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  • De Mac

    Well, he most likely is a good bloke and all, but rather than stating he doped to achieve results that had eluded him up until that point , he chose to wheel out the depression excuse. His doping appears to be a typical one, where the pure underlying purpose was to gain advantage over others to achieve personal glory. That is ego, not depression…..

    • Owen

      @De Mac you can’t define “depression” in such simplistic terms.

      • David9482

        EXACTLY – the larger issue than this guy’s doping (in the grand scheme of things, who really cares if somebody dopes to win a two-wheeled contest?) is depression and people’s outlets for it. This story is a case of a young man with financial means (from work/cycling) who turns to sport and cheating to deal with his depression.

        What do we do for those individuals who don’t have those means to deal with their sickness? They don’t have an outlet so they can become really harmful to those around them. They can abuse others, assault others, potentially kill others… it’s a much bigger issue than stealing a prime from other tools who spent $10-20k on bikes and 300 hours a year on a bike.

    • Samaway

      Completely unwarranted speculation on your part

    • jules

      I don’t see him making excuses. He’s just recounting what led him down the path. He was wrong. He’s admitted it. There’s no debate over whether he was justified or not – he did the wrong thing. He now regrets it.

      • Pete

        Boo hoo Micky G. Now you can’t beat up on masters riders at Sandown any more.
        I get more and more depressed listening to every doper (once they’re caught) telling their story.
        You cheated, now go away.

        • jules

          I could list a whole lot of people who’ve cheated at different stuff in life, no doubt including me. I bet a lot of them wouldn’t hesitate to condemn Micky G here for cheating, without the slightest sense of irony. I don’t condone his actions for a minute, any more than when I’ve seen friends cheat on their wives, academic studies, in business.. The key difference is that they tend to do it discretely – is telling his story really the crime here?

          • Pete

            I don’t believe cheats deserve a forum whether it’s Flandis, Tyler and his dog or Gallagher.
            Catch them, throw them out of the sport and move on to the next one.

            • So there’s nothing that could be learnt from them, to say prevent it happening with others in the future?

            • jules

              but you’re helping to provide the forum. doping is like a car crash that everyone stops to gawk at, then shouting at everyone else who has also stopped to gawk “stop gawking! move along!”

              I quite enjoy hearing about these cases. it’s interesting to understand dopers’ perspectives. I’m that guy who’s pulled up a chair and is watching the ambos go to work :)

              • DaveRides

                The difference being that most people don’t throw stones at the ambos or the guy getting treated.

    • I’m curious to know what explanation wouldn’t be deemed an excuse. I genuinely am. Is it that somehow you feel that he’s manipulating others, or gaining sympathy by admitting that he suffers from a mental illness and this somehow is deemed to be seen as accepting less culpability?

  • Alex Simmons

    I thought the biopassport superseded the fixed % HCT “rule” quite some years ago.

    • Nomad

      That’s what I first thought when he mentions “stay under 50.”

      Doesn’t the hematological module of the ABP establish the rider’s baseline Hct where the upper & lower parameters are set?

      Therefore, a rider with a naturally higher Hct at or above 50 wouldn’t need a medical exemption or be in violation of the limit.

      • jules

        it’s more sophisticated than that. it looks at other parameters like reticulocytes, which are the young red blood cells. I think (?) what happens is when you dose up on EPO and your red blood cell count jumps through the roof, your body says “woah! easy boy” and stops producing new blood cells, so your reticulocyte count drops. that’s an indicator of oxygen vector doping.

        it’s more complex than that, I’m sure.

        • Nomad

          Yes…you’re right, the parameters are also set on the reticulocytes. I believe with the ABP it’s the combination of an elevated Hct/Hgb and suppressed retics (transfusion) and vice-versa for the withdrawal phase of blood doping (?). Both determinine an Off-score, where I believe if it approaches 133, WADA can open a case. Anything >133 is sanctionable for blood manupulation (e.g., JTL had a reported Off-score of 155 when he was sanctioned).

