Team Optum: A Model for the Future?

Jul 11, 2013
3,340
0
0
http://www.theouterline.com/team-optum-a-model-for-the-future/

I read this piece and couldn't help but thinking that these guys may be the true heroes of the sport.. This post is done in accepting the premise -that Team Optum are the "real deal"... Not doping, true-hearted on the zero-tolerance part etc... However I have little knowledge of the team as a whole, so feel free to "shoot it down" if my premise is of the mark...

Sponsors want victories, they rarely care about what is going on behind the scenes.. This team seems to exemplify the notion that running a clean team has it's costs... Some upper tier teams (at least one) has been selling themselves on the exact parametres that this team is run..
It must be frustrating fighting to make a living on a basis that is then stolen by pro-teams with financial means and media influence running on the naivities of the casual fan...

I think some interesting quotes can be drawn from the article...

But Aaron takes a tougher stance, even though he realizes that all dopers are not necessarily bad people. I understand why some people make wrong decisions, decisions that they may later truly and whole-heartedly regret, he says, but nonetheless, we just don't want those people on our team.? Erker reinforces this statement, while citing a different example. Some folks say that everyone deserves a second chance, but I don't think cycling owes dopers a job.
Even the most talented guys have a realistic trajectory. When a rider gets 15% stronger in one winter or goes from being someone you've never heard of to being one of the strongest guys in North America in one year that is a serious red flag. We don't go near guys like that.
Instead of Hincapie having a development team and making millions selling products to the sport, he should be doing a lecture tour with local boys clubs, explaining his bad choices and helping kids avoid that in the future. He adds, There has to be more accountability, a greater sense of shame or remorse, not just short-term punishment. These guys should be expected to give back in a longer-term sense.
And rider salaries are an issue. “Acquiring and retaining riders who are staunch anti-doping advocates tends to be more expensive,” says Carney, “because unlike most teams, our system leaves us with a fairly small pool of riders to choose from. The Will Routleys are hard to find, and when you do find them, they’re not cheap to retain.”
All in all i think Aaron comes across as a really honest guy...
I could go on for a couple of pages, but will restrain myself for now...

What are you thinking about all of this??
 
mrhender said:
http://www.theouterline.com/team-optum-a-model-for-the-future/

I read this piece and couldn't help but thinking that these guys may be the true heroes of the sport....

All in all i think Aaron comes across as a really honest guy...
I could go on for a couple of pages, but will restrain myself for now...

What are you thinking about all of this??
HI Mrhender,

Ok, I'll bite. Might as well make this interesting.

In some ways, this comes across as reminiscent of US Cycling Hall of Famer Ray Cipollini's apologist 'Open Letter' ("We are our own worst enemy") that came two days after the announcement of Floyd's positive.

Time has certainly revealed the truth on that one.

If you talk tough about anti-doping, is it really just cheap talk?

Given that other teams (e.g. Garmin and Sky) have put forward no-doping policies, and that Garmin does conduct internal testing, if you are trying to up the bar on anti-doping then you really need to have something tangible to point to in your actual practice. Actions and policies that are open to review and criticism. And not knee-jerk reactionary scenarios such as suspending one of your cyclists immediately, before you even have any facts and before (!) you even had any communication with the ADA to provide you with any information, let alone an affirmative finding. And, what about employee rights?

Suspending a rider based on hearsay (Please recall the team's statement at the time, "while we were never contacted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES)..."

I don't like dopers, but that seems to fly in the face of 'well-managed' or any sort of rational process.

Please allow me to highlight a couple of comments from this article that, ultimately and unfortunately, sound more like PR than honest-to-goodness policy or action-oriented strategy.

Carney takes a more pragmatic approach to evaluating riders under consideration for the team. It?s not hard to recognize jumps in performance that are unrealistic if you?ve been around the sport long enough, he says. ?Even the most talented guys have a realistic trajectory. When a rider gets 15% stronger in one winter or goes from being someone you?ve never heard of to being one of the strongest guys in North America in one year ? that is a serious red flag. We don?t go near guys like that.?
Please consider:

1. If a rider was that good, a team like Optum almost certainly wouldn't have a chance to sign them. Wouldn't such a superstar almost certainly be entertaining conversations with protour teams?

