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Cycling 'must dare to change'

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Tim Franks | 10:08 UK time, Wednesday, 18 May 2011

You can read part one of this report here and listen to the full report aired on The Today Programme here.

Cycling's most famous historical quotation deals not in honour, or prowess. It is a scream of rage, and an accusation of recklessness.

"Vous êtes des assassins!" shouted Octave Lapize, in 1910, as he wheeled his bike over the Col d'Aubisque. The target of his ire were the organisers of the premium race, the Tour de France. They - as now - had concocted a brutal, elongated, mountainous itinerary that became a three-week festival of pain and endurance.

Given the freakish demands expected of its competitors, and given its status as one of the oldest professional sports, allegations of an engrained culture of drug-taking have surrounded the sport ever since. But in recent times, those allegations have reached a new pitch.

Almost a century after Lapize's howl of disgust, another, equally unflattering phrase rang around the ears. It came from Dick Pound, the then head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, in 2006. Cycling, he said, "is in the toilet."

The stain of suspicion remains, even now. Weeks after winning the 2010 Tour de France, for the third time, it was announced that Alberto Contador had tested positive for a banned substance. He has appealed, with the backing of his national cycling federation, against his suspension. As of now, he could still ride in this year's Tour.

Alberto Contador is awaiting a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to find out whether he will face a suspension for doping.

Alberto Contador is awaiting a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to find out whether he will face a suspension for doping.

For Sylvia Schenk - an athlete, lawyer, and former member of the management committee of cycling's world governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI) - her beloved sport has just sunk a little further into the mire. "I think it's now a disaster for the Tour," she says, speaking in the library of her Frankfurt legal offices. "Because nearly all the people winning the Tour during the last 10, 12 years have been convicted of doping or have been suspected of doping."

Among those of whom she is talking is the biggest figure of them all. Lance Armstrong won the Tour an astonishing seven times. He is currently the subject of a US federal investigation into allegations of doping. Armstrong has always robustly denied the allegations, describing himself as "the most tested athlete on the planet".

Schenk is unmoved. Testing is necessary, as a deterrent of sorts, she argues. But it is not particularly effective. "Take blood-doping. It can't be detected up to now. I'm quite sure there are other substances which the athletes take nowadays which can't at the moment be analysed. So no, positive results cannot really prove anything."

Schenk is more than just another high-ranking sports official. She has also chaired the worldwide anti-corruption group, Transparency International, which lends weight to her call for nothing short of a revolution.

"What I experienced in the cycling federations, on an international and national level, is that people are afraid. Even those who don't want doping: they are afraid of having chaos, if they start to put people away, and to change the structures.

"But I hope that one day, we will have an Egypt situation within cycling. That those who really want to change things say, 'We dare. We know there may be chaos. But in chaos, there is also an opportunity'."

Schenk says that responsibility extends beyond those directly involved in the sport - the riders, the managers, the race directors and the governing bodies. She says that sponsors, TV companies, journalists and even fans have to end their passive tolerance of abuse.

So how does that gloomy diagnosis and challenging cure go down with cycling enthusiasts? On a cold grey evening, not far from Heathrow airport, about 100 amateurs, along with the odd pro, have turned out for a "Regional C+" race, at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. The entry fee is £10. First prize will be £30.

Among the men in lycra, there is consensus that grassroots cycling is in rude health, especially at volunteer-run clubs such as this.

But there is exasperation at the antics of those at the pinnacle of the sport. "Of course it upsets me," says the lean, grey-haired Dominic Gabellini, 55. "It gives very bad publicity to the sport. I would say 99.9% of riders around me here are clean. They don't deserve this type of publicity."

Tony Gibb, 34, is involved both as a rider, and in covering the sport for TV. "It bothers me, because it's my sport. Every year, with the Tour de France, you sort of hold your breath and just pray that there's not stories coming out about this person doing that and this person doing this, and doping rings in Spain, France or Italy or wherever."

UCI president Pat McQuaid

UCI president Pat McQuaid

The murmurs of discontent are growing. Take the fact not just that Alberto Contador may ride this year's Tour despite failing a drugs test, but that Contador's team manager is Bjarne Riis who himself has confessed to doping when he won the Tour in 1996. And he is not the only team manager to have been a drugs cheat.

In the past, the UCI has been accused of being flaccid, at best, in the fight against doping. Critics point, incredulously, to the UCI's acceptance of a large donation from Lance Armstrong in 2002, despite the dangers of a clear conflict of interest. Now, though, the UCI's president, Pat McQuaid is sounding tough.

"I'm not particularly happy that there are team managers in the sport who have been doping as athletes themselves," McQuaid told the BBC. "And I'm not particularly happy that they understand the responsibility they have to this sport."

As a result, McQuaid has revealed to the BBC his plan to change cycling's rules: "Any cyclist who is involved in a doping infraction in their career cannot come back into management of a team in the future." McQuaid will bring his proposal before the management committee of the UCI in June. "We do suffer," he says, "and all sports suffer, from the fact that athletes tend to become officials afterwards. There's a constant circle, and it's very hard to break."

Those in charge of cycling, McQuaid among them, insist that their sport is in the vanguard of the fight against doping - a model to others. A hugely embarrassing leak, last week, suggested that, privately, even they would concede how far there is yet to go.

The French sports newspaper, L'Equipe, published the UCI's confidential doping "scale of suspicion" for all 198 participants in last year's Tour de France. It made for awkward reading all round. The question now is whether one of the dirtiest sports can lead the cleanup.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    As always its cycling, the most drug tested sport, that is dragged through the gutter with the small number of drug cheats that it finds.

    Yet when exactly the same drug testing standards are to be applied to other athletes... such as tennis players (not footballers?) they complain about being woken at x-time of day (cite Andy Murray as an example), and also moan about having to give their whereabouts 24/7.... Pro Tour cyclists do this, so why cannot other athletes?

  • Comment number 3.

