Forget backdating

October 31, 2012

Speaking of Lance’s 1999 cortisone positive, the “guilty or not” discussion always focuses on proving the prescription was backdated. What’s usually ignored is that even without backdating, it is undisputed – even by the UCI* – that their rules were broken.

  • Lance was tested at the 1999 Tour and both A and B sample showed cortisone.
  • AT THE TIME OF TESTING, Lance did not reveal he had a medical authorization for cortisone.
  • According to the rules, only medical authorizations revealed AT THE TIME OF TESTING can be considered.
  • So it doesn’t matter if a medical authorization is produced later on, even if it is dated (honestly or otherwise) before the test.
  • The only way a medical authorization is acceptable under the rules is if it is revealed at the time of the test.

So by accepting a medical authorization that was not presented at the time of testing, the UCI broke its own anti-doping rules. If according to your own information you broke your own rules, surely it’s time to go.

* When I say “undisputed even by the UCI”, I mean that I sent this to the UCI more than 2 weeks ago for verification. You may remember they once chastized me for not doing so, although in the same breath they said “the result of UCI’s anti-doping work has been unanimously recognized by international experts”, so I am not entirely sure if their offer for verification was entirely serious. At any rate, they didn’t have any comment on the chain of events that I describe.

52 Responses to “Forget backdating”

  1. Wes Schott Says:

    It was my understanding, right or wrong, that when signing in for the race on day 1 you have to declare any medical exemptions..and that was not done…never mind presenting a TUE at the time of testing…is that not the case? Why would one only have to present the TUE at time of testing? That seems suspicious in and of itself…giving a rider even more wiggle room…

    • Well, you could need a medication only later in the race.

    • I agree. Perhaps a condition could have arisen after the start of the race and in that case the above mentioned protocol would enter in. The fact is that neither were done. This rule was broken for expedience sake to be sure. The 80 year old good ole boy system has to be torn down if we are to go forward from here.

    • Nadav Rudnik Says:

      I’m not defanding Armstrong,
      But did any of you think about the amotional performance of him in Luzardiden?
      Of Savoldelli in his second Giro?
      Realy don’t care so much about pointing at him as the ( almost) only reason to anyting bad on earth ,really…
      Even Gerard points to no real solution right now.
      What do you suggests?
      In some more details please

      • Well, I think there are plenty of solutions offered on these pages. And please feel free to add your own thoughts. Truly independent doping tests are one solution that is suggested now. Here is one related solution I wrote about a while ago, about how teams can clean up the sport even if they don’t trust the UCI:

        • Bryin Says:

          The media needs to bear the brunt of the blame for the public support of LA in 1999 when he failed the doping test. If the average sports fan knew what any real cycling fan knew and 1999 and you outlined so well here the LA myth never could have been created. I personally blame the cycling specific media for not leading the charge in 1999. The only reason they did not report the truth was they knew they were in line to watch it rain cash. As with so many cases of fraud there was more than enough evidence of something foul but it was ignored and left to rot until the stench was so terrible it could not be ignored.
          I personally believe we need to boycott Trek, Nike and Oakley until they return part of what the LA fraud earned them. And John Burke owes Greg a very public apology and big check.

  2. Evan Says:

    Gerard the premise you are using is that accountability is the goal, rather than the omerta of looking like we are doing something while allowing our big stars to keep riding. Hence, they always found a way to overlook, make excuses for, and suppress valid data.

    The same for when Equipe requested from UCI the doping forms for the 1999 TDF and they stumbled upon the matched research samples of everyone from that tour, and in true blind research protocols, matched the numbers before anyone later found out it was Armstrong’s EPO positive 100% congruent massive EPO use during the prologue. What did they do, NOTHING.

    I makes Tour de Suisse look pale. That said, same thing there. Did you read Ashenden’s recent missive on how the UCI has made totally contradictory statements about this and how that result was positive even then, and the subsequent accepting money was totally wrong.

    But the goal has not been accountability but deniability.
    And if one listens to UCI now it is still their goal.

    A so called independent review that is NOT independent and finds nothing.

    • Justin Says:

      Since you bring up the 1999 TDF epo positives, and the current UCI proposal to conduct an independent review, we should recall that the 1999 TDF epo positives were themselves the subject of an “independent” UCI review, namely the Emile Vrijman report released in May 2006. Ponder that while Emile Vrijman was working on his report the UCI was apparently attempting to collect a $100,000 donation from Armstrong. This donation created a conflict-of-interest, or at lease the appearance of a conflict-of-interest, and Pat McQuaid admitted so even before the UCI went and hired Mr. Vrijman. Therefore the current UCI proposal to conduct an independent review means that this forthcoming 2012-2013 independent review will be reviewing the 2005-2006 independent review. What are sane observers supposed to make of this bizarre proposal?

