Is Operation Puerto unravelling?

October 2, 2006

It seems that anyone who hung their hat onto Operation Puerto being the big “clean up” in sport better do some serious rethinking. First, only cycling seemed to want to take action against its athletes involved the sting. Then, more and more cyclists are cleared of any wrongdoing. Let’s recap:

  • 5 Astana riders originally implicated are cleared in late July. Joseba Beloki, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Allan Davis and Alberto Contador.
  • 9 members of Comunitat Valenciana team are cleared right before the Vuelta.
  • The Italian National Federation states there is not enough hard evidence to move forward on Ivan Basso.

Now? VeloNews is reporting that Santiago Botero has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the disciplinary committee of the Federación Colombiana de Ciclismo. To quote Ettore Sangiovanni, president of the Colombian federation;

There’s nothing to it. There’s no real proof and only suppositions.”

What are the casualties? Riders are out of jobs, three Pro Tour teams (T-Mobile, Phonak, Liberty Seguros) and one Continental team, Comunitat Valenciana, suffered with Phonak and Comunitat Valenciana ceasing to exist.

The only rider casualty so far? It seems Jan Ullrich may be the only one to fall under suspension in the Operation Puerto case. Of the original 58 riders, only one seems to be headed for any action.

While I’m not as eloquent as Rant Your Head Off, I am going to pull out my soap box for one minute. Who is going to answer for this? People are out of jobs. Jobs, by the way that pay a mere pittance. Sponsors have left our sport and the public now thinks we are no better than the drug dealers on the street corners! Our sport has been called a den of liars, thieves, cheats! Off of evidence that comes apart under the most modest of scrutiny.

I’ve said it before, Trial by media is dangerous, deceitful and downright wrong! I now formally call for the resignation of Dick Pound and Pat McQuaid. When the police are rotten, how can we clean up the streets?

There is a saying that it is better to let 10 guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man. So far it seems that the WADA and UCI have modified it to say it is better to convict 57 innocent men than let one go free. I am disgusted.


Azevedo to newly formed Benfica

October 2, 2006

José ‘Ace’ Azevedo, who left Discovery Channel to spend more time with family is making good on that promise. The newly formed Portuguese continental team Benfica has signed the Ace to ride for them in 2007. The racing calendar includes races in Spain, France, and Belgium.
Benfica is still assembling its slate of riders for 2007 and it is expected they will draw heavily from the now defunct Comunidad Valenciana.

Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis inexorably linked

October 2, 2006

We are now in a quiet period in both the racing calendar and in the doping cases of Operation Puerto and Floyd Landis. This gives some of us the opportunity to reflect a bit on the last 8 weeks of news regarding our sport.

The Nashville Cyclist has looked through his archives to find a post he made in the wake of Tyler Hamilton’s Vuelta positive test. He feels that he would write the same about Floyd Landis.