2. Does any well trained athlete, even on EPO, get 15% better over a winter?

3. If someone appears to ring high on the suspicion index, what are they actually doing about it? Do they want their team to compete with cyclists like that? Why aren't they flagging that rider to the appropriate authorities. If they aren't, then isn't that just a continuation of Omerta?

Why don't they have a policy that says they will flag to the authorities any rider that comes across as suspicious, including on their team. That would up the stakes.

On that note:

In addition, says Erker, ?Our policy is never to hire an athlete who has been coached by people whom we consider to be questionable. We ask a lot of questions and check into who the rider has worked with in the past,? he says. And over time, the team has built the kind of reputation within the pro peloton where potentially tainted riders don?t even bother contacting the team. ?We would rather lose, than win and have to wonder if one of our athletes was cheating,? says Carney.
Ok, how did they decide what people were questionable? Do they have any special insight? If they do, they why don't they report these people? There are lots of lines of communication open - remember the UCI's hotline, for example?

How do we know that they have a complete list of questionable people?

I'll bet we could add a name or two that would put some of their past teammates into question.

Arguably, though, in cycling who isn't questionable? Can there really be anyone with a decent history of shepherding successful athletes that hasn't had a few dopers under their tutelage?

Thus, statements like that ultimately come off as grandstanding fluff.

Talk is cheap. What are they really doing to move the anti-doping cause forward.

Dave.
 
D-Queued said:
1. If a rider was that good, a team like Optum almost certainly wouldn't have a chance to sign them. Wouldn't such a superstar almost certainly be entertaining conversations with protour teams?
Phil Gaimon is riding for them this year. He would seem to be their ideal rider. Borderline Pro Tour type.

D-Queued said:
2. Does any well trained athlete, even on EPO, get 15% better over a winter?
Adam Bergman, Ricky Escuela, Jonahtan Chodroff all were tearing up the NRC circuit until they got suspended. None of them have been close to as good since.
D-Queued said:
3. If someone appears to ring high on the suspicion index, what are they actually doing about it? Do they want their team to compete with cyclists like that? Why aren't they flagging that rider to the appropriate authorities. If they aren't, then isn't that just a continuation of Omerta?
They have definitely had some brushes that aren't mentioned in the article. Sebastian Salas's missed test for example.

D-Queued said:
Ok, how did they decide what people were questionable? Do they have any special insight? If they do, they why don't they report these people? There are lots of lines of communication open - remember the UCI's hotline, for example?

How do we know that they have a complete list of questionable people?
They aren't documenting suspected dopers, they just aren't associating with them.

The team is run by guys that have been around domestic US cycling forever. They have as good an idea as anyone as to who is doing what and very rarely picks up new or unknown riders. It has a well established core of guys and then might go with 1 or 2 up-and-comers a year. I mean, we're talking about a 12, maybe 14, person team.

It is more of a friends-hire-friends situation than a scientific, lab-proven program. But I imagine anyone around the US/NRC scene would say they are as clean as a pro team can be.
 
IzzyStradlin said:
...



They aren't documenting suspected dopers, they just aren't associating with them.

The team is run by guys that have been around domestic US cycling forever. They have as good an idea as anyone as to who is doing what and very rarely picks up new or unknown riders. It has a well established core of guys and then might go with 1 or 2 up-and-comers a year. I mean, we're talking about a 12, maybe 14, person team.

It is more of a friends-hire-friends situation than a scientific, lab-proven program. But I imagine anyone around the US/NRC scene would say they are as clean as a pro team can be.
None of that is necessarily bad.

I was responding to the concept that they might represent "A Model for the Future."

A future model would presumably build on what we have, improve it and provide structures to sustain it.

Breaking Omerta would be such a structural change. Some sort of a 'we aren't going to stand by that any more.'

If the doping is obvious to a trained eye, and if that trained eye wanted to actually do something, then they would report their suspicions.

ADA's now provide for anecdotal evidence.

