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WSJ - Anti-Doping Officials Step Up Cycling Oversight

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this_is_edie said:
It is the only media that can afford to write these stories. First off, most cycling media do not have investigative journalist in their midst, they have ex-cyclists that write. Second, they depend on access to cycling figures and do not want to jeopardize that. And of course third is the almighty dollar, and the ad revenues from sponsors that back the same cyclists under investigation.

While UCI is a major problem, I also take offense as some of the cycling media, that often all report from one press release or one AP article, re-interpreted and translated all over the world.
The main problem with the cycling press is they can't bite the hand that feeds them. Too many nasty stories about the UCI or top riders then they stop getting access to races and interviews.

Mainstream press by weight of corporate size and diversity can take these risks.
 
May 18, 2009
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Pedaaldanser said:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/wada-voices-concerns-on-uci-biological-passport

We of the Clinic already knew that the UCI was protecting riders, but now it's finally getting out in the open.

Does anyone think the UCI is ever going to get cleaned up properly? I'm very skeptical about that.

I wonder if these names are even going to be revealed...
I wonder what is up. Pelizotti is a big name on a big team so if there is protection then WTF is up with that? For the record, I think there is protection.....maybe alot less now than before.

To think only LA had the UCI in his back pocket is ludicrous.
 
Jan 19, 2010
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Moose McKnuckles said:
I don't see the logic in withholding sanctions against 5 lesser-known riders. Pursuing sanctions would allow the UCI to again claim that it is fighting the war against doping and winning.
I had posted earlier that I thought the UCI could perhaps be holding the names while attempting to retest all the samples so that they could catch them with drugs in their systems, kind of like they did with Tomas Dekker.

That way, when the trial rolls around their defense is limited to the drug they are caught with in their body fluids and they cannot claim the aberrant result was because they were dehydrated or had hemoroids.

They may also be holding the names until a Passport positive goes through the CAS appeal system to see what CAS does. If I was a prosecutor, I wouldn't want my first case trying someone under a new law to be the biggest celebrity in the state. I would wait until I see what the appeals/supreme court rules so I know what holes need to be plugged in order to make the case stick when I go after the big name.

We have already seen one Passport case fall because the National Federation didn't buy the Passport as a viable mechanism of catching their guy cheating. If the same thing happened with someone like Lance or Cancellara, the passport program would be dead.

There could be any number of legitimate reasons to hold back the names, including letting the guilty think they are getting away with it until they make a mistake.
 
The UCI has a system that has insulated itself quite well from having to overhaul, or change dramatically. With Hein essentially still the head of the UCI, but mostly operating outside of it as part of the nearly as corrupt IOC, and his minion Pat McQuaid in charge, it gives them a double barricade to stand behind.

What I mean by this is as the heat presses, Hein can step away from the UCI, but still have power over it. Even if Pat is forced to resign, Hein can place him in a position as a VP, and another puppet as the head. Or he can push Pat out of the UCI entirely, but get him on the board of the IOC, etc.

The only way the UCI is going to clean up is if both Hein and Pat are completely gone from it along with probably over 2/3 of the staff, and in their place someone serious and dedicated to cleaning up the sport with absolute transparency put in. That means someone like Sylvia Shenk in charge, with people like Patrice Clerk, Erik Boyer, Greg LeMond, Werner Franke, Hans-Michael Holczer on the board. They could then give Michael Ashenden a bigger role, and bring Anne Gripper back. Then re-tool the rules on doping tests, and sanctions.

I'd venture to say we're sadly not even close to that at this point. :(
 
Apr 11, 2009
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Thanks, that makes sense.

So, first, the element of doubt would play a larger role the bigger the rider for the sake of the whole biopassport system. UCI would need a more airtight case the bigger the rider. Wouldn't want to have the biopassport go down in flames at the start on a high profile case.

