make cycling better – I doubt that opportunity will be taken. The omerta is strong.
                  Such a shame, as many have said he is a genuinely good guy. Unfortunately being a good guy doesn’t necessarily mean clean..

                  • donncha

                    Exactly. O’Grady could have used his patron status for good at any stage in the multiple investigations in the last few years. He’s not some small domestique cowed into silence.
                    Sure, people would have still been disappointed in his doping, but would cut him lots of slack for manning up and setting a public example within the peloton of breaking omerta and that the old ways were dead.

                    He deliberately chose not to take that route, despite it being almost handed to him on a plate w/ the Vance investigation, so I fail to see why anyone should cut him some slack now.

  • Another Surly

    ” Until these revelations, Australian pro cycling had barely had a blemish ”

    Hmmm, if I recall correctly, there was a Four Corners Episode prior to the 2000 Olympics which delved into an Australian (CSIRO ? ) developed(and WADA rejected ? ) test for EPO. One of the things that show investigated was a statistically significant number of Australian Cyclists Dying in their sleep, possibly as a result of their blood being two thick with red blood cell due to EPO. ( or, I may recall incorrectly – is it possible to view ancient Four Corners Episodes ?).

    • haitch

      Only some old Four Corners episodes are online, sadly.

      • PJ

        A lot of Uni’s have these archived on VHS :)

    • nicklothian

      I can’t recall any Australian cyclists dying in their sleep, ever (and I was following cycling back then).

      The EPO test was developed by Australians, and there were a number of cyclists who had died in their sleep. That mostly occurred in the early ’90s (when they didn’t know how to use EPO without killing themselves) and they were mostly (all?) European cyclists.

    • Tony C

      I think it was a number of Dutch cyclists in the very early 90s that you might be thinking of.

  • Paul Jakma

    Maybe I can’t judge O’Grady…

    But those athletes who *did* see the line, who *did* refuse to dope and who, because of that, were elbowed out of the sport by the dopers, careers cut short, achievements denied, I’m sure they *will*. We will never even know but a few of their names.

  • De Mac

    Not really the point – by taking your stance, you are, in fact, condoning it. He knew it was wrong, yet still did it. Others made the harder choice not to use PEDs and were unable to compete on the artificial playing field. As for the ‘path laid for the crop of young cyclists’ this is the VERY reason why his actions are inexcusable – they believed in his integrity and this belief has been swept away in one fell swoop.

    Lastly, cheating, ie subverting the RULES, is and has always been WRONG – no matter the sport, or pursuit.

    • Tom W

      Cheating ~ Performance enhancing! Pick one.
      Back in the 80’s the very things that are banned today, were seen to be pushing the limits of science to aid performance. Yet know we have gone the other way, we ban medications, supplements and procedures, yet the performance enhancing now comes in other areas, riding with power meters, stiffer frames etc. In F1 they limit technology, in AFL a few years back, they banned teams for using hypoxic chambers… Cricketer use mints, hair gel or the shoe studs to ‘manipulate a ball’.

      None of those harm people, just push the boundaries. Yet do we hear about those? No, something about the sport of cycling and it’s doping past, encourages media outlets, and know-it-all’s to shout ‘cheat’ from there pedestals.
      Oh I wish I could be a neo-luddite and just enjoy the sport of cycling without the doping commentary.

  • Dan

    Absolutely no respect for O’Grady any more if he came clean he had to come clean properly. He waited till his name was announced to admit to doping. He lied to Vance when she was doing her report saying he never doped. Now he continues to lie saying it was only once. Saying it was only him and noone helped him, how did he know where to get it? How to take it? How to stay under the limits etc etc? Does he take us for fools? The actual doping is nowhere near as bad to the staying quiet this whole time and now his blatant lies. The guy is a joke, hope he cops it.

  • Dave

    I am very disappointed. Not so much with the decision to give the Edgar a go when the whole peleton was doing it, it’s not honourable but it is understandable. What I’m furious about is that he not only kept his lips zipped until he got caught, but that he actively lied about being a champion of clean riders for 15+ years

    The least he could have done was fessed up with the whole story (the ridiculous “I did it for only two weeks” bullshit might have been plausible then) before the report was released (the other guy who did was lauded for his courage by the commission) or during the Vance review, but I guess the lie had grown too big after 15+ years of embellishing it. If he did do that he would have been allowed to stand down for a few months and resume the twilight years of his career carrying bottles in 2.1 races and making Swisse ads.

    I hope that O’Grady isn’t completely forgotten, he can still serve as an example of a disgraced champion to future generations. To regain any shred of credibility he needs to tell the whole truth, donate prizemoney to the first charity he can find willing to accept it, and throw his mates under the bus. Until then, he just needs to be shut out of Australian cycling, license renewals returned to sender and ignored.

    I feel for his dad Brian and sister Leslie though. They both make tremendous contributions to the sport of cycling here in SA, especially to critical behind the scenes roles in the organisation of Australia’s only international road race. I would understand if Mike Turtur wanted all of them nowhere near his race (O’Grady won the first edition only a few months after the ’98 TdF, with two spectacular long-range attacks, but there aren’t any samples left to re-test) but it would be very disappointing if their contribution to the sport was lost.

  • Andrew

    Try riding in his shoes? Please don’t make an excuse because everyone was doing it. Everyone has a choice. He made the wrong one. He knew it was wrong and lied about it. As long as we keep making excuses for some and not for others doping will never disappear.

  • Cyril

    Difficult stuff and interesting take. Not surprised by the announcement and disappointed by how it all came out. Long thought SO’G had used at some point, riding for teams with established histories of organised and systemic doping while having some outstanding results. No different for Rogers the same suspicion exists with some outstanding results riding for teams with history of systemic doping surrounded by drug cheats. It is hard to avoid.

    Wade’s piece of not judging I totally support, for none of us know the circumstances under which those decisions were made. There are only a few who have been in the position to actually make a choice. You don’t know what decision you will make until you are actually confronted with actually having to make it. Easy to sit in judgement about something you wouldn’t have done, when you will never be in a position to have to make that decision, under all sorts of life pressures. Only the few who have been and made the right choice can feel aggrieved.

    Forcing of others to use and dope different altogether, for those looking to LA. The example of Michael Barry tragic and difficult, agreed to doping under all sorts of unsupported pressure. Surrounded by his heroes who he wants to be like and they are telling him to dope or leave, there is your cycling career right there in front of you. Tough stuff.

    Like Wade I don’t condone doping or support what happened, and I also don’t pretend to know how easy it would have been to say no to doping. This part remains unchanged, young men trying to reach their dreams, subjected to people of power and influence taking them along paths that to us more ordinary cyclists seem obvious.

  • “draw a hard line calling O’Grady (and others from that era) a cheat” <<– it was cheating, don't blame your bruised man-crush on us for saying it. That said, we can all see how doping was the easy path in that era. The difference between O'Grady and Armstrong is that O'Grady isn't a psychopath or an asshole and also (probably) a large difference in degree. I'm not at all surprised and still appreciate O'Grady as a rider. Just wait for Jen's admission and fat-masters (like me) and fanboys will be jumping from rooftops.

