How do you repair a life when vindicated?

July 23, 2013

Red Rover, Red Rover send Ryan over!

Remember that game?  For those who don’t, you form two teams.  each team forms a line facing each other.  You join hands.  Now, you call someone from the other team.  They have to run towards your team to try to break the human chain.  The strategy is to look for the weakest link.  You attack that link with everything you have in the hopes of breaking through.

This can be fun as a child’s game but not so fun in real life.  Take the case of Lance Armstrong.  He attacked the chain lined up against him and tried to obliterate it.  One link was named Emma O’Reilly.  To small to fight, to poor to amass a legal team to fight back, her life was ruined.  What does she do now when vindicated? Will she have to stand in line yet again behind all those legal teams looking to sue Lance?

I thought about Emma who loved her job as a soigneur and happened to be hired by US Postal.  Little did she know that would be her last job in professional cycling.  I thought about her when the Ryan Braun news broke.  Early in 2012, Ryan tested positive for  testosterone/epitestosterone ratio.  The legal limit of baseball is a 4:1 ratio.  Ryan tested at 20:1.  To protect his MVP award, he went after the chain with the same fervor as Lance.  He attacked the weakest link.  The sample collector.  Dino Laurenzi Jr.  Dino did not have the money to stand up for himself.  He took Ryan’s collection and since it was after 5:00 pm, he followed his protocol to store the sealed samples in his house rather than having FedEx keep them in their warehouse.  Ryan went after that link by saying;

“There were a lot of things we heard about the collection process, the collector  and some other people involved in the process that have certainly been concerning to us.”

In fact, he followed that with a sanctimonious;

“I know what it’s like to be wrongly accused of something and for me to  wrongly accuse somebody else of something wouldn’t help anybody. I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body.”

Ryan broke the chain and beat a positive drug test.  He didn’t care if it ruined a man’s life in the process.  What does Dino do now?



Do I gloat or cry

July 23, 2013

Since 1998, pro cycling has been the dirty sport.  The sport of cheats.  I have endured many an evening of good natured ribbing by my friends.  My retort was to say that just because you don’t look for a problem, does not mean it does not exist.  My logic was always that if people cheat in cycling, wouldn’t they cheat to a greater extent in sports such as baseball and football where the stakes and rewards were much higher?

Today, there is a well written article from Steven Goldman at SB Nation talking about the first in what should be a series of suspensions by Major League baseball.  It seems there is enough evidence in the Biogenesis investigation to possibly make this the MLB version of Operation Puerto.  Ryan Braun who beat a positive test to keep his 2011 National League MVP will not contest the evidence against him this time.

I would suggest you read the article.  I sense an undertone of “not my kid” here.  As a parent, we all know kids do bad things.  When we see a kid get in trouble, we have the urge to look down our nose at their family and say “Well, I always knew Johnny was a bad kid.  His parents must not have raised him right.”  Then when the police call your house, there is a narcissistic feeling about “How could this happen to me?”

Read this column and see if there is that feeling.  See if Mr. Goldman is saying “I get cycling look at them.  But how could this happen to baseball?”

I think I’ll cry with Mr. Goldman and let him know it happens to all families er… sports.

Did you hear?

May 20, 2010

This morning, my inbox was flooded with emails along the lines of “Did you hear?”  Unfortunately, I did.  Again.  Another cyclist coming clean after years of protesting his innocence.  Increasingly, I am getting disenchanted with my  sport. 

I started this blog in July of 2006 and found it fun and cathartic to express my views on professional cycling.  I would scan the news and provide a brief interpretation from my point of view.  Shortly after starting my blog, the Floyd Landis story broke.  I weighed in occasionally, tried to lighten the mood often, and really tried to keep the other news alive.  I did not want my blog to become a doping column.  The problem is that quite often, the only stories were of doping.  Basso, Hamilton, Vinokourov, Heras, Rico, and on and on and on.  Dick Pound got more cycling press than anyone.  His “Q score” in cycling was probably higher than Alberto Contador.

