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Ride the Puddles

The List

Posted by bikezilla on May 14, 2011


For not strictly being cycling journalists, the guys at L’Equipe dig up a lot of really big stuff. Unfortunately that “really big stuff” almost always focuses on doping and is almost always an embarrassment to the sport on some level.

They recently published a secret UCI list (henceforth known simply as The List) intended for use in targeting the most suspect riders found through use of the biological passport.

The problem is that UCI seems to be turning a blind eye on almost all of them.

According to the article:

“Those in categories six and above (6-10) showed “overwhelming” evidence of some kind of doping, due to “recurring anomalies”, “enormous variations” in parameters, and even the “identification of doping products or methods””

The riders in categories 6-10, again as pointed out in the article, number 42. That’s approximately 1/4 of the total Tour de France starting field of 198 riders.

So far “targeted” riders have responded by basically saying the list is a bunch of hooey.

Garmin – Cervelo’s David Millar was recently interviewed by Bicycling magazine’s Bill Strickland. Millar is a “4” according to the list.

Millar claims that since his suspension for doping that his entire perspective on his career has changed, that now he rides simply for the joy of it.

This is a a link to the related video of the Millar statements about The List.

He and Garmin team owner, Jonathan Vaughters, both explain his “4” rating as a response to his past indiscretions.

Garmin’s Tyler Farrar ranks “3” and this is explained to me by Vaughters:

” . . . remember, its performance and blood value based. Tyler has never doped and never will.”

Those may be true and valid points. But AIGCP’s public response (remembering that AIGCP, the team’s “union”, is also lead by Vaughters) is so defensive that it makes many fans think they (AIGCP) have something to hide.

It may not be fair and it may not be true, but once you view things in that light the next logical step is to wonder if there is collusion between UCI and AIGCP in the protection of doped, or apparently doped, riders.

During the upcoming AMGEN EPO Tour of California the USADA was supposed to take over doping controls from UCI.

USADA in fact did run a three month long pre-race anti-doping program and, based upon that data, came up with a list similar in nature to the secret list published by L’Equipe.

Based on that list, USADA intended a targeted anti-doping program to be performed by them during the Tour of Cali.

UCI refused to target the most suspect riders based on its own list during the 2010 Tour de France. In order to prevent the targeting of the most suspect riders found in the USADA’s pre Tour of Cali testing program, UCI has ousted USADA from the in race testing. UCI will instead run that testing program themselves, again avoiding the most suspicious riders, just like they did during the 2010 Tour.

The Vaughters/ AIGCP response condemning that action, is at least reassuring.

Here is the “Index of Suspicion” from L’Equipe, breaking down the ratings by teams and countries.

CAS president John Coates says that the “Suspicion Index” doesn’t indicate suspicion of any rider.

Which must make The List utterly useless, explaining why a list created for the sole purpose of targeting the most suspicious riders isn’t actually used to target those riders for testing.

So what IS The List used for? Obviously it’s most useful purpose is in formulating exactly how much each rider should have to pay McQuaid for burying the inconsistencies and excessively high values of their biological passports.

I feel a little irritation with Vaughters and other team managers and owners for getting angry over this leak. Because many of them have their own histories in and around professional cycling’s culture of doping, yet they’ve always refused to reveal what they know and expose those involved.

Why was The List leaked to begin with? Because someone on the inside finally got sick of UCI’s cover ups, their favoritism of certain riders, their accepting of bribes to bury results, their lies about the absence of team run and sponsored doping programs, their collusion in the entire corrupt mafioso system.

If UCI had not been protecting suspected riders, there would have been no need for the leak. Leaking The List is someone’s response to being sick and tired of UCI corruption and protection of doping riders and the doping culture.

If guys like Vaughters, Bjarne Riis, Johan Bruyneel, Jim Ochowicz, John LeLangue and their peers would have stepped forward over the years and opened up to the authorities (even if they chose to keep the press out of it) regarding names, places, times, days and dates, doping would already be in its final death throws. It’s at least partially because of them and people like them that Pat McQuaid and UCI are even able to run their perpetual anti-doping bait and switch.

It’s hard to accept that the very guys with the most power to expose and destroy doping, can be the same guys complaining about the problems created by doping, including the leaking of The List.

Vaughters rightly points out that leaking a list like this could give offenders a heads up. But a heads up is only meaningful if there’s a serious potential for prosecution. It’s obvious from The List that such potential does not exist, so exposing The List and UCI’s refusal to pursue suspensions is just and right.

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