Last week I commented on why the Schleck case won’t change cycling’s anti-doping quest. First off, I fully understand why nobody is really saying anything right now, as virtually nothing is known, but also when more info comes out, that won’t change. Nor will this be an impetus to drive a wider anti-doping discussion.
And when you think about it, whether this is a case of tainted supplements, poisoning or a top rider still not learning, it would warrant a serious discussion on where cycling wants to take its anti-doping effort. The reason it won’t happen is that everybody in cycling is so intertwined that nobody can take a stance:
- Radioshack is not in a position to take the lead. Schleck is their rider and even if not, the last thing they want to talk about is doping, with Bruyneel facing a possible life-time ban over USADA’s Lance investigation.
- Riis can’t take the lead because Schleck rode for him for years and he supported him when the Schleck-Fuentes link came out.
- GreenEdge can’t take the lead because their PR man used to work for Riis and wrote the now infamous press release when the Schleck-Fuentes situation came up (you can read it here and remember, this was after Schleck denied for 3 months there was any link to Fuentes and somehow ignoring the fact that when you pay 7000 Euro and don’t get anything in return, most people would ask for their money back).
- Then there are probably a half-dozen teams who contacted Schleck in the past month after it became clear the brothers were trying to leave Radioshack, and they wouldn’t want to get into a pissing match of “well, you criticize me now but last month you thought I was great”. So nothing will come from there.
- Additionally, commenting on Frank Schleck may annoy some of his friends at Radioshack who also want to leave (which may include some VERY desirable riders), so if you’re trying to sign any of them, you will probably stay quiet too.
- Sky won’t take the lead because they don’t want to be associated with anything doping-related right now since their excellent performances are making some people suspicious (unwarranted in my opinion, but that’s another discussion).
- Garmin-Sharp won’t take the lead as they don’t want to put focus back on the USADA five right now (the second paragraph principle, after the main news is put in the first paragraph, the second paragraph is for a related bit of info and on this topic, nobody wants to be that bit).
- The UCI has been “100% behind” Leopard before it even existed, and they have a complicated relationship with Bruyneel, so they will do their duty in this case (unlike some I have no doubt about that) but I would not expect them to use this case to really punch through with sweeping changes.
- The national Luxembourg federation and ADA, what can they be expected to do when Schleck and cycling are one and the same in their small country? (which is why we should forget about national agencies being involved in anti-doping procedures to begin with).
So as a result, this will be a case that will take its course, which may range from a warning to a two-year ban, but it won’t spur any bigger shake-up. And this sort of inter-connectedness is by no means an exception.
In case you wonder, you might think I wouldn’t have anything to say either because Schleck rode on a bike I had something to do with until 2008. But I have already spoken my mind on this, I don’t think I can add much to what I said here.
But it’s not all bad, so in one of the next posts we’ll look on the bright side. Follow it all by subscribing here.