  3. Justin Says:

    “If according to your own information you broke your own rules, surely it’s time to go.” Who should go, the UCI or specific individuals responsible for enforcing the rule? We are talking about 1999, is it clear in 2012 who was responsible?

    By parity of reasoning, there was a failure to follow the rules in 2008-2009 when an exception was made for Armstrong that permitted him to ride the 2009 Tour Down Under without spending sufficient time in the testing pool. So again, it would be time for someone to go.

    To outside observers there appears to have been a set of rules enforced against everyone except Armstrong and possibly other marquee riders, e.g., Contador. And this perception of inequality before the law is what has angered many stakeholders in the sport, including fans. With no coherent explanations forthcoming from the UCI as to why it treats certain athletes differently, the appearance of corruption exists.

    • And this is also an interesting part of the UCI’s claim against Kimmage. They challenge his statement that some riders received preferential treatment even though that seems to be the absolutely easiest thing to prove.

      • Justin Says:

        Further, Charles Pelkey explained that under Swiss law “Kimmage doesn’t have to actually prove what he said was true. What he has to show is that he had a reasonable basis for believing those allegations were true.” What has the UCI done do disabuse the objective observer of the belief that some riders receive preferential treatment?

    • JoeP Says:

      I don’t remember very many fans complaining about the UCI’s waving the 6-mos OOC testing rule to permit Armstrong’s comeback. In fact, it was quite the opposite: there was a tremendous groundswell of support throughout the world for him to return.

      The “fans” are just as “guilty” of having supported Armstrong then as they did in 1999 as they did in 2010, 11…maybe you and those like you are the exceptions to that rule, but there has hardly been much angry public denouncing of Armstrong prior to USADA’s finally succeeding in the vendetta they were pursuing against Lance at least as far back as 2007, when I started cooperating with them.

      • Justin Says:

        gerardvroomen pointed out that the UCI had failed to apply its rules to an athlete. The widespread “fan” interest in the specifics of the case flows from the fame of that athlete. Fan opinion concerning the athlete is influenced by many factors, but one thing to bear in mind before culpabilizing fans is that they generally receive information from outlets with a bias. Indeed, a recent subtext of “L’Affaire Armstrong” has been an admission by certain media outlets that they failed to act with integrity when reporting on Armstrong. The suspicions surrounding UCI’s actions toward Armstrong flow from the fact that money was paid by him to the UCI. Bottom line is that the identity of the athlete should not matter to the UCI, nor should fan support for the athlete affect UCI application of its rules, nor should the UCI permit the appearance that its integrity is compromised by the money of an athlete. It is not about Armstrong, but rather about the just administration of a sport.

        Speaking of just administration of a sport, you reference a USADA “vendetta” against Armstrong. In the context of this blog post – about failure of a sports governing body to follow its own rules – it is fair to ask whether USADA followed its own rules in its proceeding against Armstrong. We can also question whether USADA’s treatment of Armstrong vis-à-vis the other riders who admitted doping during the course of his case was equitable, just, consistent with USADA’s own policies, etc. A rational discussion of these issues would be interesting. It would be helpful to start such a discussion with facts.

        • Joe Papp Says:

          “…but one thing to bear in mind before culpabilizing fans is that they generally receive information from outlets with a bias.”

          This is a fair point and I thank you for raising it. Much of my frustration w/ those denouncing things now flows from my experiences first as a rider for 15+ years, then 5 years working intimately w/ leaders of the anti-doping movement. I have a perspective that most others don’t – thanks for reminding me of that.

        • Joe Papp Says:

          “It is not about Armstrong, but rather about the just administration of a sport.” — I’m not sure what you’re referring to here.

          And re. “vendetta,” it’s again my first-person knowledge/experience and having been involved in all of this for 5-plus years that motivates my use of that word.

    • dearwiggo Says:

      And the 4.5 month delay of the communication to rider XZTT of their positive A sample.

      And the leak of Rasmussen’s whereabouts violations mid-tour.

      It’s been my observation that the riders really get kicked to the curb and mistreated and yet UCI get away with it time and again.

      This needs to change.

