Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So you couldn't see ME ?

Sometimes it is necessary to find the Boss , when the driver leaces you at the side of the road !

My letter to remind Company Owners , that they are responsible for the ACTIONS of their Employees !

 "  CEO of Deferser

Sir ,

With distinctive colours on your Vehicles , it is easy to identify your vehicles . For Publicity purposes , this works well , but when your drivers misbehave or are careless with respect to " Vulnerable Road Users ", this comes back to haunt your Management Team ! Some countries in Europe have legislated for Corporate Manslaughter , where a member of the Management Team , can be imprisoned for the actions of a Subordinate !

Returning to Austria after several weeks in Italy with the " Giro d'Italia " , i can tell you , that as a Cyclist , i notice differences . I can also tell you that there are considerable differences in Drivers' Attitudes to Cyclists , in 2013 , as against those in 1999 , when first in Italy for the Giro .

Over several years riding a race bike in the Tirol , i have taken the time to speak or write to various Company Vehicle Owners . Most understand that there is a need to bring to their attention , incidents that cause alarm . What you will appreciate is , that there are TWO Sides to each argument . The Cyclist in every case is going to suffer when in collision with a vehicle . That said , there is a need for Vehicle drivers to remember that Cyclists , have the right to be on the road , bUT more importantly , most own their OWN VEHICLES !

No doubt as CEO of Deferser , you may also be a Leisure Cyclist , you may have Family or Colleagues who would tell you of Riding with Toschnig , Eberharter or Rohrregger . Each of these people , you would hope your vehicles do not cause them injury . What of the Mothers , Daughters , Sons or colleagues , they also deserve the 1 1/2M , that the Road Regs. call on drivers to allow as they pass ,

Today , a Deferser vehicle passed me with less space than required , however , because he did not signal , the following vehicles not only did not see me but hammered their Klaxons , as if it was against the LAW , for me to be on the road . Had your vehicle signalled and given the 1 1/2M , i doubt any of these following drivers would have displayed their ignorance . We will have to accept that some may have been trying to text , but i did see two of these drivers that klaxoned ,  holding their ears , funny how many people use a Cell phone to hold their EARS ?

Returning from Schwaz through Weising , i passed the Mpreis where several of your vehicles were parked . Coming across some drivers finishing their " Pause " , i asked if any spoke english .

The driver of unit 76 , SZ 506yc , said " A little " , so i tried to explain what had happened in the morning , but he took it as critisism of himself . No it was not , nor my intention other than to ask what Deferser's policy was to the Cyclist's Safety .

When he left me i started to write down unit #s , with the intent to write you . Seeing this he stood in front of the Reg plate . Then he got in the cab , started the motor and immediately crept forward in my direction the 5+ metres , requiring me to move immediately out of his path . Normally truck drivers , start the deisel motor , after the key is in the ignition for 30 secs , then allow the motor to warm , not this guy . Bernard was in some kind of a hurry ?

Now i realise that people do not take kindly to being critisied , but this was definitely not correct behaviour .

As to whether you reply to me , or you have a Company Policy in regard to Cyclists , it will come as no surprise , when i tell you that in London there are several Tip truck Companies , that are recorded as causing Multiple Deaths to Cyclists . It has been described as an epidemic and Legislation there is being utilised to attempt to save more Lives from being lost .

Thankyou for your attention to my concerns , i hope they result in more Companies being reminded by you , that Truck drivers need to signal , so that following traffic can avoid being involved in the death of a Cyclist , maybe , even your neighbour ?

This letter will be published in www.skippi-cyclist.blogspot.com

SO , having had lunch i am out for further riding in the warm sunny afternoon . Coming from Brixlegg onto the large Roundabout with the intention to go to Kramsach , i am in the middle of the two lanes and an IMPATIENT Car driver decides to force out into my lane , from Rattenfeld , causing me to swerve left and stay wide in case he continues left , but , he then screeches right into the exit , i was going to use . Meanwhile i have to roll up onto the concrete island to avoid the back of a stopped truck .

No i didn't get the german number plate !

Monday, May 27, 2013


The Giro d'Italia has finished with " Nibs " , forecast as winner , taking the Crown ! Good for him , he prepared well with the win , at the " Giro del Trentino " , amongst other work efforts

Some of his challengers for the title , went home due to illness , perhaps brought about by the unseasonably bad weather . Falling from the bike and then " Descending like a Girl " , would have shaken Sir Brad's confidence and desire to fight off the symptoms of bad health , he was fighting .
Just as well he quit at that time , since the weather became even worse . Ryder arrived at the Giro determined to fight for a repeat result , but reports indicate that he was severely underweight , thus allowing the body , little ability to resist the symptoms that caused his earlier than desired exit .

