Raw Documents – The Verbruggen/Landis Exchange

Feb 4 2011

When Paul Kimmage released the full transcript of his interview with Floyd Landis earlier this week, it didn’t take a PR expert to predict what the UCI’s response would be. Pat McQuaid flatly denied all allegations made in the interview, claimed that “there has never been corruption in the UCI”, and went on to take a few swipes at “bloggers and so forth”.

While it may be true that a good deal of Landis’ allegations are difficult to substantiate, paperwork obtained by Cyclocosm indicates at least one claim happens to be very well-documented: Floyd’s back-and-forth with the UCI over unpaid wages from 2001.

In that year, Landis was riding for Mercury-Viatel, an American-registered squad that had just made the jump to Division 1 in hopes of gaining entry to the Tour de France. Due to some colossal mismanagement (you can read Whit Yost‘s fantastic first-hand account here and here), the team was in serious financial difficulty by March—the same point that Landis’ paychecks stopped arriving.

The UCI has a set of regulations concerning pro teams, and one of them involves a sizable bank guarantee, to be opened by the UCI to pay riders and staff in the event the team cannot make payments. Despite repeated requests, the UCI refused to draw from the guarantee to pay Landis, and after two more months, he hired a lawyer. This is where our paper trail begins:

First Document – 30 Jul 2001: An email from Michael P Rutherford, a lawyer representing both Chris Horner (Floyd’s teammate on Mercury) and Floyd Landis, to the UCI. It is addressed “Dear Sirs” but mentions prior conversations with “Mr. Rumpf” and “Mr. Verbiest” [most likely Alain Rumpf, the current director of the UCI ProTour, and Philippe Verbiest, a lawyer for the UCI, who threatened legal action against Landis after his confessions last year].

The message expresses Rutherford’s concern at his inability to contact the correct parties at the UCI regarding the bank guarantee (“I was told there was no one who can tell me the current situation”), and states firmly but politely that the rule obligates the UCI to pay (“the rule is quite clear that the UCI is required to draw upon the bank guarantee”). The letter concludes with a “request that the UCI contact me immediately”. [download document].

Second Document – 9 Aug 2001: A fax from Rutherford to Christian Varin, former UCI anti-doping co-ordinator. The message acknowledges a fax sent from Varin the previous day, presumably about the bank guarantee.

In this second document, Rutherford’s wording is more direct (“Therefore I once again demand that the UCI draw on the bank guarantee”), and details are discussed in greater depth. Mercury-Viatel manager John Wordin has apparently revealed his inability to pay to Horner and Landis, as well as the UCI, and “therefore it is continuing negligence of the UCI” to not draw on the bank guarantee.

Rutherford mentions that Wordin and Verbiest are attempting to forge “an alternative solution” with the riders, but forcefully insists that “Mr. Horner and Mr. Landis will not agree to the arrangement”, and thus the guarantee must be drawn on. Failure to do so, Rutherford reiterates, “is therefore subjecting the UCI to possible liability”; he goes on to question whether the bank guarantee even exists, and requests “satisfactory proof” of it immediately.

The fax’s final paragraph begins with an appeal to mercy (“Mr. Horner had to have a garage sale to pay his monthly bills and feed his children this month”), rolls into a cataloguing of the treachery of Wordin (he “continues to spend what money he has left on his personal bills and proposition new riders for the year 2002 while he simultaneously tells his riders to stick by him and he will provide them with jobs…”), before closing by asking the UCI to see that riders “will be taking care of [sic] rather than being further victimized”. [download document]

Final Document – 10 Aug 2001 A fax from UCI President Hein Verbruggen to Rutherford, insisting that Rutherford’s “aggressive approach might perhaps work in the USA, but it does not in Europe, and most definitely, not with me”. Verbruggen maintains that the UCI legal department has “explicitly followed the rules”.

The fax goes on to suggest that the amount of money involved is too small to worry about (“Your aggressiveness is not at all justified by a claim of $6,666.66″), and that because of the legal action implied by the letter, the UCI will now drag its feet on the claim (“I have given order to our legal department to take the tone of your approach into account when it comes to following up on your request”). [download document]

These documents reveal a UCI that isn’t as beyond reproach as McQuaid insists. Rutherford’s letters, for all their rambling, typo-rich freneticism, are hardly what most people would consider “aggressive” in stance, suggesting “possible” liability, and making no explicit threat of further action. The opacity Rutherford complains about is as frustrating as ever, and his most serious allegation—that the UCI might not actually have a valid bank guarantee—turns out not to be so crazy.

In fact, the legal standing of Landis’ complaint might be among the least-compelling things brought up in this exchange. I believe that this portion of the UCI rulebook currently lays out the protocol for drawing on a bank guarantee. With a decade of potential changes between this case and today, it’s tough to tell, but the immediacy with which the UCI must pay up doesn’t seem to be specified.

What’s definitely not present in the statute, however, is any clause saying that creditors will be paid by the UCI based on their attitude toward the governing body. While I’ll stop short of calling Verbruggen’s actions “corruption”, they certainly don’t inspire faith in the integrity of the organization—especially after that line about how this “might work in the USA”. In case you’d forgotten, this isn’t the first time Verbruggen’s used a comparison with the United States as means of derision.

Furthermore, Verbruggen’s reply fails to address any of the rather pertinent issues in Rutherford’s letters. While I admire the effort to mediate the Mercury disaster, that’s a matter for Wordin’s lawyers, not the UCI’s. The continued wheeling-and-dealing of an admittedly destitute team manager is just the sort of thing the UCI should be aiming to squelch. Is it any wonder that Landis took the UCI’s behavior in this case as a sign that it had no intentions of following through on its own guidelines?

Aside from starkly refuting the picture of the UCI presented by its president, these documents also go a good way toward restoring a bit of Landis’ battered credibility. His recollection of the events described run very close to the facts, and even Verbruggen’s mean-spirited reply does not seem to have been unduly slanted. While I wouldn’t interpret it as proof for his full battery of allegations, it certainly takes the “Floyd has zero credibility” rebuttal off the table.

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70 Responses to “Raw Documents – The Verbruggen/Landis Exchange”

  1. HP February 4, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Good stuff

  2. James February 4, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Wow, excellent reporting Cosmo, thanks for bringing this stuff to light. The evidence that the UCI is rotten to the core seems to be mounting.

  3. TdF Lanterne Rouge February 4, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Thank you for documenting this shocking and disgusting betrayal of the riders.

  4. SQUADRA February 4, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    excellent Journalism.

  5. DB February 4, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Yet again more evidence of the corruptness of the UCI. It stinks. The sooner it is burnt to the ground and rebuilt a new with new people at the helm who actually care about cycling and not their personal enrichment the better for the sport and its participants.

  6. Dave February 4, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Well done!!! All the cyclists banished by the sport may not be as crazy as the powers want us to believe. I am sure there is more to come!

  7. ryank February 4, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    Damn, nice work.

    UCIless, am I right?

  8. Bo L. February 4, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Interesting read. Have you been reading what Joe Lindsey has been saying about the UCI acting to ostracize riders, teams, and companies in cycling over at the “boulder Report”? Also a good read.

  9. Bruce February 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    What would be an interesting follow-up to this piece is to find out how long it took the European riders on Mercury to get their bank guarantees. Word had it that they Euros got their money rather quickly after the team folded.

  10. Tommy Romunsky February 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Bravo Cosmo, next time your in Boulder the beers are on me.

