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  • jules

    i want to know how the Tour of Gippsland went from Colac to Melbourne!

    • dbranson

      The news article is mentioning two separate events. The subtitle is “Victorian Road Races.”

    • Dave

      It was run by the Four Days of Dunkirk* organisers?

      * a road race of six stages.

  • dbranson

    Happy the Bike Lane helped Stuart O’Grady with #10…

    • Geoff

      I’m assuming that the whole article was written in response to watching that disgraceful puff piece …

      • Push Bike Writer

        Thanks Geoff. The Bike Lane did help to crystalise my thinking, but my position has been forming over the last few years. Focussing too much on O’Grady is a mistake because the issue is much wider than this case and the responses we are seeing to it.

        I have previously argued for quite a different approach, here: http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/bring-truth-into-play-by-saying-yes-to-drugs-in-sport-20120628-215cn.html and here: http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/naming-and-shaming-wont-wipe-out-cyclings-dirty-secret-20130121-2d31x.html??

        I changed my mind because of the hypocrisy, mixed messages, and silence I noticed more and more at the highest levels of cycling governance, and trickling down through the sport – hence the list of 10. I think cycling has botched the message on doping – on the one hand saying “we’re against doping, we must prevent it”, and on the other hand continuing to reward and celebrate ex-dopers (and riders ‘known’ to have doped) remaining in and around the sport.??

        The folks getting paid to develop and implement cycling reforms and look after the sport’s best interests are in organisations like Cycling Australia, the UCI, Cyclistes Professionnels Associes, Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels, and Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible.

        These organisations should be leading the debate (or at least participating in it), calling out the hypocrisy, and tackling the mixed messages. It is difficult to understand why they are not doing so.

        Craig Fry

        • jules

          Craig, there were a lot of acute observations in your article. however, I’m uncomfortable with focusing on the actions and behaviour of dopers – after the fact. the cycling community/fan base seems obsessed with what dopers do, after they’ve been caught. Lance won his last Tour 10 years ago, but he’s never been under greater scrutiny than today. meanwhile, there is good evidence that nothing much has changed in the peloton, yet we seem to be lapping up the “oh it’s much cleaner now, we’ve moved on” line. (again – what’s that definition of madness?)

          this isn’t cycling-specific. people love to focus on punishment and shaming, after the crime. killers and rapists are being let out on bail, without a whisper of protest. yet when they re-offend (surprise..) all hell breaks loose and we call for the death penalty. the horse has bolted people! it’s the before-bit that matters!

          I don’t agree guys like O’Grady deserve to be dragged through the mud. at least, not while so many other doping crimes – many still in progress – go unpunished. it doesn’t add up for me.

          having said all that, I still enjoyed the article :)

          • Push Bike Writer

            Thanks for your considered response Jules. I agree with you. Prevention is the key, but there are different views around how to realistically achieve it in high dollar commercialised sport.

            I am not sure what the best approach is, but I am very certain that continuing to send mixed messages (i.e. “This cycling organisation / team / club / race / brand / TV show / media outlet is against doping, but we continue to celebrate and reward dopers”) is not helping at all.

            I don’t agree with severe criminal punishment, dragging anyone’s name through the mud, or making people suffer. I’m just suggesting that cycling needs a different message, or at the very least a consistent message. In effect, what we currently have is: You may as well dope because you’ll get away with it in your riding career, and post-riding cycling career.

            I believe the only way past this is for cycling to stop celebrating and rewarding its tainted stars and heroes, and stop romanticising and glorifying past dopers (e.g. Tom Simpson for instance, but we’re still doing it – I’m sure Wade won’t mind me mentioning the latest CT / MAAP jersey). That’s more about severing ties than actively punishing. It would be painful at first, sure. But cycling would get over it and move on, and this would send a very clear and powerful message to all riders about what is at stake – your name and legacy in this sport.

            • Bones

              I think you know that the best and realistically only approach to rid cycling of dopers is the ‘sporting death sentence”– no contact with any organized sport, ever again. That meaning a lifetime ban. It’s really not that complicated.

