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A Plea For Integrity In Cycling Journalism in 2010

Page 8 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.

Dr. Maserati

Jun 19, 2009
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Come on CyclingNews - wakey wakey......

In todays article featuring Anne Gripper it says:
The seven-time Tour de France winner signed a personal cheque for $25,000 in 2002 and then his management company Capital Sports and Entertainment made a second payment of $100,000 in 2005.

"I think I was actually working at the UCI when one of the payments came in [ed. second payment], and I just remember getting a note from the finance department just saying we've received this from Lance Armstrong, and not really understanding - it was very early when I was there - but there was no cover-up or anything - just the finance clerk saying we'd got this cheque."

How does Gripper remember a 2005 payment when she only started working for the UCI on 17th October 2006.
Mrs John Murphy said:
This is the same Harmon who was cheering on Piti Valverde to catch the nasty evil Vino in LBL last year?

Harmon and the other TV guys are perhaps the biggest problem because they are the people the casual fans have the most contact with. Harmon is just repeating the party line of 'throw Ricco under the bus'.

I see Henderson is getting his hypocritical homophobic knickers in a twist after someone asked him why he was slagging off Ricco but silent on the likes Armstrong.

Harmon's opinion on Valverde tried to appease everybody. Against somebody like Vino he would cheer him on, against somebody like Cuddles he would be scathing. I don't think Harmon ever really fixed on one opinion of Valverde. Sometimes he'd be very supportive, sometimes he'd be very critical about him still being riding.

I can respect that. I like Valverde, enjoy watching him race and miss him now he's gone - but banning him was absolutely the right thing (though stripping his 2010 results was a bit of a headscratcher) and it was ridiculous that he'd been able to drag it out as long as he did.
Harmonn probably cheered Valverde to catch Vino because piti was in the group with Harmonns 2 favorite riders. Cadel Evans, but most of all Phillipe Gilbert.

The man whose semi classic win in AGR was deemed by Harmonn to be so much more important than Vinos minor win at a monument, that it recieved considerably more attention in Harmonns season recap than the obligatory shot of Vino crossing the line in Liege.

The man who, Harmonn then proceeded to say, had a spring campaign as good as Cancellaras.

I mean, if ELPistrollero had presided over the season recap video it wouldnt have been so favorable to Gilbert.

And Cuddles win in Bianchi was labelled, "the stage for which the Giro will be remembered". So forget, Laquilla, Grappa, ZOncolan, Kronplatz, gc reshuffles, drama in Aprica etc etc. Evens won in Strade Bianchi so stage 7> rest of Giro.

If Cuddles and Gilbert had been trying to chase down Piti, we would have heard more i think.
Feb 14, 2010
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Mods - please move this thread to the Clinic - thanks

I know, I've said that I'm done with pro cycling, and am pretty much sticking to that. But I still read news items about Lance, which really isn't about cycling any more, and ones about Contador, because I'm still a fan who believes in him. I'd watch him race the Vuelta if he does so, but can't watch the Tour because I have issues with other guys who will be there - Hincapie, some RS guys, some Leopard-Trek guys - the negative outweighs any pleasure I would get from the race.

I could have resurrected this thread I started ages ago, to whine about the zillions of Armstrong stories out there, but anyone who has spent time in the Clinic understands what's going on there. And people are talking about how various members of the cycling media are starting to jump on the bandwagon in reporting such things.

This post has to do with an article link I happened across on twitter. One cycling journo I can't stand recommended it, and apparently others were talking about how great it was, probably because it paraphrased or parroted the same things they were saying. The article happens to be about Contador. This thread isn't in the Clinic, and I'm not making it about doping, but about accuracy, and knowledge. I'm not bringing any of the arguments here. It's basically just a bit of fact checking to show how believable journalists are these days.

To be fair, the mess is not entirely the fault of the UCI. But let's not let them off the hook, because from day one of Contador's positive test - from a sample taken on 21 July, 2010 - their handling of the case has invited suspicion that Contador was being treated differently to others, not least in the two-month delay between the discovery of traces of clenbuterol in his system and the public announcement

Two months. The positive was July 21. WADA supposedly notified the UCI on or around August 24, so that delay was on them. Contador had his press conference at the end of September. If the publicly announced dates are right, WADA was responsible for half of the delay. They're not mentioned. Almost all Tour de France samples went to Lausanne, and as per written agreement, results were returned within 72 hours. Ten samples, including the July 21 one from Contador, went to Cologne. By the way, it would not have been positive in Lausanne. But it took more than a month for the positive. I spend a lot of time on Google News searches, but I've never read that a journalist asked WADA about the delay, or the multiple leaks. Anyway, I hate the UCI, and it's trendy for journos to find fault with them, but for accuracy's sake, the early delay was split between WADA and the UCI. If you only got your information from this article, you would be walking around with bad information.