If, on the other hand, it is a hire friends situation then that, arguably, is a recipe for disaster. What if one of your friends goes bad or was bad. Now you have an ethical dilemma and no structure to stand on.

Dave.
 
D-Queued said:
I was responding to the concept that they might represent "A Model for the Future."
....

If, on the other hand, it is a hire friends situation then that, arguably, is a recipe for disaster. What if one of your friends goes bad or was bad. Now you have an ethical dilemma and no structure to stand on.

Dave.
Agreed. The "model for the Future" angle is misleading. But it is good to see them running one of the healthier US teams out there.
 
Oct 16, 2010
19,912
1
0
D-Queued said:
snipped...
good post.
one thing: not just Garmin have internal testing. They just the only ones bragging about it.
Sky too have internal testing (see the Henao case) and I bet most teams with a budget have internal testing to avoid positives.

Colombian Sergio Henao has been removed from competition by Team Sky for at least eight weeks after questions were raised by the team?s internal out-of-competition control tests.
Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/sergio-henao-team-sky-questions-competition-tests-118294#xCPuSEzA2YzmCSaz.99
 
Mar 13, 2009
16,856
0
0
sniper said:
good post.
one thing: not just Garmin have internal testing. They just the only ones bragging about it.
Sky too have internal testing (see the Henao case) and I bet most teams with a budget have internal testing to avoid positives.
image all the MCE (machine calibration error(s)) within their internal testing
 
sniper said:
good post.
one thing: not just Garmin have internal testing. They just the only ones bragging about it.
Sky too have internal testing (see the Henao case) and I bet most teams with a budget have internal testing to avoid positives.
Thanks. Wasn't certain about Sky, and didn't double-check.

The other teams, yes. Can't run a team without spare wheels, 5 mm allen wrench and a centrifuge.

Dave.
 
Oct 16, 2010
19,912
1
0
D-Queued said:
Thanks. Wasn't certain about Sky, and didn't double-check.

The other teams, yes. Can't run a team without spare wheels, 5 mm allen wrench and a centrifuge.

Dave.
still wonder how Vino got it so terribly wrong, but thats for a different thread.
 
Mar 10, 2009
491
0
0
D-Queued said:
None of that is necessarily bad.

I was responding to the concept that they might represent "A Model for the Future."

A future model would presumably build on what we have, improve it and provide structures to sustain it.

Breaking Omerta would be such a structural change. Some sort of a 'we aren't going to stand by that any more.'

If the doping is obvious to a trained eye, and if that trained eye wanted to actually do something, then they would report their suspicions.

ADA's now provide for anecdotal evidence.

If, on the other hand, it is a hire friends situation then that, arguably, is a recipe for disaster. What if one of your friends goes bad or was bad. Now you have an ethical dilemma and no structure to stand on.

Dave.
Dave, I appreciate your skepticism, but allow me to throw in my two cents. As a disclaimer, I know Charles well, and I actually work for the parent company of both Optum and UHC, UHG.

I can assure you that neither Charles nor Optum, as a title sponsor, have ANY degree of tolerance for doping. Period.

That stated, what is important now is further refinement and industrialization of a team framework for anti-doping that is scalable and controllable at the WT level. That seems to be the concern in a few of the posts here. Understandable, and I agree.
 
53x11 in DC said:
Dave, I appreciate your skepticism, but allow me to throw in my two cents. As a disclaimer, I know Charles well, and I actually work for the parent company of both Optum and UHC, UHG.

I can assure you that neither Charles nor Optum, as a title sponsor, have ANY degree of tolerance for doping. Period.

That stated, what is important now is further refinement and industrialization of a team framework for anti-doping that is scalable and controllable at the WT level. That seems to be the concern in a few of the posts here. Understandable, and I agree.
Thanks.

I have been merely playing devil's advocate. We've seen a lot of water pass under the bridge here.

Your insight is both helpful and welcome!!

Dave.
 
Nov 23, 2013
366
0
0
I guess it depends somewhat on how we define zero tolerance. If zero tolerance means never been penalized for doping positives, then unfortunately Optum is probably not zero tolerance. If we define it in the Garmin way, maybe yes. Look... Optum probably is as close to zero tolerance and as close as anyone can be to a "Model for the Future", but we are talking about cycling here.
 