              • Winky

                100% agree. The penalty has to be a lifetime ban for a proven offence. Let them go and get a real job. There will still be people who want to race (more, actually) and there will still be people who win races. There will be far less incentive to dope as the prevalence will fall to close-to-zero almost immediately. There will be more money available as sponsors won’t be repulsed by the disgusting cesspool that our sport (and pretty much all other professional sports) has been for as long as we care to remember. There is no downside whatsoever to automatic lifetime bans for proven cheats.

                • SantoMoreno

                  It is by no means clear that countries with the death penalty have lower murder rates than those without it. If one could extrapolate that to doping in sport and a “sporting death penalty”, why would such a penalty considerably diminish doping offenses?

                  • Winky

                    Interesting analogy. I think it breaks down when one considers the motivation and justification for doping and how that differs from the motivation and justification for murder. I think a lot of the incentive and justification for doping comes from the belief that “everyone else is doing it” so cyclist think:

                    a) “Why shouldn’t I join the club?” and
                    b) “I can’t win without it”

                    People explain/self-justify the morality by way of the notion that it is generally accepted practice. This generally isn’t the case with murder, at least outside of certain circles (gangs, organised crime etc). Once cyclists are convinced that doping is rare enough, they will have less incentive and less self-justification, leading to ever fewer dopers. I think the severe penalties could push the sport over a “tipping point” where doping would become rare.

                    I hold zero hope of this happening, of course. I view professional sports in the same way I view professional wrestling.

                    • SantoMoreno

                      I hope you are right, but I think that for many cyclists (at least in Europe) it is between farming or working in a factory or making it as pros. If they believe there is a decent chance to dope and not being caught, which seems to be the case, the incentives to do so are still there, regardless of the possible punishment.

                    • Winky

                      Yes the “to dope and not be caught” qualifier is important. My argument pre-supposes that there are ways of detecting dopers, with varying degrees of success. With severe punishment, low probabilities of detection do remain effective as a deterrent up to a point, but below a certain likelihood of being caught, the severity of punishment is irrelevant in terms of driving behaviour.

                      What remains as a driver of behaviour is the degree to which the potential doper views the practice as morally or socially acceptable. With widespread doping, the social norm provides no incentive to not dope. If doping can be made more rare, people will perhaps be less likely to dope, continuing the improvement.

                      The counter-point is that if doping were all-but-eliminated, the benefits of choosing to dope would be large (you’d win a lot!). Hence why the penalties should be even larger. The whole thing is a combination of game theory and expected-value analysis, too complex to fully articulate here.

                    • dbranson

                      I am not convinced that professional riders are driven to dope to escape blue-collar work. GCN recently did a segment asking the pros what they would do if they weren’t pros and riding to escape the factories didn’t seem to come up a lot.

                    • SantoMoreno

                      So canoe bum, standard bum, metal worker, WWE wrestler, farmer…do note that most of those with answers like “economist”, “cooking school”, etc. were the North American riders, where the demographics are very different than in Europe. In the end I believe that people will have incentives to dope as long as their outside option is not particularly enticing. Morals might have some effect, but the cynic in me thinks that most people obey rules and laws mostly because they fear being caught/ the expected punishment (or the expected disutility) is large enough.

                    • SantoMoreno

                      So canoe bum, standard bum, metal worker, WWE wrestler, farmer…do note that most of those with answers like “economist”, “cooking school”, etc. were the North American riders, where the demographics are very different than in Europe. In the end I believe that people will have incentives to dope as long as their outside option is not particularly enticing. Morals might have some effect, but the cynic in me thinks that most people obey rules and laws mostly because they fear being caught/ the expected punishment (or the expected disutility) is large enough.

                  • Push Bike Writer

                    People often draw this analogy, but it is not a valid one.

                    • SantoMoreno


                    • Push Bike Writer

                      See the points made by Winky below. In short, the social, cultural and individual factors and motivations around doping in sport are different to those around murder. So the thinking behind prevention (including sanctions) should be different too.

