Friday, July 30, 2010

VeloRiders UK says, "No Soup for You!"

In 2004, one of Vino's current teammates and I fought each other to a draw, Costa Rica Combat-style, just past the finish line of an intermediate stage of the Tour of Chile. After being thrown in jail and kicked out of the race, we both agreed we'd let our frustration with the race boil-over into an inappropriate, personal conflict with severe consequences. Lesson-learned, and I doubt either of us will ever forget the incident.

So, while it's entirely possible that I misbehaved myself or, like esteemed-champion-turned-back-stabbing-villain Alberto Contador (for his treasonous abandonment of VINO's Astana squad) violated some unwritten rule of decorum, I was nevertheless still surprised to find myself banned by the UK cycling forum VeloRiders, and my account deleted. Honestly, I can't recall even a single time I'd even posted there.

When I tried to re-register, my email address was accepted, but then, without warning, like some Nazi Grammar agent refusing entry to the cinema by those who spoke in dialect, the site halted my registration because I apparently used a "Forbidden Word."

It's one thing to talk about me. It's another thing to do it behind my back and then lock the door on me! lol

(And contrary to one theory posited on Twitter, I've definitely been banned - it wasn't a question of not being allowed to register initially because of some mistaken identity or flawed threat-assessment. I definitely had an account there previously, but it was deleted, and my re-registration was blocked.)

Floyd vs. Lance

Previously two of the best US professional road cyclists and TdF winners - now locked in mortal combat on the Internet, TV, in print, within the Forums and on blogs like this one. Both cheated and lied - but only one will emerge victorious, having told the Truth, and not just his version of it. With so much at stake:

What is the difference between Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong?

One said "It's not about the bike". 
The other said, "Where the hell are all the bikes??"

Read more here via the Forums at Cyclingnews.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

UPDATED: Team Type 1 - slipping into a coma?

I love cycling so much that I curse it. I curse the fact that I love a sport in which even the absolute best, most god-like athletes probably earn less than a mediocre baseball player drawing the average salary of around $3.3million per year. 

What hope did I have of winning enough prize money to live the winters in the Tropics, let alone have working capital for a post-cycling career? But that didn't matter then, because I rode for the love of the sport and the amazing experiences it made possible. [I'll revisit this at a later date and endeavor to identify the most memorable and enjoyable of said experiences, if you like.]

Surely though, one of the most obvious yet critical experiences I looked forward to was that of not having to pay for the privilege of racing my bike?

I think most would agree that a core component of the criteria that defines a professional cyclist is that he (or she, of course!) doesn't have to risk taking a net loss at the year's end because the traditional expenses incurred by amateurs like travel and entry fees won't be deducted from salary, race winnings, bonuses, and bake sale money - because the professional rider's team bears the burden of those costs.

On nights when I find sleep difficult to come-by, I like to engage in fantasy and I imagine what it would be like to have one-hundred-million-dollars in laundered cash at my disposal. Or alternatively, I'll dream about owning or managing a PT team, or at least a good domestic professional squad, like say - Team Type 1?! After all, those guys are Pro Continental, so they must be getting paaaaaid!

Oh. They're not?

“Thanks to our great sponsors and partners, we now have a clearer picture of our long-term program,” [Phil] Southerland said. “We head into next season with the intention of going after Pro Continental status in 2011.”

My dream/fantasy becomes a nightmare, as I imagine how horrible it would be to be a - quote/unquote - professional athlete faced with the choice of drawing your salary but not racing, or drawing your salary, paying your expenses out-of-pocket and racing, but doing so only at great cost to your probably (already) anemic financial health.

So is something wrong on Team Type 1? The following tweets came to my attention recently. Does the speaker refer to the men's team? The women's team? The development squad? Are they serious that Team Type 1 is paying its riders their salaries, but that the supposed professional riders have to pay out-of-pocket in order to race - while their "CEO" flies business class to and from Paris? There's no news here yet, as it's simply one person expressing their feelings about TT1, but because of the alarming frequency that low-level pro teams do actually fail after exhausting their budgets, I'm writing about it. Immediately the story of Marty Jemison comes to mind, and how the former USPro Champion, Tour de France racer, USPS team member and world-class rider saw his career simply vanish along with the non-existent budget of the fictional Noble House team. If you're not familiar with the story, look it up, but suffice to say it's terribly serious to play around with the lives of athletes trying to make a living at sport.

"# CEO PS of TT1 visits L'Oreal in Paris for makeup tips ! Sponsorship options seem to be getting thin these days.

# CEO of TT1 interviewed in Paris for "Building of a Brand" WTF happened to: instill hope for people around the world affected by diabetes ?

# $$ for 1 RT to Paris plus hotels and hookers would pay for Cascade entries and professional support that a "Pro" team requires. WTF Phil

# TT1 bled to death of money, but CEO Phil off to Paris to enjoy Tour. Going ask for an invite for 2011 ? Fucking douchebag Assclown.

# Hey TT1: Add an * on your race calendar to show races that riders are paying their own way. False promotion will bite you in the ass.

