Vaughters’ NY Times admission. Perfect timing.

Vaughters (photo twisted spoke)

Jonathan Vaughters’ doping admission in the New York Times wasn’t exactly a revelation to those who follow the sport. It’s been an open secret for a number of years as one by one the members of the US Postal squad of Lance Armstrong admit to doping.

We have tremendous respect for Vaughters, perhaps the smartest man in professional cycling — and one of the funniest. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone else in the sport who has done more to fight doping, improve testing and convince riders they can ride clean.

He is the anti-McQuaid. The Garmin team has provided the inspiration and proof that the wins — including this year’s Giro d’Italia — will come with teamwork, forward thinking ideas and a strong ethical stance.

What we did find of most interest in Vaughter’s admission was the timing. Vaughters is too smart to just write that admission and opinion piece without thinking about tactics and ramifications.

We can’t help but suspect that besides clearing his own conscience, the NY Times piece was a nudge to push the USADA case past judge Sparks in Austin, Texas and a boost to the USADA in their battle with the UCI over jurisdiction of the Armstrong doping investigation.

It’s quotes like “the only way to eliminate this choice is to put our greatest efforts into anti-doping enforcement,” that makes us think Vaughters is doing everything he can to get the USADA case over the hump. Perhaps he thinks that now is the most critical moment in the legal chain of events and it was time to act.

When he states: “Let’s put our effort and resources into making sport fair, so that no athlete faces this decision ever again,” it’s hard not to point that back to the biggest doping case in cycling and a jurisdiction ruling that happens next week.

The Armstrong camp has waged a PR campaign that the USADA is both vindictive and operating beyond the scope of their legal mandate. Vaughters doesn’t offer an opinion on the case or the legal specifics, but he does make a huge emotional argument for doing everything possible to fight doping.

Like in Austin, next week. Our thought is, his timing couldn’t have been better. George Hincapie, what’s on your mind, buddy?

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  • IWearSpandex

    Matt, thanks for explaining it well. I thought it was interesting that Vaughters was discussing his doping after all these years, and in the NYT. But I can’t see the deeper meaning of it all. I generally read what’s on the surface and don’t have time to dig into meanings. You make a lot of sense when you say that his timing was everything, that he was influencing the Armstrong case in his own way. Interesting!

    Great insight, as always. Keep it up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keith.dickinson1 Keith Dickinson

    Can we move forward from this point on without cutting off the head of the anaconda? Seems to me all the lesser players are being given a get out of jail free card. Who would some of Armstrong’s wins default to….Ulrich? How many notches down will you have to go to find someone “clean” from that historical data base? I had the chance to hear Vaughters speak and do agree with his view that if you let everyone dope then what you have on the podium is the best dopper. BUT It seems hypocritical to pillar the most elevated of cyclists to have those in the front row as having confessed to doping themselves. Because of technological advances no record or win will ever stand without being brought to scrutiny with the “what if” scenario in play, the samples are dragged out once more. As a note this usually happens about the time the Tour rolls around with someone looking to grandstand and make a name for themselves as the Czar of whatever dopping agency.

    lets’ get on with it and ride people.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Keith, we can’t move on when there is so much old, heavy baggage dragging us down. It’s just part of the cure. We don’t have to like it but in the end it helps us move forward. I agree with Vaughters on that score. As far as little fish bringing down big fish, that’s just the way the system works. Because convicting the big guy means more than a bunch a little guys. Sends the biggest message. Matt