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These 35 comments are related to an article called:

Year Zero for Tour de France

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posted Jul 6, 2007

I know this is gonna be unpopular, but I've always thought that as cycling is so much more arduous than most other sports it should be treated as a special case and the riders made exempt from all current doping strictures.

I realise that this could put the health of riders at risk, but they're adults and have free will.

I realise how many people might think that it's inappropriate to apply libertarian principles to sport, but from a personal perspective I really couldn't care less who's taken what and it would end the endless cat-and-mouse cycle of 'masked' performance enhancers and more rigorous doping procedures.

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comment by crash48 (U3987106)

posted Jul 6, 2007

While Cav is going to be good, he is not the future of pro cycling. Yes he is clean, but he is a sprinter not a GC man. Its the blokes who win the GTs who are the future.

With all respect to Museeuw, they shoved a microphone under his nose at an event he was at in London and was being polite in his remarks about Cav.

What cycling needs is a Clean GT winner-good luck though.

I kind of agree with snottysnail. Make the PEDS legal as I can't see anyway where you wil stop riders cheating. However, even if you make them legal and prescribe what they can use, they will always be looking for other shortcuts.

No amount of drugs will turn me off cycling. They have always taken them and they always will.

Yes that will make people up-st byt that is the way it is.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

And then what would Matt Slater write about?

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comment by crash48 (U3987106)

posted Jul 6, 2007

Ha Ha

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posted Jul 6, 2007

The problem with libertarian views is that there is no liberty given by liberalisation in competition as the competition becomes more 'who is prepared to go further in doping' than 'who is better' and the competitive spirit, necessary in all athletes will push more of them over the final finish line rather than the one at the end of the race. WHOEVER BELIEVES ALLOWING DOPING IS A GOOD IDEA IS LIKELY TO BE PROVED WRONG IF EVER IT WERE LIBERALISED.

As an athlete who recently participated in the Ironman in Roth. The drug rules mean that I, the ordinary competitor can participate on more or less level terms with the elite without risking my life - after all I take part in races like this as part my personal human adventure. This participation is freedom!

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posted Jul 6, 2007

Without wishing to sound cynical, just because a rider professes publicly his anti-drug stance does not actually constituite proof positive of anything. Is it not a bit premature to champion someone over an anti-drug statment ? I'm in not in any way questioning Cavandesh's recent good form but no rider should be heralded as 'clean', simply on the basis of his own say so. Should we not let time be the judge. (just for the record, I hope he does win the prologue tomorrow)

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comment by paksta (U5496775)

posted Jul 6, 2007

For those in favour of drugs in cycling, why not just cut to the logical conclusion - cycle robots versus bred-for-cycling super athletes?

They'll race fast, but as far as entertainment goes it will be dreadful. Unless of course they're allowed to pack a weapon like those geek robot battle shows on satellite TV.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

What a set of wasters. One saying we should allow all kinds of substances to be used to enhance performance, the winners would be the chemists, the losers(of their lives) would be the riders.

Another comments that Cavendish and other sprinters are a side show, but how long is it since GB has a fast finisher capable of gaining headlines time and time again through the TdF?

And another pokes fun at the writer, hinting he has nothing else to write about than doping?

Cavendish has the possibility as a sprinter to put cyclesport in the headlines over the next decade in the UK, and those who argue otherwise or make smart comments are doing the sport a disservice. Then again, it is only the new brigade of young riders coming through who are the hopes of the sport, those who have been around a while often contributed little in any way to actually drive cycling forward, happy in their own insular world of twilight sport taking place on forests or setting off every minute down some rural road.

This TdF and Cavendish, taking the sport to the people, is the way forward.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

Matt Slater: "because now, finally, the sport’s administrators appear to be taking their responsibilities as cyclist’s moral guardians more seriously".
Tell me Matt, do you think that day will ever come in football or tennis? I'll ask you a simple straightforward question - when was the last time you saw a woman in any normal walk of life who looked like Amelie Mauresmo? You have a duty as a journalist to seek out the truth, to ask the awkward questions - not to just repeat the same old stuff again and again. This article is almost a carbon copy of the one you wrote about Brad a month or so back. Change the record or get a job at the Beano, because this is a pointless article. For fans who read this article it tells us nothing new at all - we know, we know! But that isn't your agenda is it? No doubt it will be linked to the main BBC sports page so that the more casual reader will once again get the worst possible impression of Cycling that you can possibly create.
The real story is that Cycling is unique in sport in that it is genuinely trying to clean it's act up - for fans like myself and crash it is a painful and difficult thing to witness. But neither the riders, the governing bodies or the fans are in denial - and I don't think we ever really were.
This cannot be said of other sports.
This weekend sees Le Grand Depart - a great free show for thousands and thousands of spectators - and I expect you will be playing a game of golf ??????? You've done the dirty, and now you walk away.
At the end of the day, drugs or no drugs, Cycling is a magnificent and spectacular sport which makes most other so called "sports" look like the silly games they really are. Drugs or no drugs it truly is the king of sport, and it's competitors form an exclusive and elite body of people. At the age of 14 I was correctly taught by my sports master that even the most humble club cyclist or runner is worth ten of any golf player.
Keep wearing the slacks Matt - they suit you well.

