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Fignon's allegations of bribery by the Columbians

Mar 10, 2009
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Deagol said:

Fignon recounts that Herrera’s team approached Fignon’s sport director Cyril Guimard at Système U-Gitane with an offer of 30,000 French francs per rider if they didn’t attack and helped ease the way for Herrera’s lone grand-tour victory of his career.

But then

“Guimard had warned us: ‘The Colombians have proposed giving us money to not attack,’” Fignon writes in the book. ‘We had no intention of attacking, so all the more reason. We accepted the proposal, 30,000 French francs per rider.”

So can that be called bribery, or is it offering an encouragement, a bonus if you will, for carrying out something they already were set on doing?

It also - haven't seen the race in '87 - seems to have not altered the race in that it could have prevented herrera from winning.

I think it happens all the time in cycling, where one team feels it needs/could use additional support from other team(s) to secure the victory.

Anyway, since I haven't seen the race and how the whole tour played out, I don't think I can really say anything more about it.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
But then



So can that be called bribery, or is it offering an encouragement, a bonus if you will, for carrying out something they already were set on doing?

It also - haven't seen the race in '87 - seems to have not altered the race in that it could have prevented herrera from winning.

I think it happens all the time in cycling, where one team feels it needs/could use additional support from other team(s) to secure the victory.

Anyway, since I haven't seen the race and how the whole tour played out, I don't think I can really say anything more about it.

A buddy got paid to retrieve a break, final stage of a Tour of Den____ to protect the GC leader's interests (his team was cooked and he was isolated). The buddy's team leader initiated the negotiation on the fly knowing the vulnerability of the GC guy and his general unpopularity in the peloton. The deed was done with 5K to go and the GC guy attempted to stiff our boy because he brought the break back "too soon". He eventually paid, rather than being outed. Minor compared to selling the Vuelta, though.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Oldman said:
A buddy got paid to retrieve a break, final stage of a Tour of Den____ to protect the GC leader's interests (his team was cooked and he was isolated). The buddy's team leader initiated the negotiation on the fly knowing the vulnerability of the GC guy and his general unpopularity in the peloton. The deed was done with 5K to go and the GC guy attempted to stiff our boy because he brought the break back "too soon". He eventually paid, rather than being outed. Minor compared to selling the Vuelta, though.

Minor in comparison, yes, but it just emphasises how deals are being made, between riders or DS, to get something that is in both riders'/teams interest. For one it's exposure, fame, a GC win, the other money, a nice addition to your wage.

In your case, the GC guy got the win, while your team, which (seemingly) had nothing to win or lose anymore, earned some quick bucks by carrying out a task for the GC leader. He bought a service his own team couldn't provide anymore, like hiring mercenaries....

If you play it right, it could even make you some allies for later in the season, when you need a favour returned.

At the top level, they think similarly, money is money and fame is fame. Whatever is in your interest at that that point in time, will sway someone in one way or another...


PS> if any of this is true
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
So can that be called bribery, or is it offering an encouragement, a bonus if you will, for carrying out something they already were set on doing?

You are kidding, right?

If not, consider: 1) Herrera's team did not know that Fignon's team had no plans to attack, so from their perspective it was exactly the same as if Fignon's team did plan to attack. 2) Even if Fignon's team "had no intention of attacking" beforehand, it doesn't mean that conditions during the race could not have developed such that they decided attacking would be a good idea.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Velo Dude said:
You are kidding, right?

If not, consider: 1) Herrera's team did not know that Fignon's team had no plans to attack, so from their perspective it was exactly the same as if Fignon's team did plan to attack. 2) Even if Fignon's team "had no intention of attacking" beforehand, it doesn't mean that conditions during the race could not have developed such that they decided attacking would be a good idea.

No I am not kidding, and you seem to be trying to get into details that we cannot possibly know based on account from the quotes only.

1) For instance, how do we know that Herrera's team was unaware about Système U-Gitane interest to not attack?

Perhaps they were defending third place, happy with that place. Perhaps they had another jersey they were competing for. Perhaps they were eyeballing a stage victory some time later in the stage race.