During the Giro , we saw several Racers , sent home after testing Positive to PED abuse . Georges has caused his Team , to honour their commitment to the " MPCC Code ", thus declaring they would not participate at the Dauphinee Libere Event in June . Di Luca , on the other hand , has even incurred the displeasure of the likes of Lance Armstrong , since this is his 3rd Sanction ! Being a previous winner stripped of his 2009 Giro Crown , you could expect he would have learnt that lesson . But NO ! This imbecile thought " EPO " , was the way to go , a Sponsor of  His , convinced " Team Fantini ", that he deserved another chance . Bundles of cash , from that Sponsor , would have overcome the Team Management's desire , to not touch him with a " bargepole ". No matter , the decision was made to allow him to race without testing . Football Teams test the  Athlete before signing them on , so what happened here ?

With these TWO , besmirching the Giro's reputation , for being the Hardest of the Grand Tours , the debate about " Anti Doping " , has been thrown into the Public Arena , once again . Days before Di Luca's problem was announced , UCI released a report :


" phat in mouth " , as posterity will describe him , MUST have known about Di Luca's problem , since it is UCI that is reported to be in control of these announcements . Did he rush out the " Brighter Future report " , and attempt to delay the Di Luca announcement ? In recent times , phat , has been giving the impression , that he is hopping around on one foot , with the other firmly jammed elsewhere ! Being paid a SALARY to safeguard the UCI Constitution , does nothing to stop him , putting his self interests above ALL ELSE !

The search for " Anti Doping " solutions continue , but one that came to my attention in February , deserves MORE than the casual glance , that appears to have been given in recent times :


Even i as a fan , have some guilt in these matters , i have been known to chide people such as Christian Vandevelde , for their transgressions , but in general , i have no ability to cause the returned Racer anything other than momentary discomfort .

JV , is correct in his statement that ONLY Substantially increased FUNDING , will change the equation in respect of the FIGHT AGAINST DOPING !

Until mid June , we will not know what can be done in this ongoing fight , BUT , Cycling Ireland , by refusing to Nominate JIM Burns ( aka pat mc quaid ) , can start the progress towards CHANGE in the UCI and thus a new sense of Purpose at the UCI Congress in September .  For my part i can write letters to the Voting Delegates at that Congress , but , if OTHERS , join this effort , those Delegates with the POWER , will understand that the WORLDWIDE CYCLING COMMUNITY deserve better from them !

Here in full is JV's appraisal of the situation :

  "  The blame game, MPCC and just who should clean up cycling
Jon Vaughters & Lance Armstrong just before the 1999 Tour
Jon Vaughters & Lance Armstrong just before the 1999 Tour
I am wearing a garbage bag. Why, you might ask, thinking that Merino wool is more my thing. Quite simple, I know that in these days of cycling, banana peels and rotten tomatoes are thrown at anyone who dares stick their head up. Rocks also work quite well and, sadly, my garbage bag won’t do much against those. They hurt.

Cycling has become a post revolution mob, not much different than paintings we see of post-revolution France. I think, back then, banana peels were replaced with bed pan water. So, before I begin, let me go ahead and save you the labor of writing in the comments section: I am an ex-doper, a filthy team manager hell bent on extracting dollars and wins at any cost. I am a person who not only should not be allowed in cycling, but should not be allowed to have an opinion. I am someone with no moral compass and someone who needs to just shut the hell up. Those comments are just the rotten tomatoes and banana peels. The rocks hurt more.
However, the old expression about sticks and stones hopefully will prove correct and because of this, I figure I’ll continue onward with this monologue. Let me start by saying something really simple: I love bike racing. From a very early age every aspect of the sport just enthralled me. Its history, its traditions, its strategy, its heroism, its toughness, and even the constantly evolving bike technology. I love it. I love waking up early and watching some poorly web streamed feed when I’m home.

