Pro cycling. Silence of the lost.

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Deafening silence times two.

Twisted Spoke has a double shot latte and two burning questions for professional cycling.

First, what ever happened to the big talk about a Truth & Reconciliation commission and numero two, why the zero comment on Jonathan Vaughter’s plan to have teams and race organizations kick in 8% of their budget to fund a serious, independent anti-doping program?

There has been nothing but silence on both subjects.

The Truth & Reconciliation story went full gas for several months and there appeared to be strong momentum behind the idea. Even UCI President Patrick McQuaid, usually the last to know, the man sans vision, was talking up the possibility.

Then he dissolved his own Independent Commission tasked with investigating the UCI’s role in aiding and abetting the dope culture and the talk of reconciliation evaporated as well.

While USADA CEO Travis Tygart and Jonathan Vaughters of Garmin-Sharp pushed hard for the idea and WADA made noises about trying to work on the proposition, a T&R now seems like a distant and unlikely scenario. McQuaid and WADA remain at odds and nobody else seems to have the force to drive the project. Neither Change Cycling Now or the Movement for Credible Cycling have shown any sustained interest.

The fact is, the time for a Truth & Reconciliation commission has past. The post-Armstrong firestorm is moving too fast and cycling journalists are making up for previous failures by hammering every rider with a dirty past. We’ve gone from US Postal to the recent admissions from former Rabobank riders and the Operacion Puerto saga continues to shed light on who cheated and how. Even Miguel Indurain is getting smacked around.

Soon there won’t be any real reason to form a Truth & Reconciliation commission because all the muck will be raked. Besides, it’s just too hard to manage the politics required to create one and meanwhile the “outing” process continues with a kind of French Revolution frenzy.

Lance Armstrong claimed he’d be the “first one through the door” if they put together a T&R commission but that was a disingenuous and cynical stall. He knows it will never happen because the idea is dead and the silence is telling.

Silence, the sequel.

When Jonathan Vaughters — a man who’s never short on ideas in the vision vacuum of pro cycling — called for an 8% plan to fund a true anti-doping program, you couldn’t hear one person clapping. From our survey of every cycling news website and blog, not one race organizer, UCI official, team manager or rider went on record supporting the idea. Only former Cervelo boss Gerard Vrooman gave it a thumbs up.

What Twisted Spoke calls the V8 plan has fallen on deaf ears and if you wonder why pro cycling never seems to move forward with constructive plans, that was exhibit A. You’d think after years of having their Giro d’Italia and Tour de France dishonored by doping, those grand tour bosses would be vocal in support of the V8 plan.

Have you heard Saxo Bank-Tinkoff’s Bjarne Riis supporting V8 — no, he’s just trying to fight off the Tyler Hamilton accusations about Dr. Fuentes. Power broker Johan Bruyneel is out of the sport and thinks everyone — and Vaughters in particular — is a douche bag. But why hasn’t David Brailsford pitched in on V8? If you want zero tolerance then fund it. And why not a peep from BMC’s Jim Ochowizc? The lack of unity and any shared vision is startling.

Pro cycling is trying to break the code of omerta on doping but how about also breaking the silence on ideas to rescue the sport?

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  • Karen at Pedal Dancer

    They clearly are voting No to V8, if they were even close to a yes they would talk about it. “Put your money where your mouth is” doesn’t always apply across cultures. Throwing money at a problem as a sign of commitment without asking for real action from individuals is rarely the answer. Speaking up against V8 adds to the controversy. Ignoring it is the same as saying “it’s not for me, and not worth my time.” It wouldn’t take much to increase the license fees to the teams to cover the costs of a valid program, but if those fees are going to an ineffective governing body (with no hope of change), what is the point. Plus 8% of A.S.O.s budget is probably not going to be handed over easily. No one blames the event organizers – their image remains mostly untarnished – so why should they pay? I blame the riders and teams, who as a result greatly tarnish the sponsors image. If I were a sponsor unassociated with cycling equipment, no way would I sponsor the sport of cycling for at least the next 5 years. We cannot ask the sponsors for more money by taxing the teams an added 8% in advance and risk loosing sponsorship. Make those who are found guilty pay – a lot. Charge the riders and each team huge penalty fees. So big that it risks closing the team, as it would a business found guilty of fraud. Penalize and suspend business, fire employees. Teams (small corporations) should not be allowed to operate a dirty business. If your accountant is cooking the books, it can take down the entire company, so too can one dirty rider destroy a team. Internal auditing will become a way of life for the teams as it is for companies faced with operating under policy or being shut down. SKYs approach of no tolerance, would no longer be seen as so extreme a business model. There is a reason why Jonathan Vaughters is returning for his MBA, because good business needs to be applied to cycling.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Hi Karen, thanks for the long and thoughtful response. That puts you in the Select Platinum group of inner circle TS readers. The governing body of the sport is moving slowly and painfully and with great hardship and embarrassment from a Euro old boys network to a modern business model. If we could only remove McQuaid things would move so much faster. But I find the lack of unity and vision to be almost shocking. Matt

  • The SuperStorm

    Come on Matty. Don’t fall for “the banana in the tail pipe!”
    There will never be “truth and rec” in cycling or a coming out party for that matter.
    The powers that be just want it to go away. Far, far away.
    After all, it’s not good for business…
    I think Andy Shleck has the right idea.
    Get loaded! It will all go away in the end. Tygart got his “man”, suspended a few perps for six months, and a few others just went away and retired. The real guilty ones are still around, make no mistake about that. They’re just waiting for the right time to come outside and play from the storm.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Biz as usual is the Pat McQuaid modus cyclandi. Notice the massive silence of late. Absolutely no vision, no plans, no nothing from the UCI. Matt