# He wants to go to the Giro 2011, yet can't afford to send a team to NRC Races. Good Luck Ass Clown.

# Trivia Question: What U.S. based Team @ Cascade Classic has 4 riders that are paying their own way ? Nice fucking budgeting Phil."

UPDATED: If the situation is a dire as these tweets would seem to indicate, then the demise of Team Type 1 would represent just the latest in an amaranthine, endless, seemingly-eternal, everlasting, never-ending, perpetual and unending series of US professional cycling team management debacles.When I was a Freshman in high school, I was madly in love with the bike - this sport was all that checked my grief and kept it at bay after my died dad and Mom checked-out emotionally. For all you youngsters out there, I'm talking about a period in American History when there was no such thing as a commercialized Internet, and we didn't have mobile phones with beautiful 4.3-inch glass screens and more computer power than the desktop machines of less than a decade prior.

The sum total of our access to timely race coverage, besides whatever snippet of pre-VS phony Tour coverage we could catch on network TV, was the recent copy of VeloNews, a monthly issue of Winning, the newsletter from USCF, and 'zines like Dirt Rag. This instant access to information, which I still think is amazing, wasn't something I even could imagine in the 1990's. So in blissful ignorance, I knew nothing about how poorly paid bike racers were, even in Europe, and I certainly didn't think that the men aboard bikes that I could only dream of owning were earning the equivalent of a subsistence wage. A fantastic dream, enveloped in hope and carried along on the winds of blissful ignorance allowed me to push forward when the opportunity cost of doing so should have been considered too much.

But, here we are. An over-abundance of information. It's funny though - even with unfathomable amounts of information available at lightening speed via high-speed internet, most cycling fans and amateur racers have no idea how little the majority of "pros" in this country are paid. And though it's admittedly a stretch, you have to wonder when you hear scuttlebutt like this about Team Type 1 if that's not by design. Even after Lance Armstrong completed the journey from 19 year-old neophyte road racer to - incredibly - 7-time winner of the Tour de France, how is it that cycling in the US is so poorly managed and lacking in resources, and worse still, could it again be coming true that a program that purports to have a big budget and big ambitions like Team Type 1 (Giro 2011, baby!) might run out of operating money before August?

UPDATED v2: Maybe TT1 isn't running out of money at all. Perhaps the team is alive and well with its budget secure, and even allocated a portion of this year's financial resources to the development of potential future sponsorships - and these tweets are just the grousing of someone with an agenda?

Regardless, it makes for interesting reading. It's rare to see someone ostensibly connected to a pro cycling team take such a hostile public position towards what may have been (or could still be) their employer or a colleague. But now, twice in two weeks we've seen just that! First with Nicolas Roche admitting a desire to kill his treasonous and treacherous French teammate John Gadret, and now the Twitter'er whose disillusionment with Team Type 1 CEO Phil Southerland and his management practices is significant, to say the least:

"# He wants to go to the Giro 2011, yet can't afford to send a team to NRC Races. Good Luck Ass Clown. Wednesday, July 21, 2010 9:26:31 AM via web

#Trivia Question: What U.S. based Team @ Cascade Classic has 4 riders that are paying their own way ? Nice Fucking budgeting Phil.

# Phil, notice the smell in the air ? That's TT1 burning down faster than Atlanta. Had the chance to put the fire out, you let it burn down ! 5:22 PM Jul 18th via web

#Hey Mr. CEO of TT1, no Team at Cascade or Boise+no money for racing, but enough to rack up FF miles for ya ! Way to go AssClown 5:15 PM Jul 18th via web

# Poor, poor PS of Team Type 1 left Kendal on Plane now has to buy new one. Ass Clown just burn more cash you globe trotting SOB 6:21 PM Jul 10th via web

# Definition of a bitch: Saturday, July 10, 2010 6:25:31 PM via web

# Poor, poor PS of Team Type 1 left Kendal on Plane now has to buy new one. Ass Clown just burn more cash you globe trotting SOB Saturday, July 10, 2010 6:21:15 PM via web

# From PS@TT1 I'm spending every fucking dime left in the TT1 bank globe trotting around the world. Sorry guys, please race on your own now. Friday, July 09, 2010 10:11:27 AM via web

# WTF, TT1 spent all the money on a globe trotting CEO and over paid DS & now riders are racing on their own dime. Shades of RR & MB #cycling 8:05 PM Jul 5th via web

# Not Rock Racing ! Guess Again #cycling 7:58 PM Jul 4th via web

# What Pro Domestic team has run out of money and cut their schedule thanks to piss poor management ? #cycling Sunday, July 04, 2010 7:57:26 PM via web

# What kind of Team takes credit for results that riders paid their own way ? #cycling Somebody is paying the CEO and DS guys way too much ! 7:52 PM Jul 4th via web" 

Finally, I invited Team Type 1 to respond to these allegations, but not surprisingly, they declined - much like they refused to comment in any meaningful way after their disastrous recruitment of Belgian rider Willem Van den Eynde.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Confidential to L.A.