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comment by crash48 (U3987106)

posted Jul 6, 2007

Its all well and good for those people who beleive that doping should not be legal, but how are you going to stop it?

Under medical supervision, why would EPO be bad for you? Of course riders will abuse the limits allowed as there will always be cheating.

If you want good exciting racing rather then robots get rid of race radios!

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comment by crash48 (U3987106)

posted Jul 6, 2007

Just because Cav will put cycling at the forefront of UK cycling does not mean he is the future of cycling.

It means he is the future of UK cycling.

That is not hard given how bad UK road cycling has been.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

invigilator - maybe matt should add "when will other sports catch up with the efforts of cycling" every time england soccer team or british tennis players take to the stage. That'll draw some attention to the levelling of the playing fields - for exmple todays coverage on bbc has still to acknowledge the story reported on cyclingnews that all tdf riders had been passed clear in blood tests - imagine the headlines if one had not - or if football teams had all to take such a test...

150 puerto suspects, 60 cyclists, the rest unnamed a year later................

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posted Jul 6, 2007

Just caught this "pigs will fly" jibe on BBC TV evening news.... "Wimbledon will be rain free, and they'll be no drugs at the Tour de France...." How amusing - not.
And I thought the BBC news was supposed to be neutral and balanced??

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posted Jul 6, 2007

"And I thought the BBC news was supposed to be neutral and balanced??"

That calls to mind a paradox - If the BBC was based in a foreign country, in Britain it would undoubtedly be referred to as 'the state broadcasting channel'

All the best rock'n'roll is made by people who are stuffed to the gills with god knows what, why not just apply this universally and see what happens?!

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posted Jul 6, 2007

It seems to me that the BBC are playing a very clever game - as I've said before they know exactly how to do this. So on the one hand we have excellent website coverage, even a nice report of the estimated 25,000 people in Trafalgar Square this evening. But that's for us, keep the fans happy so to speak. Meanwhile 20 million are watching the BBC TV news and there's a snide drugs joke, a weather forecast for Wimbledon and the Grand Prix.... and nothing else.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

It was the same when Fabio Casartelli died - papers like the Daily Mirror, who normally couldn't spell 'Tour de France' let alone report upon it, were seized by vicarious bloodlust and plastered headlines like 'Race of Death' all over their back pages.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

Good evening, Invigilator/Sooty, sorry, I forgot it was all my fault that cycling has been a minority sport in this country since the Edwardian era and professional cyclists keep failing drug tests...but I'm learning. You're right, though, this is old ground for me and you, isn't it, so I'm not going to retrace those steps once more. All I will say is that I think you have misread another of my stories in your zealousness to criticise my perceived dislike of "your" sport. I also think it is a little unfair of you to expect me to respond to your unfair remarks my Amelie Mauresmo. You may be allowed to cast aspersions like that, I, sadly, work in the real world and have to wait for athletes to fail a drugs test or confess to doping before I can make accusations like that. And for the record, I have seen plenty of women that look like Ms Mauresmo before, some even in Brentwood. You also brought up football again. Yes, I would love to hear what the OP files have to say about Prima Liga players but the Spanish football journalists have been sniffing around them for a year now and haven't unearthed anything juicy yet (and please don't be so naive to think that they wouldn't blow the whole thing wide open if there was anything there...it's not always a conspiracy to stitch up cycling). It is probably also worth pointing out that Fifa and co do test footballers, I think last year's figures showed that only 0.4% of the FAILED tests were for PEDs as opposed to recreational drugs.

It's actually quite ironic that you are attacking me for "attacking" cycling again. While my conversations with Cavendish, Stapleton et al were on the record, I had lots of off-the-record conversations (one with a very well connected sports scientist) that gave a far bleaker view of the world of pro cycling, even now (they did also slam athletics, though, if that makes you feel better).

Oh, and for what it's worth, I don't own any golf slacks (apart from the ones I bought from a charity shop to wear to a caddyshack-themed stag do) and I'm not playing golf on Saturday.