                  • Bones

                    It’s ridiculous to consider the death penalty, where an individuals life is terminated as any way, shape or form consistent to a ‘sporting death penalty’ where the individual is not allowed to participate in a given sport for the rest of their life. Probably just as ridiculous as comparing capital murder to doping in sport.

                    • SantoMoreno

                      This is a matter of determining the right incentives so that people engage in a certain (desired) behavior, be it not doping or not murdering. I tried to argue by analogy that the maximal possible penalty may be, in fact, counterproductive. You may or may not agree with the said analogy, fair enough. However, I was comparing the implementation of the mechanisms and never compared capital murder to doping in sport. Saying so would be putting words in my mouth, which would be ridiculous.

            • jules

              I understand the logic there Craig, but the problem is that riders tend to assess doping as a pathway to the fame and success, the withdrawal of which you are arguing can be used to deter them from taking that path. to me, there’s an obvious limitation of that approach – not doping is likely to deny them that fame and success in the first place. at least with doping, they keep some of it (particularly accumulated wealth). I’d say they understand the potential consequences of being caught – and assess the risk as worth taking. I don’t think cutting ties with them after being caught would necessarily reverse their assessment of that.

              I don’t believe a guy like Stuey is sitting back thinking “well, I got away with that one!” I’d say he is hurting, he’s humiliated and he’s lost a lot already. no disrespect to Matt Keenan and his team, but I doubt his appearance on The Bike Lane would – in Stuey’s mind – mark a triumphant return to cycling celebrity. I do wonder if you’re underestimating the impact of dopers being caught and exposed – even if they maintain a degree of celebrity status and acceptance in the cycling community.

              I think Lance is an example of that – he may be unrepentant, but he’s sure hurting. how much more does he need to suffer? it seems like the major objective of that suffering now is serving fans’ sense of schadenfreude. they want blood. I don’t necessarily blame them, but I think we’ve passed the point now where much of real substance is being gained by continuing to pursue him. e.g. hounding him out of gran fondos – really?

              • Push Bike Writer

                Thanks again Jules. It’s a good discussion that is not always the norm in the online comments pages. Maybe if CT insisted folks used their full names the discussions in this space could go even further.

                The research in this area (and the books by / on prominent dopers) shows that the doping decision for some cyclists is not just about fame, winning, and riches – doping choices are also associated with a range of other factors like injury avoidance and management, getting and retaining a contract, social desirability / group belonging (in the era of team approved doping), the belief it is an expected / normal part of being a professional, and the thing you need to just keep your place in the bunch.

                As a result, the related anti-doping education and prevention field has started to frame responses that aim to address this complex set of psychological, social, and systemic factors. As you might expect, the goal of preventing such a multi-dimensional behaviour is a difficult and long-term challenge, and it is made no easier because of the difficulties around evaluating how such prevention programs are working…if at all.

                I too feel uncomfortable watching some of these folks suffer publicly, but I can’t feel sorry for them finally taking some responsibility for choosing to dope. I feel sorrier for the riders who chose not to and either had a career making up the numbers in the bunch, or exited the sport altogether.

                And I’m more concerned that the current mixed messages on doping in cycling are undermining education and prevention efforts. I believe this needs to be addressed to give these initiatives a better chance of achieving the attitudinal, cultural, structural, and behavioural changes they are aiming for.

                Cutting ties, distancing, turning our back, telling dopers they’re unwelcome in cycling, or even imposing life bans certainly won’t be the cure-all here for a complex multi-faceted behaviour. But it would send a clearer and better message in my view than the one we have currently. This would give us a stronger platform from which to address the issue.