Nov 23, 2013
366
0
0
So they basically say they can't/won't/don't whatever... have ex dopers on the team...please correct me if I'm wrong. Tom Zirbel is on the team. Was he not busted for doping?
 
53x11 in DC said:
Dave, I appreciate your skepticism, but allow me to throw in my two cents. As a disclaimer, I know Charles well, and I actually work for the parent company of both Optum and UHC, UHG.

I can assure you that neither Charles nor Optum, as a title sponsor, have ANY degree of tolerance for doping. Period.

That stated, what is important now is further refinement and industrialization of a team framework for anti-doping that is scalable and controllable at the WT level. That seems to be the concern in a few of the posts here. Understandable, and I agree.
Except, USAC is not interested in any of this. The UCI certainly isn't either. Neither one is protecting the integrity of the sport.

It's great that Optum is spending money in such a responsible way and I genuinely wish for more of the same. That message of working with such high integrity is compelling marketing.
 
Have always heard that Optum were a clean team based on their staff/personailites/beliefs. It has been more about people that what they actively do.

Apparently Carney/Candelario are very anti-doping and that goes all the way back to their time at Prime Alliance when DiCanio said they were clean.

Of course that doesn't mean they don't have the odd rogue element(Salas) or link as I posted in the JV thread. Tom Zirbel is an interesting case for example, had a breakout season in 09 finishing 4th in Worlds TT, all set to sign for Garmin but tests positive for DHEA I think it was. Apparently his peers considered him as a clean rider and there seems to be a belief he was framed. Seemingly Optum are going with that line as well.

Optum haven't really outwardly done anything to show they are clean but they have enough good words from enough good people that sees them get a lot of goodwill.
 
Jul 11, 2013
3,340
0
0
D-Queued said:
HI Mrhender,

Ok, I'll bite. Might as well make this interesting.
Hi Dave

Thanks for your post.

D-Queued said:
If you talk tough about anti-doping, is it really just cheap talk?
I like to think I'am not easily "charmed" when it comes to believing these anti-doping "crusaders"... However something about this team rubbed me the right way..
Two things are important here..

I noticed in your reply to Izzy that you were responding to the "model for the future" part.

Are we discussing if they are providing a model that can be applied to others?
Or are we questioning the team as a whole?

If your points were only with first mentioned in mind we may talk pass eachother as my intent was a wider discussion that of course would include the model part...
------------------------------------------------------
Is it cheap talk?
Well I don't know anything for sure but I will offer my opinion.

A minor google-study seems to reveal that they talk tough on doping when asked.. They don't plaster their website with phony anti-doping meassures/policies etc.. If you look at the website the only mention of doping right now is a reference to the article in the OP...
If they were so PR-oriented re: anti-doping why not use their website to promote their special efforts? Why are we not hearing more of the team if they are one in a hundred when it comes to anti-doping?
Is it because it is just something they pretend when asked? Or could it be multifaceted because we are dealing with a unique team with unique staff that doesn't follow usual logic. Maybe their existence as a clean team (one in a hundred) rely on being unorthodox for the Good as well as sometimes worse?
I will get back to some of this later on..

D-Queued said:
Given that other teams (e.g. Garmin and Sky) have put forward no-doping policies, and that Garmin does conduct internal testing, if you are trying to up the bar on anti-doping then you really need to have something tangible to point to in your actual practice. Actions and policies that are open to review and criticism. And not knee-jerk reactionary scenarios such as suspending one of your cyclists immediately, before you even have any facts and before (!) you even had any communication with the ADA to provide you with any information, let alone an affirmative finding. And, what about employee rights?
I'am not sure I'am following your logic here...
Providing the media and your fans with no-doping policies from time to time is pretty normal for most big teams right? Does that make them clean?
Also you have to consider that these teams are on completely different levels. Teams like SKY/Garmin are on the top of the game therefore with cycling history in mind have to push forward a strong staunch on anti-doping.. Even Astana has been very forward as to their anti-doping efforts...
Also, where are those (SKY/Garmin etc) policies written? where can I control them? They have the financial meassures to really put forward data, revolutionise anti-doping -but chooses not to... The point is they need to push forward their cleanliness because their teams/staff and performance are riddled with suspicion for anyone slightly informed on doping in cycling....