Crash48, I take your point about Cav not being the future of cycling in a completely literal sense, and yes, you're right he ain't going to win a GT. But he might win a green jersey one day, and that was good enough for Sean Kelly et al. And I always thought pro cycling was about more than just the GTs? Cav is going to win big one-day races for the next decade or so.

And Crash, the Museeuw quotes come from a 20-minute chat he had with me in the London office of the Flemish representation. It did cross my mind that he was just telling me what I wanted to hear re: Cav, except that I didn't bring him up at all and JM came back to the subject more than once. I genuinely think he is impressed with Cav.

paulthebike, we did mention the fact that all 189 riders passed blood tests (it's in our main preview) and we all wrote a separate story about all of them signing the declaration. But wouldn't it be pretty damning if we actually started writing stories about cyclists passing dope tests? If it's come to that man bites dog stage then the sport is sunk....I, for the record, don't think we've got there yet.

athenryman, your scepticism about Cav is fair enough but I think in this instance we can take his protestations at face value. In the last year alone, he has had seven blood volume and chemistry tests (this means he has been messing about with his blood or anybody else's) from his team, and a similar number of blood tests from the UCI and national authorities. He also comes out of the heavily-tested and considered to be clean British Cycling Olympic programme. I think he's definitely clean.

And hirlandt, it probably won't surprise you to hear that I agree with you. Thanks for posting.

Ahh, Invigilator, I've just seen your most recent post about "the excellent website" coverage....it almost makes the 14 hour days I've been doing this week worth it. Sorry I can't do anything about the 10 o'clock news, I guess they are just pandering to their cycling-hating mainstream audience.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

Sorry, I missed a very important "not" in my reply to athenryman above....the blood volume/chemistry tests Cav has undergone have, of course, revealed that he has NOT messed about with his blood or anybody else's. These tests are said to be the way forward in the battle against blood doping/manipulation......it's the undectable steroids you can have made for about $40,000 you have to worry about these days. Apparently.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

Having read and re-read your original article Matt, I can see it is a more balanced piece than I originally thought - thanks. To some extent I think you are still paying a price for your infamous nasty little article that followed from last year’s Landis debacle. Attacking the wider community of cycling fans then was ill judged, unnecessary and particularly ill timed. So I initially saw this new article as more of the same. I’m afraid there are some of us who still see red just reading your name! But I was correct in predicting it would be linked to the main sport page though......
Likewise I believe your response above is as knee jerk as mine - and contains a few sections you may already be having second thoughts about!
“Sorry I can't do anything about the 10 o'clock news, I guess they are just pandering to their cycling-hating mainstream audience“
Really Matt, and what audience would that be - you and your golf buddies? Or is it the 2 million people who will line the roads this weekend? Let’s just say I vastly prefer your “Famous Belgians, British success” article.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

sorry Matt - it was there in your london set for tour extravaganza - oops.

Still I do agree that cycling has won the fight against doping but you have to agree that it's streets ahead of other sports - with a long long way to go.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

I'm not a cyclist (though I have been a club runner. Would hate anyone to think I'm not a 'proper' sportsman).

Reading the threads here I deduce that (road) cyclists are a bunch of doped up nutters who'll rip the throat from anyone who dares question their sport.

I get that not from the main article but from the over-sensitive and virulent responses of the 'defenders' of the sport.

If you're all happy to have junkies for heroes don't expect the rest of us to regard the sport with admiration.

I'm off for a run. Most stimulation it needs is a bowl of porridge.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

Matt, there is a culture of doping in both Spanish and Italian football, so it would be very surprising if this wasn't found to be widespread throughout the game, look at the failed drug tests for Nandrolone. How long were those players banned for? Six months. Imagine what you would say if a cyclist got a six month ban for steroid use. At least you now seem to recognise that cycling is trying to clean up its act after that awful article you wrote last year. I notice nobody did a similar hatchet job on cricket when Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif's failed drugs tests were swept under the carpet... Anyway the website coverage is much improved, so thanks for that.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

QM4. Because athletics has no problem with drugs whatsoever does it? I must have imagined Paula Radcliffe protesting about EPO users being allowed to compete.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

It is good that articles are being written about the sport but it does seem that the knee jerk reaction from writers who are not solely cycling is to predominantly focus on the negative. Although what would we do without the Tony Gubba, David Vine type reporter who know a little bit about all sports but not much about any of them.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

Looks like we can add running to the list of sports in denial.
I enjoyed last night's coverage on Eurosport and ITV - what a fine array of young men, no freaks or yobs in those line ups!