We don't even know when the money was offered, ie the last 2-3 days of the Vuelta, knowing that difference couldn't be made anymore, or before critical stages in order to set the GC straight

2) If conditions would have developed during ths stage, that would have encouraged Team Fignon to attack, contrary to prior promises, they would not have been given the 30.000 francs per rider.

Again, as I said, I don't know how the race unfolded, and when money was offered. All I am saying is it happens often in cycling, it's part of cycling, and in many cases, it can hardly be called a bribe (to pursuade people to do something that is contrary to their objectives), especially taken a whole year of cycling into consideration.

It's not like they are tennis players, or soccer players, and that Fignon is in the lead, and simulates a flat or a crash to lose the race...

Soccer or tennis have a 50/50 chance on who wins/loses. Either team/tennisplayer A or B wins/loses. With cycling that's never set in stone before the race/stage starts, and since many deals are made during the race, it's a tactic (in an individual stage) or a strategy (in multi-day race). You use it like Federer's backhand, when you need it most...
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
No I am not kidding, and you seem to be trying to get into details that we cannot possibly know based on account from the quotes only.

1) For instance, how do we know that Herrera's team was unaware about Système U-Gitane interest to not attack?

But I thought your point in saying that Fignon's team had no plan to attack was that the "bribe" was kind of a moot point. Suppose Herrera's team actually knew that Fignon's team had no plans to attack, and still offered the money. Under those circumstances clearly Herrera's team did not think the offer of money was a moot point, even knowing that Fignon's team had no plans to attack beforehand.
 
What a Load of Sh!t

Fignon's comments are part of his widely known "dislike" of my compatriots, back in the 80's were they found enormous success in the tour, and some of the other European races. I remember clearly, back in 87 that the "real rivalry for the Vuelta" was between "HERRERA & SEAN KELLY" until Sean withdrew the race, due to some illness... Fignon wasn't fitted at the time, thinking ahead to the Tour.
regarding the "buy out", is very laughable to think that Raul Mesa/Rafael Nino was doing negotiations under the table with Cyril Guimard and not with Delgado for that matter-even with Kelly, whose condition & time trial skills, made him the closes threat to Herrera. as far as "money" goes, "Cafe de Colombia" wasn't even "near" to the budget of teams like Renault, Kelme, KAS, Reynolds to do such a "negotiation"..
fast forward to the "cocaine" comment--he just couldn't come up to a better excuse to express his hate-by simply applying the "erroneous Colombian stereotype".... I'd love to know if Hinault, Kelly, Delgado, Millar, and many great cyclists from the 80's who used our races to train in Altitude, have a similar opinion like his...
Very disappointed by his views, and acknowledging his Cancer, I'd say he sounds like LA in terms of "BITTERNESS"... :mad:
 
It seems to me the agreement alleged by Fignon was only on the last stage of Vuelta?

Edifiante aussi, l'ultime étape de la Vuelta 87, où son équipe sous la férule de Guimard, accepte 30000 francs par coureur pour ne pas inquiéter le leader Luis Herrera.

Could be the sentence construction though.

Obviously they were concerned about attacks if they went as far as promising such money. 30.000 francs was no small money.
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
Again, as I said, I don't know how the race unfolded, and when money was offered. All I am saying is it happens often in cycling, it's part of cycling, and in many cases, it can hardly be called a bribe (to pursuade people to do something that is contrary to their objectives), especially taken a whole year of cycling into consideration.

I agree that it's part of cycling, and I don't know how the race unfolded either. I don't think a "bribe" is only in order to persuade someone to do what is contrary to their objectives, however. I think a bribe can be offered to insure that someone does what is in the interests of the one offering the bribe, regardless of what the original intentions are of the one being offered the bribe.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I just checked the final results:

1 Luis Herrera Café de Colombia 105h34'25"
2 Raimund Dietzen Teka 1'04"
3 Laurent Fignon Système U-Gitane 3'13"
4 Pedro Delgado PDM-Concorde 3'52"
5 Óscar de Jesús Vargas Ryalcao Postobon 4'03"

Velo Dude said:
Suppose Herrera's team actually knew that Fignon's team had no plans to attack, and still offered the money. Under those circumstances clearly Herrera's team did not think the offer of money was a moot point, even knowing that Fignon's team had no plans to attack beforehand.