  • sumorider

    Holier-than-thou.

  • Malcolm

    Absolute sense Wade,its amnesty time ,make all the senator mc carthy types powerless!

  • Alex

    ‘doesn’t diminish what they’ve done in the sport’ – well yes of course it does

  • hungrystix

    I am more disappointed at the hypocritical stance against other riders and the ‘clean’ image he has championed for so long.

    Just check out his comments back in January at the TDU.

    http://www.news.com.au/sport/robbie-mcewen-stuart-ogrady-and-simon-gerrans-cant-forgive-drug-cheat-lance-armstrong/story-fngr0c3c-1226557025866

    ”Lance deceived everybody on the planet, us included, so obviously we wanted to believe it also – that he was winning the Tours clean,” O’Grady said. ”We’re all athletes out there suffering through the mountains and you’d like to think he was just training harder and working harder than we were”.

    Casting judgement against Lance when he did exactly the same himself?? Hmmm. Not sure I would want a beer with Stuey now either.

  • Ennessy

    We all like Stuey and have loved his work on the bike but to ‘confess’ the way he has is sadly demeaning – it came only after he was named in the French Senate and by chance just days after he announced his retirement having only recently signed up in a fanfare for one last year (his knowledge or at least strong suspicion of what was coming may have impacted his decision a little more than the stated desire to go out on a high after this year’s Tour). Further, the disclosure was limited to use of EPO for 2 weeks prior to the 1998 Tour which might be seen to be the minumum plausible use consistent with that single positive yet the rookie doper was able to plan, administer and even source that brief one off ‘program’ (meant to last for the duration of the Tour) without assistance. [Even then it is his hard to rationalise a “positive” for use after Stage 14 with having stopped taking EPO at least 16 days earlier]. All too convenient!

    Meanwhile at OGE, it seems Whitey a scapegoat (after all he had form) and Vance was a whitewash and to divert attention from the likes of Stevo, Stuey and perhaps others (who after all stood by and watched White take the fall). Stevo was smart enough to be the team’s sherrif (even if dumb enough to have taken EPO unwittingly in his Festina days at the time the peleton was EPO ridden). Stuey was indispensable as road captain and the glue binding the new squad.

    Gerry Ryan’s reluctance to drop Damian Oliver on the eve of the Melbourne cup, despite the scandal which had swallowed him, suggests that self interest might influence his decision making to the exclusion of other considerations. Stuey’s impromptu retirement prior to the French disclosures and Shayne Bannan’s defence of him (and even Vance’s understanding of his apparent lying to her) after his confession hint at corporate damage control.

    Yes, Wade it is easy to sympathise with Stuey and others of his era but not if they continue to spin. We will only become more disillusioned.

  • Ewen Hill

    Just as we all thought we would return to normal sane humans in Australia post the final stage, the sleep deprived cycling community are rocked with the departure of an endearing and enduring Australian we all held high, to be rolled by the EPO news the following day. Oh to be a football fan – well I might have to take that back as well.

    A very interesting parallel exists with 1970’s Kiwi great, Tino Tabak and his book “Dreams and Demons of a New Zealand Cycling Legend” is a great yet disturbing read…

    “I remember crossing the finish line, somehow getting to the showers and then collapsing … Later, when my wife found me, I was still sitting on the shower floor with water running over me. She said, ‘Are you all right, Tino?’, and I told her, ‘If anything happens to me, this is what I did…’ She said, ‘You silly man.’

    I’d taken a cocktail of all sorts of shit [painkillers and stimulants] before the start and every 20 minutes during the race. Because I had to win.

    Cost? What cost? I had to win to go further. But at the end, I actually thought I was going to die. My whole body was trembling. My head was like a massive hangover. Sick in my stomach – empty, white as a ghost, blurry vision, heart going a thousand beats a minute. That was a big risk, and I think it was almost the end of my cycling.”

    Should we pillory Tino (who came clean on his on volition from memory) who became a pro just after Tommy Simpson rode his last Mont Ventoux as well as Stuey and the others.

    I’m of the firm opinion that this cancer has to be purged and the best way is to welcome openess (if that is what it is from Stuey) from all riders and hope that the domino principle will take effect. Truth and Reconciliation sans the commission. Let’s not shoot the messenger just yet.

  • Chris

    Ok so I get that “everyone else” was doing it and we shouldn’t be quick to judge riders choices of that time. What I do have a problem with is the timing of the admission (right after announcing retirement, which seemed earlier than planned, for which the an excuse was given). Why not come forward earlier? Even if he waited until after the 8 years defined by WADA as the limit for which cheating (and yes doping is cheating regardless of who was doing it. After all is it not still cheating if every kid in a class gets the answer sheet for a test a uses it to pass.) can be prosecuted. Poor form to try and hide it, that’s what I have a problem with, that’s a current thing not something he can blame on the rider / person he was (or the situation he was in), this is about him in the here and now.

  • Chuck

    I have been very disappointed with Cycling Tips coverage of doping, to the point that it makes me want to read this website less often. You are far too apologetic in all the wrong ways; it seems like you’re trying to get us to all stick our heads in the sand. The only part I agree with you about this one is that many of the doped riders are humans who were put in the wrong situation. They are not fundamentally bad people. Most of them are good people.

    But to defend O’Grady like he did a service for Australia by winning while doped is absurd. Should Americans say the same about Armstrong? Of course not. What’s most shameful is that so many of these riders are still in denial. It was no coincidence that O’Grady retired now. It is an absolute joke to think he only doped that one time. Mate, man up and tell the truth and we will have so much more respect for you. He is just like Zabel, Julich, etc.

    If you really cared about this sport you would hold the right people’s feet to the fire. And I’m not talking about individual riders like O’Grady. The problem is the system that encourages the truth to stay hidden. But when you defend riders like this, you go along with the system

    • stephen mayes

      +1 Chuck, over the course CT has proven to be soft on drugs and I’ve commented as much. I too have made myself scarce from this site, having moved to a most credible Inner Ring. Where, in response to the recent French Senate report noted the interesting and overlooked fact there were seven stages won in the ’98 TDF by riders who didn’t test positive – so where’s your argument that “everybody was doing it”?

      Coincidently I rode with a fellow tonight who raced in Europe in the early 90’s. He was sickened by the drug use and came home. Another victim.

      PED users are cheating cvnts & CT has proven to be a PEDs apologist.

      • I’m sorry you feel that way Stephen. You’re welcome back at any time, but I’ll most definitely write more on other topics that you’ll probably disagree with.

  • Dave

    I’m satisfied that the right consequences for Stuey’s doping will be dealt out in all their fairness – by the Australian people.

    If he was clean, he would be lauded as a great champion of Australian sport, easily in the top four greatest Australian road cyclists to date after Opperman, Anderson and Evans (presuming similar revelations never hit Evans). He would be a god-like figure among Australian cycling, with one good word from his mouth enough to set up a professional career.

    All that is gone, and quite rightly too.