I love the feeling of my hair standing up on the back of my neck when I realize one of my riders has made the lead group. I love sitting in the wind tunnel for hours. I love the laughter of the guys at the dinner table, even when they have broken bones or concussions! I loved getting a disgustingly dirty and sweaty hug from Johan after he won Roubaix. This sport has been my life, inside and out for 20 years. It’s like an old marriage to me, we fight, but I love it.
Now, despite the fact that I am all of the things described in paragraph one, I often wonder, how is it that I managed to damage something that I loved so much? Why did I disregard that? And why is it that when I watch my peers that have damaged the sport of cycling in similar ways, do we fail to see that we are the problem. We are the problem. But I don’t see anyone saying that. I see people saying “he is the problem” or “they are the problem.” It’s gone from blaming Lance and Lance only, to blaming the journalists, to blaming the team managers, to blaming the UCI, to blaming the riders, definitely blaming Pat McQuaid, oh and don’t forget to blame the race organizers, and then back to blaming Lance. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I played this game too. The fact of the matter is that it is our entire fault. We, the people who make up the world of professional cycling, are to blame.
I can already hear the peeling of bananas... “Damn you, JV, no! I am not to blame, my team stopped doping in 1999 after Le Affaire Festina!” or “No, I am not to blame I never raced in the EPO era!” or “No, I am not to blame because I only did it to survive.” or “No, I am not to blame because everyone else did it!” “I am only a race organizer that made the most mountainous Grand Tour in history of mankind, I am not to blame!!” ... I can go on, but I think you see the point. Before I move on, let me say for those who were talented enough to race at the highest level in Europe, and did walk away, you aren’t many, but you are not to blame. You are to be highly regarded. You can leave the principal’s office now and have pudding. I can only offer my apologies to you guys, and pudding.
So, we can come to the conclusion that actually no one is responsible for the doping issue in cycling. Everyone denies their culpability and we happily hang a few riders every year, give them the blame, and refuse to understand the responsibility we all have.
I was absolutely shocked to learn, this morning, that the MPCC, an organization I have been a part of since 2007 and one that I truly believe in, is thinking about suing Lance Armstrong. Yes, it is his fault, a 100+ year history of doping problems in cycling can be remedied by extracting financial damages from Lance Armstrong. All the while, this organization, of which I am member, is chaired by someone who once tested positive, and whose members have a rich and varied history ranging from Festina to Puerto to USPS to CERA to Corticoid investigations. And our solution to protect cycling’s image is to sue Lance Armstrong? I truly hope they don't sue anyone. Maybe I need to attend the next meeting? Maybe a bit of introspection is needed here? Maybe a better way would be to sue myself and give the damages to someone like Danny Pate? But this seems to be the mentality entrenched in cycling, blame the other guy to fix the problem. Put it on his plate.