Team Optum aren't run on this premise: they seem to rely much more on behind the scenes goodwill....?


D-Queued said:
Suspending a rider based on hearsay (Please recall the team's statement at the time, "while we were never contacted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES)..."

I don't like dopers, but that seems to fly in the face of 'well-managed' or any sort of rational process.
I'am not going to rationalize everything you might find this team has done...
But think about it, maybe they are paranoid in some regards (understandable?), maybe they don't use legal advice and CAS-logic before they use intuition and menschkeit to their best ability... If you compare this to the Tom Zirbel case it doesn't make sense.. They don't tolerate doping or any connections to doping but they tolerate a convicted doper... Why?
Maybe they got info they trusted on Salas that gave them the moral permit to take action? Maybe they really believe in Zirbel?
I think they did both, because if not, then their somewhat irrational behaviour doesn't make "sense" if you get what I mean?
I'am not offering an acquittal here, only a perspective...
If logic is needed then okay...
Is Zirbel really that important that they would jeopardise their very existence on him? i don't think so...
So what is important for them.. To appear clean -or to be clean....?
think about their actions, which seems to imply the latter to me....

D-Queued said:
Please allow me to highlight a couple of comments from this article that, ultimately and unfortunately, sound more like PR than honest-to-goodness policy or action-oriented strategy.



Please consider:

1. If a rider was that good, a team like Optum almost certainly wouldn't have a chance to sign them. Wouldn't such a superstar almost certainly be entertaining conversations with protour teams?

2. Does any well trained athlete, even on EPO, get 15% better over a winter?

3. If someone appears to ring high on the suspicion index, what are they actually doing about it? Do they want their team to compete with cyclists like that? Why aren't they flagging that rider to the appropriate authorities. If they aren't, then isn't that just a continuation of Omerta?
Is 1. and 2. important to the discussion?
It's just a number as I see it... Can you expect a thorugh analasys backed by numbers to any statement they give? I mean standards are good but I think the above is overreaching a bit.. That said, then okay... Maybe it is not realistic for them to sign such a "talent".. But on the other hand he also says in the article that "cleanish riders" are more expensive and harder sign due to the cost.....

As for no.3

I understand and acknowledge the history of omerta in cycling.
But think about it.. Not only are they expected to run a clean outfit (which would be an accomplishment on it's own) thay are also expected to police the sport?
That said... how do we know they don't blow the whistle once in a while?
is it something they should advertise if so?
I don?t think so, and if you take the case of Zirbel he did get a reduction for providing information on other riders... maybe they sit on a pile of innuendo,rumour etc. but is that something you pass on to authorities who seem to bee struggling with even the most clear cut abp cases.. Furthermore these so-called ADA's has a history of ineffeciancy and corruption right?
The Staff behind Optum has been along for the ride, they would know..
Adding to this, I don't think it would take long before thay might meet resistance in the peloton, having their breakaways chases etc?
it has happened before that unpopular riders/teams have met "road" issues....

D-Queued said:
On that note:

Ok, how did they decide what people were questionable? Do they have any special insight? If they do, they why don't they report these people? There are lots of lines of communication open - remember the UCI's hotline, for example?
I think the "special insight" is described in the article...
You can accept the statement or not.. It is not measurable for us because we don't walk in their shoes... I think some of it is based on common (anti-doping) sense that they aaspire to when attempting to run a clean outfit...

D-Queued said:
How do we know that they have a complete list of questionable people?

I'll bet we could add a name or two that would put some of their past teammates into question.

Arguably, though, in cycling who isn't questionable? Can there really be anyone with a decent history of shepherding successful athletes that hasn't had a few dopers under their tutelage?