Yet, second, at the same time it would not be excusable to crucify only the "little"/second-tier guys while the big fish with the SAME readings are given the benefit of the doubt (not sanctioned now OR later). We don't know, but conceivably this is an issue for the two dissenting UCI expert committee members. They, WADA, and the other national organizations who have expressed concern won't be tilting at windmills, that's for sure. And, of course, Gripper's leaving at the very time they were discussing this is potentially related.

UCI had better square the circle (points 1 and 2) for the sake of their own and the biopassport's credibility. And as WADA probably believes, including Howman (their former special counsel as well), there could be any number of political reasons for not rocking the cycling boat. That goes to Tygart's point on UCI's potentially fatal conflict of interest, which McQuack illustrates in great detail every time he opens his mouth.

Howman is no fool or legal amateur:

http://www.wada-ama.org/en/About-WADA/Governance/WADA-Management--Biographies/David-Howman/



Squares said:
I had posted earlier that I thought the UCI could perhaps be holding the names while attempting to retest all the samples so that they could catch them with drugs in their systems, kind of like they did with Tomas Dekker.

That way, when the trial rolls around their defense is limited to the drug they are caught with in their body fluids and they cannot claim the aberrant result was because they were dehydrated or had hemoroids.

They may also be holding the names until a Passport positive goes through the CAS appeal system to see what CAS does. If I was a prosecutor, I wouldn't want my first case trying someone under a new law to be the biggest celebrity in the state. I would wait until I see what the appeals/supreme court rules so I know what holes need to be plugged in order to make the case stick when I go after the big name.

We have already seen one Passport case fall because the National Federation didn't buy the Passport as a viable mechanism of catching their guy cheating. If the same thing happened with someone like Lance or Cancellara, the passport program would be dead.

There could be any number of legitimate reasons to hold back the names, including letting the guilty think they are getting away with it until they make a mistake.
 
Jan 19, 2010
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Hans-Michael Holczer on the board.(
Do I dare ask why HMH?

As far as I can tell, his only claim to be anti-doping is his recent book where he suggests that Leipheimer likely doped in 2005.

This comes after riders on his team including Michael Schumacher, Bernhard Kohl, and Rebellin all tested positive while in his team. I honestly can't see how Kohl, Schumacher and Rebellin could all test positive in the same year without him knowing they were doping.

Would you suggest Andy Rihs, who had Hamilton and Landis and others test positive while on his team?

If Johan Bruyneel wrote a book, would that qualify him to be on the board?

Frankly, I don't understand the logic. The others I can understand, but Holzer is just puzzling to me.
 
python said:
So who are the two who will soon resign or get fired or 'promoted'? Here's the complete list of the current panel members with their specialties...
Excellent post Python. Some excellent responses as well.

At issue here is that as good as this panel may be, and no serious person discounts Ashenden's or any of their resolve, they have no real teeth. They do a tremendous amount of hard work, only to be undercut, or manipulated by the politics of the UCI.

The timing (and lack of explanation at the time) of Anne Gripper's departure seems more clear by the day.

This entire thing just completely stinks. :mad:
 
Squares said:
Do I dare ask why HMH?
HMH made quite a few strong anti-doping statements during his time at Gerolsteiner. Not just last week.

But you are right in that I could have left him off the list. However I would say he's more along the lines of Giorgio Squinzi (Mapei), than Rihs or JB, wouldn't you?
 
Aug 6, 2009
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thehog said:
The main problem with the cycling press is they can't bite the hand that feeds them. Too many nasty stories about the UCI or top riders then they stop getting access to races and interviews.

Mainstream press by weight of corporate size and diversity can take these risks
.

The cycling press has always seemed a bit funny to me.

Case in point-many journalists, while Armstrong climbed Sestrieres during what has to be ironically called the "Tour of Redemption" in 1999 watched in bemusement, but I never heard one of them cast doubts on such a highly dubious performance. David Walsh, maybe? But that voice was drowned out by "The Miracle" that gave every underdog cancer sufferer hope. That's quite a brick wall to have to run into just to get at the truth.