      • Joe Papp Says:

        lol please don’t even mention the initials XZTT to me! I made a tweet regarding the UCI’s failure to back a rider trying to collect salary owed to him, and suggested that, given all the examples of UCI failures/mistakes/bad judgments, it would be completely plausible for them to scapegoat a rider in whatever the scenario (not referring to anything in particular).

        The next thing you know, I was being harassed by some guy in Australia who then retained a law firm to send me threatening letters claiming that I was in contempt of an anti-doping Tribunal in Australia re. XZTT (nevermind the fact that I’m an American and I live in USA). I’d never even heard of XZTT before then and it was Kafkaesque how they (the lawyers) accused me of leaking XZTT’s identity when I didn’t even know who/what he/it was. Apparently they’re trying to convince the tribunal of this (my contempt), ignoring the fact that the tribunal did not deign to share its evidence w/ me, or even make me aware of its existence!.

  4. Tim H Says:

    “I’m shocked, shocked to find that doping is going on here.” “Your TUE sir.” (think Casablanca)

  5. MaLóL Says:

    You are completely right Gerard, that is what i always thoughtbout this issue, otherwiseany other ridercould ask for a backdated prescription to their doctors. And UCI is to blame here. We need McQauid out. or the whole UCI out.

  6. BC Says:

    Until such time as the two heads of the UCI are removed AND someone with standing, morality, vision, leadership and honesty takes their place, there is no clear future. If things are left as they now stand we will repeat Festina, Puerto, Armstrong etc. etc.

    The present stand of the UCI is the same as before, silence plus – an enquiry to be delivered in eight months, by a yet unelected group who will be named by a yet unknown body !

    There are serious problems to be resolved in our sport and Rome seems to be burning !

  7. Matt C Says:

    I seem to recall that there was a press conference at the ’99 TdF and Armstrong was asked if he had any TUEs by one of the journalists. (I’m thinking the guys at Cycling Weekly or Cycle Sport maybe). His (or maybe the team’s) response was ‘absolutely no’.

    A couple of days later, it turns out he did have one after all.

    Back to point of your blog, however, I know of a rider who filled in an anti-doping form, claimed that a TUE existed for an asthma medication and then promptly went to their doctor and requested it. No positive test was recorded. This was in ’97 or ’98 at a UCI race.

    Seems par for the course at that time.

  8. Evan Says:

    McQuaid apoligizes for his misdeeds and for having brought a libel suit against Kimmage!

  9. Luis Oliveira Says:

    Man, anyone hoping that a change in UCI leadership will bring change to the sport should be also spending some time polishing their letter to Santa. This is (mainly) governance problem, not (only) a problem. Just look at the pool of possible substitutes (but keep a full box of tissue nearby, as you gonna need it).

    The solution? A clean slate. Break free from the UCI. It does not provide any particular service that can not be found elsewhere. Create am pro association such as the ATP (athletes) or the NBA (team owners) and let governing bodies take care of amateur and Olympic issues.

    • You are absolutely right, partially. It’s definitely a governance issue, but also an issue of portions of the riders and team owners who can’t recognize an ethically-correct decision if it hits them in the head. So regardless of whether you put your hope on federations, teams or riders to solve the problem, it will be a battle.

  10. Nick Says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for your voice in this as cycling sorts out a difficult past. A lot of the time the same things are being said over and over – which is okay – but you typically have a slightly different take on things and it’s nice to get that perspective.

  11. Robby Canuck Says:

    After reading Tyler Hamilton’s book The Secret Race it is clear the cortisone Armstrong took and tested positive for had absolutely nothing to do with saddle sores. This was merely a cover story to disguise the fact Armstrong took cortisone to enhance performance.

    Therefore the whole issue of a TUE is a non issue as to whether or not Armstrong cheated using cortisone as a PED.

    It is an issue however to demonstrate how corrupt was the UCI under Hein Verbruggen.

  12. Joe Papp Says:

    Gerard, I think you would be as capable as anyone to point out the fact that, while a certain segment of pro cycling fans seem to despise the UCI and think Pat McQuaid is the embodiment of a stumbling, evil-Lucifer-as-buffoon-type, the organization is a global one with 5 Continental Confederations and over 165 national federations, who choose the executives elected to the 15 member UCI Management Committee.

    What leverage, exactly, do fans of pro cycling in USA, UK, Australia, Canada, and perhaps the EU think they have over the UCI and why are they focused on totally ineffective public criticism and pseudo-denunciations of McQuaid, when their real ability to effect change is through their own NGB (their national federation), where many have the ability to vote for their leadership if they hold a valid license?

