L’Equipe Naughty List. Fun with suspicious people.
Le Naughtly List is out. The leaked “suspicious” list of riders that French publication L’Equipe somehow got their mitts on. It’s a bombshell that’s loaded with so many goodies, we don’t even know where to start.
We’re also excited to read what will be a firestorm of outrage, defense, disagreement, shock, rumor mongering and new scandals. Riders were ranked on a zero to ten scale with zero representing clean and 10 a near UCI guarantee somebody is engaged in doping.
Ratings were based on the riders’ individual biological passport values up to the event, and included the readings of the first blood test performed on July 1, 2010, just prior to the Tour start in Rotterdam.
With little time to digest, here’s our first reaction:
The imperfect 10
Wow, chapeau with syringe sticking out of it for Radio Shack’s Yaroslav Popovych. He scores a perfect and filthy 10. No wonder agents from the United States and all over Europe are after him, handing him a subpoena and raiding his home. The surprise? Carlos Barredo, of all people, is the only other person with 10 out of 10. The guy who got so angry he threw his front wheel at Rui Costa in the Tour. Must have been testosterone.
The dirty 9
Russian Denis Menchov will be in full denial mode starting one second after this leaked report hits the outside world. A Giro winner and third place in the 2010 Tour de France. That third step on the podium is looking pretty suspicious all right. The so-called Silent Assassin is the silent doper. Not good news for Geox and the interesting thing here is that the team didn’t get a Tour invite this year. Did the French already know what the UCI was suspicious about?
The awful 8
A bunch of Spaniards made the 8 but that’s no surprise, right? Even though according to the Spanish Cycling Federation, Spain does not have a doping problem. Sangria, maybe, but not EPO or human growth hormone. And in fact, they have a case because when you look at the numbers by country the former Soviet republics put Spain to shame.
What pops out here is the young Belgian stage race talent Jurgen Van Den Broeck of Omega Pharma-Lotto. Seventh in the 2008 Giro and 5th in last year’s Tour, the 28 year old Belgian is now in hot water. He never says much to the press but he’s gonna have to do a little talking now.
The Unlucky 7
Two eyebrow raisers here: Michael Rogers and Tony Martin, both with HTC-Highroad — Rogers now rides for Sky. The Aussie was coached by staunch anti-doping advocate Aldo Sassi so it’s an odd thing to see Rogers’ name so high up. The baby-faced German Tony Martin also makes this group and we’re wondering how he accomplished this. After all, his time trial nemesis, Fabian Cancellara, scored a zero.
The slippery 6
According to L’Equipe, anything over 6 and the circumstantial evidence of doping becomes “overwhelming.” But before we all flip out let’s remember the flip side — this is the suspicion list, not the proof list. No huge surprise that Alessandro Petacchi, with his year in, year out, doping allegations, makes this group.
The shock is the supposed leader of clean cycling in Germany, Linus Gerdemann. Wassup with that? Even worse, Geraint Thomas of Sky makes the sixes. Really makes you wonder how they decide these things. Sky head honcho David Brailsford is having a chat with Thomas right about now — because last year post-Landis, they were worried about Michael Barry — but Barry is in the super clean Zero group.
The Fab 5
This group is truly a mixed bag. On one hand, there’s Alessandro Ballan (BMC) who has been caught on a phone conversation yakking about his doping plus Kazakh bad boy Alexander Vinokourov and Vladimir Karpets. The man on his way to CAS, Alberto Contador, is here and the big curiosity is Bradley Wiggins. Considering how badly his 2010 Tour de France went, it was painfully obvious he wasn’t taking anything illegal.
The Safe 4
You can breathe easy in this group, safe in the knowledge that you don’t really strike the doping experts as suspicious. In particular, let’s welcome Janez Brajkovic, Cadel Evans, Pierrick Fédrigo, Levi Leipheimer, David Millar, Samuel Sanchez and Christian Vande Velde. The now retired Lance Armstrong must be happy to be in this illustrious drig-free company and hold it up to investigator Novitzky as proof he’s clean as a whistle.
The Free 3
In the clear and feeling good. Ivan Basso and Andy Schleck, nice work. Congrats to Tyler Farrar, Juan Antonio Flecha, Roman Kreuziger, Joaquin Rodriguez, and Johan Van Summeren. You can all make fun of Denis Menchov and Yaroslav Popovych because they’re three times as suspicious.
The Terrific 2
What a bunch of clean sprinters! Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire and Thor Hushovd all ride in this group. Fan favorite Jens Voigt can once again hold his head high. Frank Schleck can hassle his brother Andy about beating him by one point. And hooray for little Carlos Sastre — now we know why you’ve got chronic fatigue in grand tours — you’re riding totally clean! What a classy gentleman.
The Fun 1
Federal investigators may be digging into doping allegations for George Hincapie’s old Discovery and Postal teams but Big George scores an impressive one in his pre-tour blood screen. Sylvain Chavenel who wore the yellow jersey and won two stages in that tour is also at one. Hats off to Jakob Fuglsang, Robert Gesink, Ryder Hesjedal and Jerome Pineau among others. You’re not total zeros but still very impressive.
The Champion Zeros
What can we say — they all deserve to be given full honors. And if we could just indulge in a little Americano pride, Chris Horner of Radio Shack, at age 39 and still posting impressive results, scores a big fat zero. Chap-freakin’-peau, my friend.
Mario Aerts, Yukiya Arashiro, Stephane Augé, Michael Barry, Francesco Bellotti, Jose Alberto Benitez, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Lars Boom, Maxime Bouet, Pavel Brutt, Fabian Cancellara, Manuel Cardoso, Dries Devenyns, Samuel Dumoulin, Julien El Farès, Simon Gerrans, Anthony Geslin, Bert Grabsch, Christopher Horner, Robert Hunter, Kristjan Koren, Burt Lancaster, David Le Lay, Christophe Le Mével, Adriano Malori, Koes Moerenhout, Amael Moinard, Lloyd Mondory, Damien Monier, Juan Jose Oroz, Remi Pauriol, Mathieu Perget, Gregory Rast, Mark Renshaw, Nicolas Roche, Jurgen Roelandts, Pierre Rolland, Anthony Roux, Jeremy Roy, Mathieu Sprick, Rein Taaramae, Sebastien Turgot, Niki Terpstra, Brian Vandborg, Kristof Vandewalle, Ivan Velasco, Thomas Voeckler, Fabian Wegmann, David Zabriskie