No one expects rags like Cycle Sport Magazine to take an inquisitive stance-they have too much invested in World Cycling Productions and the Liggett/Sherwen/Roll/Watson Unholy Trinity of Four to ever be at the forefront of any of these brewing controversies.

They'll just report about it after the fact and cast it as another unfortunate black eye to the sport during a time when it's so hard to get sponsors.

What they SHOULD be screaming from the rooftops is not the investigations ruining cycling, it's the cheating.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Excellent post Python. Some excellent responses as well.

At issue here is that as good as this panel may be, and no serious person discounts Ashenden's or any of their resolve, they have no real teeth. They do a tremendous amount of hard work, only to be undercut, or manipulated by the politics of the UCI.

The timing (and lack of explanation at the time) of Anne Gripper's departure seems more clear by the day.

This entire thing just completely stinks. :mad:
yep. note that the 2 out of 3 in red on my list of who may have been the whistle blowers are like anne, australians.;).
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Alpe d'Huez said:
HMH made quite a few strong anti-doping statements during his time at Gerolsteiner. Not just last week.

But you are right in that I could have left him off the list. However I would say he's more along the lines of Giorgio Squinzi (Mapei), than Rihs or JB, wouldn't you?
He was the DS of a german team, thus he had to at least pretend to be ardently anti-doping even if he really wasn't.
 
Jun 23, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
The timing (and lack of explanation at the time) of Anne Gripper's departure seems more clear by the day.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/gripper-leaves-uci

At the time Gripper left she stated is was because she lost her partner to an accident in 2009, and had been wanting to leave to be with her family in Australia once a suitable successor was found.

The line about 'wanting to do something gentler on my soul' is telling, though...
 
Jun 23, 2009
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This is a great, meaty thread.

I agree with square's post. The only barely defensible reasons for not prosecuting these 5 would be

1. Waiting in the expectation an EPO positive would pop up with targeted testing, to make their prosecution cheaper and more secure.

2. Simply not having enough money in their legal budget to successfully prosecute a case through all the inevitable appeals. (The Landis case blew their budget I recall).

Imagine how damaging it would be for a high profile case (against LA for example) to go to CAS, and Supreme Court of God-knows-where, then be overturned on a technicality because the UCI ran out of resources to defend itself. The precedent of one failed case would be disastrous, allowing a lot more lawyers to weasel athletes out of charges. So maybe they are biding some time to see how the first cases pan out.

Regardless, anti-doping responsibility needs to be stripped from UCI and given to WADA. Imaging if that happened in cycling but also athletics? Glorious day.
 
Jan 19, 2010
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Alpe d'Huez said:
HMH made quite a few strong anti-doping statements during his time at Gerolsteiner. Not just last week.

But you are right in that I could have left him off the list. However I would say he's more along the lines of Giorgio Squinzi (Mapei), than Rihs or JB, wouldn't you?
I always suspect team managers who have many riders in his team test positive (Rihs, HMH, Ball).

In HMH's case, there was a lot of talk about being anti-doping, but it didn't seem to translate into that mindset within his riders.

And now, the most inflammatory accusations come out in a book, which only makes me doubt his motives.

The one big difference between him and Rihs is ultimately money. HMH is not getting another shot in cycling after all the positives in his team because I suspect the soponsors in Germany have blacklisted him (as well as some in cycling). In Rihs' case, he has the money so he was able to come back when ever he felt ready to spend more of his money, even though there were so many positives within the Phonak team.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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python said:
so who are the two who will soon resign or get fired or 'promoted' ?

here's the complete list of the current panel members with their specialties:
(the full list is actually rarely published and is not advertised by the uci)

<snip>

olivier hermine, haematologist associated with AFLD
michael ashenden -haematologist, member of WADA WG on blood parameters
robin parisotto, research scientist

<snip>

my best guess would be 2 of the 3 guys in red above.
This season has been the first I've really started diving into a lot of the off-road politics of the sport and am still learning who's who. I understand Ashenden's selection here; what is the history of Hermine and Parisotto that has you thinking it may be them? Or is it more by elimination of not being able to imagine any of the others stepping up like this?
 