    Gerard, you are one of the few people who criticizes pro cycling while at the same time offering at least some workable ideas for how to do things differently (such as your suggestion that the teams privately and directly fund their own biopassport entity to wrest control of that program from the UCI).

    But 99% of the criticism appearing online in English-language blogs, forums and article comments is totally devoid of any alternative vision, let alone explicit plans for an alternative to the UCI or how it does business. Rather than encouraging such bellyaching, why don’t you challenge your readers to actually solve the problems of pro cycling? Fans repeatedly calling for the resignation of Pat McQuaid while lamenting how “corrupt” the UCI is (without ever being able to offer ANY direct evidence of corruption within the UCI and simply parroting what others have already said, btw…) becomes tiresome to listen to and starts delegitimizing the importance that these very fans should actually have with respect to the governance and operation of the sport.

    • Evan Shaw Says:

      And I fing J. P. tiresome at best. He is always right, because he is superior to all of us. He always knows more. In order to feel good about himself we must be inferior. J. P. should be in jail for the very real, very serious and very wrong crimes he committed.

      I believe in free speech so my goal is never to censor nor silence. That said, each time he sets himself above anyone I challenge him in these forums.

      Aside from this condescending ideas, as a non cycling industry expert, but a social activist, researcher, and forensic person, the so called negative truth telling on social media has been a groundswell and a necessary antidote to the Armstrong Nike UCI TDF conglomerate that along with mainstream media and yes our very own cycling journalists has controlled and propagandized a cover up of doping, making it look like it was being dealt with while folks like Joe Papp were finding all the room in the world to professionally criminalize the sport.

      I say those who have non criminal records put their minds together and fix it. And the rest of us will keep up a drumbeat and perhaps boycotts. There is muscle in them thar hills.

      • moskowe Says:

        Joe Papp also had a nice history over on the cyclingnews forums of using his “reformed” status to trick the most vocal anti-doping users into releasing personal information to him, which he then gave to the Armstrong side. When he was exposed, he threatened to sue and of course cyclingnews staff shut everything down.

        • Evan Shaw Says:

          If there is a record of that it might be appropriate to share that with Gerard for his consideration.

        • moskowe Says:

          The thread was deleted from the “about the forum” section by the cyclingnews staff.
          When the news of what Joe Papp had done broke out to the moderating team, they decided to do nothing and silence the issue. One of the moderators resigned as a result and eventually made everything public on the “about the forum” section of the forum.

          Then several other prominent anti-doping posters on the forum also posted that Joe Papp had contacted them by private message, also trying to trick them into revealing personal information.
          Not to be outdone, Papp showed up and threatened all kinds of legal action, so the cyclingnews staff locked the thread, and afterwards conveniently deleted it.

          The OP posted a follow-up thread, which fortunately is still available, although it was locked as well.

          The thread reads for itself, including the answer from Daniel Benson, explaining that cyclingnews was consulting their legal team to see the potential fallout from Papp’s threats.
          Race Radio and the cyclingnews staff (if pressed for it) can confirm the whole story.

          Joe Papp is the worst of scumbags. He got caught when his doping ring was busted, and it seems like he’s playing both sides in order to be sure to stay on the winning side no matter what happens. He gained some credibility back with the anti-doping crowd, while being sure to keep in Armstrong’s good graces by quietly providing him with the real life identities of some of his most virulent critics (Race Radio is not a nobody)

          It is extremely frustrating to see him still roaming some cycling blogs and forums providing his advice and acting all repentant and converted when you know that he’s still dirty as hell.

        • Joe Papp Says:

          Nevertheless, removed that libelous, defamatory material because it was not true, but rather the invention of a delusional person.

    • dearwiggo Says:

      How ironically hypocritical that you bellyache about the bellyachers and offer nothing constructive in response.

      You sold doping products to cyclists, Papp. YOU are part of the problem we need to excise.

      CN threads are there, if you know where to look (yeah the Clinic) that are doing the very thing you are saying is not being done.

      The Kimmage fund was started by one of these “bellyachers” you want to deride.

      • Joe Papp Says:

        Dude, I’ve done more behind the scenes, outside of the glaring eye of the media to advance the anti-doping movement than any athlete in the history of USADA – by their measure.

        And as for the Kimmage fund – yeah? So what? Suing Pat McQuaid/Hein Verbruggen still doesn’t equate to offering any kind of plan to reform/improve pro cycling.