Let me take a big hunk of “it’s my own damn fault” and put it on my own damn plate. At this point, I’d rather personally be responsible for all of this than to watch the petty squabbling at hand devolve into the equivalent of hair pulling on the Jerry Springer show.
When I signed up to go testify to USADA about cycling’s past, I did it, not to “bring down Lance!” I did it because I was convinced it would help cycling in the long term. But instead of fertile ground for positive change and forward movement, my testimony seems to have turned into mud for throwing at each other. Seeds don’t grow in mud. It was an attempt, my me, at helping cycling unwind from a nasty past, but I’m not sure it worked the way I wanted. So, what will work?
First we have to realize, cycling cannot separate itself from its own history. That is impossible. When, a hundred years ago someone decided to cheat in the Tour de France, that got the ball rolling. It kept rolling. And while I hope you (the readers) will feel it is somewhat honorable to walk away from doping and try to mend the damage you’ve (me) done, whether one stopped doping in 1956, 1976, 1998, or 2006, the fact that at one time you doped has contributed to the pervasive culture of doping. That’s not to say there aren’t reasons for this culture. To start with, cycling is the toughest sport ever invented. It is contested by hardened individuals from hard backgrounds. This is not the sport of the aristocracy, this is the sport of tough kids who are fighting their way out of tough lives. That is cycling’s history in Europe. The ethos professional cycling started with is not that of higher, faster, cleaner...It is an ethos of “I need to feed my family.” That is cycling’s 100 year history. The private jets only came at the tail end. So, while all of us, especially me, would like to believe that we are “part of the solution” we weren’t, we were part of grinding this culture in further and further. To try and indemnify ourselves from that will not work. In fact it will only entrench the culture deeper, as it teaches hypocrisy.
We, in professional cycling, all are to blame and we all end up hurting each other because of blaming each other. Public spats, lawsuits, backstabbing policies, hatred... these all hurt cycling. They work against any budding possibility of a long term solution for this sport. Trying to solve a 100 year old problem with short-sighted and knee jerk reactions will not work. This takes creativity, vision, and UNITY. And who does this lack of unity hurt? Well, we might think harsher measures and lawsuits hurt those evil doers who need public flogging, but instead who do I see getting hurt? I see young riders, who have had nothing to do with this mess, being the ones that get hurt. The up-and-comers who, with idealism still intact, they are the beneficiaries of our inability to work out real and lasting solutions, together. They get to carry the burden of being seen as a “doper” in the view of the broader public, for the next ten years, when in fact, they’ve never doped. Not yet, anyway. But, if we don’t figure this out, soon, guess what? 100 years of cultural entrenchment beats a few of us old guys coming up with a few new rules. That is sad. And that is my own damn fault.
Garmin-Sharp team boss Jonathan Vaughters speaks to the press prior to the start of Tour de France stage 5.
How about we give these young riders a chance at having a doping free career? How about we do something that overcomes the image that they’ve been saddled with due to their predecessors’ (like me) actions?
Because I absolutely hate complaining without a solution, I’m going to make a very simple suggestion for a solution: Make us pay. Now, I know many of you think I should be in jail, and whole heartedly agree with my suggestion of making me pay, but “making us pay” isn’t an analogy. Quite simply put, as opposed to launching lawsuits, trying to overthrow the king, blaming the dog, etc.. We need to fix anti-doping. I’m sorry, I do not think that is accomplishable by policy changes and adding extra rules invented by people who broke the rules. I do not think that is accomplishable by telling a rider who has less than 12 months visibility into if he’ll be able to feed himself that he needs to “just say no”... Nor do I think telling a highly ambitious type “A” athlete that he should be happy with second place, is going to work. Nor do I think a newly reformed team manager telling his team “do as I say, not as I did” will work. Nor do I think telling guys that ride 30,000 kms a year in rain, snow, sleet, and heat to just “work harder” is going to work.
Let me give you an example: There are two young guys I know quite well. One is on my team now, one raced for me as a junior. Both are thought of as future GT contenders. Both of these guys are unbelievable tough, incredibly competitive, driven, and ambitious. And both of them would saw their kneecaps off with a rusty butter knife, if they knew it would win them a bike race. That’s why they are so good. They are both clean riders from a generation that shows us what cycling could be. But you throw a drug in the mix that makes you 10% better, there is no test for, and then that’s a whole lot more tempting than sawing off your kneecap for the win. We need to protect these guys. The toughest and most competitive are the most at risk. The guys we love and the qualities of those champions are exactly the things that put them most at risk for doping. So, since I don’t think anyone wants to make bike racing easy and start giving awards for nicest rider or rider who really wanted his buddy to win because he was having a bad hair day, then we need to realize the risks that come with the highly ambitious and protect them. Quite simply, if we want this to change, we have to actually enforce the rules so that these hardened and respectable young men and women can stop having to chose between “being first loser”(now society is at fault too) and saying no to doping..
Following Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich at the 2003 Tour de France
I’ve been referring to “we” a lot in this rant. “We” means those of us working in professional cycling. But here comes the part that we need to be responsible enough and man enough to step aside for: This is the one part that “WE” can’t do. WE need to step aside and pay for someone, totally outside cycling, to be in charge of enforcing anti-doping rules. WE were the problem, WE cannot be in charge of fixing the problem. But we sure can pay for it. Meaning this: right now teams spend less than 1% of our total budgets on anti-doping. For the biggest problem in cycling, less than 1%. That won’t ever work. You can’t fix a problem this big with something so small. WE, including me, need to pay.
Cycling needs to step aside, the UCI needs to step aside, Pat needs to step aside, teams and riders need to step aside, I need to step aside. We’ve had 100 years to figure this out, with limited success, how about WE let someone else have a shot? Someone who has no race to worry about, no sponsorship to think of, no conflict of interest at all. None. WE (those of us with a conflict of interest) need to escrow much, much, much more than 1% of funds available, give it to a totally independent entity that specializes in anti-doping and nothing else - and then let them do their work. We race bikes, you guys (WADA? AFLD? USADA?) make sure we are doing it straight. Period. Of course, WE can help. WE can tell them how we doped, we can give them total honesty to help their work. It takes one to know one, right? But WE cannot be in charge of this. At 8% of every teams’ and every races organizers (yes, they need to help more too) budget, we’d be looking at a pool of $40M annually. Sounds a lot better than the current pool of $4M. Ask any scientific researcher around the world what he is limited by? Funding. Ask any police force what limits them? Funding. How would it be spent? Testing? Science? Investigative efforts? I don’t know. Leave it to the experts how the funding is used. But give them the tools, and never let cycling’s biggest problem be held back by lack of funding. All of the issues you hear about the testing not being good enough, the science is behind, not enough tests...All of that can end. All of the excuses can end. All of the blame game can end. WE just have to stop trying to be the solution and instead step aside and start paying for what WE did. Literally.
Then we (you guys too) all can get back to loving bike racing.