Jun 21, 2009
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python said:
so who are the two who will soon resign or get fired or 'promoted' ?

here's the complete list of the current panel members with their specialties:
(the full list is actually rarely published and is not advertised by the uci)

olaf schumacher, sports physician
olivier hermine, haematologist associated with AFLD
michael ashenden -haematologist, member of WADA WG on blood parameters
michel audran - haematologist, member of WADA WG on blood parameters
bo berglund - haematologist, member of WADA WG on blood parameters
giuseppe d’onofrio - the only practising haematologist in the group and a true expert on blood transfusions - are u reading this mr novitzky ?, member of WADA WG on blood parameters
pierluigi fiorella-cardiologist
giuseppe fischetto, internist MD, member of WADA WG on blood parameters
robin parisotto, research scientist

we know it is not Olaf Schumacher.

my best guess would be 2 of the 3 guys in red above.
how do we know that? i thought he was well known for his anti-doping attitude, he's been posting some interesting stuff on ross and jonathan's blog
 
workingclasshero said:
how do we know that? i thought he was well known for his anti-doping attitude, he's been posting some interesting stuff on ross and jonathan's blog
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/wada-voices-concerns-on-uci-biological-passport

The part that says "The WSJ also claims that at least two members of the biological passport panel are concerned that the UCI may be shielding guilty riders from punishment. Meanwhile, another member, Olaf Schumacher, offered his support to cycling’s governing body. "I never had the feeling they were trying to cover up something," he said."
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Berzin said:
The cycling press has always seemed a bit funny to me.

What they SHOULD be screaming from the rooftops is not the investigations ruining cycling, it's the cheating.
They will report it soon with a Reader's Digest version of press from other sources to condense it for the fan's. If it sells they'll print more but you're talking about publications that are more about pictures and fantasy than reality.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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elizabeth said:
This season has been the first I've really started diving into a lot of the off-road politics of the sport and am still learning who's who. I understand Ashenden's selection here; what is the history of Hermine and Parisotto that has you thinking it may be them? Or is it more by elimination of not being able to imagine any of the others stepping up like this?
call it a hunch based on an educated guessing.

some mods here know it could be dead accurate;)
 
Jan 19, 2010
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Parrot23 said:
Thanks, that makes sense.
Gee, with the quote from the article in response to WSJ article, the cyclingnews article said "The UCI stated that a fourth rider tested positive and has been suspended, "which is why it was not necessary to open a procedure on the base of his passport"."

Gee, that sounds familiar to what I had suggested, however, some people would rather believe in a conspiracy than accept other reasonable explainations.

I just hope that for the remaining 4 cases they don't make the same mistakes that let Valjavec free.
 
Apr 29, 2009
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Squares said:
Gee, with the quote from the article in response to WSJ article, the cyclingnews article said "The UCI stated that a fourth rider tested positive and has been suspended, "which is why it was not necessary to open a procedure on the base of his passport"."

Gee, that sounds familiar to what I had suggested, however, some people would rather believe in a conspiracy than accept other reasonable explainations.

I just hope that for the remaining 4 cases they don't make the same mistakes that let Valjavec free.
Mc Quack said only 2 more which means 2 have gone missing. He has changed his tune which can only mean the UCI are shielding riders.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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there are so many contradictions in the uci's official press release that one has to wonder if they read the stuff before releasing it.

not only the wsj quotes mcquaid personally about 5 missing names but the uci 'forgot' to address that 'at least two members of the[uci's own] panel have voiced concerns..'

here's the original wsj article.

http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748703309704575413732974367988.html

if you feel that the uci needs another cleaning, write to the author directly
reed.albergotti@wsj.com
 

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