    I think its amazing the people think anyone at the front of the Peloton ISNT either ON drugs or has used them in training. Anyone who can cycle that far, that quickly definetly did NOT get there on mums home-made soup and early nights to bed....nature of the event & the pressure of the sport.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have to say, I think this article is pretty unfair. Cycling has had (very well documented) problems with drugs, but this article makes it sound both endemic and lacking serious response, neither of which I think is particularly accurate. Cycling has the most intense drug testing system of ANY sport, and we simply do not know, to any comparable degree of accuracy, the level of doping associated with other sports. You cannot future proof drugs testing - it must always be reacting to the next steroid/ trick cheaters are employing, and as such will always be one step behind. However, to lead with the headline 'Cycling Must Dare to Change' when it is already doing more than any other sport, without really identifying any further steps it needs to take, and without being able to accurately identify its doping levels compared to other sports, seems tenuous at best.

  • Comment number 5.

    I feel so strongly about this type of rubbish written by Tim Franks that I have just signed up to comment (I would usually just let it all go by and ignore it). Tim, where is your data to prove that cycling is "one of the dirtiest sports"? Cycling IS leading the clean-up. What other sports carry out so much testing?
    It doesn't make it acceptable, but drug taking is just one form of cheating, ultimately it is no different to footballers throwing themselves on the floor, or rugby players stamping on each other to gain advantage (and there isn't a single game of football that doesn't involve cheating, NOT ONE!!!).
    Back up your statements with facts or don't make them. I am tired of this kind of dross, especially from people, like yourself, who obviously have no idea in general or knowledge of bike racing in particular!!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Our country has a huge drug problem and we spend multi millions every year trying to help the victims of this culture.

    Our prisons are full (98% of the women in documentary on Corton Vale prison were there because of crimes associated with addictions) of people caught up in this horrible trade of thieving to feed their habit.

    Is it really clever to build a multi billion pound theatre viz. the olympic park to enable people from all over the world to show just how close they can get to the edge of the laws of sport, using drugs, without being caught?

    I wish the olympics were this fair, untainted grapple between athletes of similar prowess that we are led to believe. It is not and has not been so for decades.
    The true winners will be the chemists and doctors as their client's success will encourage ever more young "athletes" to join their stables.

    The great and the good will be there next year eulogising about the glory being brought to their countries by athletic success.
    Prior to attending the olympics, it should be compulsory for them to attend a prison or a drug rehabilitation centre to see the human fallout from drugs

    Maybe they and our great and good will waken up to the real truth about athletics and performance enhancing drugs.

  • Comment number 7.

    Well said #5 njblackadder. I was appreciating Franks' articles until that silly last sentance. When will football address its overwhelming culture of cheating? And let's not mention US Sports and their attitude to drug use.

  • Comment number 8.

    Why is drug taking considered unacceptable? Because some do it and some don't so there is not a level playing field (and then there is the legality issue....). To combat this, why not introduce a second set of races for drug takers?

    One Tour de France would be for 'pure' athletes and one for those whose performance has been artificially improved. The second of which may even be the more interesting to watch....

  • Comment number 9.

    As a cyclist and a cycling fan it pains me when I see those at the top of our sport dragging it down into the mud BUT it has been trying to do something about it for many years. It has gone way beyond the minimum required by the IOC. As already mentioned how many 'whitwashed sepulchres' are there in other sports?

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree with #5 too Tim. Your article smacks of another journo jumping on the cycling/doping bandwagon using MacQuaid's quote as an excuse. the BBC website is rubbish for cycling coverage and there is a heavy emphasis on doping stories with little genuine coverage of racing. The Beeb must start waking up to the fact that cycling is becoming a massive sport in the UK and start giving proper coverage from journos who know something about the sport. Happy to start writing for you! Why not write about the wins this week by Ben Swift and Cavendish on 1 day in 2 major tours or even some of the domestic UK racing? That would help offset the negative doping coverage at least.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm sure that with the frequency of in and out of season testing, blood passports and the general high level of scrutiny that cycling receives from all corners of the globe, it is exceptionally transparent and exceptionally clean.

    Post #3 - suggesting anyone at the front of the peleton has taken something illegal is just unfounded, ill-thout out and rather silly. From a British perspective, Mark Cavendish has more Grand Tour stage wins than anyone else over the last three years and consequently has been tested relentlessly. Additionally, no athlete is able to compete for GB unless they sign up to the anti-doping charter and submit themselves to the rigorous testing and transparency it requires. Are you therefore saying that Team GB / British Cycling is complicit in cheating? Have SKY invested millions into the sport so that it's name can be dragged threough the mud?

  • Comment number 12.

    On any given Saturday, there are hundreds of thousands of football matches going on across the world and there has NEVER been a doping scandal (other than for illegal drugs).

    Come on! If you were a player who was injured and needed to recover so that you could play in the World Cup finals (where a good tournament could raise your value by millions) what drugs WOULDN'T you take?

    Similarly, if you were a manager who desperately needed a win to qualify for the Champions League and your star player was injured, what drugs WOULDN'T you give him?

    Sometimes if you don't find something it's because you aren't looking hard enough.

  • Comment number 13.

    I was in Italy last weekend and saw some of the Giro d'Italia near Tropea. An Italian friend of mine who used to cycle at a very high level saw some of his old friends there - cyclists and coaches.
    He says - with no agenda - that they're all taking loads of very sophisticated drugs that are still not testable. It's as good an insight as I'll get into the sport and I'll take his comments as fact.
    It's a great shame for the sport and anyone aspiring to compete. A panacea moment would be great, but enforcability is clearly the problem.

  • Comment number 14.

    Thank you for all your comments, for this blog and to Part 1 - the interview with Joe Papp. In response to comments #5, #7 and #10: cycling has had an almost uninterrupted history of doping scandals -- as I attempted to explain, because of its severe demands and long-standing professional status. This is not a general denigraton of today's riders or today's adminsitrators. But it is a fair reflection, I think, of the enormous challenge the sport faces. That conclusion is based on months of conversations and interviews with riders, officials, administrators, followers and anti-doping agents, many of whom asked for their comments to remain off the record. Few people condone football players committing sly fouls or engaging in amateur dramatics; but I think most would agree that there's a difference between that and doping.

  • Comment number 15.

    #14 - Who said anything about sly fouls? Do you seriously believe that there is no doping in a multi-million sport where players make £20 million per year?

    How sweet!

  • Comment number 16.

