Remember " Festina " and those sent home from the 1998 Tour de France ? I was there , riding the Route of the " Le Tour " for the first time . Kind of interesting to find the Gendarmerie providing escort long into the time that the racers should have caught up . Unbeknown to me they were having a sit down strike in Annecy because of the way they were treated when their hotels were raided .
Festina Affair was supposed to have brought change , then the Grand Start of the 2006 Tour de France was supposed to have cleared out All the suspect racers , leaving out the likes of Jan Ulrich & Oscar Sevilla . Now we are in the throes of another controversy and when you read the next item you will wonder what is likely to happen when the European season gets going in 2013 .
George the Cyclist like myself rides the route of " Le Tour " each year and eagerly attends the Annual Chicago Garmin Store Event which Chris Vandevelde uses as a way to thank his hometown fans . This year he was front page news in the morning National Papers due to his Confession , nicely timed to coincide with the release of USADA's reasoned report on Lance Armstrong's Career . You would think that the evening event would be dominated by questions from angry and bewildered fans ? Not So as George relates here :
Business will be resumed as normal on the 1st April 2013 thanks to USADA making promises to those US Racers that chose to give details at the hearings . A member of the US Justice Dept. sat in the room reading a transcript of the Grand Jury testimony they had previously given , no doubt ensuring accuracy ?
This weekend i came across a report that Senator Lundy , Australia's Minister of Sport was seeking Information from the Public about Cycling matters . This info was relayed by a comment in the CNF Clinic on Phil Anderson , who it appears has relayed his thoughts on a Cycling matter that he was party to in 1993 that was reported on the Australian ABC network .
Senator Lundy is seeking submissions via Post , Telephone , fax & Email . I have used email :
" There is a report that you are seeking information on the USADA Inquiry into Cycling Activities surrounding Lance Armstrong and how it relates to Australians !
Blogging for several years I have made my views known , relating to Cycling , to a Worldwide Audience . Some of these people are Australians , as I am , and some are people that I have ridden with at the Tour de France and other events .
Most of the media reporting from “ Le Tour “ are aware of my riding the route of the Grand Tours the past 15 seasons , to “ Publicise Disabled Sport “! Each year many Aussies from the Media seek me out , as do those from other countries . Described as an “ Icon “ by some and laughed at by others , I have enjoyed meeting and greeting those of the “ Worldwide Disabled Communities “ that know of my work , espousing their cause . There are quite a few that have publicly thanked me in the media .
Last week many of those Cycling Athletes that I have ridden with on the Grand Tour Rest Days , admitted to “ Doping “ ! Many of those people were in the past two years called before the US Grand Jury and questioned under oath as to their activities relk ating to Lance Armstrong and the teams he worked with . The US Government were applying a higher standard to the Evidence obtained in the Grand Jury and in the fullness of time choose to do more with that evidence !
USADA ran a separate enquiry and their Standard of Evidence is at a lower level BUT whilst those named in the report published last week , were giving their evidence , it is reported that a person with a copy of the Grand Jury Transcript , was sitting in attendance , reviewing the transcript . What effect this had on those summoned by USADA is a matter of conjecture ? Certainly there were Australian Cyclists mentioned in the USADA report , since many Australian Cycle Racers have achieved international stature and are to be found riding in Europe at the Grand Tours and Pro World Events !
It comes as no surprise to see Matt White named ,as I first met him , when he was riding with Casagrande , whom the Tour de France Director advised in 1999 , not to arrive as a rider , at that edition of the Tour de France . I was with Matt when he won the Tour de Suisse Stage into Leichenstein that year , and I know he was heartbroken to be missing the “ Le Tour “!
Since the USADA Report was orientated towards Armstrong’s activities , only Australians that worked on that team nay be considered “ tainted “ by association .
Cycling Sport was rocked by the “ Festina Affair “ in 1998 , because that team was sent home from that edition of the “ Le Tour “! Amongst the team was an Australian ,Neil Stephens , who works together with Matt in many roles associated with Australian Cycle Sport . What will be done about his past associations , remains to be seen , but I am sure speculation is rife ?
With the internet , I am able to communicate with you , and also follow the overall media picture . I use as a primary source the following website and suggest your staff take the time to provide you with a précis of matters that may require your attention and consideration :
From this site you will get a comprehensive overview of what is relevant in the Cycling World .
Whilst riding the route of the “ Le Tour “ I have come to know “George the Cyclist “ . He rides with Panniers whilst I race along the route so we only meet at the finish screen most times . Last week in his home city , Chicago , he attended a Garmin Cycle Team Sponsored Event . Principal Speakers were Chris Vandevelde , whose confession to “ Doping “ was announced in the National Papers that morning , and another Team Member , Tyler Farrer , whose Father was a noted Track Cycle Racer that became a Renowned Surgeon until struck and paralysed in a road accident some years ago . The report of the evening’s event is contained in this link :
It will be clear to you , after reading this report , that those confessing , believe that the “ storm of controversy “ will blow over , and that it will be back to normal before the start of their next racing Season !
Reports in the media indicate that All Those confessing were “ promised “ a 6 month suspension starting 30th september2012 , this means that most will have not lost any of their Team Racing opportunities ! Sweet deal for them if that is the truth ?
My purpose in writing to you is to request that you and the Australian Government require the Australian Olympic Committee and the Australian Anti Doping Organisation DEMAND of the IOC and WADA to institute an immediate “ AMNESTY IN ALL SPORTS “!
Sport is no longer “ Amateur “ in the OLYMPICS and World Championship Levels ! It has become a colossal Money Spinner for the Athletes , Organisations and Sponsors that are associated with Sport ! It would be almost certain that Criminal Elements have infiltrated Sport to the extent that very few Sports could claim to be “DRUG FREE “ and results are not corrupted by “ Match Mixing “ activities .
Until those who have stepped across the line and participated in Doping in their Career , ALL Athletes both Past and Present are open to pressure from Criminal Elements who are continually seeking an advantage for their activities . Just look at the number of retired athletes advising their doping Activities once they past the Statute of Limitations , in recent years !
On the 29th October , Chris Prudhomme of the ASO , owners of “ Le Tour “, will announce the route of the 100th Edition in 2013 of “ le Tour “! He will , it is believed , act to “ nullify the results of 1999 to 2005 “ . Personally I think this should be from 1990 through 2012 , since the EPO drugs were available in that period and the “ UCI “ did little if anything to control the effects they had on Cycling Professionals . Reports on the UCI , indicate that in 1997 as well as 1999 they chose not to impose “ Bans “ on suspect Racers !
Do you wish to see a continual dribble of sensation tainting Australian Sports OR do you wish to see the DOPING PROBLEM eradicated ? YOUR CHOICE !
AS an expat Aussie I can only hope that you will apply your status as Minister for Sport in leading Other Nations in supporting an “ AMNESTY “ that will close down the Criminal Elements controlling SPORT !
THOSE OF YOU READING THIS SHOULD THINK ABOUT WRITING TO YOUR NATION'S SPORT MINISTERS asking them to ACT !!
UNTIL YOU DO , there will be no change in Cycling ! More of Chris Vdv 's attitude will prevail and perhaps more young cyclists will risk their lives following their dream of success but finding DEATH and failure instead !