Make up your mind - we'll get through this more easily.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Web and the End of Forgetting

One of the reasons I agreed to testify in the 2007 Landis arbitration hearing was because it gave me the opportunity to ever so slightly influence the context surrounding the news of my own positive doping test. To some degree I was able to manage the release of that difficult story.

But a recent New York Times article reminds us of how deadly the web can be to our career prospects. In his article, "The Web Means the End of Forgetting, "  Jeffrey Rosen articulates one of the most depressing contradictions of the Internet Age:

"It’s often said that we live in a permissive era, one with infinite second chances. But the truth is that for a great many people, the permanent memory bank of the Web increasingly means there are no second chances — no opportunities to escape a scarlet letter in your digital past. Now the worst thing you’ve done is often the first thing everyone knows about you."

While I don't recommend that you click-off Pappillon right this instant and start reviewing the results of a Google search on your name, I would suggest that you never - not even for a second - take for granted the banality of your online persona. I'm very lucky in that I have the rare chance to interact with many of you via Pappillon, and more so through Twitter and FaceBook, but I shudder to think how bad the fall-out would be if that part of my life that I truly keep personal was suddenly splashed across the 'net in words and pictures.

Especially pictures...

You younger fans of Pappillon, especially, have got to be wary of what you upload to your MySpace and FaceBook profiles. I know you don't have a care in the world right now other than training and racing and racing and training, and many of you are focused like lasers on the goal of becoming the best athletes you can be, but spare a thought for the negative consequences of social networking.

Learn how FaceBook's privacy settings operate and understand why your shouldn't make your profile searchable by every Dick with a Fios connection. Don't upload party photos, even the ones that you and your friends are totally cool with and don't find anything compromising about. And watch-out who you attack on Twitter, or how loose with your words you get in online forums.

Search methodology - and technology - is going to continue to advance. And with progress comes the danger that someone from the future who is evaluating you for a job or admission to a school or promotion in the military, or a hundred other judgment situations will find some that you wrote, uploaded or said and, taking it totally out of context, will decide that you're too risky a person to ally with going forward...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recommended Reading

Our apologies for not posting this sooner, but at least you'll be able to root through the archives after the Tour concludes, and relive your favorite moments. One of the best daily blogs to follow and analyze the race is Blazin' Saddles, which appears via Yahoo! Eurosport. Pappillon strongly recommends it. Excerpt:

"Stage 17 prediction: After the rest day both Contador and Schleck are going to be caught napping as they continue their discussion on the pros and cons of Tour protocols. Menchov will show the world just why he's called 'The Silent Assassin' by knifing them both in the back before powering up the Tourmalet. Despite falling twice on the ascent, the Russian will ghost into the yellow jersey, with Sanchez moving into second. Fabian Cancellara will complain via a video on YouTube. Andy will get very angry once again, but then forget all about it and hug Alberto."

In Saddles' own words:

"Ever since he was bullied by his brothers into watching the Tour de France as an eight-year-old, Blazin' Saddles has been a cycling fanatic. As persistent as Voigt, as fast as Abdoujaparov, as voracious as Ullrich and as accurate as a Festina watch, Blazin' Saddles offers a lighter take on the oft-grave world of professional cycling. The self-styled best cycling-blog pedlar in the business, BS refutes sullied claims of doping levelled by his rivals: these nuggets are powered on Gerolsteiner fizzy water alone. Just ask BS's friend Bernhard Kohl for a reference."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

UPDATED: Spare a Thought for Nicolas Roche

Pappillon knows better than most what it is like to deal in the shady world of back-stabbing evil opportunists and scoundrels - and the French. We've even been accused to be better suited for life in that hopeless and evil realm than pleasant, civilized society (though were that the case, we would attribute such a mutation to the death of Pappillon Sr. and the abandonment of his off-spring - or at least one of them - to wolves by Mrs. Pappillon Sr.). Nevertheless, running with the big dogs means peeing in the tall grass, just as playing with fire will sometimes see you burn. But all's well that end's well, even if Life's a Bitch.

photo Copyright © 2010 Reuters/

Speaking of we sit here brooding about the injustices we've wrought upon ourselves with spectacularly-poor decision making skills regarding our aspirations for success in the import/export field, we sometimes try to convince ourselves that, while life is a b#tch, it's often difficult to forever escape karmic retribution, even if you've won more Tours de France than anyone else. Everyone eventually gets what's coming to them - hopefully.

Nevertheless, the mantra that "what goes around, comes around" is a limp and frigidly ineffective comfort when considering the case of former Irish national champion Nicolas Roche of the Ag2r-La Mondiale cycling team. It's the great travesty of the 19th and 20th of July that most of the English-speaking cycling world cries crocodile tears on behalf of a Christ-like Andy "Preying Mantis-head" Schleck, while nary a thought is spared for the one rider who was truly, positively wronged during yesterday's fifteenth stage of the Tour de France.

photo Copyright © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti/

Recent converts to the anti-Alberto brigade complain furiously about the Spaniard's supposed violation of cycling's "unwritten" rules, but it was Roche who was egregiously and violently shafted by his French teammate John Gadret (unfortunately a favorite of friend-of-Pappillon, Bobke Strut) in a glaring display of rule-breaking. If it's not codified in Ag2r's contracts as a written clause, it should be, but everyone knows that if you're being paid to ride on behalf of a team leader, one of your principal responsibilities is not only to wait for him should he suffer a mechanical incident, but to give him your wheel or even bike if the situation requires it and he can't continue on his own machine.