    Tim, I utterly disagree. Cheating is cheating! People in all sports will try what they think they can get away with. In football cheating is such an integral part of the game that it is seen as simply the way things are and is completely acceptable. You, and others, take the moral high ground at the mention of drugs and I can't see why - there is essentially no difference. It is all about using methods outside the rules to gain an advantage. I would just like to see some consistency. Feel free to write about cycling's problems, but let's have the same for other sports. I'm going now, there are more important things to be done!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    #5, #7 While I sympathise with your sentiments, I hate to admit the sport I love is tarnished; and there needs to be bloodshed before it improves.

    If you take all the athletes to have appeared on the podium with Lance (Zülle, Escartin, Ullrich, Beloki, Klöden, Basso, Rumsas, Vinkourov) only Escartin who retired the following year wasn’t been caught or barred from the TdF. Full kudos to Armstrong if he was the only clean rider and beating the cheats (he was unquestionably the best rider of his generation and should still be lauded as such).
    The following year the winner Landis was stripped of the win, the subsequent year the leader Rasmussen was pulled from tour (despite not testing positive, but for lying to out of season testers), only be replaced by a rider who was previously implicated in Operation Puerta, then was barred from defending his crown and has now subsequently tested positive. Incredibly the Spanish have washed their hands of it, refusing to believe that Contador might have doped blood from out of season. In my eyes is explanation of eating dodgy food that he’d had specially transported in, ranks alongside catching it from a toilet seat or spiked toothpaste or kissing a girl at a party. I suspect my exasperation pales to those at WADA.

    Please answer how much evidence on top does Tim Franks need to produce?

    Cycling is not the only sport to have a drugs problem, but at least now it is addressing it.

  • Comment number 18.

    The reason why cycling has a doping culture is that the incentive is huge- the difference between a "good pro" and a team leader in performance terms, is tiny, but the rewards are enormous - and unlike athletics cycling has always been professional and commercial, meaning that the incentive to cheat has always been there. Whether the sort of drugs that Jaques Anquetil took were performance enhancing is debatable, but the drugs currently available certainly are. It is naive to think that other sports are not affected by doping now that the rewards are so tangible. So, while cycling clearly does have a very major problem, the real question is to what extent is drug-taking happening in other comparable sports. Lets remember for example, the "dirtiest race in history" - the 100m Olympic final in 1988. And what about football and rugby?
    I don't want to defend doping - as a keen cyclist and a Doctor I can see the harm that it does to the sport and the athletes - but I think that there needs to be an appreciation that it is not a problem unique to cycling. In fact, with the current testing regime I suspect that cycling is now catching more cheats than any other major sport. The variability in performances and the times that the riders are putting down suggest that there is less doping than there was. Perhaps you could mention that, as well as highlighting the performance of some very good british athletes, such as Cavendish, Swift, Wiggins etc, who are almost certainly clean. The coverage of cycling on the BBC is lamentably bad. it's not just cycling that needs to raise it's game...

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm struggling to reconcile the title of this blog with the reality - "Cycling must dare to change".

    To my knowledge cycling is the sport that has woken up to the harsh reality that it has a problem with perofrmance enhancing drugs. It was the first sport to introduce the biological passport and blood profiles; cycling was the first sport to test properly for EPO and, subsequently, the first to identify tests for CERA (second generation EPO). The omerta that used to shroud cycling has been removed and riders are speaking out - Jonathan Vaughters, David Millar and Marco Pinotti to name a few. French cycling dared to change almost thirteen years ago following the Festina scandal and French cycling has not been the same since, but they are proud to race fair and clean even if the results have suffered.

    The 100m has suffered as many high profile doping casualties as cycling (additionally, if today's rules were applied in the 1988 Olympics Linford Christie and Carl Lewis would have failed drugs tests along with Ben Johnson) but the story still says cycling must change.

    Apparently football has no problem with performance enhancing substances - how about Kolo Toure and his "slimming aids"? Google "failed drugs tests" with any of Edgar Davids, Jaap Stam, Juventus in the '90s, or Zdenek Zeman and you'll find plenty of evidence that tells a different story.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    This is yet another article going round the houses with the whole "drugs are bad" bandwagon.

    Several years ago i was watching the Tour de France, and at the end of the day, the analysts in the studio started talking about how bad the doping was. One ex-professional cyclist pointed out it wasn't that people are taking more banned substances, merely that they are being caught more now.

    However, the UCI has now taken it too far. Look at the amount of banned substance found in Contador's blood; it was barely detectable, and yet he is now branded as a doper and a cheat. This was a chance for the UCI to act without a sensible amount of common sense, and put limits on the quantities allowed, as oposed to simply saying "if we find anything, we'll ban you for life" which is the type of narrow minded view that i'm afriad (and i don't generally like to complain about blogs on the BBC) this piece has seemed to go down.

    It's similar to someone being banned from driving for life when they are pulled over by the police and found to have had red wine gravy with their dinner that evening. Surely there must be some sort of sensible solution here? Or are we destined to remain a sport so paralysed by our fear of a bad reputation that we begin to condemn everyone regardless of findings through legitimate testing?

    Athletics went through a simiar fiasco in the 90's if i remember rightly, and yet now it has recovered and is looking strong, so it is not all doom and gloom. Yet there must be some thought put into the right solution, or you can re-publish this article in 50 years time to the same end.

  • Comment number 23.

    would also like to add, good on you, nealpad, and well said

  • Comment number 24.

    An interesting article - but I feel I have to make a few comments - ( I'm sure some will disagree...!)

    For once, I have to agree with Pat McQuaid. I CANNOT understand why ex-riders who have admitted to doping (or have been 'caught out') are allowed to become 'Management' in pro teams - Bjarne, Rolf A, Erik Z, .....and many more, I'm sure...... so "Yes, I won the Tour de France, but I did it whilst I was doped up to the eyeballs, - but never mind, I'll go on and manage one of the biggest teams in the peleton, so that'll be OK, won't it?" A good role-model for Alberto, then?!!

    How many 'ex-dopers' arestill in the 'Grand Tours' - Vinoukourov etc.?!

    I'm sure there are plenty of riders out there who are 'ahead of the game', doping-wise, from their 'doctors', or 'suppliers' - I'm sure that will NEVER stop - my 'gripe' is that we, in this sport, seem to be quite happy to accept 'ex-dopers' into positions of senior management in the big pro teams - so, what kind of message does that send out to new pros? - 'Oh well, taking drugs is OK; my boss did it, so why shouldn't I?!'