    Instead, he goes out of the sport as a total wanker who was in it purely for himself, without a single shred of credibility and no glory attached to his greatest achievements. He’ll be persona non grata at the national team’s headquarters at Henley Beach and the Superdrome, with any posters and signed photos featuring him quietly replaced by similar-looking shots of other riders.

  • aaron

    Wade has offered his personal opinion and is a cycling commentator (its his job to offer opinion), everyone is entitled to their own opinion and shouldn’t be criticized for it. Doping was rampant in this era as everyone keeps being reminded. We shouldnt dwell on what happened in the past and look forward to upcoming australian talents (caleb ewan, damien howson etc and make sure they stay on the right path). This was more the 15 years ago. O’grady was, and still is a hero of mine and many. The weakness for stuey which is worse then the fact he doped in the past was profiteering during the period between the USADA reasoned decision and his retirement. He should have stepped down from team duties when matt white was dismissed

    • Dave

      I agree, I would have had some decent amount of respect if he chose the great bloodletting of late 2012 to stand up and say “actually guys, I have something I need to tell you” and spilled the beans on the EPO era. He could have done it on his own terms instead of waiting until he got named in a report and we didn’t need to listen to him.

      He would have been asked to stand down and train using taped over logos for a time while he spoke to ASADA, the French authorities and WADA, and maybe lost some personal endorsements or had team sponsors photoshop him out. But with the right spin doctor, he would have come out of it even better off than David Miller who has managed to reform himself as a clean cycling advocate despite the truth only coming out when he got caught red-handed, and he would have had no trouble resuming his career early in this season.

      —-

      I don’t see Wade being criticised for offering his opinion, I just see a lot of people using that same right to express their disagreement with his opinion.

      I guess it’s a pretty sensitive subject for Wade though, what with his mate Gerrans having ridden for some of the same teams as O’Grady did and others with histories of systematic doping including Dr Leinders at Sky, and achieved most of his notable victories in a very similar style to O’Grady.

      Have anything you would like to say Gerro? Care to break the silence coming from your direction Robbie?

      • Robert Merkel

        To be fair to Robbie, a sample from him from the 1998 Tour was retested in the same process that revealed O’Grady’s doping, and it came back negative.

        • jules

          do you know which stage it was taken in? after the festina debacle, they were all riding clean :)

          • nicklothian

            It was the ’98 Tour (the same one O’Grady has admitted to using it in) – the Festina affair was ’99.

            • jules

              i’m quite certain this is all referring to ’98. the festina scandal was in ’98.

              • nicklothian

                Sorry, you are right. The McEwan sample was taken in stage 2 (July 12). July 15 was when people started getting arrested, and July 17 was when Festina admitted systematic doping. O’Grady’s “advese” result came on July 26. Interestingly, he was clean by 30 July.

        • echidna_sg

          to be fair to SOG, he tested negative a few times too…

          • Tom

            Lance tested negative 500+ times.

            • Dave

              In the order of 200 times, plus a few covered-up and excused positives.

      • PhotosofchickspleaseVeeral

        The silence from Gerro is astounding. He was quoted in the Herald Sun last year saying he hoped no one did anything “silly” with regards to drug taking. Ongoing trivialisation of the issue….

  • Tom

    I’ll disagree with a couple of your points:

    First, a number of
    talented cyclists got to the point of drugs or no career in pro cycling
    and chose the latter. O’Grady could have made the same choice, but
    didn’t.

    And second, there is incentive to coming clean – personal
    integrity. Or you can compromise it for a year’s paycheck. How many
    dollars is it worth?

  • OverIt

    I agree with Wade’s point of view. I think the temptation to dope is partly peer pressure, a desire to succeed and, (what I believe is a bigger part than many talk about), simply the human desire to experiment and push boundaries. How many of us have experimented with illicit substances, broken the speed limit by just a little bit. etc. etc.?? I’d say the % is very high. 80% maybe. Should we all be penalised and hand ourselves into the police…we all knew it was illegal at the time?

    • raphanatic

      yes – i wonder how many of us who work in places with zero tolerance on drugs would publicly announce in a staff meeting that they used drugs some years ago?

  • 900Aero

    this case highlights a few things that seem consistently problematic for cycling;

    The apparently ubiquitous nature of doping being used as an excuse. That may have been the sad case but it shouldn’t legitimise it.
    Offenders choosing the moment of least impact to confess and getting to that point with white or flagrant lies.
    Journalists teams and fans treating offenders differently based on their public persona or other circumstantial elements. The “good bloke factor”.

    Most of this is due to human nature but it does not help clean up our sport nevertheless.

  • runrider

    Agree totally Wade, nicely & humanly put & not like the hatchet piece in the SMH today.
    This is a shame for Stuart that he got so close to finishing a great career, yet this will be the full stop. He is worth more than that, the buck stops with the UCI as far as I am concerned. As an organisation they have (blood) all this on their hands for not acting in a harsher manner after the Festina affair. If the riders on that team had been banned for life from the sport on the spot as riders or to work in teams we wouldn’t have had to live the past 15 years.
    This whole moral “cheating BS” line taken by people outside of the sport annoys me, so what? Cheating happens in all areas of life where money is involved, that’s a fact. But if the governing body is not preventing it, then it will happen. Now that the French have finished their witch hunt on cycling are they about to look at Soccer, Athletics, other Olympic sports, et al? How about the Puerto Investigation, why was cycling the only sport that they really went after? Even though 40% of the other samples found were from other sports? Cycling has been the whipping boy for long enough, WADA need to move on and find new targets. Why is it taking them so long to make a decision on the Essendon footy team? If this was cycling they would all be serving 2 year WADA bans by now.

  • final impressions count

    For me, I’m not so upset about the drug taking, but it’s more about the dishonesty. He had the perfect opportunity to tell all during the Vance report, but kept telling lies to see if he could make it through unscathed.
    Unfortunately instead of being a man and standing up to admit his mistakes, he will be remembered as one of the “bad guys” of years gone past and not one of the “good guys”.

  • Jonno

    Yep – hate the sin – love the sinner!

  • Tim

    The interesting part of this era was that they did not view doping as cheating…

    Every other person on the planet knew doping was cheating, but not these guys.

    Trying to justify it with ‘everyone one else was doing it’, or ‘you need to understand the era that these guys rode in’ etc etc does not cut it.
    The people that stood by and did/said nothing during this era are just as guilty.

    I may forgive the likes of O’Grady if he gives up some names and we understand the truth behind that era and have some accountability of the people responsible.
    O’Grady’s confession is a little too self serving and not that believable that he did it on his own, with no help from anybody.

    Some people may ask to what benefit does dragging up the past – it’s ancient history!! Well, one of mankinds greatest abilities is to learn from the mistakes of the past.
    And we don’t seem to have learnt much from this era!!

    • jules

      jaywalking is a crime. how would you feel if you found your name and mug shot on the front page of every paper in the nation, with an article on how you’d been caught jaywalking and a litany of disgusted responses from all and sundry.

      “but… but.. everyone does it”
      “SHUT UP! you just don’t get it, do you? it’s ILLEGAL!”