Everyone heaping scorn on Alberto Contador for trying to win the Tour de France should instead refocus it on John Gadret, especially if you're Irish!

Why target Gadret for the most epic, grassroots-catalyzed ball-breaking in the history of Internet-followed Tour de France racers and fanboys galore? I'll let Nicolas explain in his own words:

"...Six kilometres from the top of the climb [the Port de Bales], just as the pace began to increase at the front, I punctured a front wheel. I pulled over to the side of the road and as [John] Gadret was riding behind me, I asked him for his wheel as he rode alongside.

This is a perfectly normal request if the team car is not around. To save time, a team-mate will often give his team leader a wheel or even his bike if necessary. I have done it plenty of times over the years, as have most cyclists, amateur or professional, at some stage in their careers.

As our team car was No 11 in the cavalcade and it would take a lot of time for them to get to me through the streams of dropped riders, I asked Gadret -- who was there to help me -- for his wheel. I couldn't believe what happened next. He just shook his head and said 'Non'. At first I thought he was joking, but soon realised he wasn't when he kept riding past me..."

As my team manager, Vincent Lavenu, in the car behind shouted into Gadret's earpiece to wait, I took my wheel out and waited for a new one. All the time the group -- including Gadret -- was riding up the mountain, away from me..."

Is it any wonder then that Roche started his latest column for the Irish Independent with the following lead? "If John Gadret is found dead in his hotel room in the morning, I will probably be the primary suspect."

Why choose sides in a baseless and completely overblown fake-drama concerning a botched shift, when you can choose sides in a serious and legitimate scandal concerning a front wheel puncture and shameless disloyalty and selfishness! You can join the FaceBook group "Don't Ride Like John Gadret - a Shameless and Disloyal Opportunist" to share your displeasure at John Gadret with like-minded individuals.

Quote of the day: "Very angry!!! Puncture happens but being left behind by attacking team mate is other!" An annoyed Nicolas Roche took exception to AG2R team-mate John Gadret's ill-timed attack - just as Roche had punctured at the foot of the Port de Bales. The Irish-Frenchman removed this tweet shortly after putting it up online. - H/T Blazin'Saddles

UPDATE: Expert Analysis - Pappillon asked the victim's father, Stephen Roche (himself a Tour winner - from the "Golden Age" of modern pro cycling, no less), for his thoughts on the stage. We're happy to share them here:

"The highlight of the day would have been the attack of Contador, which in actual fact was the attack of Schleck. People are putting too much emphasis of the fact that Contador attacked Schleck, when in actual fact Schleck attacked first and Contador basically came after him and went by him. I think it was very unfair to say that Contador attacked Schleck, when in actual fact it was the other way round.

The fact that Schleck had mechanical trouble – that's his problem. It's all just part of the race. You can't just stop the race if some guy makes a mess of his gears, or his gear change or chooses the wrong gear or has a mechanical problem, that's just the way it goes. Contador was actually hesitant to go on, he looked around a couple of times before he actually put his head down, and he was with Menchov and Sanchez so what was he expected to do? Should he have backed off and said “I'm sorry, my good friend down the road there has had a problem and I'm going to wait for him”?

Schleck was blessed with the stage into Spa where Cancellara actually cancelled the race so Schleck could get back on again. At the end of the day, it's all part of bike racing. If the guy had been on the ground, and had a fall, or an injury or whatever, you'd say yeah okay, it's not the in thing to attack – but the race was in full flight and Andy Schleck launched the race himself.

I didn't hear his comments at the finish, but for me I have no problem at all with the way Contador rode and I think we should look at the thing from the mechanical cycling point of view rather than that of a journalist who just sees the guy attacking, he doesn't see the actual mechanics of the thing. People believe what journalists say, like Contador shouldn't have attacked – but that's just coming off the top of the journalist's head, whereas if he analysed what happened he would have to change his view because Schleck attacks, first of all, then Contador comes after him and goes past him – as he's going past him, Schleck has a problem.

Contador was in full flight, so he can't stop. Well, he could have stopped, but they're in the middle of a war and you don't stop the battle because a guy's chain has come off. They're professional bike riders, it's not a game they're playing – these boys are getting paid for what they're doing in a professional sport and we all love to see the attacking and the spectacle.

Andy Schleck rode a brilliant race to get back and only lose 30 seconds because he came back to earn 12 seconds on top of the climb. It was a great ride by Andy Schleck, and that's what makes champions. Contador could have said “Andy, I'll wait for you because I'm going to take the Yellow Jersey off you anyway, in Bordeaux” and then we would all have said Contador is no tactician, he has no panache, he's just relying on the final time trial. I think what happened today was great racing and don't focus on the fact that Schleck had a chain problem as it's all part of bike racing."

