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Friday, August 04, 2006

breaking protocol

Suhsuhsuhmthin' from the comments ~

As far as BJM's comment is concerned... As an example, raceclean doesn't have phil zajicek up on the black list. There is just not quite enough info to say if his ephedrine metabolite in his tinkle means he is a part of doping culture, or just a dumbass who didn't read the rules. We also haven't smeared him, because frankly nobody has informed us that he is a participant in that culture. That's the thing, tests are so unreliable, that asking around to find who dopes is simply much safer. It's not about being fast, it's about being a doper. Just becaue a rider is fast doesn't mean they dope, just look at the heroes page - they're all fast, and all clean.

That's the real beauty of a system like raceclean, we are willing to tread the gray areas and tread carefully on issues like Zajicek's positive. But organizing bodies can't really do that, because they have hardline "official" rules. They had to give him three months based on the infraction - it wasn't like they could publicly humiliate him for being a dumbass but not give a punishment. The only rules raceclean MUST follow are basic logic and being skeptical of tips - hence the need for multiple distinct, reputable sources of information. -
raceclean- Mr. Clean

well ... ok, then.

Again, I cringe a bit at the way Monsieur Lavage dives into personal attacks against his prey. And, my fairness meter crackles geiger-ific with the system of "asking around" as confirmation of a rider's dopage, or not. But ...

I do recognize that having someone out on the edge of reason like this does push the problem into the consciousness of those who might never get involved otherwise.

... so, maybe it's a good thing? Dunno.


Anyway you slice it, the site's language and format speaks for itself and I shall refrain from commenting further on it other than to wish him luck and that he keeps his anonymity ... cuz, some o' the shit he spouts would be fightin' words where i come from.

- - -

I really wish USA Cycling would get rid of the current NRC format. To have so bloody many races all over the country? It just waters down the quality and luster of each event and has these under-funded American teams scrambling to attend as many as they can ... frankly, wasting resources on travel, housing, meals, etc... (that shytes expensive, yo). My suggestions?

  1. Have a very limited number of NRC-level events throughout the year (2 per month max, in my opinion). These events would be open to licensed professional riders only.

  2. Require promoters to, in order:

    - secure housing for each participating team (men and women)

    - secure race venues with proper tent areas to give each team set-up and work space (there is NO need to see a professional rider changing spandex in a car). These tent spaces should profile the teams and give them an opportunity to promote their advertisers, while also giving them privacy for attending to cycling's bodily needs. [please note, i also prefer the term advertiser to sponsor ... we, as athletes are offering advertisement to a company's product - that's a different relationship than this outdated, inapplicable sponsor relationship. A company purchases a service from us.]

    - no traditional entry fees for teams

    - prize money only allowed if the above requirements were met.

  3. Instead of entry fees, Teams would be required to pay per rider to cover costs of doping tests, at each event - 15 tests per day.

    I would love to see the top 10 of each day's racing tested, as well as 5 'randoms'.


RATIONALE:

With fewer races, teams would spend less on travel and perhaps (oh perhaps!) more on rider wages. It's a dream, I know - but that is the goal. Higher (MUCH higher) wages for riders. Higher wages for riders would assist in promoters worries over providing substantial prize purses. Though, we can be sure that promoters would still offer purses because that would be a negotiating point in whether a race made this proposed and far more selective NRC schedule. Also, those races not on the NRC schedule might offer prize money to draw teams to their event, even though their race is not on the NRC schedule. And, of course, non-NRC races would be Pro-Am events to allow all us glory-holes a shot at rubbing shoulders.

At heart, the shift of economic burden would go to the promoters - to establish quality, high-profile events. With fewer events we might also see more actual media coverage from VelosNooze and other such publications. I'm so sick of seeing a 1 paragraph sum-up of some NRC race in wherever, USA. No, with the limited number of races on the calendar - media outlets would also be able to budget their staff to attend these events and really put some effort into adding to the prestige of each event and the teams attending.

Drug testing and the 'entry fees' that pay for them:

I really believe that having mandatory, broader testing procedures at all NRC events would make a dent in drug usage in cycling. Yeah, there are always going to be the folks who nip out on the tests and squeak by ... but, you can't rely on 'asking around' forever. We've got to have some science here.