            • TV Time Tommy

              I agree with much of what you have to say here Craig, but the difficulty of severing such ties is the pervasiveness of doping in cycling’s history. The history book as we all know it would have to be ceremonially cremated, and then we would have a ground zero point from which to build an alternative cycling culture and history. While I want to believe that could happen, the rational part of my brain says there are too many individuals from the past with vested interests (and egos) standing in the way. The emotional part of my brain also struggles to let go of the nostalgia and romance of past glories, despite the fact they were probably fuelled by pot belge and a handful of insouciant race officials. It’s the whole “patina of age” effect.

              It’s not impossible to achieve, but gosh, it just seems so unlikely.

              • Push Bike Writer

                You may be right. But if the only things standing in the way are vested interests and nostalgia, we need to ask ourselves: Is that good enough? The stance we have now continues because it is the easy most comfortable option in a difficult dilemma. The right thing to do is often the hardest option.

            • Ihatehills

              I’m with you on the differing treatment of dopers. Sainz and Bruyneel are kicked out yet Riis, White and others are still welcome? Armstrong gone for life but Pantani, Riis, Ulrich and so many, many more remain in the record books and welcome in the sport. And what about some recent cases like Ilnur Zakarin? He’s recently won a stage and overall of the Tour of Romandie after coming back from serving a 2 year ban. Pretty hard not look at that result and anything the guy does in the future and wonder. That’s unfortunate but bluntly he’s tainted himself and his palamres forever.

    • Wish I was on the bike…

      I thought Matt did a good job not to let SOG off easy, and provide SOG the chance to tell his story the way he wanted to. Credit to MK. I scored SOG at 6.5 out of 10 against the list above. The most interesting items being 0.5 for the apology. I reckon he meant it, however questions linger about the completeness of the confession. Regarding the book, the timing of the release was impacted by the French retrospective testing. He’s now having a go at number 10.
      My Impression is that he is finding it tough to find his post-career feet, and it is never good to see anyone suffering, as he seems to be. I hope we’ll see more of the cheery SOG in the next week or two as his confidence in front of the camera grows.

      • Conconi – The Original Master

        I didn’t watch it, specifically because I can’t stand O’Grady.

        If you think he only doped in his formative years as a Euro-Pro than you also probably would believe the word gullible can’t be found in the dictionary.

        • Stompin

          Probably like Contador, hey?

    • Conconi – The Original Master

      I didn’t watch the show, but can someone confirm Matt did address the elephant in the room?

      Did he ask O’Grady to explain how he went from having to doping just to keep up with the gruppetto, to riding assistance-free and driving the peloton, mountain pass over mountain pass, day after day, dropping GC favourites who were doping at the time, doing so on a team who other riders [ex team mates] have said was involved in systematic doping, in a peloton that was faster than ever before?

      THAT is the large mammal.

      • jules

        why ask O’Grady? what about everyone else in the peloton? let’s get them altogether on a giant field and ask “anyone who was NOT doping, please step over to this side of the field!” then see who moves. that would be more meaningful.

      • Lance O’Grady

        I can confirm that the elephant

      • Lance O’Grady

        The Omertà continues…….

  • Andy B

    Im going to need some help with suppliers

  • Steel

    PR 101 is to link your name to a charitable cause. All the rogues do it – Dick Pratt, Murdoch and of course the man who did it better than anyone else Livestrong Lance.

    • jules

      Murdoch didn’t, his mum Dame Elisabeth was the major philanthropist. I think she felt guilty about him

  • CB

    Guys like O’Grady, Millar and co, if they should ever read this, would nod and permit themselves a wry chuckle at the quite accurate list here. Shame guys like Ricco weren’t smart enough to know these do’s and don’ts.

  • velocite

    I liked the reproductions of period reports – but nothing else about this article. Insubstantial and unhelpful IMHO.

  • Dave

    You can get away with it without having number four, just ask Jonathan Vaughters.

    • Allez Rouleur

      You can say that again. What a unlikeable prick that guy is, only made worse by his stupid clothes.