    I have met several pro cyclists over the years - and as the years go by, I become more and more disappointed, as it seems to be a regular occurence that one or more of them is discovered to have failed a drugs test - I personally feel that if a rider is caught for a doping offence, he should be banned for life - and CERTAINLY not allowed to come BACK to manage a team - that is a complete joke!

    I will finish by saying that overall, the only two riders who I KNOW (and have ridden with, with, a few years apart!), are Chris Boardman, and Mark Cavendish - and I know they do it on natural talent, and not chemicals. That last bit may be a bit harsh, and if so, I apologise to all the clean pros out there - keep clean, you young pros, you are better than any of that stuff.... - but I am getting sickened by the only news in the media regarding pro cycling seems to be about more doping scandals.....

    Enough said. Thank you for bearing with my rant!


  • Comment number 25.

    Let's not mix things...

    To py football or tennis you need a degree os skill, not simply fitness. In football you also have the support of your team mates, so there would be little sense on a goalkeeper to take drugs to run faster.

    Cycling, athletics and to a degree swiming don't requiere that much skill, other than provide your body the resouces to run faster or longer. Of course there is a degree of talent, a lot of coaching and other things. I could never run as fast as Chambers simply by having the same drugs he had.

    There is something that annoys me with cycling. I once asked Osacar Pereiro on a Q&A in a Spanish newspaper why he wasn't mad at landis. He had taken his spot in the podium, the headlines, the yellow jersey, the pictures, the glory, the prize money, the kisses from the sponsors girls and even the little lion they give you. He replied softly, that of course he was d, but he was also his friend and that things had to be proven first and... he didn't sound convincing.

    I have taken the belief that cyclist take the antidoping like the rest of us would take a speed camera. There will be a particular road where the limit is too low, for example, and people speed. One day there is a traffic cop and catches a few drivers. You more or less sympathise with them becaue you escaped it, though you do more or less the same speed day in day out.

    If I had been Andy Schleck I would have been mad and would be asking for Contador's head all this year, saying it is unbelievable he is running in Italy and in pink, to add insult to injury. But he doesn't say that much. You cannot help guessng he is doing more or less the same. Or he truely blieves Contador is clean. I am not accusing anyone here, I am just expressing a conern.

    #17 has it bang on with the list of riders, and it is Escartin the only one I would be happy to say he was clean, because he wasn't that superb and the efforts of one day would be paid the following. Even other rides that didn't make the top 3 but shone: Mancebo, Sevilla, Iban Mayo, Hamilton... It is difficult to believe that Armstrong is so much better than them all that he can beat them that easy and without "help".

    But just to add to your comment, Trojan, I am a Spaniard that can't buy Contador's story on the dodgy meat, and there are many supporters thinking like me. Besides, his accusation of aduletered meat in a butcher would be a scanal on public health, a lot more serious than a Tour de France.

  • Comment number 26.

    I hate articles like these because it highlights the problems within cycling that they could so easily avoid, like many other sports, by simply not testing riders extensively.

    Yes, there probably hasn't been a clean winner of the Tour de France in many years but you'll have a hard time convincing me sports like athletics and swimming are clean despite very few positive tests, they simply haven't had their 'Festina Affair'. It's naive to think that any sport is clean and at least cycling is trying, unlike any other sport.

    There are still plenty of issues that need solving, Contador shouldn't be able to go to a Spanish authority to get an appeal whilst guys like Tom Zirbel get two year bans for the same offence because they can't afford the legal team to fight it. Then there are riders like Di Luca who get their bans shortened for describing practices whilst Mr. Zirbel can't because he doesn't know them.

    Cycling is in a difficult spot and it should be positive once, a 2 year ban, positive twice, good riddance. All of these Italians racing in the Giro who have tested positive is unbelievable.

  • Comment number 27.

    It would have been fairer if the Biological passport was mentioned.

    It's also reasonable to note that the Contador doping case is following the normal procedure in sport, and the main problem is that the Court for Arbitration in Sport takes ages.

  • Comment number 28.

    1. When did the small issue of truth matter in the search for a good story?

    2. It's naive to think an ex-rider could be excluded from team management. Apart from legal "restraint of trade" considerations, it would be simple to be just in the background (like sleeping company directors hiding behind their wives).

  • Comment number 29.

    The point made in #26 is at the end of the day the real issue here. If you examine other sports their efforts to detect drug cheats compared to cycling they range from weak to utterly pathetic.
    Yes there used to be a big issue, I simply cannot believe it is as bad in cycling anymore due to the extreme control.
    Equally I am not so naive as to think a sport such as football is cleaner - with its very poor record of regulation and control combined with the massive amounts of money that can be made 100M for promotion to the PL! When footie outfield players are on blood passports it will be interesting to see if there is any change in the speed of the games.

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree that doping is an issue, it really is, and not everyone is caught. Now,i have 2 points to make.
    1. as someone already pointed out, Armstrong has not been caught taking illegal substances. Of coure, by winning so much he will be suspected (as a large percentage of the winners have). Sure, methods of cheating and doping have become more complicated and advanced, but so has the methods of detecting it. Armstrong won the tour 7 times and competed in it more than that. In the tour de france alone he will have had over 250 drugs test. I would think that you could not be lucky all that many times, and that is just in the tour.

    2. As for Contador, sure he got caught with clembuterol in his blood, but you know how much, 0000 000 000 008g per ml, that is ridiculously small and would have no effect whatsoever on the cyclist. He might be doping himself with other stuff and he may be a cheat, but please, he has been allowed to cycle this year because to ban him for that is ridiculous (also, this shows how accurate detection equipment can be and how advanced drug testing is)

  • Comment number 31.

    "The question now is whether one of the dirtiest sports can lead the cleanup."

    Quite a ridiculous line.

    Cycling may have a lot of failed drugs tests over they years, but that is because even if the methods used are not the most effective, they are still more so than for many other sports - who complain at even the slightest attempts to introduce drug tests.

    The big example is Operacion Puerto. At the time we were told it included footballers, tennis players, and cyclists. For some reason, only the cyclists were ever named.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am not sure the amount of clembuterol matters that much.

