Michael Ashenden on the Armstrong Triangle

Mar 18, 2009
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Thanks for the link RR. Great piece. Favorite Ashenden quote from the interview:

"Armstrong asking Saugy how the EPO test works is a bit like walking into a bank and asking the manager to show how the lock on the safe operates. But in the case of Saugy already knowing that Armstrong had suspicious results, I’d extend that analogy to having a balaclava in one hand when you approached the bank manager."
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Wallace said:
Thanks for the link RR. Great piece. Favorite Ashenden quote from the interview:

"Armstrong asking Saugy how the EPO test works is a bit like walking into a bank and asking the manager to show how the lock on the safe operates. But in the case of Saugy already knowing that Armstrong had suspicious results, I’d extend that analogy to having a balaclava in one hand when you approached the bank manager."
haha, lovely.

or this one:

MA: First, please don’t use the word donate during this interview. Call it a pineapple, call it a bazooka, call it anything you like but please don’t characterise it as a donation.

You know, it’s an aspect that truly puzzles me. In most walks of life, if an authority was found to have accepted a secret payment from someone it polices and for whom it had grounds to suspect had flouted their rules, there would be an uproar. Where sport is concerned, the public seems to shrug its collective shoulders in resignation. Perhaps we’ve been desensitized by Olympic bribery scandals, match fixing or the whole FIFA fiasco. But in my view, anyone with a moral compass should be outraged that the people who took Armstrong’s money under those circumstances continue to cling to office.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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But there is an additional layer where the UCI is concerned, because nowadays the UCI only pays for about 15% of their antidoping budget. The remaining 85% is contributed by the teams, race organisers and the riders themselves. The UCI are essentially just administering the program, not paying for it. It beggars belief to think that the UCI would take the rider’s money, but reserve a right to decide which of them got a warning and which of them got targeted then blasted out of the sport.

If the teams and race organisers are happy to keep paying their dues under those circumstances, they should be ashamed of themselves. It’s on issues like that Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans should be taking a stand on behalf of the expendables.
in-friggin-deed
 
Sep 25, 2009
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2 comments..., no perhaps more..

I am long used to Andy Shen showing excellent investigative propensity for pairing minute details and dates. I am now equally impressed with his command of scientific minutiae.

But was showing new angles in the uci corruption prior to that formal investigation helpfully to kimmage's cause?
 
Oct 16, 2010
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python said:
...

But was showing new angles in the uci corruption prior to that formal investigation helpfully to kimmage's cause?
good point.

however, a large difference pre- and post-investigation lies not so much with kimmage or ashenden, but with the press/media: they have now suddenly become much more recipient to these kind of infos/stories. it is now en vogue to write anti-doping, whereas it wasn't a few months ago.
The press needs to look in the mirror. As MJM's threads and posts have been pointing out, we need to stress the failure of the press to look into pharmstrong/UCI-gate at an earlier date. Pressure on the responsible media and sportsjournos should be increased, which sh/could then invoke more critical coverage and a climate where sportsjournos feel the responsibility to dig a bit deeper. The climate we need is a climate in which journos and editors are no longer buying into the fairytale of clean sport and no longer accept their intelligence to be insulted so blatantly. and the good news is that we see this happening slowly but surely. Well, not in a country like spain. but e.g. CN is slowly moving into the right direction, German/American press are more critical each day, and there are some other good signs.

but I agree with you python that ashenden could have had a stronger voice also pre-investigation.
 
Jul 26, 2012
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You raise a problem applicable to all sport - why the journalists within that sport don't make enough of an effort. I think it becomes a question of the publication developing the right sort of stakeholder management that allows the journalists to do the digging and ask the right questions. Otherwise why would a journalist bite the hand that feeds them? Journalists are dependent on the athletes for their stories after all and they wouldn't want to jeopardise that. We saw how Armstrong treated Kimmage and he got frozen out, by his own paper too maybe.

In that regard, the 'Big 4' initiative launched by La Gazetta (I only saw that version which was done with a great deal of fluorish) and others, is a step in the right direction as the paper itself is now making its own commitment to anti-doping and in a very public way.

The best investigative work is probably best carried out by journalists that don't work day-to-day with the athletes.

Incidentally, I'm not a cyclist but I think this is a very lively forum as far as digging into the details of sports doping is concerned.
 
May 3, 2010
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I think we're seeing more and more how the traditional media is being bypassed and left behind.

The reality is that Andy Shen is a smart guy - pretty much smarter than most people involved in cycling reportage.

NY Velocity is not a churn it out operation, unlike say CN. The requirements for working at CN are pretty low - the ability to churn out copy for a deadline and to translate feed information. Most CN hacks require instructions on breathing so complex science is well beyond them.

While NYVelocity can put out whole unedited transcripts and interviews stretching to several thousand words, CN can't or won't go into that amount of depth.

The same goes for the mainstream media english language media who are only interested if: a local rider is doing well, the TDF and a good doping scandal.

CN and the mainstream media tend to cater for the lowest common denominator in the market and tend to think that most of their readers are not very smart, sophisticated or knowledgeable. NYV tends to think the reverse.

Ashenden has learnt that there is little to no point in trying to get across complex scientific arguments about doping and corruption to the cycling media because the cycling media is bound by omerta and lives in fear of losing its access (and its material - to go back to the high volume model that CN, VN etc use).

IMO Ashenden has realised that anti-doping has to do two things - it has to get its message out there and it has to challenge the omertists - he has seen in both the Landis and the Contador cases how the dopers were able to use the traditional media to put out a narrative that called into question the positive tests of those riders. He saw how the traditional media allowed those narratives to become established unchallenged.

NYVelocity provides the forum to do this. It allows for criticism to put out there and to bypass the traditional media forums.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Mrs John Murphy said:
I think we're seeing more and more how the traditional media is being bypassed and left behind.

The reality is that Andy Shen is a smart guy - pretty much smarter than most people involved in cycling reportage.

thats not much of a compliment to Andy. I think we can do better than that. Chapeau Andy. Not a fanboi of The Daily Show and Jon Stewart, but I think the comparison is apt. I am more a Colbert man. And Sarah Silverman woman. She should get her own gig.
 
May 3, 2010
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blackcat said:
thats not much of a compliment to Andy. I think we can do better than that. Chapeau Andy. Not a fanboi of The Daily Show and Jon Stewart, but I think the comparison is apt. I am more a Colbert man. And Sarah Silverman woman. She should get her own gig.
Yes, but considering that most of CN has spent the last month in therapy after the USADA report, I don't want to be too harsh on them. It must really suck for them to have spent the last 15 years pimping themselves out to Armstrong and sucking on his teat for copy. Now all they have is trying to be the man on twitter, sucking up the the UCI, cats and being permanently offended and writing sucky puff pieces.

Andy Shen on the other hand, has another interview which is intelligent, indepth and interesting. Three things which will never be said about CN.
 
Aug 27, 2012
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Your posts are cracking me up. But I have come to the realization you are likely correct.
 
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