Say each test costs $200. So, for a days racing at 15 tests, that's $3000. If we have 100 professional riders signed up for the race ~ that's $30 a rider ... to be paid up front by the teams as their 'entry fee.' For stage races ~ the teams must incur the cost, as well. That's their part of the bargain. And so, a 6-day stage race would need $180 per rider as entry. I say it's fair. Though, to be honest - I wouldn't mind seeing a cap of $100 per rider for all teams for all races, with USA Cycling covering the remaining costs. With only 20 - 24 races per year ... that seems like a reasonable and moderate expense from the governing body (and don't even get me started on out-of-competition testing).

Testing the top-10 of each day's racing will catch dopers. Not all, but it will catch some. But more importantly, in my mind, it will put the cheats on edge that they could be caught at any time ... and who knows ~ maybe that would be incentive enough for them to ... raceclean.

26 comments:

Chico Cyclist said...

Amen....

Johnny Sprocket said...

Where's Velo Bob? Maybe he can excute on this well thought out plan.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

The site seems a little witch-hunty to me; I know that I've said things in jest that could appear on that site as hearsay "fact." A little too risky a venture for me.

Starting my first NRC race next weekend...I'm sure I'll have an opinion when I get back!

shawndoggy said...

I think doping sucks. I'm really let down that the joy I got from watching this year's tour is replaced with the feeling that I wasted my time watching. It needs to be fixed.

The problem with your solution (and I'm now operating under the assumption that all of the top ProTour contenders are on the sauce) is that it will turn us into France.... a nation that can't really field a contender. Remember France has a more rigorous internal doping control regime for its riders. Now the French, they can afford to be smug also-rans. They have the tour, mavic, look, michelin... shoot, they OWN the pro end of the sport. They can afford to field a generation of noncompetitive riders.

Does the US have the same luxury? We're the fringe of the fringe. Sponsor money is thin, and only a few US pros make the bigs in Europe. If we can't field competitive euro riders (again, assuming one must dope to be competitive... though I do note FastFreddy, Saul Raisin and Christian VandeVelde are absent from the raceclean black list), then the general public's interest in cycling wanes. If the general public's interest wanes, so does the sponsors' interest (after all they are competing for eyeballs, and if there aren't any, there is no value there). And then we're back to the 70's in the U.S., where cycling is just a fringe sport.

The solution must be top down. It must be a mutual agreement among all parties. It must be a culture shift, where turning a blind eye is the same as being a participant. It needs the buy in of the Pro Tour riders, not just their sponsors.

Unilaterally leveling the playing field might be the right thing to do morally and ethically, but unfortunately it'll also be bad for our riders in the pro end of the sport.

Nationalistic, machiavelian, morally reprehensible -- my whole argument. But it's going to be the same one happening behind closed doors at the USCF and the the sponsors.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

uh ... our American (continental) professional team sponsors (oops, advertisers!) don't care if we can't compete in Europe, S-doggy.

they just wanna be exposed here. And they wanna drive around in the Tour of California cars and brush the hems of Sir LanceLot.

and please, let's not take the 'blacklist' as anything other than what it is, yah?


btw, you know i can't resist you when you throw out them lawyerly devil's comments.
juicey.

shawndoggy said...

But the only reason that people show up on the side of the road for the tour of california is that because of LANCE a few more americans are willing to watch a half hour summary of a days race on ESPN6000 at 4:00 a.m. right before the hair-in-a-can infomercial. If we go through a generation's worth of the french experience here, Joe sixpack won't give a damn about bicycle racing (as opposed to the 1/10000 of a damn he gives now, of course), and then he won't wanna watch the tour of california. If he don't watch, Toyota (no, no ...wait, SIERRA NEVADA is trying to get to Joe Sixpack) won't want to waste their advertising dollars on sponsorships.

The target audiences for sponsorship dollars reach far beyond the world of bicycle nerds. Those "regular" non-cyclists don't give a damn about the sport, but they sure like it when an american is stickin' it to the frenchies. I've even had a few of the freedom-fry dudes in my office (and lest you forget out there on the fringe of the continent that the country's FULL of 'em) suggest seriously that Floyd might be the subject of a disgruntled french lab that was upset that an american won. THOSE are the sorts of people that big sponsors want to reach.

There are very very very few non-cyclist race fans in the U.S. (and I'll lump the racer's non-racing mom, dad, and uncle in as a racer). Actually there are two in my office (Tour-only watchers), both of whom were turned on to watch by an American's success (GL in one case, LA in the other). There will be even fewer of those sorts of rare fans if U.S. riders aren't competitive internationally.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

you mean, aren't doping?

i'll take that risk.