          And according to Ashenden, microdosing EPO will elevate the retics when transfusing and keep the Off-score from looking suspicious:

          http://nyvelocity.com/articles/interviews/behind-the-scenes-of-the-contador-cas-hearing-with-michael-ashenden/

          What I don’t understand with Gallagher is he said he obtained a natural Hct of “45.9,” that was achieved while clean and boosted with EPO to only “47.7”…a dismal gain of ~3.9% (marginal improvement on VO2max?). However, he says he was seeing a 5% increase in performance…so he must have been a super-high responder or something.

          • jules

            good post.

            with the benefits, I guess while that’s only a small gain, it also isn’t a decrease in Hct which is what you’d get under a heavy training load. so the gain may be higher in relative terms than the numbers show. or maybe he just plucked ‘5%’ out of the air as a figurative example of what he meant was a small gain.

          • DaveRides

            I’d take a 3.9% improvement in performance.

            That would have been very handy on my ride home from the cricket last night, as it would have got me to the level crossing just before it closed for a long freight train rather than just after the gates closed.

    • Greg

      I can’t find it in writing, but I don’t think 50% is a hard threshold anymore. I believe there are athletes with proven natural HCT exceeding 50% who are allowed to compete. I looked, and the public information from UCI/WADA is pretty sparse and opaque. I assume this intentional to avoid providing a convenient goalpost for dopers.

      • jules

        I thought the 50% rule was repealed too, but I’m pretty sure if you’re measured at >50% they’ll be taking a good hard look at you

  • Marc

    I’ll give a bit of a translation of the article, for a better understanding:

    “A quiet individual, he let his legs do the talking, and talk they did.” means: A quiet individual, he let his legs do the lying, and lie they did.

    “his chances of adding a third gold medal to his collection instantly evaporated” means: he got what he deserved after trying to cheat and getting away with it.

    “Depression or mental illness is something I always fought with my cycling [by] having those goals and the motivation” means: people feel sorry for those who suffer from depression, making my cheating look an okay and understandable thing to do.

    “I guess I’ve got an obsessive personality in the first place” means: see for yourself, I was suffering from depression, I have a mental illness, and on top of that I have an obsessive personality. I’m not a cheat, I’m a victim, feel sorry for me.

    “In theory, you don’t have the actual benefit of the drug anymore — your haematocrit’s back to baseline” means: I want you to think that I was racing clean and that all the results I got were gotten in a fair way. I want you to ignore the fact that I was training the house down for the four weeks I used EPO which improved my fitness dramatically, making me line up at races stronger than ever.

    “he didn’t notice too much of a difference in his physical sensations while riding on EPO. “I guess all it felt like was you’re in really great form,” he said, “You don’t really notice — yeah, the numbers are a bit higher but you don’t really notice so much difference, but when you finish an effort you forget maybe the pain a bit quicker or you recover a bit quicker. But it felt pretty much the same — you still have to go out and belt yourself.” After two years of little improvement in his power numbers, Gallagher was seeing gains of roughly 5% when on EPO. “I was seeing numbers that were better than I’d seen after 10 or 12 years of training.” means: I’m severely contradicting myself, but I want you to think that you hardly get any advantage by using EPO.

    “it also lead to feelings of anxiety” means: I’m not only a victim by having to start using EPO, you have to feel even more sorry for me as I was also a victim when using EPO. I want you to ignore the fact that I knew I had to be careful not to get caught when I started using EPO.

    “Ultimately, it was an unannounced test and an ill-timed double-dose of EPO that lead to Gallagher’s downfall.” means: Ultimately, it was an unannounced test that lead to the downfall Gallagher deserved, as any dose of EPO you take to cheat is ill-timed.

    ““I’m a nice guy, I actually think I’m an honest guy. If someone drops $10 I would tell them that, I wouldn’t try to cheat anyone deliberately of anything.” means: I think you have an IQ of about my haemotocrit level, I’ve been busted for deliberately cheating, have just said that I would still use EPO today if they wouldn’t have caught me, but I still expect you to think of me as an honest guy who would never deliberately cheat. Btw I’m not going to give you any details about when and how much I was using.