Thus, statements like that ultimately come off as grandstanding fluff.
We are back to the transparency here... You say "how do we know"...
You know the onlys answer is "we do not"...
But you have to be clear of your expectations here...
They can only do so much, being TOTALLY outspoken towards the media (and I think they are pretty utspoken when asked) may not be the way to survive, even if you are running a clean team... It has come to my attention that even this team has some sort of connections to the "real world" that seems to be inevitable as you also point out.. The question is more likely: Are they for real? I think they do their utmost, even it the consequense sometimes results in "head over heals actions" and paranoia boardaring crazy... Maybe this is why i believe them, they are "not normal" ;)

D-Queued said:
Talk is cheap. What are they really doing to move the anti-doping cause forward.
Maybe they are pioneers... We don't know...
Please understand that I'am arguing their case on limited knowledge, it is much easier getting info/quotes/history etc on high level teams..
But one thing is for sure, they don't run on some PR-survey...
Too many contradictions for that.. I'll take that as something in their favor...

That said.. I don't think that their "model" is applicable to a useful template...
Too much intuition and personal judgment for that, it is not a Copyright model..
Cycling does not make that possible imo...
To show a useful template for running a clean team you would have to have a wider agreement AND
maybe even exclude everyone with a doping/affiliate history?
Realistic? No, not on Pro-tour level, but maybe they can inspire? Is that not a good thing also?


PS: I would have replied earlier but I've been gone almost since posting OP due to Forum login issues.
 
Wow.

Great post.

Don't want to de-emphathize any of it, so haven't selectively quoted from it.

A couple of thoughts.

I agree with pretty much everything you said. It was a good article (Model for the Future), so we may be judging them by the promotion of the article and not necessarily by their own aspirations.

Garmin has taken a lot of heat, on this forum at least, for some level of disenchantment or disbelief in their anti-doping stance even though it should be without argument (or with minimal argument) that they have put together the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in the sport.

It would be great to see another team try and build on the best elements from Garmin and add to them. If Garmin isn't good enough, then what else can be done? How do we learn and move this forward?

Transparency is an obvious touchstone. But, what about some sort of living set of policies that take feedback from interested parties and benefit from ongoing refinement?

Thus, perhaps a living document / step-by-step plan on best practices by teams. Possibly one that multiple teams can sign on to, that has some sort of independent review board (itself blessed by WADA?).

One thing I have always wondered about is self-policing, or self-punishment. Teams should hold themselves accountable.

On that note, where the article/Optum claims they have never had a doping positive, the Salas situation nags and remains very confusing.

In that particular situation it is hard to completely exonerate the team. At least not without additional insight.

If a rider is selected for a post-race test, shouldn't the team respond to make sure they get there? Isn't there minimally a shared onus? Isn't that the number one most important task for the team at that point?

If the lack of an appearance was due to a targeted avoidance, then wouldn't an anti-doping team actually want to expose anything adverse?

In other words, Optum appears to pride itself on no positives. But, doesn't that 'asset' become a liability if you aren't trying to rid the sport of doping no matter where it exists? Maybe you actually need to have a positive, that you helped expose, in order to truly demonstrate a team's commitment.

If the athlete in question missed the test for dumb, but arguably innocent, reasons, then shouldn't the team actually stand behind him? Some sort of an ok, that wasn't very smart, but we know you are clean. We support the suspension, because we support the policies, but we are there when you are done?

If he doped while on their watch, they are tarnished. If he missed a test on their watch, they are unavoidably complicit.

Is there a flaw with that logic?

Dave.

P.S. Finally, as something of a postscript, I am not sure you can suggest that the CCES could be included in a comment that "Furthermore these so-called ADA's has a history of ineffeciancy and corruption". You might not have meant to include them, but given the Optum example the CCES is relevant to this particular discussion.
 
Oct 14, 2012
135
0
0
There was one particular quote in that Optum article that resounded - the one about Hincapie making even more $s from cycling instead of doing some good with his experience by talking to kids and offering insight into making "right choices". Well, we all know Hincapie, Levi, Casey, Z, and the other USPS d-bags do nothing for grassroots cycling so that's a pipe dream.