  11. Lebelweg February 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    An interesting series of correspondence, and apparently, Landis may be accurate in his description of these events. However, this does not it any way remove the “Floyd has zero credibility” rebuttal off the table. It is entirely plausible that one may, for one’s own advantage, spike titbits of truth into allegations in order to bolster them. Hence, Landis’ story of the last 10 years may be mostly tru, but it is the 1% which may not be true that is up for questioning. Furthermore, there is no link between this and Flandis’ doping allegations and these issues. Why, if he is telling the truth/lying in this instance, must that mean that he is lying/telling the truth in another instance? All this correspondence does is suggest that with regard to paying of wages in 2001, Landis appears, based on this evidence, to be correct. Find a series of papers corroborating the other allegations, then Flandis’ credibility is restored. Remember also, regarding doping, Landis has said two things: i) he didn’t dope-’proven’by his own admission and doping tests to be false. ii) Lance and others doped. On the subject of doping at least, based on evidence not hearsay and opinion, Landis officially has no credibility as he has a 0% accuracy rat thus far!

    Just to mention, I’m not pro/anti Armstrong or Lance, just wanted to point out the fallibility of your detective work!

  12. wil February 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Well done.

    Is there a follow-up summary of what – if anything – eventually happened?

  13. WorldWide February 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Well done, Cosmo

  14. still left wondering February 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Very good points Lebelweg… Everyone here seems to be very quick to find new villains and believe in all sorts of various mis-deeds

  15. Mike Tyson February 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Next to the UCI, boxing looks downright honorable and respectable.

  16. velomonkey February 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Man, you rock! You are doing more than anyone at velonews.

  17. Eric February 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    The riders salaraies are only part of the issue in the Mercury disaster, and yes, anyone who has ever dealt with large organizations knows that demanding a certain outcomes, payment from kitty so to speak, is but one of many considerations regarding the team and the UCI has to take them all into account. If anyone doubts the acerbic accussations dealt with by Verbruggen, please not that a multisided affair is being dropped as the basis for an accussation that the UCI is corrupt and taking bribes rather than trying to be neutral aribiter and perhaps prevent the collapse of a cycling team in an emerging market.

  18. Eric February 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    One other point here, any organization embattled in a legal dispute is allowed to have their lawyers more aggressively advance their contention. The idea that Landis’s salary should be the over-ridding concern in the affair seems disingenuous. If we really want the ‘truth’ then it would be good to see the ‘leaked’ letters from the other parties involved in the dispute, including what Yolk was telling the UCI as it arbited. If the situation appeared to headed to resolution, or until such time as it is clear that it is not, the seeking legal counsel and demanding one resolution of the situation may indeed be met with, “Cool your jets.”

  19. LastBoyScout February 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    After reading Cosmo’s last several posts, I’ve been left wondering as to the real role of the UCI in international cycling. What is the role of the UCI? Do they protect the “sport”, riders, teams, race organizers? Who is their constituency?

    According to the UCI’s website, “The UCI’s mission is to develop and promote cycling, in close collaboration with National Federations.” (http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI5/layout.asp?MenuId=MTI2NDU&LangId=1 ). Upon reading this, I immediately thought of F1, where the saying goes, “What is good for Ferrari is good for F1.” Both the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile = F1′s governing body) and the UCI are similar in their desires to grow their market share (thus increasing profits). Increasing market share depends on fans. Fans like to follow individuals and teams. The logical conclusion is that fans want to see their favorites compete and that this desire is known by both sports’ governing bodies.

    The major difference between the FIA and the UCI stems from the procedures for disciplining violations. The FIA uses a centralized system to handle incidents. The UCI tosses decisions, at least in the doping context, to the National Federations. Put another way, the UCI is leaving national foxes to guard national hen houses.

    It seems that this is EXACTLY what is being done with respect to Contador. The UCI deferred to the Spanish Federation for the punishment. The Spanish Federation benefitted from kid-glove treatment of Contador. The Spanish Federation needs to protect Spanish stars. In Vino’s case, the Kazakh Federation similarly tried to protect Vino. (Feel free to add additional examples). The end result is the same, the National Federation helps its stars while the UCI benefits from having stars back on the road relatively quickly.

    ——
    Lebelweg,

    Credibility is always at issue. That some of Landis’s story can be objectively supported helps to bolster his credibility generally. You need general support because there will ALWAYS be aspects of a story of which only one or two people have actual knowledge.

    There has been too much attention focused on the Floyd Fairness Fund, Floyd’s denial and subsequent admission. The point that seemed evident to me in the Landis/Kimmage interview on this point was that Floyd remains upset over being “caught” for using a banned substance that he WAS NOT USING at the time. (Perhaps that’s why it was called the Floyd FAIRNESS Fund?).

    KIMMAGE INTERVIEW (sorry about lack of proper block quote):
    So you take the yellow jersey in the Pyrenees at Val ‘D’Aran, lose it to Pereiro two days later, win it back on Alpe D’Heuz, lose the next day at La Toussuire and move back into the driving seat the next day with the epic ride to Morzine. You submit to doping control after the stage and submit a sample with traces of testosterone. Where did that come from? My read was that it was in a transfusion?
    That was the hypothesis that a lot of people came up with and I couldn’t defend against it at the time because I couldn’t just say ‘This is when I did the transfusion and this is when the positive test came.’ But then they went back and ran the B samples on other tests and the pattern of the positives they came up with can in no way be related to the blood bags. It just doesn’t make sense. And the complexity of the test made it so that they could convict me without anybody actually looking at what they actually did. That lab…they probably do some good tests but the results they came-up with were absolutely senseless. They really never did identify testosterone. And the dumb part is…I actually took testosterone the year before that – the cream stuff I used the entire race – and I was tested and nothing came up. But then I decided if I am going to carry around drugs, I might as well carry around something that’s in a syringe. Doing testosterone was easier but growth hormone worked better.

    …USADA (the United States Anti Doping Agency) have asked me to try and reconcile the tests with what happened, and I don’t want to discredit them or WADA (the World Anti Doping Agency) because I do think that there are some people there trying to do the right thing, but I stand by my argument that if you are going to have this strict liability thing, where people are responsible for everything they’ve got in their system, then you better get it right…. 

    The problem with a denial and subsequent admission (with clarification) is that pleading in the alternative is not well received by the general public. However, this is precisely the position into which Floyd was placed. Do you admit that you doped, but that the test identified something that you were not taking/had not taken for a year? There is a sense of fundamental fairness at issue in Floyd’s “positive”.

    Put another way, you seem to be relying on Floyd’s simple denial and later admission as objective evidence of his lack of veracity. In turn, you’re taking other riders lack of positive tests as proof positive that they’re telling the complete and absolute truth. This tautology is untenable in the real world.

  20. riv3th3ad February 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Nice work here.

    Also, Whit Yost’s account of what happened with the team is a sad but worthy read.

  21. Chris February 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Damn. Verbruggen sure does take assholedom to another level. Awesome signature though.

  22. Eric February 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Hold on here a second, are people actually attempting to use this story to back up Landis’s claims? Let’s take a look at what he has claimed, all without evidence. That every cyclist in the peloton was doped, and therefore he had to. Just recently, he has gone after Garmin-Cervelo, the UCI, WADA, Periero, Dekker, speicifically, while making outrageous reiterations of official corruption and the hiding of doping positives? Completely absent this diatribe is any mention of the riders who have been caught and sanctioned by the various agencies that Landis concludes are ride with corruption? Let me blink at that one for a second.

    So when people look into the accussations, accussations of criminal conduct, and want to see what is backing them up, we get a VERY selective leak of four or five memos from a multi-sided event, where the very head of the UCI is essentially telling Landis and his representative to cool their jets while the situation develops – pointed stating that an issue of $6,000 is a situation where hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, was at stake?

    Not only does this leave scratching their heads as to how these selective notes equate to massive corruption and general drug use by anyone who was ever within a thousand miles of Landis while on a bike, it does point to Landis’s inability to address any issue from anything but his own point of view or interests.

