I’ve sat and watched the banter going around regrading a Mr. Anonymous Fortune Teller. He has made wild accusations regarding the Floyd Landis case. I have even received private emails regarding my thoughts on what he is saying. I really tried to stick to my guns of not giving someone making wild and currently unsupported accusations any more press. I am increasingly feeling compelled to comment as he is gaining enough momentum in blogs that I respect, most notably Trust But Verify (where he makes his claims) and Rant Your Head Off.
I know this is what you want, but here is my take on your comments.
Mr. AFT, you have made some wild accusations about a cycling mafia where the team bosses run the show and Floyd got his testosterone from tainted blood bags, etc. Here is my one and final comment.
There are two things working against his credibility. 1) He is staying anonymous. That tells me that he has an axe to grind and prefers to stay in the shadows. It also says that he is not confident in being able to back up his wild accusations so he’d rather lob them out into the open without engaging in a thoughtful discussion regarding his opinions. While you might say we are all anonymous (my real name is not pelotonjim 😉 ) we are out there with sites, email addresses, and other personal “storefronts” that expose us enough that we are thoughtful about what we say.
2) And more importantly, he is not providing any data behind his accusations. This is always a major red flag. Show me the data and then state the conclusions based on your data and I’ll agree or disagree but I will respect your opinion.
My opinion is the power is split between the UCI and the Race Organizers. Little sits with the teams or riders. I draw this conclusion from my interpretations of their actions. The UCI wants what the Grand Tours have in TV contracts and money. The Grand Tours want what the UCI has the ProTour or some sort of umbrella that links all their races thus raising the importance of all their races throughout the season. This would bring in more TV contracts and money.
No one wants what the riders have. That is why they are treated as a means to an end. Professional cyclists are treated in ways that other sports would not permit. (i.e. other sports where athletes have some power). I think the athlete that came closest to changing the balance of power was Lance. That is why there seemed to be a love-hate relationship. He brought in huge amounts of US dollars but he took some power. That made some uncomfortable. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
As for the teams, the UCI and the Grand Tours seem unfazed by the mass exodus of sponsors. There was no public reaction to major sponsors leaving the sport. When Festina, Mapei, Liberty Seguros, and Phonak left, there was not even a side comment. Knowing that Johan and Bjarne are only as powerful as their ability to secure sponsor dollars, I don’t see much gravitas in their camp.
That’s my opinion. You can agree or disagree but I’ll put my name out there with it.