Final Thoughts: Thanks to Nicolas Roche himself for the follow on Twitter - we promise to restrain our tweeting so as not to flood your inbox. Click here to follow Roche yourself, and to show your support for Irish cycling (and Team ag2r-LaMondiale). And of course, you can follow Pappillon on Twitter, where we post links to shocking direct evidence of doping every time another 50 followers are added.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vino is God; and Alberto Contador is Jesus Christ, His Son

Unless he tests positive again (something that we don't believe will happen), Vino has banked himself a limitless supply of esteem and good will with Pappillon. There is not enough good we can say about the fiery Kazakh, winner of yesterday's 13th stage of the Tour de France, and perhaps the greatest race animator currently performing in cyclesport. 

Recommended reading is this inspiring biographical sketch of Vino appearing at the Cozy Beehive, and BikeSnob's pro-Vino hysterics. Sporza reveals the Quiet Side of Vino.

Even the sunflowers find a Vino Victory to be uplifting...

No hugs like this for Lance from 'Berto...

Photos (c)
In Vino, Veritas!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why Punish Renshaw and Not Cavendish?

Why punish the leadout man and not Cavendish? Because in this case Cav' isn't to blame (although he benefited from the illegal, unfair, dangerous, and shifty tactics of his right-hand man Mark Renshaw).

(You know what Mark Renshaw looks like, so how 'bout some bikini babe racer-chasers?)

To have punished Cavendish would have been just as unfair as the disgraceful riding of his teammate. Thus, the jury took the only decision it could, given the intent to send a strong message against further incidents of road rage - booting Renshaw from the race.

As Farrar wryly noted after the finish, before news of Renshaw's ejection began to circulate, what would have been the impact of declassifying Renshaw from 30th place to last place? There wouldn't have been an effect, of course, other than to reinforce official tolerance for such dishonorable behavior.

And so, in a rare show of strength and character, the race jury told Renshaw to sprint for the hills and get the hell out of the Tour de France!

Note: some commentators prematurely credited Cavendish with displaying a new-found maturity in accepting the punishment given to his pilot fish. But not so fast - Cav' clearly has not grown-up and is convinced that he is the peloton's most persecuted sprinter: "It's always us, isn't it? There were two guys fighting the other day. I can't really make a comment."

Inconsistencies in the Armstrong Myth

As an author of everything from blog posts to training advice columns to product reviews, race reports and rider diaries, for me there is no greater compliment than when another writer cites my work as the definitive treatment of some particular topic - and declines to attempt to add his own spin to the issue. I'd like to extend that recognition to Joe Lindsey of Bicycling, who in his latest "Boulder Report" blog post writes everything there was to write about the glaring and scary inconsistencies in the explanations Team Armstrong struggled to deliver in an attempt to find legal cover and protection from charges that @lancearmstrong participated in contract fraud (PS. Thanks again for the follow, Lance!).

I've read the entire transcript from Lance's SCA deposition, so when I heard the man claim not to have had any ownership interest in Tailwind Sports, I choked on my Cheerios. Thankfully, there was Joe Lindsey to write the response that I wish I could have.

If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend it. Excerpts follow:

"...So if Armstrong really was granted Tailwind stock in December of 2007, just as the company’s most profitable era was at a close and its days as a corporate entity altogether were numbered, then on an investment level that’s about like taking a long stake in BP on April 21. That would be an uncharacteristic lapse for Armstrong, who once bragged of his own financial savvy that he gave Stapleton investment advice..." and

"...Armstrong has sometimes been accused of using his work with his cancer foundation as a shield against criticism. That is a charge I’ve never made. But I’ve also never heard him invoke that substantive and important legacy in such a bold fashion as he did today. And he seems to be willfully unaware that this is a federal criminal investigation; his interest in participating is immaterial.

Armstrong’s work on behalf of fighting cancer isn’t the issue here. The issue is whether or not Floyd Landis is telling the truth and, if he is, whether Lance Armstrong knowingly used Postal Service money to dope to win the Tour de France and enrich himself, thus defrauding the federal government.

I don’t know what’s up with Lance Armstrong these days, on the bike or off. But I wonder if he doesn’t wake up some days and wish he’d just stayed retired."

An enormous volume of information is growing ever-larger by the day. Maybe it's time to review the Lance Armstrong Doping History

I'm sure you've all already seen Lance's attorney's attempt to explain away the inconsistencies. Does it seem to anyone else like a replay of the set-up for the backdated Cortisone TUE? I couldn't have said it better than the reader who left this comment regarding the discovery of the murky and unclear ownership structure:

"It keeps their options open. If no inquiries ever happen, then Armstrong (of course) was an owner soon after he won the 1st Tour. If anyone ever questions anything, then (of course) Armstrong can produce paperwork that shows he ownership position was "undefinable". I'm sure the legal team is working overtime right now."