    If a driver gets stopped by the police and make them take an alcohol test, the amount found is not the amount drunk, but the amount left. He may have drunk 17 pints of beer and by the time the police tests him, they may find a bit of beer, not the full 17 pints

    The fact that they found clembuterol means he had taken AT LEAST that amount of it, and it means that it was certainly taken, regardless of the way.

    Now it is up to TAS to certify or not that Contador's story is true or at least there is a reasonable possibility of it being true. Other sportsmen have been lucky with cases like this (a German table tennis player, for example)

    Testing positive or not depends on several things. As I unerstand it, sample can be tested for one substance and not for several, or at least for all at once. So a sample will not come back saying "there is CERA, blood transfusion, clembuterol, growth hormone and caffeine in here". Also, the systems to detect a cheat take a while. The drug is out there before it can be found - Remember the Balco case

  • Comment number 33.

    Stop moaning about the last sentence.

    Cycling IS dirty. Always has been.

    Purely aerobic endurance events, along with pure power/strength events, are where you'll see the biggest gains from doping.

    Sure, if you dope in Tennis or Football you may be stronger, faster and recover better but if you can't play the game in the first place you'll be nowhere.

    Cycling's had few positive tests because the system is laughably easy to beat. That doesn't mean no-one is doping.

    I remember reading Dwain Chamber's letter about how he used to beat the dope tests. There was nothing clever about it. If you could count up to three then you were uncatchable (possibly why he was caught).

  • Comment number 34.

    Football v cycling - personally I see no ethical difference between cheating by taking performance enhancing drugs and cheating by deliberately attempting to mislead the officials (there is a health-risk difference of course). And if a sport chooses to deveop a culture of cheating, well, that's the sort of thinking that got cycling into the mess we have seen.

    And a mess it is trying to clean up - unlike so many other sports - which is the point the article fails to make clearly, opting instead for a snappy last word.

    A clean-up will find dirt, of course. A cover-up will lead to more in the long run.

  • Comment number 35.

    McQuaid and his predessesor Hein Verbruggen reckon only 2% of the peloton are doping.......when the heads of the sport believe this then the sport is in the mire before we start.

    Until such times as Cycling itself calls a complete moritorium on doping and establishes a set if rules that are open and fair and bans that are a deterant to riders then doping will always be an easy option. There needs to be a clear out of the top end of the sport unfortunately that means Pat McQuaid needs to go as well as anyone implicated in the current investigations into Lance Armstrong. We need a clear out and until that happens the situation won't change.

    Rules need to take into account how society has evolved, cross contamination is a problem, the strict liability rule is a lottery, look at Alain Baxter.

    The big picture dictates that cycling will always be the whipping boy of sport but every other sport must get their own houses in order. Doping is a problem and the media have an easy run because they focus on cycling, maybe the media should start looking and investigating other sports and present a better picture of the realities of doping in sport.

  • Comment number 36.

    Yes cycling is clearly the most tested of sports but if the elite performers in the premier events are found to be breaking the rules then that is not good for the image of the sport and will inevitably lead to lots of press attention which is where we are!

    As to the cheating is cheating comment. You can always draw comparisons but the effect on the sport overall has to be the focus. If noone trusts the sport because of this problem and it suffers significantly as a result then you have to address the problem. If noone cares then why care to change. Thing is people do and future athletes may not enter the discipline as a result leading to a major decline and maybe back to amateurism.

  • Comment number 37.

    #30 - Shane_Williams_Ospreys
    The critical issue on Contador is not whether the level of clenbuterol would have given him an advantage (it wouldn't), but whether (as some drug testers believe it suggests) that he has blood doped.
    One proposed explanation is that X had blood taken from earlier in the season and re-injected it to boost the red blood cells at a key point in the tour - oh, and that X might have been using clenbuterol prior to storing his own blood. The minute levels might have been missed had another lab tested it, and hence X might reasonably have believed it to be clear.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm sorry, but I also think this a poor article. You have failed to read the comments on your previous attempt. For example, as noted there, Contador has been cleared by his national federation, it is the UCI and WADA who has appealed.

    There are many interesting articles that you could have written about cycling and, if you had to, doping in cycling, but you have failed to do so. For example, where is the reference to historic power outputs as an indication of levels of doping? These clearly show the peak doping periods.

    Your quote says that you can't test for blood doping; this is true, but blood doping is controlled (not completely removed) by the biological passport.

    In that many months of investigation you never came across Operation Puerto? Seen by the world as a cycling scandal, but it actually applied to many sports. Why can't something original be written?

  • Comment number 40.

    #25 Diego-UK regarding your comment about football and tennis requiring more skill than just physical fitness this is valid, however what if the match goes to extra time, a bit of EPO or CERA will help your body still be able to perform at a higher level as it will not be as fatigued. Similarly with tennis, match goes on to the 5th set, your opponent starts to get tired but if you've taken something that delays the onset of fatigue you are less likely to make mistake therefore increasing your chances of winning. There are considerable performance advantages to using 'performance enhancing drugs' in every sport, it just may not be as clearly obvious as having to delay fatigue when having to cycle around a country for 3 weeks.

    I am in no way disillusioned in that there is still doping going on in cycling as having raced abroad and have friends who have done so know too well that it can sometimes make the difference. But cycling is testing and trying knew methods to eliminate the doping, lets hope that it works!

  • Comment number 41.

    #38 - removed AGAIN....why?? This was a totally neutral post. Why does the BBC not merit honest open debate, so much for free speech.

  • Comment number 42.

    #38 and #41 .....I mentioned football, tennis and athletics.....I understand now

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm afraid that all these articles on doping in cycling are becoming rather Hackneyed if you ask me. We all know that cycling has a problem. The idea that cycling is any different to a lot of other sports is becoming tiresome. After all, the incentive for cheating is basically money, and there's precious little money in cycling compared with other sports. How much money do cyclists make compared to sprinters, footballers or tennis players?
    Why don't you do us all a favour and do some interesting investigative journalism?
    For instance why don't you find out why it was that only the cyclists in the Operation Puerta scandal were the ones named? Only about 50 of 300 odd athletes were cyclists, why weren't the tennis players, runners, skiers and footballers named?
    - why are the vast majority of drug tests in English football done in the bottom divisions, with the Premiership having comparatively few?
    - how is it that a tiny nation can dominate some of the events at the Olympics - could it be related to the fact that it doesn't do out of competition drug testing? Why are nations that don't do out of competition testing even allowed in the Olympics?
    The fact is that cycling is an easy target. It's a minority sport in the UK and doesn't have the kind of aggressive marketing, litigious nature and vociferous following that sports such as football and athletics have.
    It's hardly surprising that the people following these and many other sports are living in a kind of fool's paradise where they think that only cycling has a drug problem.