    If this is the ‘proof’ that we are supposed to indict the UCI and Amrstrong (and every other rider) on, then there are going to be some very disappointed people when this has to go before a court rather than through a selective process of leaks and acrimony.

  23. IndictLance February 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Eric- No, they aren’t… but not a helluva lot of of what Floyd has been saying… other than his initial hardcore denials ( which i understand completely & i would have done the same, given the dynamics & anyone else would have as well…. otherwise you dont know the dynamics and you’re so far from a TDF level rider that you just simply have no understand of the realities of a UCI race-winning level racer) he’s said nothing wrong, and ALL of what he’s said is dead accurate….. ALL of it. Particularly where Lance is involved. I hope Novitsky cuts off the last of Lance’s nads…. publicly… & let the crap hit the fan for 3 or 4 months & lets have at it….. He perpetuated the sports/PED lie in this country, in its history…. its the ONLY way to sort things through at this point. He deserves it, needs it, has beged for it for over a decade, & there never has been a bigger moron who’s had one coming for seemingly forever….. His dosages have been legendary, EVERY rider knows this, ALL of them have been crucified & punished/embarrassed, but Tex just keeps thumbing his nose and keeps running whores in complete denial that it’ll catch up to him….. VERY similar to Eldrick T. Woods in that regard… in that, they LITERALLY think they are god, & can & will buy or threaten their way to the promised land. WHEN will they learn ? So, w/ Floyd here in 01′ re: the bank guarantee… the problem was colossal douchebag of epic proportions Wordin being into cahoots w/ Hein in an effort to jam Floyd and Horner…. there were no funds ! Yes, Rutherford is ham-fisted, but everything he wrote is accurate…. again, as has been EVERYTHING out of Floyd’s mouth other than his initial ” i didnt do it” which he always had a hall-pass on w/ my ass……

  24. Big Mikey February 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Well done reporting. Thanks for the details.

    The UCI consistently acts in a self-absorbed, partial and shameful manner, attempting to project their perceived power, extend their control and line their own pockets. Very similar to the Olympic organizations. Vergruggen has proven time and again to be a blowhard, as substantiated by these documents.

    And to those who castigate Landis for having no credibility….seriously? The guy tried to get one over on the system, just like everyone else who’s been busted and attempted lying. Taking donations to support his defense is deplorable. But to take his recounting of specific events and ignore them is ridiculous. The list of riders marginalized for coming forth is long….Bassons, Manzano, Kohl, etc. And interestingly enough, all of them have proven to be right.

  25. KB February 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    What a sorry state this sport and its “fans” are in. Thanks Eric for your knowledgeable, questioning, rational and clearly unbiased replies. It would behoove others to do the same.

    quote Eric-
    So when people look into the accussations, accussations of criminal conduct, and want to see what is backing them up, we get a VERY selective leak of four or five memos from a multi-sided event, where the very head of the UCI is essentially telling Landis and his representative to cool their jets while the situation develops – pointed stating that an issue of $6,000 is a situation where hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, was at stake?

    Not only does this leave scratching their heads as to how these selective notes equate to massive corruption and general drug use by anyone who was ever within a thousand miles of Landis while on a bike, it does point to Landis’s inability to address any issue from anything but his own point of view or interests.

    If this is the ‘proof’ that we are supposed to indict the UCI and Amrstrong (and every other rider) on, then there are going to be some very disappointed people when this has to go before a court rather than through a selective process of leaks and acrimony.

  26. PooBah February 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Brilliant work, Cosmo. And no – this isn’t justification in and of itself to indict the UCI for far-reaching corruption or to accuse LA of doping. However it is very important in lending support to FL’s overall story of what developed and how. In my opinion, that has been Landis’ request lately…..to understand why things happened, you have to firsty understand what happened….the entire story. It’s too easy to just say, “he doped, he lied and now he wants us to believe him.” There is a story there that needs to be told (thankfully Kimmage did that) and validated – in pieces just like this one. For those that are interested (and there is certainly reason to NOT listen to him), the Kimmage interview allows us to follow one professional cyclist on one (probably all-too-common) pathway that lead to his downfall. And to believe the story requires accepting the individual facts…..And this is one of them – now validated. I’m sure more are to follow.

  27. JFS February 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    The “we only fulfill our obligations expediently if we like the way you lick our boots” letter is particularly spectacular. Lovely work.

  28. Magnifico February 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Great stuff, keep it coming! One thing I will ask the folks who continually ridicule the allegations against BigTex and those who make them is — WHY? Why would all these folks participate in this grand conspiracy to destroy America’s cancer-fighting hero if none of their claims were true? Some of these folks have faced serious consequences after making their claims. LeMond’s bike company was a big loss for Greg. Frankie Andreu has suffered as have others. Why would all these folks do this if it’s all untrue? Are Kimmage and Walsh orchestrating some vast conspiracy and using all these folks? Again, WHY? To what end? Who profits if BigTex goes down? Is there some “insurance policy” which will pay off (like the one BigTex had to pay up if he won x number of Tours) if he’s exposed as a cheater and liar? All we hear from BigTex and his lawyers and spinmasters are “the same old lies from the same old liars” even when the claims are new (at least to most of us) and made by people who have been quiet until now. When trying to figure things like this out, one question is always MOTIVE. We can certainly see a motive to deny these allegations and attempts to silence those who make them…but what’s the motive on the other side from folks who’ve already confessed to doping and paid the price?

  29. Eric February 5, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    “However it is very important in lending support to FL’s overall story of what developed and how …”

    How? I don’t see anything in this other than a deliberate smear campaign. Quite frankly, I have given the exact same advice to people that Lance and apparently Verbruggen are attempting to give Landis: don’t needlessly antagonize people.

    Any businessman understand this.

    However, spinning these types of comments, standard advice really, is proof that backs of which of Landis’s claims?

    1. Th Lance, Hincapie, Periero, Levi, Horner, Dave Z, Dekker, and pretty much everyone in the peloton was doped to the gills – hence he HAD to dope?

    That is an insult to every rider who was riding clean, and nothing but rationalization. And this ‘evidence’ offers nothing tangible about any of that.

    2. Charges of systemic doping in US postal. Does this lead us any closer to the source of dope? Where it was administered? Additional witnesses? Flight numbers from private jets and times and locations where security cameras can document the finding of ‘vatimins’ that were actually dope?

    3. Trek bikes being sold to fund doping? This relevant at all?

    4. Charges of corruption and favoritism in the UCI, of the entire anti-doping organization signalling him out (apparently because they don’t like him, or Basso, or DiLuca, or Ullrich, or Valverde, etc.) and apparently hiding positive tests for ‘favored’ atheletes? This relevant to that?

    5. Th erecent charges of Garmin Cervelo being engaged in systemic doping and being granted favored status by the UCI?

    Nah, Landis is telling the truth because in a situation where a team was imploding Landis sought legal assistance to attempt sue the UCI over 6K when hundreds of thousands were on the line.

    Of course, when someone responds by telling someone pushing a minor agenda when there are major issues afoot to chill out, well, now they are open to accussations of all kinds of criminal behavior – because they dared to respond to a threat of a law suit by saying, “Go ahead, we’ll fight it.”

    Now everything Landis is saying is unvarnished truth? This has all the hall marks of a smear campaign – nothing more.

  30. Eric February 5, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    IndictLance:

    Please see above.

    I keep seeing these accussations as if getting BigTex is the holy grail of ‘honesty’.

    So, a reminder that our country, indeed European countries, are goverened by laws. Doping is a criminal offense, and it requires actual evidence to garner a conviction.