- - -

and you really should pick up a "Bicycling" magazine nowadays. It might surprise you.

shawndoggy said...

Oh yeah... back to the U.S. "pro" fans... I mean c'mon, are there really ANY (who are not cyclists themselves)? There are the "street festival" crew who will turn out to watch a downtown crit hoping to see a little manhole-in-the-apex carnage with a beer in hand, but are there really any non-cyclists who give a damn about who is where in the NRC race?

Those street festival folks are showing up cuz of the lance effect too.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

Philly, Athens, SF, hell, even NevCity had it's hay-days.

that's why a select few races must be made as prestigious as they can be.


if you built it, some will come.

you sexy lil' nay-sayer.

shawndoggy said...

you mean, aren't doping?

i'll take that risk.


yes, YOU, will, but the dudes who actually pull the strings on this whole mess won't. There careers, livelihoods, kids college educations... it's all staked heavily on 'mericans performing well in the spotlight. They'll give lip service to ending doping, but they won't make it easier for their up-and-coming riders to be caught if everybody else won't either.

It's like a room full of guys with guns pointed at each other. Everybody wants to put down the guns, but nobody wants to be the first one to do it.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

can't stop it.

can't stop trying to stop it.

shawndoggy said...

Philly, Athens, SF, hell, even NevCity had it's hay-days.

that's why a select few races must be made as prestigious as they can be.


Street festivals, one and all. Mere spectacle... the "fans" are there for the beer on the sidewalk on a hot summer afternoon (and maybe to sneak a peek at "Greg" or "Lance" or "Floyd" in a contractually arranged glam-shot appearance ... well, probably not Floyd after all) not to see who wins.

Without the U.S. pros stickin' it to the man in europe, there's no publicity. The "fans" will be the racers' families/roomates/coworkers. Which is fine, but it certainly won't make the whole "sponsor an American team" MORE attractive to sponsors.

shawndoggy said...

P.S. great outside the box thinkin' on this one Olaf. I'm just the naysayer on the sidelines without a solution of my own.

velogirl said...

Don't I recall talk from USCF to do just this (create a series within the NRC) about two years ago? Whatever happened to that idea.

This rationale that the NRC has lost credibility because it's too big and too difficult for all except the wealthiest teams to really compete in (along with the lure of more sponsorship $$$) is also why the Women's Prestige Series was born.

And I think this is also the reason we're seeing more splintered regional teams (like Kenda) with athletes all over the country who compete in those races in their region rather than travelling all the time.

I think it's the promoters who are pushing the NRC envelope out of control. Why are there multiple NRC races on the calendar many weeks? Every little race wants that NRC distinction, to the detriment of the overall series legitimacy.

Do we see some parallels in NorCal? Hmmm.....BAR is cool, so why do we need a separate women's series? Or the prestige series? Or a junior series? Sponsorship $$$. Folks will give money to put their name on something.

Now, back to your bickering, you two!

;)

X Bunny said...

lots of good fever-induced ideas

i like the 'advertising' perspective

and i agree that more testing would be better

and while it doesn't mean we shouldn't try, all this seems like more change than we're likely to get

Kirkpatrick MacMillan said...

Velogirl, xBunny, please don't interrupt the Olaf and Shawndoggy show when it's on the air.

Olaf, totally agree with your take on Raceclean.org. "I dunno" Seem heavy on the vitriol.

Shawndoggy, great commentary bringing a dose of reality to Mr. Idealist however it's hard to support it in the end when the bottom line is yes we should dope so we can popularize the sport. I don't want to be football, baseball, or basketball. People get involved in cycling in the US because they find a passion in it. We're rock climbers and curlers and I don't mind if it's our own little secret.

Nome Agusta said...

I still hold fast that we break it into categories:

Stock = Races Clean
Modified = Dopes a little
Super Modified = Stoned out of ones gord. Roid ragen field of bike fights galore.

shawndoggy said...

I don't want to be football, baseball, or basketball. People get involved in cycling in the US because they find a passion in it. We're rock climbers and curlers and I don't mind if it's our own little secret.

KM -- I agree wholeheartedly. My point to counter OV's was that if it really IS "our own little secret" that team sponsorship money will get leaner not fatter.

And the people at USCF/UCI... well, they've all got a vested interest in seeing the sport "grow." If the sport loses visability then their own personal financial futures are in question. The coup at USCF in the spring seems to be directly related to that issue (old guy wanted to support grass roots racing; new guy wants to focus on pro development).