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posted Jul 7, 2007

The issue with doping does not revolve around whether professional atheletes should or shouldn't have access to drugs under properly controlled conditions. If they did, chances are it would be done safely, and there would be few, if any health implications. However, once doping is legitimised for professionals, any aspiring young athelete (meaning cyclist, footballer, etc) sees it as the only route to success, creating a vast black market for drug abuse in a completely unsupervised way, which would have devastating health consuquences. Don't try and say a 16 year-old bike enthusiast has the maturity to exercise his 'freedom of choice' in buying the latest EPO that his favourite cyclist is using (akin to buying for example Beckham's football boots...), and knew what he was doing when he dies of a resultant stroke when he dopes himself to the gills.

Whatever one's moral position on wanting to see doped, or undoped atheletes competing, drug taking should never be officially condoned.

Cycling (and Le Tour) is far from clean, but at least stringent efforts are being made to clean it up. Museeuw is right though, the numerous tearful confessions are completely unnecessary (and I have no doubt will be linked to some 'gritty, soul-searchin' autobioraphies...). We all knew they were on drugs, get over it.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

The issue with doping does not revolve around whether professional atheletes should or shouldn't have access to drugs under properly controlled conditions. If they did, chances are it would be done safely, and there would be few, if any health implications. However, once doping is legitimised for professionals, any aspiring young athelete (meaning cyclist, footballer, etc) sees it as the only route to success, creating a vast black market for drug abuse in a completely unsupervised way, which would have devastating health consuquences. Don't try and say a 16 year-old bike enthusiast has the maturity to exercise his 'freedom of choice' in buying the latest EPO that his favourite cyclist is using (akin to buying for example Beckham's football boots...), and dying of a resultant stroke when he dopes himself to the gills.

Whatever one's moral position on wanting to see doped, or undoped atheletes competing, drug taking should never be officially condoned.

Cycling (and Le Tour) is far from clean, but at least stringent efforts are being made to clean it up. Museeuw is right though, the numerous tearful confessions are completely unnecessary (and I have no doubt will be linked to some 'gritty, soul-searchin' autobioraphies...). We all knew they were on drugs, get over it.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

Here's an interesting link - admittedly UK only.

http://www.uksport.gov.uk/drugstests/

But perhaps Matt can now see why it's hard to forgive his attack on the Cycling community last year.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

Matt Slater , performance enhancing drugs are used in all sports . Perhaps you haven't heard about all the non-cyclists involved in the operation puerto affair , I can forgive you that as for some reason all we have heard about from that are the cyclists . Does the Juventus team from the mid 90's and EPO use ring any bells ?

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posted Jul 7, 2007

Aside from subjective and arbitrary moralities, there is no difference between taking a performance enhancing drug and using an equally performancing enhancing piece of equipment.

The issue of whether or not an individual condones this or not is entirely indicative of that individual's need to impose his/her will on others.

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posted Jul 7, 2007

TheInvigilator- you know, if you stopped attacking everyone who dares to come on to this board with a prior history of liking other sports we might actually get some people to come on to this board/follow cycling. In the past months Matt has written several (sometimes interesting) articles on cycling, so the golf jokes are getting a bit old. And yes, possibly drugs are rife in other sports, but if that is so then it will surely come out in it's own time. Can't we just allow everyone to enjoy whatever sport they choose to follow?

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posted Jul 7, 2007

Funny, I don't recall saying athletics was clean. Oh look, I didn't!!!!

All the stimulation I NEED is a bowl of porridge.

I work with the assumption that any sprinter who runs dramatically or routinely inside 10seconds for 100m is doped. Similarly any female middle distance runner with shoulders of a middleweight boxer is a likely candidate.

So, anyone else want to try to rip my throat out.

Its been a blast guys, but you're just too sensative. I'll leave you to froth in peace.

BTW the MTB scene looks ok winkeye

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posted Jul 7, 2007

ANOTHER year zero?
Is it still only 1999?

Could somebody wake me up when men's road cycling really does get near to being clean, please?
Don't waste my time with all this guff about the sport confronting it's doping problem; it's been doing that for 20 years and the only thing that improves is the cheating!

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posted Jul 7, 2007

The Cyclists need rips in the bum because one is not going to get through Le Tour on orange juice and criossants for breakfast!

Those continentals need to eat properly,get the pan crackling,no wonder they are all thin.The Cycling Teams should get rid of their blinking dieticians and buy the lads some decent grub.

They can confront the doping problems by throwing out some of the orthodoxies that surround sport with regard to nutrition and the war on body fat.

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posted Jul 7, 2007


Yeah - MORE LARD!

Maybe the odd handful of gravel for flavour. And at the end of each stage, the rider who finished last has to smoke a roll-up, the 2nd last has to smoke 2 roll-ups, and so on up to the winner of the stage

And the riders should pay for the privilege of competing.

Henri Desgrange WOULD approve. Oh yes he would.

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