    Landis and Kimmage engaing in a smear campaign of accussation and innuendo, of leaking documents that have no bearing on anything other than being told to cool ones jets, is not going to result in an anti-doping indictment against Lance or the UCI.

    A elementray school legal club member could walk into a court and look at the WADA code, the USADA rules regarding doping, and pretty rapidly conclude that a series of leaked memos does not equate to an anti-doping violation.

    Watching Kimmage and Landis’s behavior over the past few weeks has struck a particular cord in me, and the behavior is almost Salem Witch Trial: Either you agree with me publically (Roche) or I will accuse you of doping (Dekker, Periero).

    THAT is not right, and it is not going to do anything in regards to removing dope from cycling – or convict Lance (or anyone else for that matter).

  31. stephen February 5, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    it’s funny, between the research and the analysis (and humor), cosmo is by far the best source of commentary in the english speaking cycling world. it’s painful to read velonews or cyclingnews after a new post on cyclocosm. and don’t even get me started on espn or the ap

  32. reg February 5, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    The UCI-Armstrong apologists and doubters here amaze me. I worked the ’84 Tour and the Columbian DS told me there were positives on that Tour that the UCI never announced. UCI is hugely corrupt and at the minimum should have testing taken away from their control.

  33. EdgeAvl February 5, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Eric, no one is above reproach from the grand days of cycling where “everyone was doing it (dope).”

    Triangulate Lance’s performance to all the guys that are confirmed dopers who were head to head with him (but not quite as good). I really enjoyed his tours but it is not hard to connect the dots. Even with that, I am not saying he hasn’t had a positive impact on the sport. Time will tell if that is reversed.

    I think what Vaughters is trying to do with Garmin is laudable, but he as much as says he doped too, maybe he found the “Lord” in starting a clean team. He is as much of a reformed doper as Millar, or any other doper who has been caught or it is inferred (nudge, nudge).
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/cycling/article4232249.ece

    It the immortal words of Kevin Spacey in American Beauty (Floyd is pro cycling’s Lester Burnham): “Nope; I’m just an ordinary guy who has nothing left to lose.” I am sure his comments are unsettling, as much as I didn’t believe his denials before, I think what he told Kimmage is true.

  34. Magnifico February 5, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    I’ll ask this question one more time. WHO benefits from a smear campaign against BigTex? And how exactly do they benefit? How do these “benefits” counter the risks and losses they’ve suffered by making these claims? One can (as many have) make a lot more money being friends with, working for or writing books about (the positive ones sell a LOT more copies than the negative ones) BigTex than will ever be made by tearing him down. So again, what is the MOTIVE for all these folks to tell these stories about BigTex’s alleged cheating?

  35. Eric February 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    “Triangulate Lance’s performance to all the guys that are confirmed dopers who were head to head with him (but not quite as good). ”

    The problem here is that this is not an anti-doping standard. In fact, there is no scientific basis to make such a claim at all.

    Let’s take a look at the things that ACTUALLY caught those other riders. Positive dope tests, police raids that find dope in their homes or with relatives/wives, finding their blood in bags, following the money back to the source of the dope, whereabouts violations (rather obvious ones), and now we have bio-passport violations to catch even more.

    Guess how many riders have been sanctioned, or been confirmed to dope, using the standard of,”Well, that guy doped and he beat him …. therefore he must be doped too.”? Zero.

    And the simple fact of the matter is that such a standards is based on sepculation, and it is not confined to Lance. When Cancellera is suspected to have doped because he wins a race …. a race in which others must have doped? When Andy Schleck is being castigated for his rise (must dope right, he is beating all the dopers), then what we have is not anti-doping it is a shadow of suspicion and innuendo that turns all success into accussation.

    There is something wrong when the only people on bike free from accussation are the ones who never win a bike race …. or happen to live far enough away that Kimmage and company don’t want to drag them onto their shows.

  36. Eric February 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    “WHO benefits from a smear campaign against BigTex?”

    Seriously? Have you never heard of revenge? Landis and Kimmage are the two big ones now, and Kimmage and Lance had a rather public blow out not so long ago – but a journalist with a massive ego would never seek revenge?

    Landis seriously? Anyone who so much as looked cross wise at him is now being accussed of doping, but he is only trying to clear his conscience, not wreck the sport that wrecked him?

    Then we have two against six in a hospital room, a guy that wanted Lance to build a bike shop for him, a censured Dick Pound, and a host of other miscreants who have almost all, to a person, lost when they have taken on Lance in the past.

    This isn’t the first time someone has been subjected to destructive rumors, and it will not be the last.

    What will remain the same though is that no one, at least in a civilized country, will ever be convicted simply because an unscrupulous cabel of persons accuses you of something. Speaking a groups state of mind has zero credibility in any court of law.

    What such a cabal will cause is something called an investigation. So when Novitzky lays out an indictment, we can rest assured there is more to this than that spurious rumor and a desire for revenge. THAT is how the process works, courts weighing evidence – not emotional leaks to the press – are what determine guilt when CRIMES are being alleged.

    In the mean time, it would be best to avoid attempting to indict people based an speculation of various state’s of mind that you could not possibly know. If that is the standard that we expect Novitzky and others to indict on, then there will be some awfully disappointed people out there.

  37. Magnifico February 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    It’s important to separate violating the rules of cycling from criminal activity. Nabbing someone on the first item does not require anywhere near the standards and proof of the second one. BigTex has twice tested positive for banned substances but (so far) has escaped any sporting sanction. The criminal area is where he may be in deep doodoo — if/when they retest the ’99 samples from TdF and they contain EPO (as it seems they did the first time round) lying under oath will be an issue for BigTex. Marion Jones and Martha Stewart went to jail for doing that. You claim revenge is the motive for all these folks to say these untrue (at least in your opinion) things about BigTex. That may be true for some, but all of them? What did BigTex do to Betsy Andreau to cause her to tell these lies to get revenge? What did he do to Frankie? To Greg LeMond? These folks made the claims and only later faced retribution from BigTex, so I’m not buying the revenge motive. Kimmage and Walsh could have made far more money writing books and articles praising BigTex instead of tearing him down. What did BigTex do to them to cause them to write these things? There’s a LOT of dough floating around “BigTex Inc”, far more than there is around the folks who are supposedly fabricating these stories. There’s way too much smoke here for me to think there’s not a hint of fire…but only the feds have the interest and power to find the truth — the sooner the better!

  38. betsy andreu February 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    As usual, it is the journalists who are the reason that “cycling is doing more than any other sport” to combat doping. Journalists like you are far more effective than the UCI in exposing the problems of the sport in order to clean it up and make it plausible.
    Good read.

  39. Eric February 6, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    “It’s important to separate violating the rules of cycling from criminal activity. Nabbing someone on the first item does not require anywhere near the standards and proof of the second one.”

    This would be a terrible idea. Violating the ‘rules of cycling’ would be showing up in the wrong Jersey of having a foil instead of a tube. That does not require police or criminality to combat.

    Now, there is the fact that every major cycling nation (indeed sporting nation) has CRIMINALIZED doping. THis brings access to police warrents, searchs, raids, arrests, acces to medical records, bank records, etc. which ARE NEEDED to combat the trafficking of banned substances, to be administred illegally, and with the intent to defraud a sport. THAT requires police powers to combat, and with that additional power should come additional care in the application of that power – just as we do with every other CRIME.

    Now, the accussers vs. the accussed. I would like all those who list a column A – those who have accussed Lance, to also list a column B of those who have disagreed with those who have accussed. So when we list the WADA positives, we should perhaps be mindful that there was a rebuttal calle dthe Vrijman Report and that, as a result of that process, Lance was not sanctioned and Dick Pount was eventually sanctioned for his talk surrounding the actions (if not the action itself).