      • Tim

        Are you serious….you’re comparing doping in cycling with jaywalking…

        • Moe

          Well you see, one time I Jaywalked continuously for about 3000km with another 200 or so jaywalkers. We did have some rest days where we wouldn’t jaywalk. We had to beat thousands of other jaywalkers throughout the years to get there. We were heroes.

      • Tim

        Are you serious …..You are comparing doping/cheating in professional cycling with jaywalking????

        • jules

          you’re right, one is just an arbitrary rule in a sport that exists for our casual entertainment, the other is about protecting people’s lives. my bad :)

          • Dubonab1ke

            Boom!!

  • peter

    Hows the soft line you take with O’Grady yet come down like a ton of bricks on others who have doped. If you believe O’Grady’s version of events you may as well shut this website down now. Of course stuey would have doped once, after all he is an aussie, good bloke and all that. It doesn’t wash. How easy is it to write a nice story like this and keep in sweet with all the Orica team and their connections. A pair of gonads needed here to write the correct story. Zero cred on this one WW.

  • Cam

    Sorry, there is a line. You might highlight a grey area, but the grey is only between those who used once and used lots of times. The line is still between those who did not use and those who did, so dont pretend its grey. Its a sad day, but there is no justification for it, other people using is not an excuse. There should be testing all all people in any grand tour and they should have samples saved for future testing. To cheat is fraudulent, in business or the share market you can go to jail for cheating the system. I dont see why its any different with athletes. After all your cheating someone else out of sponsorship deals and money.

    This is very hard thing to say after all, Stuey is my hero and a fellow South Aussie!

  • NGS

    I don’t know what to think any more. I got into cycling in the very late 1990’s, somewhat niave at the time to what was going on with the pro’s but slowly became aware of it. Some of the riders I have admired and considered heroes over the years are, one by one, declaring they were on drugs at one time or another, and that includes Stuey and Whitey. I have loved watching pro cycling for almost 15 years, but in all honesty that love has been tested over and over again, and I’m not sure how much more I can take before I completely lose interest. At the end of the day all these saga’s simply effect cycling’s credibility as a sport. I’m not sure I’m feeling the love any more, and that is the true shame.

  • alexroseinnes

    This is a great example of what happens when journos/bloggers get to close to the people they are covering.

    • Johnson

      David Walsh?

    • For the record, I’ve never formally met Stuart O’Grady, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know or care who I am. However, I do know many other pro cyclists and know well enough that they are people just like the rest of us.

      Remember, this is an opinion piece. If you want the subjective facts, we’ve reported the newswire piece here: https://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/07/ogrady-admits-to-epo-use/

      • Gus

        I think you’ve already been “subjective” in this piece. I am hoping the actual newswire piece was “objective”.

        • Oops… My mistake. It’s been a long flight…

          • Jono_L

            Subjective Facts. Freudian slip much ?

            Looking for a job with the Herald Sun?

            ;-)

  • alexroseinnes

    From the Advertiser in January:

    Asked whether he would ever share a beer with Armstrong again, O’Grady said: ”No way”.

    Asked if he would ever forgive the man he once looked up to as an idol, he replied: ”Probably not”.

    ”Lance deceived everybody on the planet, us included, so obviously we wanted to believe it also – that he was winning the Tours clean,” O’Grady said. ”We’re all athletes out there suffering through the mountains and you’d like to think he was just training harder and working harder than we were.

    ”(But) you can’t hide for that long, he had to come out of his closet and confess and as strange as it is to hear it, it’s relieving in a way that he’s done it.”

    McEwen stood on the Tour de France podium alongside Armstrong in 2002 and 2004 as the green jersey winner and said everybody’s opinion of him had changed.

    He also sees no way of reconciling with sport’s biggest ever drug cheat. ”I don’t think you can when you’ve been deceived for that long,” McEwen said.

    O’Grady said it was unfair that Armstrong’s confession tarnished the wider peloton. ”The problem with people like Lance or any drug cheaters, they think everyone else is doing it so they have to do it. When in fact not everyone else is doing it,” O’Grady said. ”They go on to bigger and better things and eventually it proves that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re Marion Jones or Lance Armstrong, if you cheat you will get caught.”

  • Hollywood

    He’s a cheat bottom line, don’t sugarcoat it or make excuses.

    It’s only when they get caught they admit it and of course they only used it the time they got caught.

    I have three words for O’Grady, cheat, cheat and cheat.

    • Bazza from Berwick

      cheat, cheat and cheat is actually four words

  • Perry

    It seems like there a lot of people getting worked up about which labels we attach to Stuey. Whether or not we attach a “cheat” label, a “stupid young rider” label, a “liar” label or something else is really not the issue. The point is that SOG has a huge amount of experience and knowledge, and the lack of an amnesty at any level of the sport will ensure that Australian cycling never gets to find out what he knows.

    Labelling him a cheat and trashing his reputation won’t help make the sport cleaner. Encouraging others in the “used to dope, but now have success while riding clean” camp to come forward is the best way forward (assuming he does belong to that category).

    Whether or not he cheated isn’t the issue for me. It’s just a label.

  • Callum Dwyer

    Pro cycling… whatever.

  • Strictly B Grade

    First off – I love O’Grady and I don’t judge him. As a yellow jersey wearer in the Festina tour I was always fairly certain that he’d maybe dabbled, same for McGee, McEwen, and Cooke.

    I think the issue most people have is the confession – whether true or not – is always; “It was just this one time then I never did it ever again.”

    Zabel said he only took EPO briefly in 1996 but his samples from the1998 tour also came up positive.

  • MK

    I’m sorry, but people need to remember, O’Grady is human. Who on this thread would jeopordise their current career by telling their boss of something they did 15 years ago? I wouldn’t, especially after how White was treated.
    in 1998 O’Grady was a young guy in the peloton, not the man he is today. he would have done what was expected. He was on massive dollars for a young pro and big things were expected. It is no surprise this has come out. McEwen didn;t win a stage in 1998 so we won’t know if he was the same or not.
    O’Grady has been part of the solution in the past few years, demonstrating that as the cultural change has occured, riders should move with it. It;s dissapointing he did what he did, but lets not hang him for hit.

    • Dave

      “Who on this thread would jeopordise their current career by telling their boss of something they did 15 years ago?”

      If he had spilled the beans instead of letting the French Senate do it for him, he might not have had this problem.

  • CGradeCyclist

    What about the ‘unknown cyclists’ who never crossed the line. The ones who refused. And so disappeared from the sport, never to enjoy the public’s accolades and a long career travelling the world as a professional… By making excuses for those that cheated, we are spitting in the face of those that didn’t…

    • I know people who went to Europe and rode professionally. They didn’t dope. Not because of a moral decision. It was because they couldn’t get their hands on the stuff. I’m sure many others made the moral decision, but it’s not so cut and dry.

      • bambam

        And this is why I have a problem believing O’Gradys response.

        He says I just went over the border and went into a pharmacy to get EPO as if he was buying aspirin. If im to believe that why wasnt everyone able to get access to the same stuff?