  • Comment number 44.

    This is a good article, anything that highlights the, to use an Armstrong metaphor, Cancer, in cycling, has to be a good thing, However, I feel the Bigger Picture is very much being missed, in that, whilst the majority of these articles concentrate on the "Professional" level of the sport, Doping is just as prevalent, or used to be in my day, in the amateur ranks, as I can still recall the story of the 30 odd armatures from Belgium who died after being administered a bad batch of blood. It's all the Armstrong wanna be's that need to be protected from the dope mongers as they go in pursuit of that much sought after pro contract, I should know, I was one of them and chose not to go down that road, just accepting, I was not good enough on what I had been given naturally.

  • Comment number 45.

    The question is why doesn't THE dirtiest of all sports lead the clean up? I am of course talking about athletics. After all they have the TV revenues to invest in testing, etc.
    I've never heard of a doping scandal in cycling even remotely comparable with the Balco scandal where a co-operative of highly paid sportsmen and women paid to have undetectable drugs manufactured for them by a laboratory.
    Is there any reason to suspect that this was unique?
    Could someone explain to me why records continue to tumble in that sport and yet there isn't even a ripple in the popular media? Isn't there a whiff of hypocrisy about the coverage that doping in cycling has?

  • Comment number 46.

    I think it was cavendish who quite rightly said that cycling isn't any more doped than any other sport, its just the only sport that catches its dopers...

  • Comment number 47.

    Cycling dirty?!!!
    I have yet to watch a Premiership football match where there aren't numerous acts of cheating - I suggest Mr Franks creates a blog on that. Footballers have had their careers ended by deliberately vicious tackles.
    Typical BBC article. It is why Mark Cavendish, one of the greatest roadman sprinters of all time, is lucky to get a mention on say the Today programme sports slot but St Andy Murray, the most miserable man in sport, gets 5 minutes for tieing his shoelaces himself.

  • Comment number 48.

    Cycling has already 'dared to change'. It has the biological passport system (has any other sport followed suit?) and the governing body is monitoring the risk profiles of potential offenders.
    The riders can be suspended even if they haven't had a substance detected in their samples - from a change in their data profile instead. In short there's not much else they can do on the policing front.
    What would really make a difference (in all sports) would be if the penalty were a life ban for doping - that would act as a real deterrent. However, in professional sport that would mean depriving someone of their livelihood, violating their human rights...

  • Comment number 49.

    Perhaps the issue here is nothing to do with how cycling is run in terms of addressing the drug-testing problem - they seem to at least be catching their cheats even if there's the usual gap between the dopers and the testers - but, as hinted early in the article, the nature of the sport.

    I believe it was Jacques Aquentil, the Lance Armstrong of his day, that once suggested that one actually had to take drugs to complete the TdF, let alone to win it. Much as the sciences of sports nutrition and bicycle design have advanced since his heyday in the 1960s, one has to wonder if that remains the case. Perhaps an "easier" TdF course for 2012, with fewer severe mountain stages and maybe even an extra race day, could be used? With it being an Olympic year I suspect that some of the sprinters with an eye on London would approve of that also.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    True though. And who said the BBC were so lily livered?

  • Comment number 52.

    The UCI definitely tests more extensively, using more sophisticated methods and protocols than any other sport. However, the doping culture is significantly more serious in cycling than any other sport - and it has been for over a hundred years. While the UCI is doing more and is more effective in anti-doping than they were 5 years ago, what isn't unfortunately changing is the attitude of many riders. That's not to say that every rider condones or is engaged in doping, and certainly there must be high-profile riders like Cavendish who compete cleanly. But it's the culture of doping that continues to baffle and it is far more resilient than most of you seem to realize. And that's the monolithic force that the UCI is fighting now, after having denied and then accommodated it.

    No one likes to see their sport portrayed negatively in the media, and certainly less so still over the issue of doping. But doping is a real issue ... a profound issue ... and the corruption that it encourages remains disillusioning.

  • Comment number 53.

    #49 - The olympics, for cycling, tennis or football, are far from being the best event to be won. The big Tours will not change because of the games, which only compromise of 2 days of competition, which are also 2 different events: a time trial and a race, as a classic.

    The problem with cycling may be in the length and effort in the 3 big races (the Giro this year is also very tough) but then some cyclist do not even take rt in them and still cheat. So I am not sure modifying the 3 big tours would do anything.

    I would still chang them, but differently. I think you'd need just 16 days (3 weekends) and 2 rest days. You can fit in 14 days 2 time trials, 5 mountain stages and 7 flat-ish stages. More than enough. Also, make stages shorter.

    There are some interest against this, of course. Tour organiser get a nice amount of cash frm ciies to be start, end or both of a stage. All the people around the race mae wonders for the local trade. So the organisers have an interest on having as many days as possible.

    Then thee is the distances. You ca shorten the stages but that would mean that several tims a train or a car would be needed after the stage to get to the next's day starting point.

    I think doping is being fought, but not enough. If a cyclist tests possitive, his team manger and team doctor have to be punished too. Even more if a team mate tests possitive aswell. At the end, we are putting all the cost of doping on the cyclist, who rarely knows what is going in his body. Somebody (a doctor, a team manager) is suggesting theue of the drugs. And they get away with it.

    Why would anyone want to work with Fuentes or Saiz after they were caught at the Operation Puerto?

  • Comment number 54.

    Sport is supposed to be a level playing field. Why not open the doors and allow substance use in sport. I think they all do it any who so make it fair and allow smaller budget atheletes and teams to compete. No more uber expensive chemist bills.
    I am sure that athelets will then be clambering to show how clean they are, nobody wants to put there brand name on the shirt of a guy who is openly taking drugs..