    Lets try this with Kimmage a Landis Vs. Roche, Periero, and Dekker – which ones are telling the truth? In the abscence of evidence to corroberate the vehement aspirtions of ‘truth’ on both sides, the benefit of the doubt goes to the accussed – at least civilized countries anyway.

    Whether Lance doped are not is something that only a tiny few people know for sure. So before we accusse someone of a criminal offense, we should be mindful that there are two sides to Lance’s actions. There is enough doubt to investigate further, but after 12 years, that is all the evidence has risen to — a closer look – as evidenced by Lance returning and riding his bike in Pro-Tour races. Whether Lance doped or not hangs in the balance of the Novitzki investigation – not LeMond, Landis, and Kimmage’s public bombasts.

    Amazing how a few leaked memos from Team Mercury somehow turns toward Lance doping? Let’s hope that the investigation finds something a little more …. relevent to back up the claims Landis is making – or there will be some sad people out there when this stuff goes to a court where actual rules and standards apply.

  40. onlyontuesdays February 6, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    hell yeah!! at least there is something to talk about in the off season….. can’t wait to actually argue on about some real live bona-fide bicycle racing…

  41. Magnifico February 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    First, please spell it correctly ACCUSE, OK? And like it or not the rules of bike racing are not LAWS. The NASCAR guy who puts the illegal fuel in the tank of the race car is NOT commiting a crime, he’s simply cheating. The feds are not going to get involved. They get involved in CRIME. Like the Mob. BigTex will not go to jail for doping (if he in fact used doping products) it will be for failing to tell the truth about it under oath. Every racer who gets a license gets a rule book and agrees to obey these rules. Nobody forces this upon them, if they want to ride their bike with hematocrit of 60% and beat up on all their friends on Sunday morning nobody will stop them. But in UCI sanctioned bicycle racing there are rules against this, just as the rules prevent using a motorcycle. If you’re caught breaking them, you should be tossed out of the sport and your results wiped from the record books. WADA’s code has little in it about rule-of-law and justice. You might learn something from this book http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415484664/
    I certainly did!

  42. LDR February 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    @ Eric

    “Then we have two against six in a hospital room, a guy that wanted Lance to build a bike shop for him, a censured Dick Pound, and a host of other miscreants who have almost all, to a person, lost when they have taken on Lance in the past.”

    As people come forward, one by one, they get shouted down one by one. As you put it, they lose when taking on Lance. Emma O’Reilly anyone? Walsh was laughed out of the room when his book first hit the newsstands. Betsy Andreu? And that “guy who wanted Lance to build a bike shop.” Greg LeMond dismissed as a jealous crank.

    All can be made to look like money diggers or revenge inspired non believers when the power (and money) of Team Lance kicks into high gear.

    None of what they say is legally damning (or even legally admissible probably). No flight manifests of private jets. No video tapes of nefarious activity by Lance and Postal. But the chorus is beginning to swell. People who were there, at different times, different places. All with a little piece of the picture. None with any real reason to contradict Lance. Their lives were better and fortunes more secure when they were on the Lance bandwagon.

    Together, they can’t be ignored. Not sufficient proof in itself, but compelling reasons for further inquiry by federal investigators.

    Remember, Marion Jones didn’t do time for drugs or cheating. She did time in a federal prison for perjury. She lied to the grand jury. As Novitsky places more people under oath and asks the questions, my bet is he will get to the truth. If there is a smoking gun, my bet is it will come out. Not everyone will be willing to risk prison time for Lance.

    My money is on Novitsky and the US Federal system. As disinterested a party as we have in this whole drug mess. Not a sanctioning body. Not a promoter with a financial interest in big stars. No interest except getting to the truth. Not susceptible to pressure or Texas style intimidation.

    But what do I know? Nothing really for certain, except what a wonderful sport it is. And that is why I care about it. I’m tired of willfully suspending my disbelief.

    Lorin

  43. theguythatwantedabikeshop February 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    @ Eric
    “Whether Lance doped are not is something that only a tiny few people know for sure.”
    Very true. Shall I make you a list? Alphabeticallly?
    The A list is somewhat lengthy.
    Who benefits?
    Hmm, there is nothing better than having “WWIII” declared on you, especially when you can see the wind up coming from a mile away… and fully expect it.
    Is self respect and justice a benefit?

  44. Touriste-Routier February 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    With all due respect, I believe some of you have taken the general point of this post, and blown it out of context. The documents Cosmo presented INDICATE (but do not prove, due to their incomplete nature, and lack of corroborating evidence) that at least some of what Landis told Kimmage is accurate. With his own deceitfulness, Landis has called his credibility into doubt, but one should consider that even proven or admitted liars can tell the truth sometimes. Of course in US courts, juries may be instructed that if a witness has been proven to lie, it is allowable to believe that everything they said is a lie. At least here there is an indication of truth.

    What I haven’t seen people point out in their comments is that If the UCI demands these deposits (essentially escrow funds) from member teams to protect member riders from non-payment of salary, isn’t the UCI showing a lack of fiduciary responsibility towards their riders? It seems to me (and I don’t know what time frames, if any, are mandated) that the UCI has an obligation to release thousands of dollars, even if they are trying to protect hundreds of thousands/millions; the acts are independent.

    Rider contracts must be compliant with UCI regulations (and not necessarily with any particular country’s employment/contractor law), so breaches should be readily identifiable, and internally administrated. It also seems to me that the UCI, if they are acting as the escrow agent here, may have yet another conflict of interest built in to their operations.

    Please consider that a rider who can’t meet his personal financial obligations due to non payment by his team, and lack of follow through on his “insurance policy” (release of the escrowed funds by the UCI), doesn’t give a damn about the sponsor/team/UCI relationship he is party to, due to said breaches in payment, which most likely have permanently soiled the relationship. Essentially you can’t expect a starving party to care about the future/big picture when they haven’t eaten in weeks.

  45. Eric February 7, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    “Very true. Shall I make you a list? Alphabeticallly?”

    Please do. Call that column A.

    In column B please list the inrefutable evidence that they bring to the table.

    In column C, list all those who disagree with the assessment.

    When all is said and done, please show us all how the evidence is so damning that Lance should be banned – but for some reason is still allowed to ride? Explain to us how the indictment, long threatened, hasn’t materialized if, as you say, everything is so overwhelming?

    By all means, actually make the case that everyone has been trying to make for 12 years now, rather than simply claim that it has been made.

    Contrary to the Landis’s and Kimmage’s of the world, the UCI et al., have to proceed based on the rules and evidence, not inside information and ficticiouus list of people who ‘know’, but for some reason cannot prove, that Lance doped.

  46. Eric February 7, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    Touriste-Routier
    That was one of the better posts I have seen, but I disgree on one major point. This is not evidence in support of anything that Landis has claimed. This is not evidence that the UCI hide doping positives or that it plays favorites (unless of course other riders in the same situation were paid …. but not Landis), or even that it is corrupt. What these leaked memos ‘prove’ is that Landis threatened to sure the UCI over non-payment of a salary. Though a valid concern, one is left wondering just how dire the situation was that Landis felt it necessary to threaten to sue the UCI (not a short process) to force their hand?

    Were the other riders doing this? What were they being told by the UCI? Their management? And what drove someone to think that the immediate payment of 6K was more important than the survival of the team – and presumably next months 3K?

    Landis has a long history of charging things and being needlessly confrontational. Just ask Dekker and Pererio, who were similarly smeared along with the UCI in that interview. Apparently, anyone who crosses Landis, by not doing exactly what he wants, is open to any and every smear imaginable.

    All Landis has ‘proven’ is that he attempted to sue the UCI and Verbruggen told him rather plainly to stuff it. How would you respond to someone attempting to sue you?

