The Puerto Purge Continues

Jun 30 2006

Though events have progressed somewhat from this morning, my Violation of Liberty Sense is still raging over this latest round of revelations in Operation Puerto. My earlier assertion, that the ASO had blocked accused riders from competing, was incorrect; their teams suspended them after a meeting (I’m guessing closed-door) of the directeurs sportif of all the teams at this year’s Tour. That is the only mistake I will concede in my earlier assessment of this affair.

Neither I, nor anyone else in the media, it seems, has seen this mystery document, EGB n°116, that has convinced everyone it’s ok to just up and stop riders from racing over mere suspicion. Some of you might add “oh, but there’s evidence, too”; would that “evidence” be nicknames like “Hijo Rudico” and “Birillo” jotted down in the margins of some Spanish dope doctor’s notebook? The same “evidence” that the highest court in sport flatly rejected 24 hours ago?

You can cry until the cows come home about secret decoders and the image of the sport, but what cycling needs to focus on in dealing with a scandal this huge is integrity. Anti-doping crusaders need to respect the rights of accused riders the same way the anti-dopers wish riders would respect the rules of the sport; just stringing up the (detailed, even-handed article, eh?) scapegoats (yeah, remember Botero? His name hasn’t come back up again yet. Ah, well. Sucks for him) isn’t going to cut it.

Above all, the governing bodies need to stop releasing (and the media needs to stop repeating) these b-llsh-t “charges-before-evidence” reports; it goes “loot, warrant, crook”, in that order. Haven’t they ever played Carmen Sandiego? Stop blasting out wild figures (First, it’s 200 riders, now it’s just 58 (or 56), or 31, perhaps just 22, though only 9 have been stopped thus far) and back it up with a scanned PDF of the document that accuses them. If you can’t produce evidence of that caliber, maybe you shouldn’t be printing the story.

Finally, what can you, the lowly fan, do to help out? Well, you could try getting down off that 66cm frame of yours, and perhaps stop villianizing dopers. Write a letter or an email to the ASO, UCI or even some of the major team sponsors, and let them know that it’s not ok to punish people based on innuedeno and public opinion; otherwise, this might be the only way you’ll see your favorites in the Tour de France.

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6 Responses to “The Puerto Purge Continues”

  1. Anonymous 30 June 2006 at 3:40 pm #

    boo hoo. bunch of druggies got caught cheating. throw em in the fire…

  2. Lostcheerio 30 June 2006 at 8:21 pm #

    I think the timing of it is just vile. And suspect. What more dramatic moment could they possibly have chosen? It *can’t* be coincidence that it just all happens to come down on the very eve of the start. Ridiculous. What a rotten thing for those guys who got booted.

  3. Anonymous 30 June 2006 at 10:18 pm #


    I don’t think it’s so much the fact that there isn’t hard evidence. Each one of these riders has signed a code of conduct that states that can’t even be implicated.


    Because the sport is littered with cheaters. So I say ban them all for being involved.

    – jd

  4. Anonymous 30 June 2006 at 11:08 pm #

    If the favorites are doped, or if I highly suspect they are doped, then I’d rather not see them at all.


  5. Michael 1 July 2006 at 3:51 pm #

    I agree completely.

    I’m so thankful that I found your blog and can finally read a rational interpretation of the events and gain clarity in the process.

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Anonymous 5 July 2006 at 11:42 pm #

    After the inquisition, the terror—Jörg Ludewig *thinks* about taking performance enhancing products, and his former employer is quoted ( as follows:

    Gerolsteiner Team Manager Hans-Michael Holczer didn’t mince his words: “I would have fired him immediately and risked the employment rights lawsuit!”

    Even allowing for bravado and bluster, the behavior of the sanctimonious good guys is becoming worse than that of the alleged bad guys. Given the vain struggle of the authorities to put their houses and the sport into good order, perhaps they should abandon doping control in favor of thought policing. What next—a star chamber?

    Thank you for airing these issues on your website.

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