  • Ihatehills

    I clicked on the article expecting a blow by blow account of what to do to win the TdF.
    Something like swallow this. Inject that. Apply this testosterone patch in that spot and don’t forget to remove after two hours. Ride the trainer every 2 hours to avoid heart attack.
    Instead it’s an image management guide. Oh well, it was still interesting. :-)

    Craig, perhaps you can run a table of known dopers and their point score?
    I’ll start with Hincapie. 8.5

    • Conconi – The Original Master

      I’m assuming 8.5 is his ex GST score.

      GST inclusive would be closer to the mark.

      • Ihatehills

        I gave George a point each for the first 8 suggestions on the list. No score for number 9 (but I could be wrong there?) and half a point for number 10 as he’s not directly involved in the media.

  • Michele

    I reckon if ex-Dopers were playing along with this list of 10 “factors”, George Hincapie would’ve screamed bingo first!

  • Not surprised to see this article appear ! With 3 weeks until the wheels begin to turn in Utrecht , we are going to see more drivel about the CRIMINAL ACTIVITY of SPORTING FRAUD !

    SKY TV were talking of ” Salazar( Mo F. ) ” this morning and would you know it , Cycling was the ONLY Sport mentioned . Guess it is hard to get pass the Journos who are building their ” Puff pieces ” for 2 weeks time , to justify the annual jolly !

    Sestriere , the penulimate arrival of the 2015 Giro , i watched a bunch of TV Media interviewing themselves about the previous 3 weeks Cycling Efforts . When finished , i asked them about HELPING Ordinary Cyclists . YES , they knew of the death in London of Moira G. , but when reminded it cost nothing to film the ” Placards ” , it was ” P#ss OFF Pr#ck , we know what you are about “!

    Second season of getting the ” Pro Racers & Notables ” to pose with the ” Cycle Safe Pass ( VisionZeroWorldWide ) Placards ” and this is how the British Media respond to their Audience !

    Racers TRAIN on the roads , Wiggins gets skittled near home , Horner gets skittled near his European base , Cippo gets skittled in his home town of Lucca : What do they haver in common , they were on 2 wheels , yet the MEDIA care about ” Doping ” , because someone was CAUGHT , NOT ABOUT the risk PEOPLE ON BIKES take each time they venture on the roads .

    A DEAD Cyclist is NOT ” Click Bait ” , but a Doper is !?

    • jules

      i’m outraged for you

      • Chris

        You mean OUTRAGED for You ! Jules.

  • BW

    Easiest ways to get away with doping; play tennis, athletics, football, Aussie rules, League, Union, baseball, gridiron, etc.

    • dsd74

      Beat me to it! And in North American sports you get what, a 3-6 month suspension, followed by a “Welcome Back!” sign upon your return?
      Although everyone will argue that those are “skill” sports so doping won’t help…

      • Ihatehills

        I’ve lost count of the number of idiots who believe their chosen sport doesn’t have dopers because it’s a game of skill. Tennis, football, golf etc etc.

    • Derek Maher

      He He,Good one BW,Oh you forgot Snooker and darts and probably archery,Beta Blockers were the thing for those events.
      The whole scene is blown out of proportion with all the moral outrage,How many cyclists or other sports people will buy super energy drinks,Gels etc in the belief it will help boost their competitive performance or indulge in national elite trainning camps with high altitude trainning ect to up their red blood cell count to give them an edge over their rivals who maybe cannot afford these performance enhancing excersises.

      • Whippet

        I’m with you Derek. The mixed messages are a product of organisations covering their backsides whilst still collecting profits from cycling. My biggest concern with the drugs is the riders’ health. The moral outrage actually makes me feel some sympathy for the doper.

  • Arfy

    #1 should be “Don’t sign a sponsorship contract explicitly stating you won’t dope”. If you don’t have a major sponsor wanting their millions back, then you won’t have your local doping authorities hunting you down with high-town lawyers.

  • Darren

    #11 Get a leading Cycling news website to design a kit dedicated to one of your wins…


  • Pete

    Number 7, Matt White anyone?

    • Geoff

      I think Matt White is the most stomach churning for me – and Greenedge wonders why they can’t get any more sponsors?

