Avoiding a worst case scenario


  • Floyd Landis has a pretty good chance of winning his doping case
  • Operation Puerto will continue to unravel and countries will drop or decline to pursue doping cases against riders implicated in the case
  • Pound and McQuaid do not know the word defeat.
  • The tenuous relationship between the ProTour and the Grand Tours will not improve.

Given the above assumptions, I have been having nightmares around the worst case scenario for our sport. If it didn’t threaten to seriously damage the great sport of professional cycling, it would be comical.

Every New Year’s eve, my wife and I share the same toast as the clock chimes twelve times. That toast is simple yet hopeful. “May this year be better than last.” Unfortunately, this year, I believe the chimes of our foyer clock will sound like gongs from the depths of Hades.

As the New Year dawns, I sense that many riders will begin to finalize their preparations for the new season. Some will set their sights on Belgium, some on California, and some France. Usually, I look at these as early tests, not final showdowns. I fear for the latter.

Many of the riders looking to toe the early season line are on the infamous Operation Puerto dossier. After being cleared by their own country’s doping authorities, they will be looking to the future in doing what they do best. Ride.

Off the course, I fear that the most dangerous place in the world will not be in the Middle East. I fear it will be the space between Pat McQuaid /Dick Pound and the television camera. In order to try to regain the advantage, the dynamic duo will look to bar athletes from riding in 2007. Especially if Floyd Landis is one of those athletes.

This will move the publicity to the courtroom and away from the finishline. Riders will fight against the dictatorial tactics of the WADA and UCI. If that happens, I expect the Grand Tours to use this as their opportunity to kill off the ProTour once and for all. The Grand Tours (and all of the classics also organized by these three entities) will allow any racer cleared by the proper authorities to ride in their races.

As the rainbow jersey unravels, expect Dick Pound to take shots at McQuaid along with the sport. This puts McQuaid in no man’s land. He can’t go back to his sport since he burned that bridge. At this point, the mud will really fly. When mud flies, everyone gets dirty.

I fear for the decay that may come of this. I look at NORBA and know how low a sport goes when sponsors leave.

How can we stop this? First, we need leadership that is interested in the sport, not his own ego gratification. Therefore, Pat McQuaid has to go. We also need a change in the WADA for the same reason. The head of the WADA should work with sport to grow in the right direction. These new heads should follow the rules and apply them equally and fairly. The main focus should be a system that is above reproach. Labs that are not suspect, leaks that are non existent should be the hallmarks of a system that has the faith of everyone.

Lastly, involve the riders. If you get their buy-in into the process, progress will come easier. Put a rider representative in power at the UCI. If someone like Jens Voight is behind an initiative, then it will carry a lot of weight.

That’s what I’ll be wishing for this New Year’s Eve.


7 Responses to Avoiding a worst case scenario

  1. Debby says:

    Do you really think Floyd has a good chance of winning his case? If so, that cheers me so much. My nightmare is that all the evidence will show he’s innocent, and because of politics, they’ll say he’s guilty anyway, and there won’t be a thing anyone can do about it.

  2. pelotonjim says:

    I think that he has a ‘better than most’ chance. It is still an uphill battle but I think it is doable.

  3. Rod says:

    Floyd’s most vehement point seems to be that he never ingested/injected testerone. If so, why doesn’t he demand that the earlier TDF samples (the ‘clean’ ones) be examined for their carbom 13:carbon 12 ratios? If the ‘dirty’ sample is the only one with evidence of exogenous testosterone, that would shed doubt on the postive tests since there would be no real benefit to taking testosterone at that late stage. Where are the B samples from the earlier tests?

  4. pelotonjim says:

    Great point! My guess is that those samples are not available but it dosen’t hurt to ask. Floyd is very (and I mean very) active in the Daily Peloton Forums. http://WWW.Dailypeltonforums.com under the “Doping Discussion” topic.

    That might be a good place to ask.

  5. […] Further evidence of my worst case scenario is Alejandro Valverde who backed out when the Tour of Lombardy refused to acknowledge his ProTour victory.  Remember, the Tour of Lombardy is organized by the Grand Tour Giro.  This is the second ProTour snub.  The other coming at the Vuelta. […]

  6. […] I guess Pat is trying to open a back door out of a showdown he can’t win.  He might be trying to find a way out of cycling’s worst case scenario.  If Ivan pulls up to a start line, he can say that Ivan was on the “not realistically involved.” list. […]

  7. […] In my musing of cycling’s worst case scenario, I felt that the Grand Tours would use the failed Operation Puerto to forward their own agenda of power. ASO boss Patrice Clerc and his apprentice Christian Prudhomme(below) are doing just that. Siezing the weakness of Pat McQuaid’s mishandling of Operation Puerto. […]

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