Oh, and raceclean.org... well I'm no torts lawyer, but I remember cramming for my final during the first year of law school. Truth is an absolute defense to libel (written defamation). They'd sure better hope each and every one of the he/she is a doper claims is true, because if it ain't, well, those claims are pretty clearly libel to me.

But by the same token, without raceclean.org all we have is the statements of the top riders that they don't dope. People continue to get caught, but nobody concedes it's happening.

Maybe what we need is a South African style truth & reconciliation commission where dopers can come clean under amnesty, and those who get caught afterwards face an immediate lifetime ban.

Jed said: said...

If you want to know who's in charge of "raceclean"

Registrant:
Weise, Nicholas

ATTN: RACECLEAN.ORG
c/o Network Solutions
P.O. Box 447
Herndon, VA 20172-0447

Domain Name: RACECLEAN.ORG

Administrative Contact :
Weise, Nicholas
hc2bm9zh3ub@networksolutionsprivateregistration.com
ATTN: RACECLEAN.ORG
c/o Network Solutions
P.O. Box 447
Herndon, VA 20172-0447
Phone: 570-708-8780

Technical Contact :
Weise, Nicholas
hc2bm9zh3ub@networksolutionsprivateregistration.com
ATTN: RACECLEAN.ORG
c/o Network Solutions
P.O. Box 447
Herndon, VA 20172-0447
Phone: 570-708-8780

Record expires on 15-May-2007
Record created on 15-May-2005
Database last updated on 10-May-2006

Domain servers in listed order: Manage DNS

NS35.WORLDNIC.COM 205.178.190.18
NS36.WORLDNIC.COM 205.178.189.18

This listing is a Network Solutions Private Registration. Mail correspondence to this address must be sent via USPS Express Mail™ or USPS Certified Mail®; all other mail will not be processed. Be sure to include the registrant's domain name in the address.

Show underlying registry data for this record



IP Address: 205.178.145.184 (ARIN & RIPE IP search)
IP Location: US(UNITED STATES)-KANSAS-FT. LEAVENWORTH
Record Type: Domain Name
Server Type: IIS 5
Web Site Status: Active
DMOZ no listings
Y! Directory: see listings
Web Site Title: RaceClean.org - Helping Racers Make the Right Choice
Secure: No
E-commerce: No
Traffic Ranking: Not available
Data as of: 07-Jul-2006


He races for Webcor/Alto Velo as a Cat 3.

Also, re: your NRC thoughts. Me likey.

Brian said...

Good ole WHOIS will get the hack webby retards every time!

jAndy donka-donk said...

A large majority have known it was Nick for some time.

Some people look challenge in the face, stare it down and take it head on no matter how unfair it might be........

Some find an excuse, tuck thier tales and run the other direction.....

Nick stopped racing as a Cat III cause he was positive he could never go pro without doping, the site started not too long after....

I still race my bike, and if it takes dope to beat me then so be it, I will take that as a compliment and keep on staring you in the face......

Now if I paid my bills with race winnings I would probably singing a different toon, but I was a math major and know the odds of retiring off a Health Net Pro team pension......

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

my position on raceclean doesn't change if there's a name attached to it.

like the effort he puts forth, but skeptical of the process. to repeat, i find the personal attacks distasteful.

it comes off as juvenile and ax-grindish.

but, calling out dopers is NOT a bad thing. Nor is due diligence or mature reflection.

Velojuice said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Velojuice said...

I agree with Jandy, it is childish and now with mask removed, it is almost laughable that it is a disgruntled cat 2 wanna be. I know plenty of people not doped who made it to cat 2. Jandy you are right, I am not sure you can become disillusioned at the cat 3 level, trust me I've tried for years. Once you get there (higher level) then you can complain. That being said it is the yang of the "I am not doping" mantra yin that we here so much of. Nice piece of CSI type investigation Jed!

The Sage said...

I have a few issues with his site.
But ultimately I think what he is doing is like high schoolish. Espically the black list. He'll get put in his place eventually and it won't be a physical beat down like in high school.
I think he needs more proof. Having been falsly accused of things in my life I can say it sucks and you need to back up what you say cause it can damage somebody pretty badly. Ruin a hole experience because you spoke off emotion and speculation.
Also he seems to not like the fact that one can work hard, make the right changes and be successful.
And why isn't Tyler on there...the guy that really started it all and took advantage of us?

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I also love that he encourages clean racers to email him a photo & a bio to get on the "heroes" list -- I wonder what he does if someone else speculates about one of his heroes?