      I saw a doco a while back about US Postal leading up to the 2001 TDF that showed him kicking back in the team bus with Armstrong, Hincapie etc – he still has that smug look on his face today

      Actually that doco – “Road to Paris” – is worth a look with the benefit of hindsight – it’s on Youtube.

    • Allez Rouleur

      I haven’t been able to enjoy the Behind the Stage pass videos since I realized White is a former big time doper and maybe carrying on doping at OGE.

  • Tom Wells

    This was aimed at Lance a little too much imo.

    Still, a good article nonetheless.

  • brucegray

    Did you have Matt White in mind for No.7?
    Why do Eastern European teams get caught more often? and get off lighter? Is it because Russia has nuclear weapons and blows civilian jets out of the sky?

  • Russ C

    I thought this article was an opportunity to take a cheap shot at SOG and Keenan. Will be interesting to see if SOGs demeanour changes next episode. SOG presented squirmish and seemed flat. I reckon he has served his punishment, compare mckewens current standing in cycling community to SOGs.

  • SecretPro

    What a pathetic article, trivialising a very serious issue. Victoria Uni should be embarrassed that you put your name and theirs to this. CT should be embarrassed to publish it.

    Despite proclamations to be an expert on the topic, the first item shows zero knowledge of the information athletes have to provide about their location, the times of day authorities can turn up to test them and the penalties for not adhering to notifying of their whereabouts.

    You can do better CT.

    • Push Bike Writer

      The testing and whereabouts protocols are demanding on athletes, but are you really suggesting they are 100% effective and that athletes cannot game them?

    • Derek Maher

      I have to agree with you SP on the hassle sports people sign up to with this bio passport system.They become servants to a regime that can cause major disruptions to their ordinary lives.When night testing becomes compulsary your lives will have added misery. Why the heck the old doping test at the finish lines with all the knowledge thats been accrued in the last decade cannot be enough beats me.It would save a fortune for cycling and cut out a lot of vested interests who keep promoting the doping story for their own ends.

  • Jermagesty

    I was hoping for something more technical, like controlling the glow times with different microdosing strategies… that probably doesn’t need much discussion though. 1 Missing point and a point of clarification.

    After apologizing and looking like you mean it, you never mention it again unless you are cornered and have to, never. The first rule of dope club is you don’t talk about dope club.

    Then the missing point: Under no circumstances at all, no matter how well organized your programme was, do you ever name names. NEVER! If you get caught, its your fault and all your buddies that helped you do it and are still out there, well they didn’t get caught, it’s something that’s wrong with you.

    • Stompin

      Yep, just think AFL.

  • Allez Rouleur

    Interesting timing. I’ve been a big fan of the PRO tour for over five years now, been an avid cyclist since 2003. I came to cycling after playing another sport my entire life, then through college, then getting burned out on it. I discovered a love of cycling.

    Lately though, I’m just growing less and less interested in the PRO peloton. I think this is because my life has found a new balance and cycling isn’t everything to me. However, I also think this is because the doping seems to be getting worse, or returning to the 1990s levels. Froome, Nibali, Katusha, Astana…

    I think the non-stop doping and speculation is just killing my interest.

    • Callum Dwyer

      I feel the same way. Use to love men’s pro cycling, but with every past year I’m losing interest because of the constant doping.

    • James

      +1 I admire you, but it took me 30 years til ’98 to finally realise it was a sham. Then four years later the whole fairy tale ended once and for all getting up close at the TdF. I wasted so much time, energy and money following the Euro scene nourishing a dream that began in boyhood. All professional sport is a corruption of a simple idea that sport takes us away from the everyday and s/be a healthy outlet for play. Just that, nothing more. Add money and illusory glory to anything and it’s a temptation for those whose shaky ethics will lead them astray.

  • Ferdinand Artichoke

    Just google about for the UCI Banned Substances list. Reg check blood while taking as much of everything to the limits specified

  • David Millar scores on every single point. He’s the master of it all.


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