Mr. AFT, show us your data

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.

Regarding AFT:

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. 

Jim

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8 Responses to Mr. AFT, show us your data

  1. AFT says:

    Sorry mate, but my identity is not important. I know it sometimes sounds like I’m arguing medical facts, but I’m not. I’m relaying information from inside pro cycling. I have no axe to grind, but sources to lose.

    The opinions I relay are not mine. You call them accusations, but on the inside they’re called “the way things are”. Basso had an agreement with Disco late August. It was clear then that he was going to be let off by the Italian Federation. There is a power struggle going on between team managers (read the news today?) and it is not the anti-doping folks who are trying to keep Basso from riding. It’s team managers who do’t want another six years of Disco dominance.

    Disco was courting Landis heavily in Cali, Georgia, all the way to the Tour because they didn’t have a winner. Hincapie was a lame duck and they knew that in Novemeber. Dan Osipow, Och, Bill Stapleton were pulling Landis aside after podiums while the Phonak guys were trying to guard him. Disco tried to get Amber on their side. But oh well, these are all unfounded accusations without any data.

    THERE IS NO DATA because in these powerplays they don’t leave any. If Weisel decides that it’d be better for his wallet if Landis doesn’t ride next year, then he won’t. You are hanging on to tests and results and hanging chaff when the real deal happens somewhere completely different.

    Anyway, nuff said. I guess naivitee is alive and well.

  2. pelotonjim says:

    Just because someone does not take unsubstantiated comments from an anonymous poster as fact, does not make them naïve. I will continue to use the term accusations because that’s what your comments are currently. For your reference:
    ac‧cu‧sa‧tion  – [ak-yoo-zey-shuh n] noun a charge of wrongdoing; imputation of guilt or blame..
    I have said before, I am biased towards innocence until proof is given. Then when evidence is put out there, I will be the first to call for punishment or praise of riders, including Floyd Landis. I think life is a lot better if you assume good in people until proven otherwise.
    Until you quantify “the way things are” your comments will be baseless. Cycling is a very small community. I too have a blackberry filled with prominent email addresses. That gives me zero credibility if I chose to debase them by making charges that I’m not even willing to attach my own name to those charges.

  3. Debby says:

    It seems the riders are truly stuck in the middle of all this mess, when really, all they want to do is ride and hopefully earn a decent living doing it. Is there no way for them to band together and protest all this garbage? If they don’t race, we don’t watch, and no one makes any money…

  4. Theresa says:

    Thanks, PJ for stating things so well. The riders are pawns. They need a union to speak for them, and yes, I see your point why Lance made people so uncomfortable. I’d never thought about like that. Whatever Disco did or did not do to court Floyd, the allegations that Floyd was blood doping are beyond the pale! There is absolutely no evidence for that, and it was never raised by anyone at anytime during this whole mess. And I will not accept it from you Mr. AFT. And I will attach my name to any comment or statement I make.
    I can see the the USADA and the UCI dragging out Floyd’s situation, long enough to make it difficult for him to ride the whole season next year, but really, are they so afraid of Floyd’s talent, that anyone would keep him from riding on a ProTour team?

  5. Debby says:

    One other thing…even if what AFT says is true about Disco vs. Landis, what if any effect does it have now that USA cycling is not in the picture, and his case has moved on? Maybe I’m not understanding things correctly, but unless the millionaire cyclist enthusiasts have also bought the AAA and/or the CAS, and stacked it with their own people (should we be looking into this?), how reasonable is it to assume that Floyd would get a fair hearing from them? Does the AAA have any incentive to find Floyd guilty, regardless of actual evidence?

    And, let’s say that the millionaire cycling enthusiasts (I’m assuming they’re American, if it’s Discovery) don’t want Floyd on another team. If the Europeans dislike the Americans, would they find Floyd innocent (in the CAS trial) to tick off the American millionare cycling enthusiasts and hurt Discovery, or still find him guilty because they dislike Americans generally, leaving Floyd nowhere? Does the connection btw Bruyneel (sp?) and the Belgian cycling machine that AFT refers to fly in the face of the general dislike between the countries? Just wondering.

    Theresa, nice to see another woman interested in this topic; I’m glad of the company. Please go say hello and make some polite noise at the Fredcast for me. 🙂

  6. pelotonjim says:

    Debby and Theresa, Thanks for your words, I could not have said it any better. We love conspiracy theories. Sometimes it’s just people acting in their own self interest. Sometimes there is no cabal, no smoke-filled back room of evil men orchestrating every move within their control unseen, unheard. Generally if there were, one anonymous blogger would not be the only one who knew what was really going on and unable to fully expose the truth in fear for his/her whatever……
    Great fiction but when a man’s life, career, and reputation are on the line, I need more.

  7. […] That question was on my mind even before I read Peloton Jim’s post today, vis-a-vis the Anonymous Fortune Teller, whose comments occasionally surface at Trust But Verify. I’m not sure who this guy is, or whether he has an axe to grind, but I take anonymous sources on stories with a grain of salt. Especially when those anonymous sources are relying on anonymous sources. […]

  8. Luci Jordan says:

    I’ve been following TBV, and comments by AFT this week. As discussed here, we have no idea who AFT is or what his agenda is. Consider this possibility. Maybe what AFT is saying is what some people “in the know” in US cycling are saying. At least they think they know. Maybe a lot of people in US cycling don’t like Lance and Johan. I’m a very casual fan of professional cycling, but I’ve read enough on the internet to know that a lot of people hate Lance. Lance is a polarizing figure. People love him, admire him, even idolize him. He’s a mythic hero, “The Survivor/Fighter”. But there are reasons for people to hate him. At times he seems self-absorbed, maybe even obnoxious. Maybe ruthless. By his own admission (in his books) he never backs down. Those are the qualities that help make him a hero. I wouldn’t be surprised if people in US cycling are out to dump dirt on Lance. I think AFT could be relaying what he’s hearing from some people in US cycling. But as someone pointed out at TBV, I don’t think AFT has been talking with Lance. I don’t think anyone really in the know would jeopardize his position by repeatedly blogging about Lance being out to get Floyd. AFT is consistent in what he says, and I think he really believes what he’s saying. But until we have Lance blogging at TBV, DPF or wherever, we can’t say we know what Lance, Johan or Discovery really think about Floyd.

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