        Who told O’Grady about EPO and how to use it? How did he know how to store it, or how much to use and that he wouldnt get caught? How could he have done all that without support or information from his team or other riders? The answer is he couldn’t have but again someone pedals out the only once no one else involved excuse that we’ve all heard from those that have been caught out before.

        It seems that at that time nearly everyone was on the juice, what is there to gain by the continuous denial of that by those involved?

        • nicklothian

          >. If im to believe that why wasnt everyone able to get access to the same stuff?

          It was pretty expensive. I believe around $500/dose (not sure much a “dose” covered). Most wannabe pros didn’t have a spare $500 laying around.

          • echidna_sg

            its still roughly $500 a dose now, for its proper, true medical use for which it really is a life saver.

  • Ms Scruffy

    While it is disappointing to hear that O’Grady doped, it isn’t surprising. Nor is the reaction ranging from he’s a good guy leave him alone to he’s a cheat lets string him up at dawn. It is much easier to watch other nations ask hard questions of their riders than ask questions of our own, who have performed outstandingly well in times when we know the majority of the peloton were not riding clean. It is no point drawing a line in the sand until we know what actually occurred. We can’t continually have a situation where people who dope win on the way up and even when caught win on the way down because we want to turn a blind eye because its too hard to take. I remember the Festina Tour and all the media saying that this was the end of the doping era and it was only a pause before an escalation.

    What I want is a situation where young Australian riders, away from their families and natural support networks, will never feel like Stuart O’Grady and feel they have to dope to perform in professional cycling. This is different from those that choose to dope to get an edge because we are always going to have people who break rules – in this sport, in any sport, in life. The best we can get to is to have a few bad apples not an entire tree.

    To that end I think we need to –

    1. Neither whitewash what O’Grady has admitted to but neither pillory him. Instead understand that telling a truth this big will take stages and that he has only taken the first step. Personally, I do not believe the current version of his story which seems step one the handbook of dopers – it was only that race, I did it totally alone so can’t give names, I didn’t buy it in France and I never did it again. Yes his hand has been forced in relation to this one race but to tell the true extent of his doping for which he hasn’t been caught, and to accept the consequences, will take as much courage as he has shown on the bike and I personally would applaud that as much as I applauded his cycling victories.

    2. How we treat O’Grady will then either discourage or encourage others to tell their truths. I think there are plenty of Australian cyclists who have recently retired or still riding who have a lot to tell. And if things are going to change we need them to talk and to listen to them. They are in the best position to explain why they did it, how they justified it to themselves and what would have made the decision more difficult.

    You only have to go onto O’Grady’s wikipedia page and see a list not of what he has won, but his injuries to realise what professional cyclists put themselves through. In a sport where a broken collarbone is routine, puncturing lungs fairly normal and death from a training ride or even in a race is possible, it is no wonder that injecting yourself with drugs that may affect you long term, or doing blood bags doesn’t seem that scary.

    I think we the cycling public have to be mature enough to accept that the reality has been widespread doping amongst our own riders, encourage our riders to speak up possibly through a truth and reconciliation process because this issue is bigger than just stripping one rider of his results, in order to have a sport clean enough that we can lessen the pressure on younger riders to follow the same path and be able to watch the Tour de France again without thinking on every stage I bet he is doping.

  • Boz

    So Stuey only doped for 2 weeks in his 19 year career. I now believe him.
    Sincerely,
    The Giant Pink Fairy in the Sky. (C’mon people).

  • Barry

    Don’t forget he was also in 1993 Track Cycling World Championships – Team Pursuit

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF8w3RUQwxk

  • mt

    Thanks Wade for your comments and this discussion; it is certainly an evocative and emotive issue. “The beauty of cycling”…..The ugliness of doping. Saddened to hear about O’Grady’s doping… perhaps naively, but again, I think about those riders that were clean and perhaps missed out on wins/podiums/olympic medals, but I commend them.

  • Aussie Bazza

    Well written Wade.

    • Thanks, however if I were to write it again, I’d definitely take more than 15 minutes in HK airport during a stopover to do so! Upon reflection, I would have written this piece much differently. My point seemed to get lost and my stance on anti-doping was definitely muddled. I’ve updated a few points at the bottom of the post to clarify.

  • Rosco

    In other news, new evidence has emerged that the Pope practiced catholicism between 1992 and 2007. When questioned he stated “everyone was doing it at the time. I suppose I just felt the pressure to join in. It started with one confession and a couple of hail Marys then before you knew it, I was holding mass every day. I knew it had gotten out of hand when I was telling everyone not to use condoms so I decided to stop in 2007.”

  • Ihatehills

    I doubt anyone who has followed the sport closely since the
    90’s would be surprised by the names released by the French Senate. I’d suggest
    it’s pretty much accepted that to win a major race in the late 90’s you were
    using PED’s of some sort. Exceptions were probably rare.

    That means all those riders are living under the shadow of
    their past actions, wondering when and where they may be exposed.

    I completely understand why O’Grady kept quiet for 15 years.
    Why would he own up? He faced loss of employment and ridicule with little upside
    beyond perhaps the feel good factor of finally telling the truth.

    However the thing that frustrates me is that once caught, very
    few of these blokes seems to be capable of making a full confession. They
    insist on trying to protect their palmeres. Think Basso, Zabel, etc.

    Unfortunately O’Grady’s confession seems to fall into that
    category. It’s an “I’ll admit to what you caught me for, but no more”
    confession made via the friendly means of his biographer and doesn’t pass the
    smell test.

  • SteveO

    If he only did it for that time, can he clear his name for the other times by getting his other samples retested or is that impossible???

  • Rohan Andrew

    I think it is time we accept the vast majority of cyclists were doping through the 90’s and well into this century. For that matter, I doubt the sport has every been free of drug use, it’s just that the advent of EPO changed the degree of performance enhancement the drug resulted in.

    Take a sport that puts humans on the absolute limit of endurance and strength capacity and the use of drugs to get an edge will be very tempting, especially with pressures of team and sponsorship expectations thrown in the mix.

    I think it is counterproductive to retrospectively demonise riders – I also think it unfair that Armstrong has been stripped of titles where he was clearly the strongest and hardest working cyclist, who happened to beat all the other dopers. That said, if the riders collectively said “yes, we doped”, rather than wait to be caught, maybe the focus could shift to how how to rid the sport of drug use going forward.

  • mike p

    where have you been Wade hardly a blemish what about our sprinters and the dodgy kilo boys no dont blame O,grady he is just the singer not the song

    • I used the words “pro cycling” to mean pro road cycling. I’m familiar with the track blemishes.

  • VT3

    I get it, I get it. It’s sort of like investment banking!

  • patricia

    amen!

  • echidna_sg

    Would love to hear the un-edited-for-media thoughts of the younger OGE guys such as Clarke, Durbo and Bling on this – not possible of course unless you know them personally, but it would make for an interesting discussion.