Agreed. But should/could that be called a 'bribe', or a 'bonus'? A bonus is usually issued - although nowaday that could be doubted as well given Wall street ;) - to do something exceptionally well. althoug it was/is already what you are/were suposed to do.

Given the close GC standings between #1 and #2, you could argue that it was between Herrera and Dietzen.

So, all hypothetical obviously, Herrerra/his DS could have been trying to prevent Fignon's team from ganging up on him with Dietzen's team and unleash difficult to control and numerous attacks from a strong (Fignon's) team.

Perhaps it was an encouragement to not act against Herrera's interest, while not acting/acting in their own interest (Attack:Fignon still trying to win the race/Not Attack:Fignon just happy defending his third spot vs Delgado), and as an insurance against acting in the interest of that of one of his main rivals, Dietzen. It could be that Herrera tried to neutralize a danger of being backstabbed by Dietzen, who could also have tried to buy Fignon and his team's allegiance.

ThisFrenchGuy said:
It seems to me the agreement alleged by Fignon was only on the last stage of Vuelta?

Obviously they were concerned about attacks if they went as far as promising such money. 30.000 francs was no small money.

Yes, agreed. 30.000 was a lot of money, so there was certainly an enticement to not attack. But for what motive? Maybe, as stated before, he tried to recruit Fignon before Dietzen could...

Fignon could have been in the 'right position' and that paid off. Ha, not attack and cash in!

Velo Dude said:
I agree that it's part of cycling, and I don't know how the race unfolded either. I don't think a "bribe" is only in order to persuade someone to do what is contrary to their objectives, however. I think a bribe can be offered to insure that someone does what is in the interests of the one offering the bribe, regardless of what the original intentions are of the one being offered the bribe.

Agreed, but couldn't that also be called a salary and/or even better a bonus? Perhaps, since it's so integral to cycling, and a 'bribe' has such negative connotation, I just don't like to use the word 'bribe' as such... But that could be my problem ;)

Anyway, it's fun to try and analyse how races unfold, and how they potentially could be affected by many things besides 'how fast someone pedals'! :D
 
Luis Herrera Response to Fignon's commentary (from "el tiempo" Newpaper)
http://www.eltiempo.com/deportes/ci...ado-un-giro-y-un-tour-lucho-herrera_5734687-1


"Nosotros no necesitábamos comprar carrera y ganábamos en las mismas condiciones, hasta donde nuestras condiciones nos lo permitían. Si hubiéramos tenido tanta plata (para comprar competencias como dijo Fignon) nos habríamos ganado un Giro y un Tour. Ganamos lo que pudimos honradamente", contó.

"we didn't need to "buy out" racers & we won them in the same conditions, and until our physical conditions could allow us to do. If we had that kind of money, we would have won a Giro and a Tour. We won what we could, with honesty"

"Eso no fue y ahora 22 años después viene a salir con esos cuentos. Si las cosas fueron así como él dice, ¿por qué no lo dijo en esa misma época? ", cuestionó el cundinamarqués.

"that didn't happen, and now 22 years later he comes up with those "tales"
If those things were truth like he said, why didn't he say them back in that time?"


"Ahí es donde uno ve la credibilidad de él. Siempre que llegábamos al grupo nos preguntaban si teníamos cocaina. Quien sabe si serían provocaciones o porque le gustaba ya que dice que la consumió. Él deja dudas porque ganó el Tour de Francia y ahora asegura que utilizó sustancias dopantes", señaló.

"There is it where we value his credibility-Every time we got back to the peloton, he would ask us if we had Cocaine. Who knows if those were provocations, or perhaps he might liked it, since he confessed he had used it.
He leaves doubts because he won the Tour and now says he used doping substances."


"Nunca vi a Fignon consumiendo droga. No me consta nada.Él (Fignon) siempre nos vio como inferiores. No éramos de su agrado", advirtió Herrera, desde su hogar en Fusagasugá (Cundinamarca) y añadió que "vi varias cosas de él, pero no soy la persona indicada para decirlo. No tengo ningún ánimo de revanchismo", declaró.