Then cycling acquired an autoimmune disease and started to attack itself.  Pound vs. McQuaid became a bigger draw than MMA.  Over the last year, my writing became sporadic since it was no longer cathartic but maddening.  I’ll still write from time to time but I’m in a cycling low right now.

I still read the news, follow the races, and cheer for riders. And pray they are clean.

Cross France off Floyd’s vacation list

February 17, 2010

Mr. Harden, it’s my duty to inform you that the larceny of an equine is a capital offense punishable by death, but you can rest assured that in this court a horse thief always gets a fair trial before he’s hung – The Westerner 1940

As things do, this story is finding its own level.  It seems that AFLD Director, Pierre Bordry over stated his authority.  Shocking that the French anti-doping authority would try to do such a thing.  I guess France is still reeling over their loss of influence over anything outside their borders.  They may see doping investigations for their Tour de France as a way back to relevancy. 

Pierre, now says that if Floyd chooses to return to Fench soil, he may be asked to come to suburban Paris to answer questions to a judge chosen by AFLD. Maybe the CIA can resurrect their New Earth Army program because Floyd has the incredible mind to match his athletic abilities.  He can win the Tour de France and rival Kevin Mitnik in computer “security” circles.

Just when you think it is over

February 15, 2010

Floyd Landis is back in the news. If you remember, back when Floyd was fighting for his professional life, he had copies of multiple files from the Chatenay-Malabry lab.  Those files showed how poorly samples were handled and multiple mistakes made by the lab.  It seems that those files were also stolen.

Four years later, the French want to talk to Floyd about his part in the hacking.  An arrest warrant was issued after Landis ignored a summons sent last November.  An international warrant was also issued for Dr. Arnold Baker.  I have no idea what this means for the rider who just recently left his US based team OUCH (now United Healthcare). Just as he was looking good on the bike again.

Maybe this is in retaliation for Roman Polanski?

UCI Launches Anti-Doping Education Program

September 28, 2009

In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics. – Ferris Bueller’s day Off 1986

Professional cyclists must be feeling that their profession is becoming more like a job every day.  The latest is the mandatory training program on doping.  Riders must complete a DVD or online “training” course by the start of the Tour de France next year or lose their ability to race. 

Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon . . . you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time. George Costanza Seinfield

I put training in quotes because if you listen to the UCI, the main goal is more CYA than education.  The UCI wants to squash any excuse of “I didn’t know” or the old “Was that wrong?” I have to tell you, I have sat through many of these type of education courses.  When written to cover a rear end, there is no more boring course on the planet. 

I wonder if Ben Stein is the host?

Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller?

Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller?

Oops I did it again

April 19, 2009

Well, it looks like our Boy Scout has gotten himself into trouble again.  Tyler Hamilton has retired after testing positive for the steroid DHEA.  My first thought was confirmation that the Boy Scout image I believed for so many years was actually a ruse.  Then I read his reason for the mishap.

Mr. Hamilton says he took an over the counter herbal supplement that contained the banned substance.  Then he let us know about his family history, his grandmother’s suicide.  Take the family history combined with the way his life has gone sideways since his 2004 Olympic gold medal and you have a good story.  I actually found myself nodding in belief.  Then I thought.

“Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I waited to post until I read a post from Dan over at Rant Your Head Off.  Dan has forgotten more about doping than I’ll ever know.  Dan quite literally wrote the book on doping in sports. What I do know is DHEA is pretty fay up the steroid cascade.  A building block that can be used if you are not on the straight and narrow.  If you are not a Boy Scout.  

So for now, I will not buy into the Hamilton saga.  I find it hard to Believe.  If true, I find it disgraceful to use family tragedy to build sympathy for cheating.  So to avoid the downward spiral that thinking about Tyler can cause, I’ll take a pass and focus on today’s Amstel Gold race.


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