    There are a few psychology PhD’s out there for the taking studying SOG over the past 2-3 weeks and the next 2-3 months – what an emotional roller coaster he and his family must be on…

    What have you got to say for yourself Jens? the silence is deafening…

  • D-Man

    I work in a very conservative profession. If I were to fess up to some of the things I did as a young man 15 years ago I would most likely lose my job. I don’t exactly volunteer this information during job interviews – what’s the point? I’d only be judged by modern standards on what was, in my cohort at that time, perfectly acceptable behaviour. But what I did then has no bearing on my current role, abilities or the way in which I currently go about my business – not that my employers would necessarily agree. So I don’t blame O’Grady for keeping quiet on this. People (especially young people) make poor decision choices. They have to live with it & it’s not my place to judge them for what they did.
    What he did was wrong but it was part of the culture at that time. Things have changed since then and for the better.
    For me, personally, I’m still a big fan of O’Grady and what he did on a bike probably did more to mainstream cycling in Australia than any other cyclist prior to Cadel landing the big one. And for that, as a cycling fan, I’m eternally grateful.

  • D-Man

    Oh, and just do we don’t lose sight of what he occurred, for the record O’Grady did not do any of the following:
    – poo on the floor of a hotel room;
    – urinate under the table at a casino;
    – rape someone;
    – join in a gangbang of a waitress;
    – assault someone in a niteclub;
    – hang out with bikies and hard-core street drug dealers;
    – involve himself in a drive-by shooting;
    – turn up to a race where he was incapable of racing because he was drunk;
    – come home and trash the apartment of an estranged partner;
    – divulge confidential information for wagering purposes;
    – throw a bike race where the result was being gambled on;
    – blame his Mum for sourcing the PEDs.
    Peace.

    • mouse

      No, but the commentariat believe that he lied about just using PED’s once, ergo he’s guilty of everything you’ve just listed. You don’t have any proof that he didn’t, do you?

    • Dave

      He did get fired by CSC for a late night out drinking with Andy Schleck during a grand tour.

    • Rosco

      He never did show up to a race too drunk to compete. Infact, he is well known for his ability to race after an all nighter while still smashed. What a skill.
      Anyone remember the 2008 Sun Tour?

      And you forgot punching cabbies in your list.

  • RooBay

    If you are going to hate O’Grady for what he has done you will also need to be prepared to mete out the same amount of hate to a very large group of individuals from that period (and later). Of course it was cheating to take EPO in the first place and equally bad judgement to think that the public would believe that you only took it pre-Tour 1998. Only coming forward once the writing was on the wall put salt in the wound.

    Anyone who has given this issue more than 4 seconds of rational thought over the recent period would realise that the debate has moved so far beyond who did and who didn’t dope. The king tide of substance abuse in those days taints most (but I’m sure not all). Are we really shocked and outraged by this? Is it so surprising given what we now know? Didn’t we get past that point years ago? Can’t we lift our heads above the news headlines and consider this holistically?

    O’Grady is a cheat. So what – add another one to the pile. There will be more. I have to agree with Wade on this one – I’m beyond hating O’Grady for this and I think when we all look inside ourselves and seriously consider what we would have done if we were in his shoes, we may not like what we see. What he did wasn’t right but if only life were that simple.

    Wade, I agree with your point of view and applaud your mature and progressive take on the issue.

  • Gboy

    Pity AFL and NRL weren’t as ruthless on their players who use drug. A footballer can get caught using performance enhancing drug and the sport hides it – 3 strikes your out policy is a joke. Name and shame all athletes. If you going to name cyclist when they use it once then name footballers, name Olympian…name everyone and don’t prejudice one sport.

    • BigRed

      what a load of frogs, Gboy. The AFL’s three strikes policy is for illicit drugs, not PEDs.

  • sumorider

    Maybe because of that one slip, he’s felt the need to prove to himself he can be is best without ‘assistance’. You gotta give the guy the benefit of the doubt. You would want the same if you were in his shoes.

    Cause you shoplifted when you were younger, are you to be branded a thief for life? Come on…

  • Pete

    Am I surprised? Not really. Concened? not really, everyone did it back then.
    What annoys me the most is the confession have gave. If he actually gave a true admission with factually correct details i’d move on, but his “admission” was a cop out. Even Lance gave a truer admission that Stuey. The omerta continues…

  • JP

    Stuey stuffed up. All the retirement speeches about having a super tour and going out on top now look trite and hollow. His admission that he only took drugs once and he still loves us smacks of someone confessing to cheating on a lover to soothe their own conscience rather than trying to mend a broken situation. He should have acted like he raced sucked it up, toughed it out and kept his head down. Does admitting to cheating tarnish an inspirational one day performance such as winning Paris Roubaix? You bet.

  • Andrew Sypkens

    Reading this last night in bed, I was going to comment “get your head out of your arse”. But, that would have been incorrect, rude, and not very constructive at all… My considered response below.

    An interesting article Wade, and I agree that we shouldn’t be quick to judge. However I think it would have been better written after much more contemplation. Perhaps after some time back in Australia – free from the heady rush of following the TDF, and once the O’Grady man-crush had cooled. Three things were particularly galling

    …”nor does [doping] diminish what they have done in the sport — especially the path they’ve laid for the new crop of young cyclists.” I would argue that it does precisely that. It does diminish and tarnish their achievements. How can it not?

    “O’Grady’s bigger mistake, in my opinion, is not seeing this coming and hoping this would be swept under the carpet.” Really? Are you serious? The mistake was doping. Not admitting to it (before it was necessary) compounded this.

    Also; “To be clear, I don’t defend or justify doping nor do I make excuses for anyone…” is said at the end of
    an article which is tantamount to excusing doping in O’Grady’s case.

    Bearing in mind I respect and enjoy greatly the achievements of both Cycling tips and O’Grady, this article (for me) does the same thing for CyclingTips as O’Grady’s doping admission does to his reputation; It makes it a little bit less awesome and a little bit less enjoyable.

    • jules

      Andrew, finding yourself in a similar situation to Stuey when he first ‘tool the plunge’, do you think you may have made the same decision? I don’t know you, maybe you would have resisted. But I’m pretty certain that a lot of people expressing outrage at O’Grady and other dopers on social media would have succumbed in precisely the same was as he did.

      • Andrew Sypkens

        Hi Jules, I had a brief time at the pointy end of sport (I was on the U23 Aussie rowing team one year – something of which I’m unreasonably proud) so I’ve had some experience with ASDA and being drug tested etc.
        But you are completely correct – had there been a prevalent drug culture in rowing & money been involved, I may have been tempted. I would hope that I would have refrained. Fortunately that wasn’t the situation, I didn’t take drugs, and hopefully never will.

        But you missed my point.
        CyclingTips is amazing – one of the best blogs on the web. It’s articulate, informed (and very very enjoyable) which is why I think that Wade (uncharacteristically) dropped the ball on this opinion piece – or perhaps merely expressed his point of view poorly. Reading some of his responses to the comments, I think it may’ve been the latter.

        But in the end, it’s only my opinion, and I dare say he’s much more informed than I am.

        • jules

          i think I get the point CT was trying to put across, which is that we should judge the careers of riders like O’Grady in totality, not on the basis of a poor decision to dope. it’s heart-wrenching for me to see a guy who has dedicated the best part of his life to the sport, achieving so much and riding an incredible 17 Tours, only for newspapers to put his mugshot on the frontpage with the tagline “Dope”. i think *that* is missing the point.