  • Comment number 55.

    Oliver, people speed the roads... why don't we just remove the speed limits?
    People try to pay less taxes... why don't we just remove them in full?
    Some students cheat in exams and when doing essays... why don't we...?

    First, there is a numvber of substances that are allowed and are nt considered dopng. When you ee a cyclist or a tennis player get a drink, they ren't drinking water They have mixtures of salts and sugars that help them recovering from the effort (the sort o thing you see advertied on TV). It is not as if you would et banned 2 years for having paracetamol if you have a headache.

    Second,the susbtances that are banned are so because of the danger to the health of the athlete, and that's why when authorities invesigate as a criinal offence is on the grounds of these drugs being a danger to the public health.

  • Comment number 56.

    sorry for the missing letters above; the keyboard plays up at times :O/

  • Comment number 57.

    We have to remember that cycling is making really strenuous efforts to catch the dopers. It is a very difficult and expensive job. Many other sports don't have this level of commitment and if as implied the world of cycling is rife with cheats getting away with it we must conclude that other more cash rich sports must also have problems and their doping conspiracies must be more generously financed. I cannot believe that given the money in football there is not a culture of doping and the fact that so few are caught indicates it is being done very professionally indeed. Remember that if cyclists can do it on a relative shoestring budget.........

  • Comment number 58.

    Johnny Green, a former road-manager for the Clash, turned cycling fan, in his book 'Push Yourself Just A Little Bit More: Backstage at the Tour de France', made a number of analogies between rock'n'roll and road-racing, and the Grands Tours in particular. I may be misquoting, but to paraphrase he suggested that 'clean' cycling was 'like Jimi Hendrix without the drugs'. They are extraordinary feats of endurance, physical and pyschological, and if it takes a few drugs to get the riders through, and able to entertain and enthral, then so what? It's only a sport, and a highly commericialised one. The risks are great, the rewards significant and the theatre magnificent. The moral panic that 'drug-cheats' excite seems over-egged and a bit pious. I watch avidly and travel extensively to participate as a spectator and would rather watch the thrills of, say, the 2003 Tour de France, than some anodyne, neutralised event, free of all drama, on- or off-stage. And I'd need something to get me up (and down) some of those climbs...

  • Comment number 59.

    If drugs testing is always playing catch up, why don't the UCI take a pint of each registered pro rider at a random time of the year, freeze it, and then when the current lot of tests for the new drugs has been developed they can unfreeze said blood and test. If they are found to be positive they can be kicked out fo sport and have to pay back all their prize money.

    Ok, so I am not a chemist and over time the traces of drugs might disappear but it would it be worth the risk?

    But I agree that the UCI is doing its utmost to make the sport cleaner.

  • Comment number 60.

    We are a group of year 13 biology students and have read this blog and the article on lance Armstrong and would like to make the following points

    #1 As epo is produced naturally by the body it is hard to test whether Lance Armstrong has been Gene doping or if he has a natural mutation which tells his body to produce more Epo than an average person. For example a cross country skier, Eero Mäntryrante, who won two gold medals in 1964, was found to have a genetic mutation which loaded his blood with 25 to 50% more red blood cells than the average mans. Lance Armstrong may have this same mutation, which could have helped him in his 7 consecutive wins.
    #2 The article does not reveal any of lance armstrong’s test results, therefore to state whether he has been cheating or if it was due to a mutation would be inaccurate as no evidence has been provided. Until his results are available to the public, the accusations against him would seem unfair and probably inaccurate.

  • Comment number 61.

    We are a group of year 13 biology students and have read this blog and the article on lance Armstrong and would like to make the following points
    #3 In the article, Lance Armstrong complains that he has had over 500 drugs tests over the years, but he does not specify what these drugs tests were for, what the results were and if EPO levels in his blood were above average. However, the article does not give any detail about whether an athlete’s EPO levels are higher than an average persons EPO levels.
    #4 Being a sufferer of cancer, Lance Armstrong wouldn’t put himself in the risk that gene doping creates. There have been deaths caused by such actions, so we ask would he put himself through such danger? Also, EPO causes an increase in your red blood cell count; therefore, the blood thickens due to the amount of RBC’s. I do not believe that such an athlete would risk having strokes after overcoming such a problem as Cancer.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    I’m afraid it’s yet another case of myopic journalism in pointing the finger and taking a cheap shot at cycling.

    There are those who argue that because you need skill in football or tennis, then it’s not a problem. Both sports have tended to shy away from thinking it has any kind of problem. However, the details of the Chambers case threw that into sharp relief when he admitted he took EPO. This is a track sprinter after all; the last person who I would be thinking of taking such an 'endurance' drug.

    Now look at football. A rich sport able to protect itself better than less wealthy sports against bad publicity. There are players in midfield who run up to 15 kilometres in a game. Tennis: matches can go on for 4 hours or more at the Slams. So, if Chambers can take it for running 100 metres, you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to realise that EPO and other drugs could be beneficial in these sports also. There are still rumours going around in Spain that the cover up in ‘Operacion Puerto’ concerned many other sports!

    I also have problems with the premise that cycling is doing nothing to clean up its act. Probably the hardest sport also has the most extensive testing regime. And the other statement that riders are not prepared to vent their anger at the others bringing down the sport, the author should check comments of both Cavendish and Wiggins who have been withering in their condemnation of those cheating.

    A very poor piece in my opinion, but entirely typical of the BBC.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    #59, surviva - What ifference would it make to anybody if we change the champions of, say 2006, today? For example (and exaggerating fo the benefit of the example):

    The winnr of the Tour de France was... the rider than finished 48th, for example.
    The winneof the 200 medley was eliminated in the first qualifyinf round
    The winner of te 4x400m dash relay at the European Athletics champions was Andorra becaus all the other teams had adopped atlethe...


    #1 Amstrong hadn't won that much before his cancer, but he was a world champion and had won stages in the major tours. He was a very good cyclist, but not quite the best. It was after his cancer when he started winnng Tours, when normally would be the opposite case: You should be weaker after a cancer. If unsual EPO amounts were in Armstrong's body they would have been found all through his career.