    There is nothing particularly illegal about responding to threatening law suits in a blunt manner.

  47. Skippy February 7, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    Mc Queasy is beginning to look like the “meat in the Sandwich” as some of what has been referred to here is from Hein’s time !
    Currently in Vaucluse where i rode the Mont Ventoux saturday in summer weight gear from bedouin to Sault return but only up to the 4 1/2 km barrier as “Route ferme”! Think today i will go through from Maloscuenne and over to Sault.
    Earlier in the week i was at the Etoile de Bessieres and this coming week is of course the Tour de Mediterranee with temperatures in the teens should be an interesting time.

    Sleeping in the tent in minus degrees is not much fun but thems the breaks, more on @skippydetour and the blog http://www.skippi-cyclist.blogspot.com as i get use of a computer.

  48. Touriste-Routier February 7, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    @Eric, I purposely did not mention the words doping, Lance, or corruption. I am not ignoring them, I just feel they were irrelevant to my point, and what I believe was the point of the post.

    All I was asserting is that while Landis has proved himself to be a liar, all he says is probably not false. The letters between Landis/Horner’s attorney and the UCI indicate a belief that the UCI was not acting in good faith in relation to the escrowed wages. This doesn’t necessarily mean corruption.

    I think it is safe to assume that those on the inside knew that Mercury was failing, and even if it didn’t, what faith would an employee have in an organization that fails to compensate them as agreed? If they are treated with respect, communicated with, and given regular updated progress information, an employee can voluntarily become part of the process to save the team. If not, they are just pawns.

    What other riders did is irrelevant, as what they thought, and what resources they had, or what they were willing to go through in order to get paid (or not) are all separate. A breach of contract is a breach of contract; some parties sue, others let it slide. The threat of suit only came after they thought they were being stonewalled.

    Yes, the reaction to a threat of suit is often guttural and terse. But an experienced executive should know to get rid of small problems before they get larger; paying out $6000 from an escrow account that you control via your own policies/procedures (and isn’t your money) is less expensive and time consuming than any litigation or legal discussion regarding the matter. Perhaps the UCI was acting according to their policies as claimed, but until all the relevant documents are disclosed and reviewed, we won’t know with certainty. However we do know that Landis claimed that Mercury and the UCI failed address their constituents (or pay them) in a timely manner. We also know that Verbruggen was dismissive rather than cooperative.

    As far as Lance and doping go, there is probably sufficient cause for an INVESTIGATION. What Landis claims may or may not to prove valuable, credible or admissible, but can’t be ignored by the investigators (or apparently the media and fans of the sport).

  49. cyclodog February 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Eric and others:

    Very well-written responses. However, giving Floyd the advice to “not needlessly antagonize people” is especially rich when considering “BigTex.” LA could take a lesson in that one. Simeoni, Andreu, Landis, Contador, O’Reilly…..the man is a walking lesson in intimidation and antagonism.

    If someone owed me $6000.00+ and was not paying up after multiple requests, I can say that I would most certainly be antagonistic…..happily so. Anyone in that situation that wasn’t would be at risk to become that proverbial fool who is too easily separated from their money. Especially considering yourself a poorly-paid American cyclists who’s career most likely will be over by age 37.

    Let me ask this? Why did LA come out in support of Floyd when he tested positive? LA had pretty much written Landis off and declared his hatred of the man all year in 2006 after he left for Phonak (very apparent at the Tour of Ga)? But all of a sudden Floyd blows a dope test and who is sitting next to him on Larry King Live, defending him? LA. Why? Why suddenly support the man who had defected? Was Lance feeling suddenly magnanimous? I doubt it…..Similarly, why is Johan Bruyneel suddenly supporting Contador once he is accused of doping? Johan left him out to dry in the 2009 tour….promised him the leader’s role, only to jerk the rug out from under his feet when the golden child returned, deciding he wasn’t ready to hang up his Nike’s….Only one explanation for both that I can see…..keeping them quiet regarding past transgressions.

    All speculation to be sure. Speculation and conjecture from all of we armchair directeur’s – and nothing worth a plug nickel to indict anyone….on that, Eric is 100% right on the money. But I pity the person who has to carry around the weight of all the stinking lies they have told in their life…..whoever they are.

  50. Eric February 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    @Touriste-Routier, “I purposely did not mention the words doping, Lance, or corruption.”

    The problem is that Landis quite clearly did, and he did so repeatedly throughout the interview. So when these memos emerge from Team Mercury …. one is left wondering what the actual connection is to the accussations that Landis made?

    There are also some assumption that are going into the assessment, that the UCI should have known or did know that Team Mercury was going to implode. Even then, if you are the UCI, is there something you can do to save the team – which should be an over-ridding concern for management. What signal is being sent if you tap into the bank reserve at a time when the management is trying to prevent the team from going under? Or otherwise overtly sides with, and only with (as Landis was asking the UCI to do)? Then the UCI opens itself to allegations of deliberately undercutting a team and percipitating that Team’s destruction – and different lawsuits.

    Telling Landis and Company to sit down and wait for a bit to let the situation play out may not have made Landis very happy (nothing seems to anyway), but the UCI was well within it rights to respond to a threat by stating, in no uncertain terms, that those inviting a fight – unable to be patient in a complex situation – would have a fight on their hands.

    In the end, the UCI’s ‘minor issue’ was handled, and the UCI was NOT sued. The only issue that seems to have effected the UCI is Landis animosity and the need to smear the organization years later for daring to tell him to cool his jets. It is pretty sad.

    As for corruption itself, I do not think the UCI is entirely free from it. I just do not see how it is possible for the specific forms of corruption that Landis has alleged are possible. I.e. the UCI cannot hide doping positives (despite what unnamed Columbian DS’s say), and it does not play favorites to the point where they will single out riders and find them ‘positive’ (Landis did that to himself – and the UCI was doing exactly the opposite of what he claims be ensuring he was punished for it rather than hidding it). The UCI obviously has some issues with ‘power’ and its exercise and cleary does not like to be questioned – but it sits over a constiuency of teams, national federations, and agencies like the ASO that seem totally unable to agree on anything as simple as whether or not a straight line is actually a straight line of late – the balance between inclusion and authoritarian direction needed in such an environment? Good Luck with that.

    That being said, I understand and fully support an investigation into Armstrong. However, based on what is coming out after 12 years of looking, there does not seem to be enough for a conviction. Those who thought there was a problem with doping have been proven right beyond any doubt at all. However, in attempting to take those doubts and make them stick to Lance …. Not every rider was doped, even in the age of doping. In mean time, by not treating each rider separately, my worry is that we have essentially created a witch hunt atmosphere that has tainted the life blood of the sport: success.

    Who wants to sponsor a team that will be accused of doping after every win? Or have angry journalists leak one sided documents years after the fact of something to poke them in the eye.

    So yes, the Novtizky investigation is needed, but it may not be needed for Lance.

  51. Souleur February 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    brilliant work Cosmo & perhaps the most articulate exchange I have seen on the matter in the blogosphere.

  52. Touriste-Routier February 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    The message that could have been sent had the bank deposits been released was: “We have verified that you haven’t been paid, here are the funds due that were escrowed on your behalf. We are working with the team management to rectify the situation. You still have $x in escrow, and your contractual payments are reinforced for y time period)”, should your contract with the team be maintained. Let them know the system works, and is there for their protection (as it is described).

    I fail to see how communicating openly and fairly with the riders (assuming it wasn’t) or releasing escrowed funds would harm the team, and prevent its salvage. If anything, keeping the riders content, competing, and in place is paramount to having anything to salvage.

    Sure having this made public wouldn’t look good, but it is going to come out one way or another. If you release the information first, you control the message. If it comes out from someone else, you are on the defensive.