          • Thanks Jules. Exactly the point I was trying to make, but it seemed to get lost.

          • You’re such a Fan-Boy Jules

            His whole career seems was a fallacy.

            To paraphrase the point, O’Gs career shouldn’t judged because he doped throughout his career and without PEDs his career wouldn’t have existed?

  • Andrew

    Wade, like many readers of this blog, we read it because it is well considered, articulate and above all other things shows a passion for the sport of cycling. As you yourself say it is the beauty of cycling that we all crave. Now we all know that cyclists have and will continue to ‘dope’ like all professional athletes in many sports. Their livelihoods depend on consistently above average results. In any sport, performance is related to pay. And somewhere in amongst all of that sportsmen fancy a bit of glory as well. Somewhere deep down. So I get the whole personal motivational piece ‘what would you have done if you were SOG back in the late 90s’.

    What I am less clear on is this your own moral stand point. You say,

    ‘but I don’t judge O’Grady on it. And when I put it into the context of the era, I get it. I won’t pretend that I would have been any wiser.’

    By which I can only assume that you are sympathetic to SOG and that his actions in doping and cheating (because that is what doping is) are not condemnable on the basis that everyone else was doping. I also take that to mean that had you been there alongside him you would have participated and doped with him.

    So what do you judge people on then? And are unwilling to take a stand against cheating?

    More importantly are you telling us all that you also would have lacked the integrity, the sportsmanship and the morality necessary to not have doped had you been a member of the professional peloton?

    It is bad enough that this beautiful sport of ours is tainted by designer drugs and by a culture of doping. But is worse still that the very people that cover the sport, report on the sport and offer ‘informed’ articulate thought about it have a wayward moral compass. If you and others like you cannot see that ‘cheating’ is just that, whether its an energy gel when you arent allowed it or a systematic programme of doping, how the hell are we supposed to judge the riders themselves and provide them with a cultural context in which to live and compete? Those riders only seek that glory because people like us come to watch them, idolise them, appreciate them. Whatever we condemn, whatever we hold dear, however we live our lives, they will also. Because they cannot attain that glory in our eyes unless they live according to our standards.

    Its not just the riders and pro riding culture that needs to change. They don’t live in the space bubble that every journalist claims they do. They live on planet earth and their stadiums are the roads that we line or the televisions that we watch. We the cycling fans and the cycling media need to stop being hypocrites and be consistent in our approach to doping ie. LA has been stripped of his cycling honours as a result of his ‘confession’. Will SOG be stripped of his Olympic medals? Time will tell, but something tells me not.

    So the choice is this: If you want to get rid of doping then you must punish each and every indiscretion of the rules on every occasion with absolute rigour, regardless of circumstances. But if you continue to talk of ‘giving him the benefit of the doubt, ride a kilometre in his shoes et al’ all you do is condone the behaviour of the riders and prolong the problem of cheating in the peloton. And more importantly your intelligent comments about the sport of cycling become as morally frail as SOGs insinuation that he only took EPO in the smallest amounts possible to get the positive effects with the implication being that it was only ‘half cheating’ etc .

    Wade please do not become as morally bankrupt as our heroes of old. It leaves a bitter taste and promotes a lack of trust in your writing and commentary.

    • Hi Andrew,

      It’s a good question where the answer is probably not clear in this post. My stance towards doping is that I’m absolutely 100% against it. It needs to be this way – for the credibility of the sport, and so that I can confidently encourage my kids to be cyclists if that’s the path they want to take. Not to mention the fact that doping has killed many young people.

      With the case of these guys in the 90’s, I do see it as being a much more complicated situation though. Not that I ever would condone it nor I don’t make excuses for them, however when something is normalised as much as it was, it gets cloudy. I won’t pretend that I was there nor do I know what it was like, but I know from many first-hand conversations that the decision to dope was not the same as it is today. I hope that makes sense.

    • Mouse

      Read Tyler Hamilton’s book and ask yourself honestly what you would do in the situation that he describes…
      You may find that the black and white becomes a bit more grey

  • scano

    Whilst I don’t hate S O’G. I certainly won’t be excusing him.

  • Steve F

    O Grady knew he was about to be caught out, so announced retirement and a few days later, when his hand was forced, admitted taking EPO.

    What a weasle.

  • Yoyo

    “To be clear, I don’t defend or justify doping nor do I make excuses for anyone, but…”

    Right after a full post justifying the use of EPO in the 90s and making excuses for O’Grady.

    I understand and respect your views but you need to be aware that you’re basically saying that doping is only unacceptable after the early 2000s and the 90s. Dopers pre early 2000s are victims and people should restraint from criticising them. Which is fine (even though I disagree), but at least admit you condone doping under certain circumstances (i.e. everybody is doing it). You need to maintain logical consistency.

    Also,

    ‘Klaas Faber, Dutch anti-doping expert, said to me, “social control is the holy grail of anti-doping which will stamp out undesirable behaviour”.’

    What do you think he means by ‘social control’? a forgiving and apologetic attitude?

    • Hi Yoyo, I understand what you’re saying and my point seems to have been lost or misinterpreted. I need to stress that I don’t condone or make excuses for dopers, however when put in the context of the era, I have an understanding of the decision making process these guys would have undergone and can see how the mistake would have been make. I’m not saying it’s right.

      • Moe

        Sorry Wade but I have to disagree you. You’re not saying it’s right, but you’re saying it was acceptable in a certain context. It’s not going to be much for present day pro to be put in a situation where doping is present and say the same thing. Peer-pressure or in this case Peloton-pressure does not justify a moral ground to cheat. The repercussions are too large and it breeds hypocrisy in what we’re trying to make a clean sport.

      • Yoyo

        Hey Wade,

        I understand the dilemma riders faced when trying to cope with the demands of their profession (teams, sponsors, fans) in an era in which EPO doping was normalised. However, what I (and other commenters) criticise from O’Grady is that he didn’t come forward in the name of improving the sport. He was just minimising his losses because the truth was about to come out independently of what he did.

        Another detail I think your article is missing is that the incriminatory sample was from stage 14, making the ‘I only doped once before the tour’ defense false. And that necessarily begs the question of whether he’d been doping the previous and following years.

    • jules

      in general compliance theory, it is roundly acknowledged that building a culture in which complying with a given rule is the social norm, or expected by a community, is more effective than one in which people refrain from breaking rules out of fear of being caught and punished. i’d guess that may be what Klass was referring to.

  • Dave

    I wonder if there are any samples from the 1999 Tour Down Under still floating around?

  • Angelo Giangregorio

    I’m with you Wade.

  • gj

    Your article has no substance. You could have just included the title. An article with substance would have talked about O’Grady as a person and comparisons with other athlete’s to make a more interesting analysis about a bad period in cycling’s history. Truth is there were hero’s during that period, but they ended up getting silenced and forgotten. Sad that we only talk about the cheats and provide so little mention of the true hero’s.