    “a lot of people that see the human side to me now” means: if you still think I’m a cheat you cannot see the human side in people, which makes you a nasty, horrible person.

    • Bex

      you put a lot of work into that post. it must feel good to talk about the failures of other people, is this because you’ve got none of your own or you just enjoy it when someone else fails at life.

      • David9482

        haha, good one. Yeah it looks like he spent his entire morning drafting that response. I hope his employer knows he wrote that while on the clock!

      • Marc

        Hi Bex, what makes you think Gallagher failed at life? That’s a pretty harsh statement.

        I made my comment because I don’t like drug cheats, even less so when they pose as victims once they get caught. I wasn’t thinking about failure in any way whatsoever. But since you mentioned it, we all make mistakes in life, I make heaps of them myself. But of course the thing with mistakes is that you have to learn from them. By playing the victim after you’ve made a mistake you do the direct opposite, you’ll never learn from them.

        • David9482

          Where in the article does Gallagher pose as a victim? He owns what he does, says he deserves the punishment he is getting, says he is glad he was caught and can stop lying and opens up about mental issues he’s had. At no point does he sound like a victim. He’s talking about the process that led to his doping in hopes that it helps prevent future doping and more importantly in a way to help those who suffer from mental health issues.

          At no point is he looking for sympathy.

          • Agreed. Speaking to him there was no sense of him making excuses or wanting sympathy. He knows he stuffed up, and knows the consequences. To his credit he was willing to talk about the mistakes he made.

            • De Mac

              So, how is he different – apart from the feel-good tingle of his ‘explanation’ which made for great CT copy – than a doper who tells everyone to jump of a cliff and admits nothing??? Oh, he’s a nice, repentant bloke, so that surely makes up for his cheating??? Everyone has an excuse/reason/overwhelming issue – AFTER – they are caught doing the wrong thing……

      • 2wheelsandme

        He didn’t fail, he cheated and got caught.

  • AMK3072

    Yet another woe is me tale from a busted cheater. :rolleyes:

    You cheated, I don’t care why. Go away and live with it.

    • jules

      yet, here you are, commenting.. it is what it is. I doubt he’s expecting praise

      • AMK3072

        How did I know that there would be a reply like that.

        I’d hope he isn’t expecting praise. He failed everyone.

        • jules

          the lines practically write themselves here :)

        • David9482

          Jules, haha, so funny, I know. This guy is complaining about having to read this article! Nobody forced him to read the thing. Next thing Cycling Tips will be receiving calls from AMK3072 requesting they interview him so he can explain why he is obsessed with reading articles and how it is affecting him! Woe is AMK3072!!!

          AMK3072 – let’s call a spade a spade, you wanted to hear why Gallagher doped.

          By the way, this isn’t a woe is me piece. Gallagher is owning what he did and doesn’t expect your pity. In fact this article is much bigger than Gallagher, and is more about the decisions that athletes face everyday. To be honest, anti-doping authorities should use this as strategy to pick up on dopers.

          • jules

            for the record, I’m not having a go at AMK3072 or anyone else. it’s just banter. I get my rocks off :)

          • AMK3072

            To be honest, I only skimmed it after the first couple of paragraphs. It just more of the same from a doper who got busted. I also wasn’t familiar with Gallagher either (only recall the article earlier this year). He isn’t a high profile rider. Paralympians aren’t exactly household names so your spade is digging the wrong hole. I honestly couldn’t care who he is, what he ‘achieved’ or why he doped.

            These articles read the same just with a few minor details and a name change. It really doesn’t ever change that much.

  • MBB

    Why is this particular cyclist permitted a forum for explanation of drug use? Why is he any different? Will CyclingTips be giving all cyclists busted for banned substance abuse the same opportunity to explain away their cheating? Look forward to the Lance interview…..Crikey……

    • Peter Moline

      I’m guessing because he is fairly high profile and was very successful. I think it is worthwhile to try to understand why some people cheat. Interviews like this give us some insight into their thinking. Wouldn’t you find it fascinating to be in someone else’s head for a while?