However, if I were to see Optum break the mold and talk publicly about doping, dopers and professional sport to juniors and U23 riders then I would be VERY impressed. I'm not talking about the Garmin PR-type spin on doping, I'm talking real get-out-there-and-talk-to-kids type of action. Give them some guidance, give them some hope that cycling is not a morally broke sport. Otherwise, junior riders get to join Hincapie's or JV's team or some other team and learn how to "prepare properly" - and the cycle continues.
 
Oct 16, 2010
19,912
1
0
D-Queued said:
Garmin has taken a lot of heat, on this forum at least, for some level of disenchantment or disbelief in their anti-doping stance even though it should be without argument (or with minimal argument) that they have put together the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in the sport.

It would be great to see another team try and build on the best elements from Garmin and add to them. If Garmin isn't good enough, then what else can be done? How do we learn and move this forward?
Dave, i'm gonna do this selective quoting thingie, hope you don't mind:D

Have major difficulties understanding your Garmin love. To me it looks like a paradigm example of 'buying into the talk'.
the best elements of Garmin, let's see:
-start doping early
-get in bed with the UCI
-cash in on fat contracts for the rest of your carreer
-Should you get caught, apologize and get on with it
-scream "I'm clean" from the rooftops as much and as often as you can.
am i forgetting something?

Garmin show the world that doping pays, and that the risks are minimal. Even when you get caught or confess you can still get kinglike contracts.

Tell me, what has Vaughters done to silence doubts about Hesjedal and Wiggins? He's attacked and subsequently ignored the messengers, nothing more nothing less.
Vaughters is co-responsible for the fact that at least half of all USPS frauds including guys like Weltz and Lim got a second chance in cycling.
Meanwhile he's doing nothing to clean up cycling, rather does his utmost best to deflect any criticism by pretending it's all better now.
Vouches for Sky. Provides zero transparency. In bed with UCI.

Would love to understand why you are defending this model.
great business model, i agree, but has zero to do with cleaning up cycling.
 
sniper said:
Dave, i'm gonna do this selective quoting thingie, hope you don't mind:D

...

Would love to understand why you are defending this model.
great business model, i agree, but has zero to do with cleaning up cycling.
I am not defending it.

For the sake of this discussion, I am applying the hypothesis that it represents the high water mark for team anti-doping policy. Though, I respect your opinion that it has "zero do to with (it)".

If it isn't prefect, then how can it be improved upon? Has Optum done that? The 'model for the future' being the hypothesis floated by the article leading to this thread.

Even someone as jaded as yourself should be able to work with that.

Alternately, please start from scratch and identify the key elements that should be there and observe whether Optum has incorporated any of them. Then, you can compare what they have incorporated and what Garmin have incorporated, compare the two and predict outcomes.

I am not asking you to moderate your concerns, but perhaps you can dial down your probability meter to what is 'possible' for the discussion in this thread?

If Vino, JB, or Saiz were to propose anti-doping practices, then perhaps you could see that as less probable, and less comprehensive, than what Garmin have done.

Dave.
 
TrackCynic said:
However, if I were to see Optum break the mold and talk publicly about doping, dopers and professional sport to juniors and U23 riders then I would be VERY impressed. I'm not talking about the Garmin PR-type spin on doping, I'm talking real get-out-there-and-talk-to-kids type of action. Give them some guidance, give them some hope that cycling is not a morally broke sport. Otherwise, junior riders get to join Hincapie's or JV's team or some other team and learn how to "prepare properly" - and the cycle continues.
Yes. But, USAC isn't interested in clean. They know how the sport is run and clean guys will not win. USAC wants winners like two-speed Tejay.

Again, a basic governance crisis.
 
Jul 11, 2013
3,340
0
0
D-Queued said:
A couple of thoughts.
Thank you Dave...

You pose very good questions, not easily answered...

I'am going to post this by just thinking out loud.
Bare with me, ignore, or whatever if it's off the mark....
--------------------
So how do we balance anti-doping, rights, evidence, efficiency, morality, legitimacy, transparency, punishment, PR, economy, individuals, etc... ??