In February the Spanish federation cleared Contador of doping - it is not clear why.

The entire RFEC Final Resolution has been available for free, online, in English, for months. There are also summaries written by lawyers available, citing evidence and sections of Code, etc. The RFEC always said that Contador was innocent of cheating, and had gotten no performance enhancement from the trace of Clenbuterol. In their first proposal, which was supposed to be confidential between them and Contador, they suggested a one year ban, because with the Strict Liability rule, people who are found innocent of cheating get banned for one year instead of two. Alberto's lawyers pointed out that there are provisions in the Code that actually allow the innocent to not be punished. That's what can be found in the RFEC Resolution, along with details about conclusions made based on research studies and things.

But if this article was your only source of information on the subject, you'd walk away thinking that the decision was incomprehensible, or the information wasn't available anywhere.

Yet the horrendousness of the situation for Contador is, for me, one of the strangest aspects of the case: it seems to have no effect on him at all. He must be not only a great cyclist, but brilliant at compartmentalising. How can he sleep, how can he make the daily sacrifices required of a professional cyclist, how can he handle the pressure and remain focused throughout a three-week stage race, with such a thing hanging over him?

It was pretty widely reported that over the Winter, Contador had a really rough time due to this. He couldn't sleep at night, and so would watch TV all night, or go night fishing, or play hours of basketball trying to get physically exhausted enough to doze off. Some of his hair fell out from the stress. He thought a lot about quitting the sport forever.

The difference came after he was declared innocent. Yes, he can race great, and sleep well, and focus, because he's riding as an innocent man, with lawyers and his brother/manager working to make sure he stays that way. There are paid professionals to worry about that stuff. And yes, Alberto can control what he pays attention to. For months, the media went on about the "bitter rivalry" and "war of words" between Armstrong and Contador, not bothering to notice that Alberto wasn't doing any of the talking. If the press asked Alberto about something Lance had said, he would say "it has no importance" and move on. He made a joke about it in a video interview, saying that he never even read any of the stuff except when someone would run up and show him a newspaper and say, "did you see what he said about you?!"

If the article was your bible on the subject, I don't know what you'd think. Between August 24, when the UCI contacted Contador about the positive, and the end of September, when the German journalist was going to publish the leaked result, the UCI had Alberto under a gag order, where he wasn't to tell even his parents, who he saw daily, or his girlfriend, about the result. He not only was forced to keep a secret from those closest to him, but could not look to them for support. He couldn't explain why he was fishing all night, or watching TV until dawn, or playing basketball until exhaustion. If he can ignore it now, it's because he's been through a lot before, because he's innocent, and because no organization has declared him guilty.

Another thing that puzzles me is the reaction of Contador's colleagues in the peloton. On the one hand, you could say it's admirable that - despite the presence of clenbuterol in his system - they are respecting his right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

I see a lot of headlines, and this isn't the case. There have been a lot of guys speaking out against it - Lofkvist said he shouldn't have been allowed at the Giro, Hushovd is being quoted all over now. There were a lot of guys talking trash over the Winter. Does the author not know any of that? Has he not bothered to read the quotes and interviews, like he's apparently not bothered to read details about the RFEC decision?

I'm not holding this up as the worst article out there. But to see people like ESPN's Bonnie Ford say this praising it and holding it up as an example of quality journalism inspired me to call attention to it. There's a lot of turmoil in pro cycling right now. There's drama everywhere - the UCI, a breakaway league, teams not having riders do races because they don't want them earning UCI points that might go to a new team like GreenEdge that could take their spot on the Pro Tour ranks. It's a time that cries out for good, honest journalism, written by people who are knowledgeable and check their facts. I'm kind of glad I'm not reading it any more, because I don't think it's out there. The most trustworthy cycling related stories right now are coming from outside journalists who happen to have a cycling assignment. Cheers

Watching Contador from the crow's nest of the Titanic. @rbmoore73 gets it right, as usual. http://bit.ly/mhm5cY
about 17 hours ago via web Retweeted by 4 people


Mar 14, 2010
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Swordsman your post brought the 1982 Don Henley song "dirty laundry" to mind. A couple lyrics fit what you point out, especially the ESPN tweet. Perhaps a bubble headed beach blonde.. Or you don't need to know what is going on...