    • David9482

      Why go off on Cycling Tips for posting this article?!? Obviously Gallagher is an important interview for Cycling Tips because this is an Aussie website. Last time I checked, Cycling Tips doesn’t have a Texas branch… And, if I remember correctly from the article, Gallagher doesn’t come off rather well… he admitted to doping and to being narcissistic enough that once he hit his physical ceiling he didn’t care about taking somebody else’s results.

      Cycling Tips attempts to interview whoever they feel they can given time/resource/etc. constraints. Crikey yourself, you sound like a two year-old.

    • Hughesdale

      MG is/was a local hero in the Melbourne racing scene, the city Cyclingtips is from – those dots aren’t that hard to connect are they?

  • Push Bike Writer

    “Some details of Michael Gallagher’s doping have been omitted from or obscured in this article to ensure it cannot be used as a how-to guide to doping.”

    Had to laugh Matt…the horse has well and truly BOLTED on that one!

  • Jonty Paulsen

    LOL have a look at all these people having a crack, Do you any of you know how many current guys are doping just at club level in Melbourne? If there was drug testing at the recent TOB half the guys in the masters A field would have been kicked out of the race. Same goes for those SKCC “human growth hormone” crits.

    • Ritch

      Put up or shut up. Report it here with names… it is anonymous. If there are cheats and you know about it, do something and get them out. If you’re regurgitating something “everyone knows”, but somehow you don’t actually know, then you’re defaming the field (though I doubt I would be under suspicion with my results!!!)

      https://www.asada.gov.au/report-doping

      • Jonty Paulsen

        I’ve witness this doping with my own eyes, Spoken to them about it. I’ve raced the past three TOB’s and plenty other masters races and crits the level is insane same of these guys look like rugby and NFL players and they’re flying up these hills. I’ve spoken face to face with reps from ASADA reported anonymously nothing will ever change or be done. The same people who believe in clean cycling, Believe Simon Gerrans is a good team mate. LOL

        • Ritch

          It’s a worrying sign if you’ve reported and had no action. It would be a significant scandal if ASADA looked the other way despite evidence implicating several athletes. Perhaps you can name the officials you have spoken to and they have a chance to respond publicly.

        • I won TOB Masters 123 (2012) and MMASA (2014) clean. That’s a sample size of one if anyone would like to use it for future reference.

          • Jonty Paulsen

            Shane mate you’re an old school hard as nails powerhouse, Different story these days even for the casual observer overlooking the situation.. We have guys making improvements from C grade masters riders a few years ago to dominating A grade races in their late 30s and early 40s. Some will say “oh but they’re training more serious now” But if you knew any of them beforehand especially personally you’d have differing opinions on their current situation as bike “racers”.

            • Cheers for the complements. I wanted to chip in with some kind positive message here, that being it is possible to go well clean. At the cost of many other things off the bike…. time, money, family, etc. I want to believe people are racing honest and clean. Even if that is naive, it keeps me happier. Side note for drama…. if MG had of knocked me off GC at TOB 2014 I’d be raging pretty hard. Now I look back at that result very proudly…. that tour is likely the fittest I ever was, and ever will be. Now I train to be the rider I once was. It’s not working out… the numbers are down… but hell, I’m still having fun! :)

            • Andrew Gray

              Hi ‘Jonty’
              Defaming the whole Masters A bunch is quite offensive to all the clean riders who love the sport. I also may be naive in believing all my competitors are clean. I believe Masters athletes race for the love of the sport, a reason to stay fit and occasional beer money. Micky G made a bad decision but he had a lot more pressure to win. He stated one of the reasons he started doping was ‘feeling others were cheating’. Your comments regarding ‘half the field’ cheating doesn’t help the situation. If you truly want to assist the sport Ritch’s comment of making ASADA accountable if ignoring strong evidence needs to be followed up. Derogatory comments under a pseudonym is just trolling.