"Never saw Fignon consuming drugs. I'm not certain. He always saw us as "inferior riders". We never were of his liking-I saw "things" from him, but I'm not the Indicated person to tell. I have no desire of "revenge"
 
Bala Verde, it seems very technical :D

I don't think how we call it matters. A team is alleged to have given money to another team, obviously in order to ease the competition. Herrera's outrage (whether real or fake) tells a lot.

It is an old story, so I don't think fans will cast judgement or play the blame game. I find it more interesting/telling than shocking.
 
May 7, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
…. it can hardly be called a bribe….

Apologies if the word “bribe” in the thread title was misleading in any way. It was the impression I got from reading about his accusations on first inspection, but perhaps others would view it differently? I actually don’t have any strong opinions either way but rather was more interested in what others here would have to say about this.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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The wheeling and dealing still goes on. This is a piece from Irish rider Nicholas Roche in this years Tour.

Roche was getting abuse from other riders for sitting on as he was defending the MJ fo Noncentini when Daniel Bennati says "You're going to have to pay me a lot of money if you want to win this stage or you will never win, because I will chase you down. There's no way you're going anywhere without me."

Full article here http://www.independent.ie/sport/oth...lled-me-every-name-under-the-sun-1830452.html
 
Dr. Maserati said:
The wheeling and dealing still goes on. This is a piece from Irish rider Nicholas Roche in this years Tour.

Roche was getting abuse from other riders for sitting on as he was defending the MJ fo Noncentini when Daniel Bennati says "You're going to have to pay me a lot of money if you want to win this stage or you will never win, because I will chase you down. There's no way you're going anywhere without me."

Full article here http://www.independent.ie/sport/oth...lled-me-every-name-under-the-sun-1830452.html

Devil's advocate: could be a non-literal use of the expression.
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
Agreed. But should/could that be called a 'bribe', or a 'bonus'? A bonus is usually issued - although nowaday that could be doubted as well given Wall street ;) - to do something exceptionally well. althoug it was/is already what you are/were suposed to do.

Agreed, but couldn't that also be called a salary and/or even better a bonus? Perhaps, since it's so integral to cycling, and a 'bribe' has such negative connotation, I just don't like to use the word 'bribe' as such... But that could be my problem ;)

Sorry, when it's offered by a rival team to help their man win I can't consider it a "bonus".
 
Mar 10, 2009
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ThisFrenchGuy said:
Bala Verde, it seems very technical :D

I don't think how we call it matters. A team is alleged to have given money to another team, obviously in order to ease the competition. Herrera's outrage (whether real or fake) tells a lot.

It is an old story, so I don't think fans will cast judgement or play the blame game. I find it more interesting/telling than shocking.

It is certainly technical up to a certain point. As I said before, I think it's part of the 'assortment of tactics' that a DS or rider can use to influence the outcome of a race. To me it's like a soccer coach who subsitutes a player, or changes the system from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 etc. That's why I find it very interesting to see as well. How did it work out, why that team, why these riders, what's their history, do they get/expect any favours back in the future, did they screw someone over and will they face pay back time later etc...

The peloton is like a mini society, so to see them interact adds value to the whole cycling experience.
 
I don't know about these days, but back then my understanding is this was pretty common. A lot of wheeling and dealing between teams and riders even. In the 1985 Vuelta when Robert Millar was on his way to winning, and after Pedro Delgado attacked, no one would help Millar chase, and apparently his DS (Berland) didn't want to pay any of the other teams to help chase, so Millar ended up losing the Vuelta by .36".

What is peculiar is Fignon's take, implying that he could have won the Vuelta if the team had not taken the share. That would chaff my hide too if I were Herrera.

Sean Kelly dropped out of that Vuelta in the leaders jersey just days before the finish because of bleeding saddle sores (I'm sure I would have given up long before that).

Really good article on the 1985 Vuelta here. Makes no mention of bribary, but shows how Robert Millar got robbed!
 

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