PS. H/T to Business Insider for their suggestion of a new question to pose to Lance Armstrong, and other suspected dopers:

"Given the details in Landis' latest account, the question that should be put to Armstrong is 'Have you ever had blood removed and stored and then transfused back into your body during the Tour de France?'"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Courageous Kohl Confirms Details of Transfusions While Armstrong Denies

Discovered to have cheated en route to finishing third overall and first in the KOM competition in the 2008 Tour de France, Bernhard Kohl eventually did the most honorable thing he could and revealed the full extent of his subterfuge after being publicly humiliated for doping with CERA. And in exchange for cooperating extensively with the subsequent Austrian investigations, and naming his co-conspirators, clients and suppliers - a rare step even for repentant dopers - for his troubles Kohl was given a life ban, suspended to six years.

In contrast, despite the discovery of his blood in the freezer of notorious  Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, 2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso had the audacity to claim that his only crime was "attempted doping." With unflappable Italian style and panache, Basso explained that even though he had planned to blood dope for the 2006 Tour de France, he had actually never taken banned drugs or used blood transfusions.

“I did admit having attempted to use doping for the (2006) Tour de France and I am ready to pay the penalty for that,” Basso said. “All my wins have been achieved in a proper and clean manner and I have every intention of returning to action and continuing with the job I love once I have paid the penalty.”

Thus, the rider whose blood was identified by the moniker Birillo - the name of Basso's family dog - served an abbreviated two-year ban after refusing to admit to having done anything worse than think about doping. He returned to the lucrative top-tier of professional cycling in late-2008 and earlier this year won his second Giro d'Italia. 

Bernhard Kohl, meanwhile, is the owner of a bike shop in Austria.

While Basso is again being paid hundreds of thousands of euros to ride his bike over the mountains of Europe, all the while publishing on the internet the results of numerous blood tests in an effort to convince the public (and authorities?) that he is clean, it is Bernhard Kohl who gets on with the hard work of fighting against the very same doping that - depending on your perspective - either destroyed, or fueled, his career.

Even after earning a lifetime ban from cycling for his troubles.

Lance Armstrong is waging a desperate rear-guard action to deflect scrutiny from his own possible doping back onto his accuser Floyd Landis (another Tour cheat), claiming that his compatriot's tales of a frighteningly-brazen team-wide doping program at US Postal can't be taken seriously because of Landis's history of lying about his own doping. Lost in the din is the voice of Bernhard Kohl, quietly confirming the protocol Landis detailed for conducting illegal blood transfusions during the Tour de France.

"That was exactly the way I also did it," Kohl told the Wall Street Journal, referring to Landis’ description of how the transfusions were carried out by the team. "The details of the blood bags and the checking for cameras and microphones, the cutting up of the bags and flushing them in the toilet…it all took place in exactly that way."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thanks for the Follow, Lance Armstrong

A picture is worth a thousand words, I believe they say...

Have you always wanted to have something in common with Lance Armstrong other than a love of cycling and money, or a predilection for shameless doping? If so, check me out on Twitter - but if you decide to follow, don't be like Lance and wuss-out a few hours later.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Papp is the Smith of Hungary

Unfortunately, not a relation...though we'd love to do an interview with Eniko Papp for Pappillon.

Tour Feminin - O cenu Ceskeho Svycarska, CZE, 2.2

July 8, Stage 1: Krásná Lipá 116.1km

150 Judith Bloem (Ned) Leiter von Jan Van Arkel 0:23:39
151 Lucie Záleská (Cze) Dukla Praha 0:24:17
152 Katarina Hranaiová (Cze) Czech Republic 0:28:30
153 Susanne As (Ned) Dura Vermerr Ladies Tea 0:29:05
154 Eniko Papp (Hun) Hungary 0:29:07
155 Lada Kozlíková (Cze) Dukla Praha
156 Jovana Krtinic (Srb) Team Mix Serbia 0:37:08
157 Annika Heijnen (Ned) Sram-Wv Eemland 0:37:53
158 Joanna Hickey (Irl) Ireland 0:38:05
159 Marija Kuzeljevic (Srb) Team Mix Serbia 0:38:25
160 Daphne Kleef (Ned) Restore Cycling Ladies 0:39:34

Full Results...

Eniko apparently did well at the national championships, too.

H/T Simon Wicks - thanks!

Friday, July 09, 2010

F1 Guest Post: Stop Picking on Michael Schumacher!

I think I must be like someone who gives up smoking. There is a certain kind of person who once they finally quit the habit, become crusaders of anti-smoking. From a position of defending their right to go off and have a cigrarette whenever they want, they become the scourge of anyone lighting up in their vicinity.

For many years, not liking and not appreciating Michael Schumacher was my 40-a-day habit. I thought he was artful and clever but not as outstanding brilliant as people made out. In 1994 he may or may not have driven into Damon Hill deliberately to win his first World Championship - but the fact that no Schumi fan could deny is that under pressure in Adelaide he cracked and drove straight off the road.

These days that is all water under the bridge. Schumacher's return to the sport has added a layer of interest that is incalculable. If F1 wanted to publicise itself to the wavering fan out there then it would cost millions of dollars in a global media campaign to push the brand.

Michael's decision to return to the sport must have been worth tens of millions of dollars of free advertising for F1. Not only that, but it drew back a lot of the fans who wanted to see if the old rascal could still win, and some who maybe just wanted to see him lose.