  53. Eric February 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Touriste-Routier:
    The problem is that we are only seeing the letters. We are not seeing anything else, and, I am sure that this exact message was being conveyed to the riders from the Team Management who, despite their incompitence, were trying to resurrect the team and … pay their bills.

    Despite this, Landis and Company decided to press their issues, and their issue alone. Eventually, the head of the UCI himself responded and essentially told Landis to STHU. Verbruggen was not nice in saying so, but that is not corruption or favoritism to tell a then minor rider attempting to hold the governing body hostage with a law suit DURING a dispute resolution process.

    If we think Landis is a victim here, lets take his beef and apply it to our lives where there are certainly disputes with creditors and employers. Anyone who has been here long enough to cell phone contract knows someone who has had a contract dispute. Generally speaking, in most instances, when the parties to the dispute are attempting to aminacably resolve the situation, it is best to patient and allow the process to proceed. Now what do you think happens when, in a contract dispute in the resolution process, you decide to sue the mediating agency to demand an immediate outcome? Having seen people attempt to do just that on occassion, I have seen a few terse replies to that rather unprofessional behavior that make Verbruggen’s look like a children’s book in comparison.

    To date, I have seen no one but Landis follow up being chastized with unproven calls of corruption and having the selective notes of the process leaked publically to smear the organization for daring to chastize Landis? That strikes me as an anger management issue, not endemic organizational corruption.

    So, to be clear, if you think Landis is wronged here, then you advocate threatening people with law suits as a method of dispute resolution. If so, do not be surprised when the organizations you threaten (even politely threaten) put you at arms length and refuse to deal with you.

    Is Landis’s concern for his salary valid? Sure. Is his concern the only concern? And should the UCI not have been attempting to salvage the team to ensure Landis (and others) of future employment? Not according to Landis it should not have. In fact, according to Landis and Kimmage, such concerns are actually official corruption.

    Is there, at least was there, a large doping problem in cycling? Yes. Does that make it right for Landis and Kimmage to essentially turn anti-doping into a crusade of accusation where anyone who disagrees with them must be a corrupt doper?

    Such processes do not help real anti-doping efforts, and they harm the sport to no good end. Like everything else that has come out of Landis of late, these memos will convict nobody of anything, all it does in generate bad press. So lets hope we can generate enough to help Landis clear his conscience, which is apparently ALL he is doing here?

  54. LDR February 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    @ Eric

    The Landis/UCI dispute has a significant difference from your examples. The UCI is a third party to the dispute. They are not a guarantor of payment of salaries, but rather a trustee of funds (or bank guarantees) deposited by the teams to insure payment of rider salaries. As such, they have a fiduciary duty to all the other parties (including the riders), and not just the depositing party.

    A trustee owes a duty to the rider, not a STHU response. Representatives of the riders made demand on the UCI for payment from the bank guarantees. And whether the release of the salaries held by the UCI were being held pending the outcome of other Mercury team issues or not, the UCI’s treatment of the riders hardly reflects the action one would expect from a trustee with a fiduciary responsibility.

    The demands of the riders were measured by comparison to the UCI’s STHU response. That is no way to treat someone to whom a duty is owed.

    Evidence of a vast drug infested conspiracy? Decidedly not. But certainly damning evidence of a arrogant governing body that does what ever it wants to.

    Everyone here has no doubt heard the sad joke about why a dog licks in certain places–Because it can. So too our beloved UCI. I am just glad my career and money making abilities are not subject to their whims.

    Lorin

  55. Eric February 7, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Lorin:
    The problem is that the UCI bank guarantee, to my knowlegde, does not have a clause that automatically demands that fund be tapped in the event of non-payment.

    A look at the actual rules, and I use the ones relating to Contential Team status as teh most relevant for the Mercury Debacle, and it contains an interesting note about the calling on the bank guarantee:

    “2.17.023 The national federation shall call up the bank guarantee in favour of the creditor specified in article 2.17.018 paragraph 2 except where there are clearly no grounds for the claim. The UCI continental or women’s team shall be notified of the creditor’s claim and the call on the guarantee. The national federation may set an appropriate indemnity for any call on the guarantee.”

    http://www.usacycling.org/forms/uci/UCIAbbreviatedRules.pdf

    Interestingly enough, the bank guarantee for a women’s or continental team is only 20,000 Euros, (or 15%) meaning that is a couple of riders at that level are trying to tap into it – there may legimately not be enough in the kitty to pay all the riders – period.

    Granted these are the current rules, and they may have evolved some, but I somehow doubt there was ever a rule on the books that allowed a single rider to demand payment from the guarantee. However, looking at the Astana pay problems from just recently, I think it is pretty clear that there is more to tapping into the bank guarantee than simply threatening to sue the UCI.

    Perhaps Landis and Kimmage would do well to look at the rules rather than sue the UCI at the FIRST thing out, and then hold a grudge for years to come as a result. Did Landis approach the National Federation to make the request? Or did he act, as it appears, as an independant party, threatening to sue the organization for not doing only what he wanted done?

    And that is the problem with these small leaks, when we start looking at the broader picture, seeing what the actual rules and the conditions were, it is pretty clear that Landis is essentially stating, “Do what I want or I will sue you!” For some reason though, when someone deals with that acerbic, counter-productive attitude with a pointed demand that the organization being threatened does not appreciate the treatment, and will resisit it, that is wrong?

    And what is it that Landis is really steamed about? That the UCI told him to STHU? After the demise of Mercury, Landis was snatched up by US Postal, a dream slot, where he went on a rather spectacular rise thereafter.

    Of course, since none of this is Landis fault, I guess the UCI telling him he in not a National Federation and to not threaten the UCI is the root of everything that has happened since? Again, I just don’t see these memos as anything other than a smear tactic. They hold no one accountable to any legal violations, and are so scoped in nature that they almost invite incredulity in how much of the situation they leave out.

    Honestly, if you threaten someone and they threaten you right back, you are not a victim. It is time for Landis to stop blaming everyone else and pointing accusatory fingers at anyone and everyone. He may be right, but if this is the calibure of the proof he has to back up his bomb shell claims, then the illusion of him being a singled out victim is going to be a very painfully burst bubble.

  56. LDR February 8, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Eric:

    Clearly we are both spending too much time on what are really inconsequential matters, but still, I think the point is not that the Mercury UCI/Landis dispute equals evidence of a wide spread doping conspiracy. But rather that it points out the UCI’s arrogant, “We can do what ever we want” attitude. That is one step away from considering themselves above the law.

    While I am not a expert in the UCI’s regs, I can’t help but think that the one you have cited is not the correct one. The language “call upon the bank guarantee” I believe denotes the trustee making a call on the guarantee itself, not the creditor/rider making a demand on the governing body. I have no idea though, when a national federation has the right to call upon the guarantee.

    But my point remains, the UCI was a trustee. They owed the riders a fiduciary duty relative to the guarantees for salary payment. A fiduciary duty is a big deal under the law of any jurisdiction. Fiduciaries are always held to a higher standard of care, a greater duty, then parties to a simple contract. The fiduciary is holding something of value in trust for another party or parties. You write: “Honestly, if you threaten someone and they threaten you right back, you are not a victim.” The UCI is not simply being told to pay up or else. They are being told to release the funds that they held in trust to protect the riders. Big difference in my narrow little mind. Their elegant response: “STHU you whinny little American because you don’t understand what you are dealing with here.”

    It’s the unmitigated arrogance of the UCI in their dealing with the riders that galls me.

    Sorry Cosmo for hijacking the thread. Good discussion. Good observations. I will now bow out.