    #2 There are strong rumour that a sample of Armstrong's urine has PO in the 1999 Tour. It cannot be used as evidence because the sample was tested there and then with the systems they had and it failed to find EPO. Bu newsystems have, allegedely, found EPO.

    #4 It is precisely because of the number of deaths and the persistance in athletes to take EPO or CERA you can possitevely say that they are ready to take the risk. If Armstrong is one of them is yet to be proved.

  • Comment number 66.

    So many good points on here. I love cycling and agree the BBC pays insulting lip service to the sport which makes another article on doping quite insulting as they are serving an already ignorant non cycling audience more of the same negative stuff. I used to love football (a great game) but have grown very tired of the behaviour and total lack of respect shown, it's always the referees fault. How about an article on the incredible fitness, dedication, tactics, mind games, teamwork, courage and valour required to be a pro cyclist?

  • Comment number 67.

    @Peter Hall

    The BBC has seldom been a fan of cycling, this goes back a long way. Only since Chris Boardman's win in the 4000m pursuit in 1992 did the organisation begin to take some proper notice.

    In fact if you care to tune into 5Live and Radio2 'debates', you'll find that when cycling is mentioned, it often is put into a controversial context. That is, 'we' are a menace. When you think of it, cyclists are vulnerable in todays manic and condoned thuggo colossally over-used car culture.

  • Comment number 68.

    Ah the obsession with perfection is crowding out the good news of steady and persistent progress on the question of doping. I doubt that any of the riders from 15 years ago could even come close to passing todays doping standards. I doubt that the average man on the street could pass either.

    I have a wonderful black and white poster on my wall from the early days of the tour de France in which the riders are sharing a smoke and a drink while riding. Any one remember when one of the riders died on montenveux from abusing barbiturates?

    Do not loose sight of how far cycling has come. Cycling still has some distance to go, but it is not all bad news!

  • Comment number 69.

    The article takes a very one eyed approach to the problems in cycling. Firstly, cycling is the leader in anti doping operationas and hence there are many riders getting caught. How can it be the dirtiest sport in the world when it uses blood passports bans common chemical such as salbutemol (it should be banned) and most other sports don't. Indian cricketers did not even want to sign the whereabouts clause, nobody casts any aspersions on that and nobody calls them dopers. Football doesn't even look into doping and that is definitely a stamina sport, baseball is full of PED abusers and most of them continue to play. Once other sports take as close a look to doping as cycling, I am sure there will be a lot more drug offenders in many sports. Cycling dared to change and has been hit very hard but will be better for it in the future, as in less doping not zero doping. Other sports must dare to change and be willing to take a blow especially football with such a wide fan base.
    Your patronizing of Pat McQuaid is also baffling, the way he has handled himself in the Alberto Contador case has been bad and instead of concentrating his full efforts on Contador he would do well to investigate the mantova dope scandal. The UCI in the past and present has been inept at tackling doping, the two major doping sagas (Operation Puerto and mantova) of the past few years is not something that the UCI investigated. Even Michael Rasmussen would have been free to ride had the UCI controlled doping tests in cycling singularly.

    It certainly isn't doom and gloom for cycling, Ivan Basso's case proves it. In 2006-07 he was banned for being involved in Operation Puerto and came back last year to win the giro last year with not much suspicion about his victory. David Millar is another example.

  • Comment number 70.

    Well I am sure the research for this article did entail months of interviews with people assiciated with the sport, however I feel we can see from the weight of response on this blog, from people of who love this sport, that performance enhancing drugs are used widely throughout sports which will test your performance and endurance. It is a simple equation really. The only difference being is that other sports seem less enthusiastic to test so rigourasly as cycling, maybe if cycling wants to change its image, it should not test more, but to fall in line and test less!!
    Also could not agree more on the other persistent topic on here, the BBC's coverage of Cycling is next door to non-existent. Lets start to bring some enthusiasm back to cycling, lets face it, its bloody brilliant!!

  • Comment number 71.

    The blog itself if just the usual lazy, uninformed drivel we've come to expect from the BBC. Yes, cycling has more positive tests than most sports; cycling has vastly more tests than most sports. And cycling no longer covers them up, unlike most other sports. I wish I'd known that was Tim's angle when I saw him at Hillingdon this week - I'd have been delighted to give him some 'input'.

    The most bizarre comment, though, is DiegoUK's assertion that cycling is all stamina and no skill. I can only assume Diego's never ridden at speed in a peloton of 100 plus riders, shoulder to shoulder or tried to find a gap to flick through at 35mph plus in a bunch sprint, or descended a twisty mountain road at up to 60mph, or squeezed through a gap barely bigger than the width of your handlebars in a track Devil on a bike with no brakes and no freewheel, or done a track stand on a steeply banked indoor track during a match sprint...

  • Comment number 72.

    WE all profit directly or indirectly from not being willing to see how pervasive and destructive doping is in ALL sports at all levels. It is a matter of integrity, morality, class, race, nationality, and yes health as well.

    Cycling is a sport that emphasizes endurance and recovery and so doping is more dramatically powerful an aid than some other sports. As such, it is actually an opportunity to see into how insidious its use is in other sports where it may not afford such a marked advantage.

    Doping is also a matter of economics. Millions are made at all levels from doping.

    If Armstrong is found guilty I believe we may have a chance to see how systematic doping is much more than about a specific individual or cheating in general.

    I agree with the article.

  • Comment number 73.

    #71, Sarcasm apart, you will agree that cycling is mainly physicial, and that having your chain out when changing gears in an unsual mistake, for example. Maybe without doping, the peloton would ride at 20mph instead of 28mph and the chances for a crash would be less.

    You cannot seriously compare the level of technical skill in cycling with football, tennis, basketball, gymnastics, voleyball, handball, etc.

  • Comment number 74.

    All this talk about doping in cycling will get the sport nowhere until the penalties for those caught breaking the rules are made so tough that the dopers will no longer see that game is not worth the candle.

    Anyone rider caught should be banned for life, any team manger, any of the so-called medical staff, any official condoning what they know is agains the rules should be treated in the same way. Untill this happens there will always be a doping culture in the sport.

  • Comment number 75.


    Make a stand.

    Wear a blue bracelet

    Its up to you to decide if you wish to combine with a Yellow one or not. Personally I think that they clash somewhat...

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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