Some of you may have seen some quotes from me on cyclingnews. While Daniel Benson is a fine gentleman and the words are accurate, I think nonetheless that a bit of my intended nuance was missing. So a few points:
It looks a bit like I stepped on a soap box to make a declaration. In reality, I was at the start of the Scheldeprijs, ran into Daniel whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, he asked me “What do you think of Ashenden leaving” and I gave him my thoughts. I wasn’t “lamenting” too much, it was pretty low key.
I’m fine with a setting like that, but one disadvantage is that you’re not forumulating carefully, and I often find that my mind makes two steps while I only say one, and thus these things can look a bit incoherent. This works both ways, as Daniel also thinks faster than he talks. So now in the article it seems as if I bring up the 2 years without biological passport cases, but that was really his argument. I think it’s an accurate statement (although I haven’t counted exactly), but it wasn’t something I had in my mind at that time.
- So my basic premise was this: When you start a huge project like the biological passport, it is impossible to get it completely perfect at once. This is nothing special about the biological passport, this goes for any project with slightly more complexity than tying shoelaces.
- So you need to improve it over time. From my own experience, you learn more from people who criticize you than those who praise you, so it’s best to take criticism as feedback than to get defensive. At the same time, I also understand that if you’re inside a project, people running the project would appreciate if you give your criticism but do it internally, not in the media. So there is a balance to strike there between venting your criticism to improve the project and giving a realistic view to the outside world.
- As a result, when the most vocal critic leaves a project, that is not good news.
- I don’t think we need to dwell on the gaps in testing too much. They’re not as big as some of us thought, bigger than others care to admit. They are certainly way ahead of others sport with maybe one or two exceptions.
My final point in the interview is probably the most important one; this is not about the UCI. When you think about cleaning up the sport, you would hope that federations, races and teams are all on the same side. Maybe they disagree on how to exactly do it, but you would hope they would all agree with the principle, right? So if everybody agrees with the principle of cleaning up the sport, but don’t agree on how to do it exactly, what would you get? Discussion.
And instead we have a deafening silence. Why aren’t teams speaking up about what they want in the anti-doping fight? They pay the most for the biological passport, and the program doesn’t seem to catch too many people anymore. So I would expect teams to say one of two things. Either they say “we’ve done it, we’ve solved the problem, we spent a ton of money on it and we’re proud of the result” or they say “hang on, we’re paying all this money but not catching the cheats”. Instead they say nothing, giving the impression they don’t have a vested interest in the success of the program. Or that they define success differently.