    • Bex

      i agree, it’s laughable reading through so many negative knee jerk responses; but Ritch is right, you can’t go defaming such a large group like that. There’s plenty of guys in masters A who put in as much training as A grade riders so you’d expect them to be doing well.

  • david__g

    Normally I have little time for these after the fact interviews with dopers, but this guy actually sounds like he’s being honest, especially by not claiming it was his first ever dose and he was going to stop anyway.

    • Wily_Quixote

      He stated that he was going to keep doping.

      • david__g

        That’s what I said. He didn’t claim it was is first dose or that he was about to stop anyway. He said he’d been doing it a while and would have carried on.

        • Wily_Quixote

          That’s not what you said. the subordinate clause in your sentence is ambiguous.

          The semantic content of your sentence equally (in my opinion primarily) reads as :

          ‘he did not claim it was his only dose’ + ‘he intended to stop anyway’

          the ‘not claiming’ does not necessarily belong to the final phrase – (it is not a relative clause). The last phrase stands alone to mean ‘he was going to stop anyway’.

          Look, it is assignment marking time – you have to forgive me for I cannot help myself.

          • Nathan

            The sentence may not be constructed perfectly but the meaning was clear as there is no comma between the two ideas…claiming first dose/stopping anyway. Definitely not ambiguous enough to go hard core teacher on him.

            • Wily_Quixote

              The conjunction ‘and’ functions like the comma in this instance. Anyway, a pedant’s gotta do what a pedant’s gotta do….

              *blows smoke from handgun*

              • DaveRides

                Do you want me to get you a bandage for your foot?

                • Wily_Quixote

                  hey, i never said that i was perfect – just that the sentence was ambiguous. I see that tongue – in – cheekery is being lost in translation here…

                  • Hughesdale

                    You might even say that you started it, Wily.

                    • Wily_Quixote

                      It was the other bloke, honest.

  • Push Bike Writer

    These pieces always make me wonder how the budding young cycling stars of the future, and their parents, make sense of it all. Gallagher bad, O’Grady good? De Luca bad, White good? Landis bad, Hincapie good? Rasmussen bad, Riis good? Virenque bad, Millar good?

    It is interesting to see a bit of push back in the comments on these pieces. But the criticism is misplaced if we only focus on the individual in these cases. The decisions that people like Gallagher make to dope are a product of the setting they are competing in – the cultural features of competitive cycling.

    Individuals should take responsibility for their actions, sure. But the sport itself has to shoulder a good deal of the blame for doping too. International and national governing bodies, club officials, cycling media, and a good number of influential club cyclists are responsible for the half-hearted and inconsistent response to doping that continues to tarnish the sport.

  • geoff Duke

    I think we should listen to what he has to say. I am like Jules. An interested observer of life and people. I think he was a honest as he could be. As someone with extended family who suffer from mental illness I would have to say that total honesty is not always a strong suite. They don’t actually mean to deceive. They just don’t always see that that is what they are doing. That is not an excuse but often a fact.
    I think his admission that he would have continued to use had he not been caught, and that it became a natural part of his preparation, refreshing. It is nothing like other athletes who like to claim they only did it once (and were unlucky enough to get caught) or it made them sick so they stopped. We all know that is rubbish. I have been out of competition for many years now, but can still recall a couple of days when I look back at being beaten by someone I know would have tested positive that day. I don’t get angry about that. I get to hold my head up. I think that is what Michael would like to be able to do, and if coming out like this helps, then so be it.

    • Greg

      Maybe he’s being honest. But his start date is convenient because it allows him to preserve his major titles. And there’s a long history of very convenient dates in doping admissions. At least a grain of salt is warranted while lauding him for his openness.

  • Wish I was on the bike…

    Sure we’re not missing the real crime here? ‘…Opens up’; ‘..reached out’. Come on guys what’s with that? I know I’m showing my age but never the less – just trying ‘to socialise’ the idea that modern language isn’t always better. Who’s with me??? Wily??? (tongue almost entirely in cheek).

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