Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Check Out My Poll

For some professional cyclists a doping suspension is career death. For others, it's an interruption and (hopefully) a hard lesson learned. Look at the list on the right and vote for the rider you most admire. If you'd like to explain your selection—and frankly, one or two of those choices would be hard to defend—then add a comment to this post. (Heh, heh ... "post.")


  1. Wow, I looked at the list and couldn't even vote. I don't "respect" any of them because it's hard to know really how they all think only because they were caught. Once you are caught then of course you become remorseful and can say that doping is bad, but before that it wasn't a problem for them. Out of all of them, I am a "fan" of Basso and Millar. Basso most of all I guess because he is unassuming, somewhat modest compared to the personalities of a lot of the other cyclists. He doesn't have long, curly, flowing golden locks, doesn't have a 16 year old girlfriend (17 now?), and just seems like he goes about his business. When he was suspended you didn't hear anything out of him like Ricco, Vino, Ulrich, Rasmussen, and he didn't try to blame others. Of course he might have told a lie in saying he only "intended" to dope, but didn't. Only he knows that. That is my two cents.


  2. For the most part, Basso kept his mouth shut and accepted his punishment. In my opinion he falls short of Millar because he failed to accept full responsibility for what he had done and subsequently has not been a voice for the anti-doping cause.

    Petacchi, I think, is a good guy who got caught on a technicality. He has asthma, but he had too much asthma medication in his system when he was tested. That's a long way from EPO or synthetic testosterone.

    Rasmussen's suspension came not from positive tests but rather from what appeared to be intentional evasions of the testers. He wasn't where he said he would be, so the suspicion is that he was doing something he shouldn't have. It's not the same as being caught red-handed, but I'm not inclined to give him too much slack. Kevin van Impe gave a sample to a tester who approached him while he was making arrangements for his infant son's cremation. If van Impe plays by the rules even at a time of personal sorrow, how can Rasmussen defend his failure to ensure that the testers know his whereabouts?

    Ricco got caught fair and square, then broke bad on his girlfriend/"baby mama" Vania Rossi when she tested positive for CERA. Not cool.

    Vinokourov, near as I can tell, never admitted his wrongdoing. And what does he have to lose? He served his suspension; at this point, admitting what he did wouldn't result in further punishment. Many fans who dislike Vino would regard him with less hostility if he were honest.

    Think about Tyler Hamilton and Tom Zirbel. Both doped and have left the sport. Hamilton went down kicking and screaming, fabricating bizarre stories to explain his positive tests. Zirbel threw his hands up and said, "You got me." I think you have to respect Zirbel more, as he made the best of a bad situation. Sometimes that's all a person can do.

  3. I agree with everything you said, except for Zirbel. He absolutely believes he's a victim of a false-positive and says for sure that he's clean, he definitely didn't admit anything. Read his blog,

  4. Not sure what to make of this post: Zirbel talks about the possibility of false positives in doping controls generally, but of his own circumstances concludes, "I don't think mine is a case of false-positive." Elsewhere in his blog he appears not to understand how he failed the control, but he expresses no surprise--quite the opposite, in fact--when the B sample comes back positive. I think he's being very careful not to say very much definitively, but I also think his rapid exit from the sport speaks for itself. We now know that Floyd Landis' outrage at his own suspension was an act, not righteous indignation. Where is Zirbel's desire to clear his name? I would expect nothing less of someone wrongly accused. Zirbel seems to argue that nobody ever wins so it's pointless to fight. If my "You got me" comment was an over-simplification, I retract it. Having now spent more time looking at Zirbel's own words, I'm convinced that he's trying to limit the damage without telling outright lies.