  • echidna_sg

    Would love to know how many people commenting said no to the bong being passed to them every single time as a teen or twenty something? is it illegal? yep. would it get you fired at a lot of workplaces? yep. does that stop most people? definitely not. but if their current employer dared to ask if they had ever taken illegal drugs, how many would be honest?

    • Ritch

      Perhaps more people would be honest than you think if they are also told that if it is subsequently found out that they lied, then then the consequences would be worse than if they told the truth when asked the first time. Why? An employer has to trust their employees to be truthful – S-O’G was not a wet behind the ears neo-pro when he lied to Nicki Vance. What should I do if I was in the position of deciding whether to put S-O’G in a position of trust? Not an automatic yes I’m afraid.

  • Patrick

    How can you not equate the word “doping” with “cheat”? If it is outside the rules and it is done, it IS cheating, plain and simple, no excuses…it is cheating. Not only that, if it is ok to do it, why would they have anti-doping controls? And why cover it up? He knew it was wrong, as did all the others that did it. Strip their results…all of them until they can prove they are innocent, they are the ones who did it, stuff the innocent until proven guilty.

  • Michael in Sydney

    Wade thanks for your opinion. What worries is that in Australia we do at times seem to have a double standard about doping and how to treat people. The double standards are evident in our swimming teams and our cricketers. I am worried that ‘Stuey is a good bloke’ approach that GreenEdge is taking to this situation and the on the balance stuff has to be applied evenly. If O’Grady is a good bloke and so his ‘one’ mistake needs to be put in perspective then so does Lance Armstrong. When you balance all the good Armstrong did for cancer suffer and their families against all the wrong he did in professional cycling and lets also remember that he made a lot of money for a lot of people in cycling and did cycling a lot of good then he would come out maybe even. If Armstrong was also a good bloke would we have been so harsh?

    So If I am to give Stuey, who has been less than fully transparent and only because he was going to be named, a mile in his shoes, I need to give Armstrong it as well. I have tried and I can’t find the difference, O’Grady’s confession is no less self serving than Armstrongs.

    For me the real pain is not that O’Grady cheated, but that Orica-Greenedge has fallen for the good bloke stuff. It has burst the Greenedge bubble for me.

  • Vanilla_Thrilla

    It’s not so much the doping as the continued lying about it.

    By not manning up and coming clean recently when he had the chance O’Grady now just looks like a slimy liar and a fool. If he had fronted up and taken his lumps like a man he would’ve maintained some respect. Hopefully there’s a lesson in there for others

  • Ian

    From the Inner Ring (26/7).

    “Doping stories these days seem so familiar. Take Stuart O’Grady’s confession. A rider only confesses when caught and then we get the minimum admission possible, along with the “I acted alone” story. One of O’Grady’s team mates was Frédéric Moncassin who was also on the suspicious list from the French senate, presumably acting alone too? Once the story comes out the UCI issues a self-congratulatory press release saying it is leading the way with testing. It’s all so familiar. To complete the cycle O’Grady’s got a book coming out at the end of the year.”

  • Vince

    Still hard to digest O’grady’s comments about Lance or other dopers

  • Daniel

    O’Grady may as well have said nothing at all instead of his pathetic ‘I only did it once’ admission. Saying something like that just shows how stupid he thinks everyone is.

    Coming out with trash like that is more offensive than doping in 1998 itself.

    Omertà til the end I guess.

    Maybe one day we will see him admission upgraded like Zabel just did (even though his doping seems to have conveniently ended just before the statute of limitations would’ve applied).

    • tooheavythesedays

      My distinct memory of SoG winning PR, is of sitting having a cup of jo with a group of A Grade Melbourne bike racers, and a couple of (then) aspiring pro’s, and a pre CT CT (if that makes sense), talking about the dubious nature of SoG’s win, amazing yes, but ride across those gaps TWICE?. Remember this is when Fab C was apparently riding with a motor in his bottom bracket, and renowned dopers would go to the front on every Pave’ and cut the field to ribbons, teams of dopers in fact. Stuey we all know you doped, you roomed with Matt White for how many years? We dont blame you for giving in to it during those times, the fight against doping has moved past a witch hunt, IMO. Hell, as an aspiring bike rider, I jammed cortisone in my thighs on a 5 day tour, cos someone told me it was a good idea (its not by the way), and I thought maybe it would help me win something, in a field that really I had little business being in. The issue as I see it, is the old boys network that is still prevelant in our sport, where questions become hate, and its good enough to just keep quite, or minimise your involvement. If you minimise your involvement you hide half the problem. If a cyclist stood up today and said “You know, I didnt just do it once, I started doping in 1998 on EPO, then when the testing moved I did a few blood bags for these races, and some oxygeniators for these races, and when I was with this team this was the guy giving me the programme, and he wasnt an outside doctor, or he sent me to this doctor for dope not testing as I told everyone at the time, and so on, I wouldnt care, and would have respect for the honesty. Until all of these people turn this info over, there is only lurching from one doper to the next. Who is the next Aussie to go down, will he have just eaten a bad steak?, or only done it once?. Probably.

  • Alan

    ” … if there was one guy who would have done that if he thought he could, it would have been O’Grady.”

    That’s coz he’s a dinkum true-blue she’ll be right Aussie mate. Different standard applies. The requirement to take “the moral high ground” is more compelling when it applies to foreigners but we all know they are less likely to rise to the high standards of Strayan athletes.

  • Dimitris

    Wade, O’Grady is not australian cycling. Stop defending him. He’s a cheater, doper. Just like Lance. He didnt bully people, that doesnt change much cycling-wise. They both thought they could get away with it. They were forced to speak about their past. They lost their credibility, anything they say is in doubt. “Just for 2 weeks”? This is ridiculous.

    • Do you believe that any results from that era were won clean?

      • Dimitris

        Probably not, especially in grand Tours. That can’t justify the means used to achieve those results. There is no ending if we start accepting excuses. Now its “the era”, later would be a bad directeur sportif, a sponsor, someone’s wife or whatever anyone could think of (tainted meat?)… In the same way, i want to see Zabel losing his green jerseys. Otherwise, Lance is just a scapegoat.

  • Richard

    Wade, not going to comment on the content of the article, but one issue seems to have been left out?. I recollect O’Grady being known for two key things, guts in the face of adversity and a heartbeat
    of 230bpm while resting in the peloton.

    I’m shocked that you (and no one else in the comments section) have failed to consider the other key motivation for WADAs existence (their primary aim seems to be to create a level playing field), but more importantly to protect athlete’s health. O’Grady’s heart issues were widely reported in the late 90’s early 00’s and resulted in surgery to correct the error. I used to watch the coverage thinking that that was the effort required for a clean athlete to keep up with a drug fueled peloton. Were his heart issues potentially exacerbated by his drug taking (starting to sound similar to the LA situation, no?)? What were his requests to the team car? and heaven forbid, their instructions in the circumstances?

    How have his doping practices potentially jeopardised his health? and in future years? And has his denial potentially compromised the representation of arrhythmia’s in endurance athletes to the determent of others? (Bobby Julich another sufferer of similar symptoms and confessed doper).

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