“No comment”

July 9, 2012

So on Thursday we had the news about “the USADA five“, and what struck me most was not the article but the response. Here’s Levi Leipheimer, on velonation:

“I really don’t have anything to say. All I can say is that I am here at the Tour de France, I am 100 percent focussed on this race. So far I am still in the hunt for the classification. That is all I have to say,”

Here’s a snippet of Hincapie on velonation:

“Right now I am here to do my job and I am just going to try to focus on that. Cadel obviously is focussed on winning the Tour and I am here to try to help him do that. I am going to continue to do that and to try not to let anything get in my mind beside that.”

Here’s Slipstream’s statement (I left out the generic mission statement part):

“We expect that anyone in our organization who is contacted by any anti-doping or government authority will be open and honest with that authority but at this moment, we – our organization, our riders and our staff – are focused on the Tour de France. We won our first Grand Tour in May and to achieve similar success here, we need to focus on that.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, these are HORRIBLE statements. “Oh, I love to talk to the press and tweet about trivial stuff, I really liked it when you asked me about my favorite TV show the other day. And that bit about my pets, good stuff. But if you have a tough question, then I must say that I am very focused on this race so, aw shucks, I can’t really give a response right now. Focus, focus, focus. What’s that? Can’t hear you, lalalalalalalalalala. But we’re doing well on GC, how about that, can’t you focus on that? Please?”

I understand the Tour is the biggest race of the year, but if you have time for two meaningless sentences, you also have time for two with substance. And to introduce completely irrelevant elements into the discussion (“we won our first Grand Tour in May” or “Cadel is focused on winning the Tour”) is just cringeworthy.

I don’t believe in “selective transparency”; the more open you are the less you have to worry. Maybe there are conditions agreed to with USADA, but you can always say something (even if it is “The whole thing is a lie” or “We’re not allowed to say anything from USADA”. People would understand that).

Coming up next is a 100% USADA-free post, so don’t forget to subscribe if you’re in the mood for a change.

10 Responses to ““No comment””

  1. Paul Says:

    I agree… at the very least they should default to the more normal “I’m not allowed to discuss open/active cases…” as happens in the corp. legal world. Then again from a conspiracy theory point of view, this speaks volumes over how worried various people are over getting attention from Armstrong and his team of handlers/lawyers. Dunno.

  2. John Siviour Says:

    I would love the cyclists to be open about the current USADA matter. The situation is likely fraught with all sorts of as yet hidden complications.

    As mentioned above I guess the people questioned are wary of the attention they may receive from the Lance followers. Perhaps whatever they say will land them (family etc) in very hot water.

    One only has to glance at the action USADA faces from Lance and his legal team (The Team). This gives an inkling of the fury that they might face if The Team takes exception.

    Yes Levi et al could have provided better responses, however given the situation I am prepared to give them some leeway…for now.

  3. Evan Shaw Says:

    Armstrong federal suit today. Is it not amazing how adept all the people later shown to have doped are at pretending to be victims? As Marion Jones and so on. And now the five who still love Mr. A.

  4. Tom Barrows Says:

    Gerard it is called obfuscate. Not too worry, the clouds will clear.

  5. stuartlynne Says:

    “I have made this letter longer than usual,
    because I lack the time to make it short”
    — Blaise Pascal, ‘Letters Provinciales’ (1657)

    It takes very little time to make any number of no content no substance comments.

    It can take a very long time to compose one or two intelligent comments “that have substance”.

    • Evan Shaw Says:

      Exactement! Formidable! What a perfect hoot! Well done.


    • You’re right. On the positive side, except for Hincapie, all the others no longer need to be “focused 100% on the Tour” as they are out of contention, so presumably they can now take the time to answer all questions?


      • I think that JV is probably a very good human being at heart, but he and his riders all kept quiet about what they knew until compelled by law to speak. Riders from that generation seem to feel, as Armstrong clearly does, that because it’s in the past, it is their dirty secret to keep. Professional cyclists have shown again and again, with very few exceptions, that they will only tell the truth about doping when it is in their personal best interest to do so. I suspect that the lot of them will wait as long as possible to come clean, especially since they are all close to retirement age anyhow.

        • John S Says:

          The Race That Shocked The World…re:1988 100m Mens Olympic running final. Screened last night in Australia ast night.

          This demonstrated denial and “Omerta” both at the time and even now …decades later.

  6. Skater Says:

    Awesome post. Those “in the know” want to have it both ways. It’s indeed a horrible red flag. Might as well pee the fans in the face, that’d at least not be insulting their intelligence, only their dignity.


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