    Lorin

  57. Eric February 8, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    LDR:
    There are a couple of points.

    1. I Landis did not claim that the UCI is arrogant, he claimed that the UCI was corrupt to the very core, that it played favorites, and that it was manipulating the antidoping system to hide positives from favored athletes – and, particularly for Landis, to manipulate the system to make sure HE was caught.

    These documents offer not one shread of evidence to back up that claim. Not one.

    2. I don’t doubt for a second, given that UCI was rather famously locked in disagreement with the race organizers over the Pro-Tour, to the point where it nearly broke the sport; was in a contest with manufacturers over rule application standards, and is now in a pissing contest over race radios. That is a fairly self evident conclusion, and one the UCI appears to be taking seriously as it has compromised over the rules enforcement (twice now) and …. I guess we’ll see how the radio situation plays out. There is nothing shocking in Landis’s allegations that the UCI treated him like a minor cyclists rather than a superstar in 2001.

    The question is whether Landis is a victim, and quite frankly, he appears to have been no worse off in terms of treatment by the UCI then he gave it. Two jerks locked in a room together – which one is the bigger jerk?

    I think it worth pointing out how the two parties most effected by this lawsuit are behaving. Lance has steadfastly, for the most part, avoided public comment on the investigation. Landis, as clearly happened in this case, appears fully willing to shoot off his mouth at every opportunity. Which one has more faith in the investigative process?

    I will be honest, Lance may or may not have doped, but what a small party (namely Kimmage and Landis – LeMond seems oddly quiet of late) are doing is simply not helpful to the sport or to removing dope from cycling. Accussation is fine, if, and only if, it is backed by tangible evidence – and what Landis has leaked is not relevant to any of the sensational accusations he has made – not one of them.

    So Landis threatened to sue the UCI and the UCI said “bring it on.” How is that helpful to anything?

  58. cyclodog February 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    1) Landis has claimed that the UCI is corrupt….but not soley for witholding funds. We don’t even need Landis to recognize that the UCI is corrupt:

    How appropriate is it for the UCI to accept major cash donations from active athletes (who happen to be bearers of the maillot jaune)? The context under which they accepted them is irrelevant.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/may/25/uci-lance-armstrong-donation-mistake

    How appropriate is it for Pat McQuaid to reward those members of the UCI management committee who nominated him to be president with fine irish whiskey?

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/schenk-encourages-independent-investigation-of-uci

    I doubt that when Landis’ attorney threatened to sue the UCI, he could have envisioned all that was to play out in coming years. That portion of the story is but a small piece of his overall experience in racing – but a telling one in how the UCI regards its athletes, the very people it should be protecting.

    2. Landis is a victim of his own choices, something he clealy states. And he even more clearly states that he would have made the same choices over again – given the fact that to accomplish his goal of winning the TdF at that time, one had to be doped (which is easily contradicted by all of we who sit comfortably outside the sport and don’t really know).

    To claim that Lance’s silence now is somehow steadfastly noble demonstrates a short memory. If you will remember, after the Landis bomb dropped last summer, Lance was VERY quick to speak up and sing like a canary to put it on the record that U.S. Postal “was not my company, I didn’t have a position, I didn’t have an equity stake, I didn’t have a profit stake, I didn’t have a seat on the board. I was a rider on the team, I can’t be any clearer than that.”

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/armstrong-willing-to-co-operate-with-doping-investigation

    Why was he so willing to talk then? Because ownership of the team means jailtime for fraud if they are found to be guilty of doping. I always thought that that was a very odd way to respond to doping allegations…..”Not – I didn’t do it and you can re-test all of my old samples to prove it….” His response was, “I’m not part owner of US Postal.” A very good CYA strategy.

    Let’s assume for a moment that everything Landis is saying now is true. Just for a moment, accept it. What should he do? What should he say?

    1) Do nothing – retire and disappear into attempted obscurity. – It does little for you, nothing for the sport.

    2) Follow Vaughter’s advice – own up to your own indiscretions and not name names? When asked – “how did you come up with these doping regimens?” You have to lie to not implicate anyone else…or plead the 5th and end up protecting people for what reason? To what end? Again – this does little for you, and nothing for the sport.

    3) Tell all – name names. Once again – it does nothing for you, but it might, JUST might finally let everyone know just how bad the sport has gotten so that maybe, JUST maybe it could be cleaned up.

    To believe Landis at this point is to acknowledge that some (maybe ALL) of our cycling heroes have lied, failed, cheated and robbed at one time or another, to one degree or another. Not an easy thing to do. Our tendency is to not consider it even possible. I am merely suggesting to consider the possibility and ask yourself – If you were Floyd Landis right now….and had cheated, and lied about it and couldn’t stand living in your own skin anymore….what would you do?

  59. Larry T. February 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Nicely written Cyclodog! And to those who say “let ‘em dope” I point to the news that “Tricky Ricky” Ricco may have put himself in the hospital by tranfusing blood stored in his fridge at home. Kimmage was right when he termed doping the “cancer” in cycling. If BigTex did cheat and they finally nail him it just could be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, one that will crumble the pro sport to ashes so it can be rebuilt in a clean, transparent way.

  60. Eric February 9, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    cyclodog are you really claimiing that giving gifts of whiskey is what pushe dthe UCI to single out Landis (despite the fact that many OTHER riders have been sanctioned) and that it is hidding doping positives?

    Whiskey is now the fault of all Landis’s troubles? Whiskey is what makes Roche, Dekker, and Periero dopers? Not too mention Lance, Hincapie, Levi, Dave Z, and everyone else that Landis has accused? Whiskey is now the power to bury charter flights and security footage? To cause, WADA, and National Fderations to sway to the UCI nefarious powers to hide a positive dope test – for a bottle of whiskey that poor ol’ honest Landis just couldn’t bear to come up with as a bribe?

    Doping. It requires eveidence of actual doping. Corruption, the kind Landis charges require evidence of actual corruption – not buying whiskey to celebrate a promotion – which has no relevance at all to the kinds of corruption Landis and Kimmage are charging.

    They have a burden of proof, and finding every minor issue as if it is magic ‘agh ha!’ does not mean it corroberates to the charges they make. The UCI may not be perfect, no one will make that case, but I would like to see some actualy evidence that backs up the claims Kimmage and Landis are making.

    If instead, we lift every bit of criticism, offered as constructive criticism to better the organization, and proof positie of the foulist of corruption and nefarious intent – then we have deeper issues to deal with, namely in restoring sensibility to the accusation process.

  61. mattio February 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Eric,
    Your rants are bizarre and it sounds like you deliberately misconstrue what other people are saying.

    Cyclodog didn’t say anything about whiskey pushing the UCI to single out Landis. Cyclodog mentioned whiskey as an example of inappropriate business practices.

  62. Eric February 10, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    mattio. I am not talking about what cyclodog is claiming, I am pointing out that it is being used as evidence for what LANDIS and KIMMAGE are claiming.

    Again, Landis claims that the UCI is manipulating dope tests to, one, prevent certain riders from being punished (but not him, or Valverde, or Basso, or Cantador, or DiLuca, or Heras, or anyone else serving a suspension – apparently they too must have threatened to sue Verbruggen?), and two, that the UCI is accepting bribes to make this happen.

    So bottles of whiskey relevant to those claims? Being told to shut up and be patient relevant to those claims?

    I think it is very relevant to ask people to support such explosive claims. Otherwise, we might as well just accuse McQaid of being a murderer.

  63. Michael P. Rutherford February 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    “Typo rich..”” Perhaps the “author” of the “article” needs a dictionary AND someone who knows how to use one.

  64. Dave February 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    In light of the Contador news and the above from the CUI you have to wonder what are they actually doing in Switzerland ever day? Cashing cheques?

  65. Osteo July 8, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    Verbruggen is as crooked as a dog’s back leg!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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