      • Joe Papp Says:

        Whenever you come up with some actual proposal to improve/reform pro cycling, to make the sport more sustainable and economically viable, to halt the decline in team #s, etc., please let me know.

        • moskowe Says:

          Joe Papp, please go away. You’ve done more behind the scenes to destroy the anti-doping movement than a lot of athletes in the history of USADA. Stop trying to convince people otherwise.

          You know very well that cyclingnews removed the revelations about you because you stormed in there to threaten legal action, knowing perfectly well that they were constrained by the UK’s anti-libel laws. What about the fact that the “invention of a delusional person” was shared by several others, who you had mysteriously contacted to request legal help, suggesting to switch over to personal emails to reply. That doesn’t ring a bell ?

          It’s not too late to tell the truth. If you actually want to help pro cycling, then you should do that. Otherwise you’ll be forever put in the same basket as LA.

        • Joe Papp Says:

          blah blah blah…

  13. GregP Says:

    Perhaps the solution to the whole thing is to take anti-soling control testing out of the hands of UCI and turn it over to national anti-doping agency or WADA like nearly every other international federation.

    • GregP Says:

      I meant anti-doping control testing…

    • Certainly an independent agency should do this for any sport. That’s a necessary but not sufficient step (who pays for it, for example?)

      • Joe Papp Says:

        Right, and this is my point…where are the actual proposals and mechanisms to reform/improve pro cycling, beyond “make Pat McQuaid/Hein Verbruggen Disappear”? Even if Pat McQuaid the individual was gone tomorrow, what would that accomplish structurally on behalf of pro cycling?

  14. Justin Says:

    Today we have the UCI criticized for not applying its own rules to those who testified against Armstrong.

    However, unlike gerardvroomen, who cited the rule in question and described the facts, today’s Cyclingnews report merely quotes the conclusions of the Swiss “doping law professor”: “For some, we’re applying the rules and for Armstrong we’re not. There a touch of double standards.” This is poor reporting. If Cyclingnews wants to report the opinion of an expert on the rules, it should report more than his conclusion. What rule has not been applied? If the rule was applied inequitably, how so?

  15. Evan Shaw Says:

    Just to use a bit of satire:

    Perhaps any new venture to clean up cycling must include the following key features:

    It must include someone who has doped before, ostensibly only several times, or only one year, and only because others were doing it and there was no choice

    They must learn how to talk as a new anti-doper. Thus read the speeches of Matt White

    The teams must include many young neo pros so that can be properly trained to say all the right things. They train smart, they lost weight, they eat right. Clean living, Altitude training etc.

    The teams must include several women staff in demeaning sexist roles such as clothes washing, meals, masseuse, so when doping is discovered they can be called prostitutes, bitches, vindictive, and the entire matter blamed on them.

    All racers who earn the lower salaries, like extras in movies, will be sacrificed from time to time to make it look like the new rigorous policies are working. The main players of course will have back dated ready made prescriptions at all times. In fact they will be given permanent saddle sores in order to qualify for constant medications.

  16. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    I remember 1999 very well. I was there at Sestriere, speaking with Charles Pelkey and watching the dope testers take over the breakfast room in our hotel. Coming off the Festina affair of the previous year combined with the fall from grace of that years “winner” Marco Pantani, LeTour, the press, the industry, fans, etc. were desperate for a new, clean cycling. When cancer-survivor BigTex came on the scene I imagine there was overwhelming pressure to let him skate on the steroid positive via the TUE, backdated or not. How many could have predicted the wholesale cheating this decision seemed to unleash – at least from the man who was anointed as the savior of cycling?

  17. Evan Shaw Says:

    Sounds ridiculous but I knew it then. Professional Forensic training I was also a former racer and saw in Armstrong a narcissist grandiose a womanizer and the charisma of a person who will do anything no conscience. No one knew he would have this much room to roam.

    I wrote this as letter to editors and was beaten down.

  18. Evan Shaw Says:

    And no different today. If we allow that much room there will continue to be sociopaths criminals and any means to an ends people in the sport. Witness Vino as manager. Even the duth manager of the team that hired Rico the doper soley to get UCI points knowing full well he would dope again. Any means justifies their goal. On duth tv recently.

    It ain’t over. It is dopeagedon not Armageddon still

  19. […] pointed out Article 43 within days. More recently the story has been doing the rounds, for example, Gerard Vroomen blogged about this last October. But in the light of Le Monde’s allegations I wanted to dig up the rulebook to see for […]

  20. Cazare Says:

    Hi, Can i share Forget backdating | on my facebook?

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