Schumacher's name on the grid adds a lustre to the sport like no other. It would be tough to lose Alonso and Hamilton because they are like the Jacob Black and Edward Cullen of F1 (that's a Twilight reference in case you missed it). i.e. they're always at it. But former Champions like Raikkonen and Villeneuve just melted away from the sport with little reaction except from their home fans.

Should we not have Michael occupying the second Mercedes then it would be filled by Nick Heidfeld. You see my point.

Former drivers have been queuing up to have a go at him recently now that the early win and early podium have failed to show up, and these last two races he's been blasted. And it's beginning to annoy me.
In Canada he was unlucky to come up against someone as tenacious as Robert Kubica who once Michael closed the door on him was prepared to keep his foot in and stick two wheels on the grass - the rest was downhill after that. In Valencia he had the potential to get his car in the top five but was stymied with the same kind of Safety Car bad luck that saw Felipe Massa banished to also-ran status from a very promising position.

So far this season Michael has shown us that he is the thinking driver, prepared to go for alternative strategies when Plan A goes out of the window. We're lucky just to have him here. He adds a fantastic benchmark of achievement to the series.

Pundits and commentators have been saying that he's harming his legacy and undermining the achievements of previous seasons with Benetton and Ferrari, but so what. The only person who's qualified to judge whether that matters or not is Michael Schumacher himself. It's his legacy.

Michael likes the cut and thrust of racing cars. He also likes the challenge of developing cars and he's hardly even started that yet. Right now Mercedes are caught up in the 2010 development race with Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, and are split between pushing in 2010 and planning ahead for 2011.

We will only see the true Schumi effect in 2011 - 2010 looks to be about recalibrating and making notes. For those who question whether he should be on the grid or not, who would you sooner have - one of the career cul-de-sac F1 drivers or a GP2 unknown, or a seven-times World Champion...? It's not tricky.

Andrew Davies

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Pévenage avoue sa faute - Rudy Pévenage Confesses

Nice to see that Jan Ullrich's ex-mentor and former T-Mobile sporting director Rudy Pévenage finally confessed to his role in facilitating Jan Ullrich's interaction with the infamous doping doctor Fuentes. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll see a confession from Ullrich himself anytime soon, as the liability he'd face would be massive. A tell-all book is still a possibility.

There are many areas of inquiry and angles one could follow in dissecting the article. In fact, you can do just that in the Forum discussion - join the fray. But one of the first things I'd hope you would take from it is Pévenage's insinuation that he - and others - believed that while a majority of European-registered teams were dismantling their doping programs after the 1998 Festina Affair, Armstrong and Bruyneel were radically ramping-up theirs. From the article that appeared in French daily L'Equipe

"Rudy Pévenage demeure critique envers Lance Armstrong, le concurrent de l'époque. «Cette rivalité nous a poussés à faire le maximum pour le battre. On n'était pas des idiots non plus, on connaissait Armstrong avant son cancer. La métamorphose après son retour fut tellement extraordinaire. Je suis toujours convaincu que Jan était nettement plus fort physiquement."


Rudy Pevenage remains critical of Lance Armstrong, the competitor of the time. "The rivalry has pushed us to do our utmost to beat him. We were not stupid either, Armstrong was known before his cancer. The metamorphosis after his return was so great. I am still convinced that Jan was much stronger physically."

Draw your own conclusions. 

Random aside: what will the members of the cycling press/media who have been Lance Armstrong cheerleaders for 11 years (basically, all of them) say once his guilt is established in a US court of law, given the fact that casual cycling fans have known - and proclaimed - for years that Lance was doping his way through France while they stuck their collective heads in the sand? 

And yes, Johann Bruyneel was an incredibly successful director, based on the number of Tour wins his riders achieved. But what set Bruyneel apart from his peers was not some magical ability to divine the thoughts of his rivals and counter their every move. No, what made him different was his willingness to assume the incalculable risks necessary to facilitate one of the most brazen and logistically-complex systematic doping programs in the history of cycling. That's it. His willingness to risk getting caught breaking the law, and his ability to master the logistics of a complex, illegal, extremely-risky and expensive doping program were the two competitive advantages he held over his rivals. That Lance Armstrong was his twin in that evil endeavour was his trump card.

bike-pure: fighting for a cultural shift in cycling

I'm a romantic realist, and I can accept that doping will never be completely eliminated from sport - just like cheating is a regrettable facet of life for some people. However, thanks to Bike-Pure, fans of cycling can now unify their voices and deliver loud-and-clear the message that we do not accept the fallacy that to be successful in cyclesport you have to dope. We want clean champions and those sponsors that fund ethical squads are the ones that will enjoy our patronage.If you haven't already, join the bike-pure movement, and tell 'em I sent ya.

