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Is cycling much cleaner than other pro sports?

Jun 15, 2009
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Yes, that´s a serious question. Ok, we have all the Doping-Issues in cycling, but i find it more dangerous for the integrity of sports when games are manipulated upfront by gamblers. I think every sports fan want to see real competition instead of pre-arranged matches. We have countless betting scandals in soccer, we have Pete Rose, the Black Sox, the big Fix, the Declan Hill book, Michael Franzese´s inside toughts, Tim Donaghy, Dan Moldea´s book etc. etc....

But then, i only know about one fixed pro cycling race. The one Laurent Fignon describes in his book.

Does anyone know about more fixed races (outside of the un-official Criteriums after Grand Tours)? Or do we watch real competition?
 
Apr 8, 2010
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I suppose fixing a road race is more difficult than almost any other sport because there're many contesters (i.e. to control the outcome of a tennis match you need to control only two people).

But often an alliance that may be concieved as fixing is natural (i.e. the GC favourite 'giving' a stage win away).

My guess is that money changing hands is involved in some race-decisions but that gambling-syndicates controlling the outcome of races doesn't happen.
 
Apr 27, 2010
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Why not lose a race on purpose? If you get 2nd place at a race, you still get nearly the same team contract as if you got 1st place, you just might not get the fame and extra bonus that comes with being one place higher, but who cares if someone in a trench coat is paying you more than what the fame and bonus is worth?
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Thank you guys.

So far, good points and hints are made. But it seems the real enemy has not taken place: Pre-arranged pro cycling races by some mob gambling syndicate...

Or we just don´t know, because (i think i read this on the UCI hompage, as far as i remember) the riders/members-contracts/rules have the same paragraphs (that betting is forbidden for any member around a pro team) as NFL/MLB-Contracts. So it seems the UCI has some reason to do this. I also wonder if betting in cycling is big enough for the mob to fix a race. I would like to know if the asians bet as much on cycling as on (fixed) soccer games in europe. So in one strange way, may all the doping "saved" cycling from the worst enemy: big wagered betting markets (like in the NFL) which allow a fix easy to be hidden.

On the other hand, it´s very unlikely that the UCI even know about this danger. I bet (;)) they don´t have something like bet-radar in soccer or something like Ex-FBI-Agents who work for NFL-Security.

May someone out there drops the bomb and tells us all about the fixes they got to know.

It´s hard to believe Fignon was the only one to be in the middle of a fixed GT. But at least i hope so. Because nothing (including doping) is as worse as to watch some kind of wrestling "matches" in cycling.

P.S.: Good stage today, because it was unexpected to see the peloton split by this many heavy falls.
 
Nov 3, 2009
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There's all kinds of fixing in bike racing.

Ever seen a two rider breakaway where the riders talk, then rider a's car pulls up, then the riders talk, then rider b's car pulls up, then rider a's car comes back up... The race is being sold from one team to another. Remember the discussion between the Mapei trio in Paris Roubaix? Remember how when Muesew flatted the discussion started over again... And those were riders on the same team!!

How about where a two riders work together till the finish where one takes a jersey, while the other wins the sprint with ease?

Alan Piper said his wife would be upset by how much he paid for a win. She didn't understand that his contact would be worth double that price the next year.

Sports are fixed because everyone has a price. Cycling is no different.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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I read about the criteriums in a german book. They are fixed before the race. That´s why i excluded them from the original question (they are not even official races, and i never watch them).

About the break-aways: Would it be really a fix if rider A "gives" the stage to rider B? I wouldn´t say so as long as the deal and the break-away wasn´t colluded before the race between the teams. If the situation occurs in a race, i think it should not be a problem if Rider A gets the yellow and gives Rider B the stage as a "present" for his help.

What i mean is if races are completley thrown before races like for example soccer matches, so that some shady mob guy gets rich and the audience gets cheated.

Otherwise, thanks Basil. Are there some good books about race fixing?
 
There has certainly been 'collusion' in top level races, Vuelta 1985 is the most obvious example but I'm sure people can think of plenty of others. We're talking inter-team collusion and deals being done for the benefit of a group of participants rather than betting syndicates though.

Could actual match-fixing happen at top-level races in the way that apparently it does in cricket and snooker? Hard to imagine fixing before hand because of the range of possibilities and the number of people you'd have to nobble. It's no surprise that with football it's usually the goalkeeper at the centre of allegations - the one guy with the power to throw a team game by letting a soft goal in at a key moment. Trying to bribe a cyclist before hand would be more like paying off a midfielder - you can get them to play badly but they don't have the same power to directly affect the result. You have to get to a lot of midfielders before you have the same influence as paying off the goalie, and it's going to look a lot more obvious what's going on!

Once the race is underway then maybe it's possible. If you want Cancellara to win, and he gets up the road with a handful in pursuit then you could pay off one of the chasers to sit on the others and dissuade them from chasing.

It wouldn't surprise me for a moment if we heard that teams colluded in last year's Tour to make a few stages less aggressive in order to keep one veteran rider in contention until near the end, because it's good for TV and media interest in the race which ultimately benefits everyone. But I would be surprised if a betting syndicate wanted to somehow organise that to happen - there would be a hell of a lot of people you'd need to pay off.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Thanks for the hint for the Vuelta 1985. I just searched for it in wiki. I am surprised i never heard of it before. Millar and Rodríguez really got robbed of a battle for victory. If i see this happen in the TdF/Giro etc., immediately i would switch off the TV. What a mess.

BTW, which race Fignon had to loose to Luis Herrera? I can´t find the link anymore. And is there more races we should completley write off the books (other than the 85-Vuelta)?