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  • Larry @CycleItalia

    No mention of their time together at Saxo…the year of an interesting rear wheel swap between the two at the Giro?
    How will pro cycling’s image ever improve if proven dope cheats continue to be the ones schooling new racers in the sport?

    • Neal Rogers

      Ah, forgot about their time together at Saxo. Will add, thanks Larry.

    • Jack Spoke

      Larry, here you are again. I wish you were not always focused on the negative side of things because a lot of times it sounds like sour grapes. These two are supporting youth cycling and they are putting their money behind it. History has judge them and will judge them. Let it go.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        a) I doubt they are putting much (if any) of their own personal fortunes into this. These are ex-pros who know very well how to get paid for their efforts with the clothing company very likely picking up a big chunk of the tab.
        b) If the sport continues to let ex-dopers have this kind of influence on the sport (and let’s remember one guy’s half-assed explanation for his doping positive was tainted beef in Spain which the beef producers there very vocally protested as BS, while the other’s, equally half-assed excuse was that he “just thought about doping” though his blood was stored with Fuentes) where’s the hope for cleaning things up with future pros supposed to come from?
        c) Too much focusing on the positive (BigTex’s amazing story, the genius of “marginal gains” at SKY, etc.) while glossing over or ignoring the negative is a lot of the reason pro cycling finds itself in its current situation.
        d) “History has judged them”? I think both of these cheats have plenty of money in the bank and admiration from fans. Both of those things point again to why pro cycling’s in the current sad state of affairs…and I don’t see how unrepentant ex-dopers coaching a new generation of pro cyclists is going to improve it.

        • Jack Spoke

          I’m not glossing but you are consistently negative on these two. Please try looking at the bright side of our sport for once. This story is much more than what you read into it: two ex-dopers getting away with continuing in the sport I guess. It is about support for young riders in a cycling universe that has less opportunities for young hopes than ever. That is the story for me and for those who prefer to look ahead with healthy optimism.

          • Larry @CycleItalia

            You can simply scroll past my cynical comments, but I have to wonder if you see any connection with the continued celebration of unrepentant dope cheats in the sport and a “…cycling universe that has less opportunities for young hopes than ever”?
            Sport itself is defined by arbitrary rules so if competitors are allowed to break them the entire concept of sport is destroyed.

            • campirecord

              You are a downer. Can’t believe you didn’t come here to make a Brokeback Mountain joke. Look at those boys !

            • Jack Spoke

              The loss of opportunities come from sponsors not valuing the investment compared to that of high-yield sports like football where TV revenues are much bigger. No sponsor money means less races, less teams, less clubs or farm team for kids to grow and be mentored. So that is why these two are doing something valuable by creating this team and why I appreciate it.

              • Larry @CycleItalia

                You keep making new points for me, thanks. I think the constant drip of doping scandal and failure of the sport to rid itself of the dope cheats is a large cause of “The loss of opportunities come from sponsors not valuing the investment ”
                I realize this is “enthusiast press” and we’re all supposed to be cheerleaders for the sport, but that kind of attitude enabled the famous dope cheats like Tex to get away with it for years while guys like Kimmage and Walsh took loads of s–t from guys who sounded a lot like you. Apologies for running this way-too-long…no more from me about this so you can have the last word.

          • Neal Rogers

            FWIW, I don’t always agree with @larrycycleitalia:disqus’s comments, but I do appreciate what he has to say. He’s knowledgable and always keeps it civil, and the same cannot be said for everyone.

          • Spartacus

            I want to be optimistic about this Jack, and I really like Alberto as an attacking rider but it’s hard to divorce that from the reality. Thomas Dekker’s book calls out Basso at the Giro, writing “the cynical way senior teammates remark that Ivan Basso is ‘in REALLY good form’ speaks volumes.”

            • Jack Spoke

              So they doped, we know that but why is it that other walks of life welcome former offenders who want to do good but cycling doesn’t?

              There are reformed hackers working with companies and law enforcement to fight computer crime and ex-convicts counseling in youth crime-prevention programs. We welcome that as a good thing but cycling punishes dopers forever? Sorry Spartcus but this is arrogance in my view.

              These two were caught and were punished, let’s allow them to give back now or at least give them a chance. Imagine if your mistakes (or Larry’s) were never forgiven and you were not allowed to try again. What a lousy deal that would be!

              • Spartacus

                I think your analogy to reformed hackers falls down Jack, unless Alberto and Ivan are actively working to improve clean cycling – in which case I welcome them with open arms as I have JV and David Millar. Let’s hope so.

                • Jack Spoke

                  How does the analogy fall down? Why would you assume they are not working on clean cycling with their youth program? Have you any evidence that that are instilling a doping culture there?

                  • Spartacus

                    Wow, you are argumentative. The hacker turned law enforcer is providing vital info that the police don’t otherwise have. That is not what Alberto and Ivan are doing. If they were giving the UCI info on doping methods then your analogy would be apt, but not otherwise.

                    A lack of evidence of instilling a doping culture is quite different from actively promoting clean sport a la JV and Millar. Most, and I am sure Alberto and Ivan will be the same, simply pretend doping doesn’t exist.

                    • Jack Spoke

                      Actually I’m not normally argumentative but I also don’t take things at face value if I think they are not fair. How about the ex-convict who counsels youth to teach them how to avoid a life of crime and what a bad choice that is? Is that a better analogy? Isn’t it plausible that Alberto and Ivan will sharing their experience to steer young riders away from doping? Perhaps I am naive but I’m open to that possibility. Interesting that noone else here is.

                    • Spartacus

                      As I said earlier I am very hopeful that you are right. But historically in cycling, former dopers who have become DSs or team owners have not generally tried to create a non-doping environment. Exceptions that spring to mind are Madiot and JV, but there are far more the other way – Riis, Vino, Ekimov, Bruyneel, Saronni, Ferretti, to name but a few that are beyond dispute. The reason I’m sceptical about Ivan and Alberto is that they have been unrepentant dopers, indeed Alberto had never admitted guilt.

    • Spartacus

      Larry, I was unaware of (or had forgotten about) the wheel swap, although I do remember some consternation from other pros at the time which now has become rather starker with the Vargas revelations. What were the specifics of the wheels swap story?

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        I dunno if there are any Youtube videos on this caper but I remember a wheel swap between these two at the Giro. No big deal EXCEPT neither of them had a flat tire – reports were they just swapped rear wheels. Some claimed Birillo had a larger cogset on his than Il Pistolero to explain the swap but I’m not buying it – nobody is that poorly prepared, least of all a multi-time Grand Tour winner. Like your namesake’s Flanders issue, nobody will ever know the truth at this point unless one of ’em confesses.

        • Spartacus

          Ah yes, I remember now. Also remember the repeated bike changed from Contador which seemed very odd tactically at the time. And of course a po-faced interview with Contador’s personal mechanic who kept the bike in his room at night and never allowed anyone else to work on it.

          • Larry @CycleItalia

            There was a lot of speculation about this caper but the existence of the motorized wheels (like Hesjedal might have used?) was not general knowledge at the time so the whole thing died down more than even Spartacus Flanders incident. When I saw the photo of these two together that was the first thing that came to my cynical mind.

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