CyclingTorrents - Race Video Site

Let's say that you have more time to consume content than you have content, and you're a wicked fan of cycling. Maybe Jan Ullrich was your favorite racer, and you've never seen him win gold yet in the 2000 Olympics. What do you do? Well, back in the old days you might have tried to get a paper catalog from World Cycling Productions (WCP) in hopes that they might have a video of the event in question, which would have run you at least $45USD. Now, however, thanks to the wonder of the internet, if you're willing to tread through what the site's own founders admit is a "grey area," you might be able to download free of charge a copy of the Olympic Road Race via the truly amazing website

Using the site's very simple yet thorough search feature, you'll quickly find the torrent for the race video you desire: example. You're on your own as for how to actually get the video onto your hard-drive (I don't encourage any behavior that you might find unethical or of concern), but trust me, it's not that hard.

Enjoy the show. This is a really cool site and it has made accessible some footage that would otherwise be both lost and inaccessible to the masses.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Much to my surprise, urbandictionary didn't contain an entry for 'friendsumer,' something I had to reassure a long-lost friend who recently contacted me looking for a referral on the Continent that he was not. I rushed through the "example of the word being used in a sentence" section, so I won't reproduce it here, but the basic definition of the word follows. Please feel free to share feedback to refine the definition or offer an alternative.

friendsumer - (noun): One who treats friends and the relationships that define them as expendable commodities to be consumed when convenient, depleted, used-up and eventually tossed-away without concern for the norms of social behavior and interaction.

Quick Reactions to Stage 4 and download some Torrents!

With today's fourth stage of the Tour de France in the books, there were a couple of interesting items that I think merited discussion, and which I'd like to (very briefly) highlight for you here.

1). Alessandro Petacchi's resurgence as a field sprinter - it brings a tear to my eye to see Ale-Jet reliving his past glories and winning a sprint against all of the best, fair-and-square. And it's reassuring to see that Petacchi's style is unchanged - he was always the type of sprinter to win with a long effort, one that wound-up to terminal velocity over 250-300m, as opposed to the punchy, explosive bursts of a rider like Cav'.

And though I cringe when I say it and it's dreadful to my ears, I'm 35, and Petacchi, McEwen and Dean were riders who I either tried to emulate growing up, or in some cases actually raced against (Dean). We're all long-in-the-tooth now, and it's somewhat sad to have to accept the fact that Petacchi and his erstwhile rival McEwen will be bowing out of the sport within the next two years, but what a pleasant shock to the system now to see Petacchi claw his way back to the top step of the podium after so many years in the wilderness. (Yes I know Petacchi won stages in the Giro last year, but riding for LPR was to be in the wilderness!)

If you weren't a fan of cycling back in the early-2000's when Ale-Jet was just getting fitted with those afterburners, and you don't know what all the fuss is about and why I think it's so magnificent to see him dominating the sprints thus far in the Tour, I strongly suggest you visit the CyclingTorrents website and download as much coverage from the 2003 Giro, Tour and Vuelta as you can. Petacchi's record in each:
Tour de France:
Winner stages 2, 3, 5 & 6
Giro d'Italia:
Winner stages 1, 5, 6, 13, 16 & 17
Vuelta a España:
Winner stages 3, 5, 12, 14 & 21

Oh, and in case you were wondering - yes, it is the geriatric Metamucil sprinter's Tour de France. According to, "The top five in today's stage boasted ages of 36 (Petacchi), 34 (Dean), 23 (Boasson Hagen), 38 (McEwen) and 33 (Hunter), with the Norwegian at least a decade younger than the next youngest man in the first five over the line" 

Lat year's bad-boy wunderkind Mark Cavendish, who finally it would seem is being force-fed a heaping serving of humble pie, should listen to Thor Hushovd and perhaps give the Norwegian's classy-style a test ride for himself. Again according to, "Points classification leader Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) was impressed by the performance of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) at the finish of the fourth stage in Reims on Wednesday, as the Italian celebrated his second Tour de France stage victory having already won in Brussels on Sunday. 'Petacchi is really strong,' Hushovd told Cyclingnews. 'He is absolutely the best sprinter in this race at the moment.'"

2). Payback is a bitch and she's about to bend Mark Cavendish over a barrel. It will be interesting to see whether Cav's public persona starts trending towards a more reasonable, respect-my-colleagues self-confidence, or whether he'll continue to be a brash little boor who denigrates and insults even his teammates. André Greipel certainly hasn't forgotten how Cavendish disrespected him in public and insulted his fellow HTC-Columbia sprinter in the press (image courtesy of NYVelocity, home of "As the Toto Turns").

The big (really big) German, who is racing the Tour of Austria while Cav' is in France, had this to say about the whining little Tommy:

"Scheiße! Cavendish ist langsamer als meine Mutter! Ich wünsche,dass ich in Frankreich war. Warum bin ich in Österreich, nicht in Frankreich?"

"Shit! Cavendish is slower than my mother! I wish I was in France. Why I am in Austria, not in France?"


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, where we tend to more frequently comment on the bike game and share hints of scandal and intrigue to come. It's anomalous that so much content has been posted here in the last few days, but credit the Tour-effect for that. Lastly, Pappillon is in desperate need of motivation and a task-master to push us to follow through on a full plate's worth of stalled projects. If ANYONE has any suggestions (even vulgar ones) as to how we can reinvent ourselves and find the focus required to get back on track, please share via comments. Thanks.