Gung Ho Gun said:
Gaimon's problem is selective blindness.
It's not just selective blindness but selective targeting. Targeting Paco trying to make a living beating part-timers and Continental Pros who never competed outside North America in obscure .2 races ten years after his doping indiscretions is just picking on an easy target, and as I said at the time, if you wanted to say "doping doesn't pay" and argue against it, Paco Mancebo still trying to make a living into his 40s in such a way is a far better argument than a lot of the people who sat out two years then returned to making a living at the top. And a LOT better than some of the people Phil associates with, who took a short ban through the offseason several years after their indiscretion, and returned to earning World Tour level pro salaries early the following year, because it was a long time ago and they showed remorse. I'm sure that after a decade of being persona non grata at any race above the .1 level and bouncing around races like the Tour de Guadeloupe and Tour de l'Egypte riding for teams like Heraklion Kastro-Murcía, CompetitiveCyclist.com and Hangar 15 Bicycles, Paco has just as much regret as Vaughters' ex-USPS committee and a damn sight more than the likes of David Millar. He hasn't been banned, but he's suffered a lot more for his sins than most who have.
Contador is also an easy target to Gaimon's target audience because he was successfully painted in large sections of the American press as a villain in 2009, and while Armstrong's subsequent downfall may override that part, by that time Alberto had got himself suspended for doping in his own right. Blaming Alberto for Manuel freaking Sola Arjona testing positive is a huge leap in logic too. Manuel Sola is a 25-year-old who rode a year with Keith Mobel-Partizan in 2014 but didn't get renewed and returned to the amateur ranks. He was passed up by Burgos-BH after riding with them as a stagiare in 2016, and at 25 this year was probably his last chance at being given an opportunity to turn pro; he tested positive back at the Vuelta a Navarra, before Caja Rural took him on, and a long time before Contador's final Vuelta was turned into a lap of honour as everybody paid tribute to his headlong charge in search of one last victory. Sola was doping (or was doping to the extent of being caught, at least) because he was in last chance saloon with regards to his career. Not because of Alberto Contador. Unless Sola said "I doped because I wanted to get a stagiare contract so I could ride some pre-Vuelta warmup races with my hero, Alberto Contador" or similar, then I don't see how Gaimon's logical leap fits.
I mean, it isn't Kittel attacking Sayar in terms of soft targets, and we ought to be grateful that there are some riders who are sticking their heads above the parapet, but he has also been silent or avoided issuing an opinion on some more contentious cases, and his response to the question pertaining to the difference between Contador and Danielson is patronizing and reeks of the David Walsh "I know better than you" complex. If he draws a line between the two characters then that's fine. We all have certain tolerance limits, and given he knows the two of them better than I can ever hope to, then maybe he has his reasons. And I'm sure that the way the question was posed was more than a bit loaded and confrontational. But if there is a specific reason that Gaimon can differentiate the two as dopers, wouldn't it be nice to understand why he draws that distinction, rather than just be smacked down for your ignorance? Even if it's just "I elaborate on the distinction/my opinions on TD and AC in my book, afraid it's too complex for 140 characters" it's a lot more helpful than a curt response which carries the implication "you know less than me. I know better". It's a bit like when Vaughters took the Clinic to task for questioning Dr Íñigo San Millán, because he knew things about the man that we did not. Hrotha pointed out to him at the time, by all means tell us we're wrong and why, but don't criticise us as being ignorant for not knowing the facts, when those facts have been withheld from us.
That's of course assuming that Gaimon has clear and understandable reasons for drawing a distinction between Contador and Danielson. It may not be the case, but in that case an admission that maintaining an anti-doping outlook while also being loyal to personal friends can cause cognitive dissonance would go a long way to gaining Phil a lot more leeway from fans, who may not have personal friends in the péloton but who also wrestle with the cognitive dissonance that comes from a combination of wanting to see a fair and exciting fight but also supporting characters and riders that they know doped or are doping. I'm sure being an anti-doping rider trying to make it in a péloton that still harbours many ex-dopers creates plenty of uncertainty too; the need to not rock the boat too much in order that you don't get hounded out, and also holding conversation with people day in day out that you develop personal bonds and relationships with, yet you may not know that they are guilty of the same thing you rail against. How different would that be from any office worker holding casual conversation with a colleague who is quietly embezzling funds on the side? It's not the fact that Gaimon is fighting these battles, nor the fact that he has friends who were dopers, but the fact that Gaimon is selective about the battles he fights that is part of the reason he generates these abrasive discussions. I'm sure Phil has his reasons for having picked out Paco Mancebo, Alberto Contador and Manuel Sola for criticism, but I don't know what those reasons are. Maybe in his book he elaborates, maybe he doesn't. If he does, he ought to point that out, because it may be a factor for some potential readers as to whether they want to read the book, rather than smack down any discourse because some people noted that, without that elaboration, he looks like a hypocrite. At the same time though, fans can't expect Phil to come frothing at the mouth with rabid fury every time a rider at any level tests positive, or now that he is out of the pro péloton throw his own personal relationships from that period of his life in a dustbin and set that dustbin on fire, just in the interest of balance. That's not a realistic thing to ask of him either.