Consider these bricks as pieces of a puzzle...
Do they even fit together?

Maybe running clean means you have to sacrifice a significant portion of above mentioned? Is that what Optum does? Is it a cynic calculation when Garmin, Sky and others rewiev these parameters? I mean wherein lies the success, the survival? what is short-termed and what is long-termed..? Maybe it has to be a cynic calculation? is it even possible to score high in all categories?
Is it not fair to prioritize to your best ability? You get where I'am going at?

I don't know, but I do think some weigh more then others when it comes to appearance and (on the other hand) Genuinity.... Then again it depends on your approach right? and all these pieces may have different approaches at different times.. I guess the point is that templates don't work.. Change has to come from "within"... If only we could define that :eek:

If you compare to real life then us humans prove again and again that even on much more important issues there is often a lack of consensus on a sensible midddleway... Why should a medium-sport like cycling where riders live on a rock for most their careers, hard establishing stable family structure, for the most part mediocre salary, constant speculation of their cleanliness etc etc etc..... I do not mind if I end up in the clinic's "apologetic bin" for this, and I would also stress that doping has really had a negative impact on many lives of both dopers and non-dopers (the non-dopers inexcusable being "Prugelknabes"......)

We have studies revealing that anti-doping systems are both inefficient and in some cases not the primeur deterrent for athletes (social consequenses are in some cases a bigger deterrent).. Also we do have studies concluding that anti-doping efforts are often talked-up by authorities because fear of ban is often reliant on perception towards test-efficiency etc.. Furthemore we have studies implying that these murky waters are troubled by a historical and structural perception from athletes upon doping as being necessary/not cheating as well as being a low risk when it comes to bans....

So where even to begin?

In my opinion you mention something very important namely:

Self-policing and self-punishment.

This is an area that should be scrutinized to discover possible templates/models for running as clean as possible...

Also we have (at least) two/three levels in cycling...

One is the top noch, the others are best desdribed as "the rest"...
In my exonaration of Optum I used as logic that they are on a lower level...

But isn't there also a flaw in that logic?
I mean how can you pride yourself with running a clean team and providing talent to upper tier teams? If they are only sending riders to dope-land?
How is that good, and something to be proud of? This is something I would have liked them to ask in the piece...
Maybe the answer is that they try to do their best in "armouring" their riders before they send them off. But why did they not ask more about this guidance in the article... Maybe they have a selective proccess going on as for which teams they are shipping to? I read somewhere on this forum that they are shipping to Garmin more then others.. Maybe this is a good sign for Garmin?

I noted your critique of the Optum logic fallacy re: Salas...

I think I know where you are getting at and I will refer to the opening "puzzle" of my post.. In this case there are ingredients for a bad soup.
I choose to reverse the logic and adhere to opposite conclusion.. Somitimes I think we are to hung-up on our own(understandable, seen a lot of water...) paranoia :) I hope you dont take offence from this statement, cause that is the opposite of my intentions, and I'am very much under this category......

I don't know if i presented a coherent point, or even answered your post to satisfaction...
Maybe this is the trouble with anti-doping...
You cannot just pin-down on one thing, or schematise what provides a change..
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

As for your ps: Yes, I agree.. I was shooting from the hip on that one...
 
Maybe it is better to look at Optum as a practical exercise than a philosophical one?

They are simply trying to field a competitive pro cycling team that doesn't use PEDs. Which I would argue they are as successful as anyone can reasonably be.

Are they a model for the future? No, if anything they are a throwback to getting your buddies together, loading up the van and going to the big races.

Let's not read too much into a clickbait headline.
 
Oct 16, 2010
19,912
1
0
agreed.

I do think the sounds coming from Optum are refreshing. No hollow BS about how everybody stopped doping in 2006, or how the passport allows them to win GTs clean.

I like this quote from the article:
?If you want to have a clean team, it has to start from the top. You have to have a clean staff, and one which really cares about being clean ? not just about winning.?
it sums up what Garmin don't have.
Even disregarding Vaughters himself, the fact they hung on to the likes of Weltz, Lim and White is not reconcilable with anything they pretend to be.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS